Expense on the path to ordination

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Jgood
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Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:31 am

Expense on the path to ordination

Post by Jgood »

Hi All-

This is my first thread on this forum. I am considering ordaining in the Thai forest tradition, but would like to know a little more on the logistics.

I am currently renting an apartment and the lease will expire in a few months. When this time comes, I would have the opportunity to go off to live at a monastery. However, I am not sure how much money I would need to have saved before going to live at a monastery long term with the intention of ordaining.

Because of the current COVID related messiness in terms of international travel, if I go to live at a monastery in the next few months, it would likely be in the States.

My question: Since one has to pay for living expenses (health insurance etc.) before one becomes fully ordained (or a samanera?), how much does one need on average before entering a monastery? I would assume it is also wise to have start-up money in case one goes back into the world as well.

Thanks!
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Expense on the path to ordination

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Medical expenses.
Phone costs if you keep your phone.
Transport costs.
A little money for special things like gifts or buying something small and useful for the monastery.

I budgeted $3000 for a year of being an anagarika in a western monastery, but I actually spent less than $1000.
That number probably doesn't translate well to another country.

I wouldn't save anything for if you decide not to ordain. That way you might be saving for a looong time.

You know most of the monasteries in the USA are closed to visitors at the moment? Because of Covid.
But regardless of that, you should send a letter and phone them telling them you intend to ordain at some time, and maybe put your name on a list for when they reopen.
Some monasteries have waiting lists, some don't.

Best wishes!
I was a monk for a few years and I highly recommend it. It's life changing.
BKh
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Re: Expense on the path to ordination

Post by BKh »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 4:18 am I wouldn't save anything for if you decide not to ordain. That way you might be saving for a looong time.
This is a really tricky one and it depends on the individual and how many non-cash resources they have. It's not good to be stuck in a living situation, especially a monastic one, just because you don't have the resources to move out. I'm guessing that the OP had something more like first and last month's rent in mind, not fully bankrolling a year of lay life :smile:

I think western monasteries would want you to have a backup plan any way. They will be unlikely to provide financial support to a lay person who leaves.

Ideally one would have already spent some time living at the monastery before exiting lay life. But not everyone can do that.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Expense on the path to ordination

Post by JamesTheGiant »

BKh wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:18 am .. had something more like first and last month's rent in mind, not fully bankrolling a year of lay life :smile:
Ah yes, I agree with this then. Very good! 🙂
Jgood
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Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:31 am

Re: Expense on the path to ordination

Post by Jgood »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 4:18 am

You know most of the monasteries in the USA are closed to visitors at the moment? Because of Covid.
But regardless of that, you should send a letter and phone them telling them you intend to ordain at some time, and maybe put your name on a list for when they reopen.
Some monasteries have waiting lists, some don't.
Thanks for your response, very helpful! The monastery I am thinking of training at I have stayed at a couple of times before, and I already let the abbot know that I may be interested in ordination a few months ago, so hopefully that would work out :)
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