What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Alino
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What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by Alino »

Hello,

A question arose - what today's monasteries need most: good bhikkhus or good lay supporters?

If ordained Venerables could clarify this interrogation it will be great !

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sphairos
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by sphairos »

I think Arahants.
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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara »

It depends on the laity, if we are talking about a western context, then having more western laity that understands the value of monastic sangha and how to take care of them, is what is most needed.

I think on the grand scope in the west, there is a danger of half of the fourfold assembly being tossed out as old and archaic, and they are partly not wrong, how top down authoritarian much of Asian monasticism is does not appear in the early texts or vinaya, and doesn't need to be transferred over, but good monks being supported well by westerners/converts is an art still not developed yet, although in all honesty it is early days and the majority of the Burden is taken up by our born-buddhist friends.

That being the case, just as in the vinaya there are "trainee families"(and bad monks who are "corrupters of families" it is the job of the monastics to train those new to Buddhism on how to be a good buddhist supporters.

likewise good monks who don't take the laity for granted and practice well is also important. I've found that the more supportive an environment a monastic is in, both from the laity side and fellow monastic side, the easier it is for that monk to be more pure and practice more skillfully. This is how you get the Arahants mentioned above, they don't just appear out of nowhere.
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Alino
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by Alino »

Thank you Venerable for this explanation.🙏
We don't live Samsara, Samsara is living us...

"Form, feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness - don't care about us, we don't exist for them"
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

In Australia and NZ monasteries they would like more people to ordain. More laypeople is good, but more bhikkhus is better.

A few ajahns in these countries have likened it to Football professional players (monks and nuns, vs Football Fans (laypeople).
Of course we can object to this example because laypeople can practise better than monastics, but you get the rough idea.
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mikenz66
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by mikenz66 »

Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 5:02 pm It depends on the laity, if we are talking about a western context, then having more western laity that understands the value of monastic sangha and how to take care of them, is what is most needed.
JamesTheGiant wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:45 pm In Australia and NZ monasteries they would like more people to ordain. More laypeople is good, but more bhikkhus is better.
I think these are both excellent points. And I don't see them as contradictory. The monasteries here have have plenty of support, but my impression from what I see when I visit various places is that the key support is from immigrants (Thai, Sri Lankan, etc) who were "born Buddhist".

I think that a monastic sangha drawn from, and supported by, locals is important for the long-term development of Dhamma in the West.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

I had another thought: Monasteries would desperately love to have electricians, licensed builders, and mechanics.
A monk who is also a builder/electrician/mechanic would be the best!
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confusedlayman
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by confusedlayman »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:45 pm In Australia and NZ monasteries they would like more people to ordain. More laypeople is good, but more bhikkhus is better.

A few ajahns in these countries have likened it to Football professional players (monks and nuns, vs Football Fans (laypeople).
Of course we can object to this example because laypeople can practise better than monastics, but you get the rough idea.
but its hard to ordain under ajhan brahm as first preference given to Australians due to visa .. maybe if I ordain in india, I should visit Dalai Lama
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by DNS »

In terms of pastoral duties, a monastery doesn't need too many monks. A few monks could more than handle the pastoral duties for a community. However, that view is from our Judaeo-Christian upbringing. Monasteries' main purposes are not pastoral duties in Buddhism, but rather for striving for nibbana. Lay people make merit by supporting them. If lay people can learn from them, receive blessings, participate in meditation; then that is an added benefit, but the main purpose, if I'm not mistaken, is to produce people striving for and attaining nibbana.

Yes and I agree with posts above, it would be nice if the convert community could participate more in the functions, including the lunch dana and other support. Typically, that is provided almost entirely by the 'born-buddhist' families.

Convert Buddhists often are still in the (perhaps Judaeo-Christian) mindset that they'll go for sittings, retreats and just pay as they go, but not just on a whim for supporting the monks and the community.
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by SarathW »

In my opinion, for the West we need lot of lay followers. We can import as many monks we needed. Monkhood is a natural progression from good lay practitioners.
In countries like Sr Lanka, there are plenty of monks and lay followers but not much use as many do not understand the Dhamm or follow it.
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Jgood
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Re: What today's monasteries need most - bhikkhus or lay supporters?

Post by Jgood »

At least one live-in lay person with a car seems to be an important fixture at Western monasteries.
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