Please help me join a monastery

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
maxh
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Please help me join a monastery

Post by maxh »

Dear people,

I'm new here and came just to ask some questions. I hope you don't mind. I would like to start by telling you a bit about myself.

I'm a man from The Netherlands (Europe) turning 30 soon and my life up to now has not been good. I was born in a family with much hate. They do not care to help and sometimes seem out to sabotage me. My body is quickly tired and I sleep during the day. (I'm currently having tested if this is due to genetics.) I had to leave university for underperforming and could never get a job. My income is from social security, which is not enough to rent even a small apartment. Places where I've lived I got kicked out of and not long ago I slept on the street. I have had few real friends and all of them are in some sort of trouble. The same for women: relationships I've had start with love and compassion but turn into us both reproducing old pain.

I don't know how to live like this much longer and I refuse to take it anymore. I refuse also to look out for a bright side of life, because I believe strongly that all is impermanent. The Tipitaka says that besides delight and misery, there is escape. I am now desperate to escape. I have decided that I want to be a Theravada monk. I want to buy a plane ticket and leave it all behind. Maybe not for life, but at least for some years. (What's keeping me back? There have been one or two people in my past that I hold very dear and, al least at present, can't bear the emotion of 'leaving them forever.')

I came here to ask how I might join a monastery. I already have some ideas and would welcome your comments.

- Do monasteries generally appreciate people entering, in part in order to escape a life of poverty? (I wish I could show more respect by entering as a well to do gentleman. I just can't.)

- Would my disability, that is, being physically tired quickly, be looked down upon? Would they find me lazy?

- I have smoked tobacco for a long time. I've managed to smoke less using nicotine patches but not to quit completely. I expect that I can stay clean once I enter a monastery, being isolated and having an atmosphere of discipline around me. But I would cough and undergo withdrawal. Would they have some sympathy for this?

- I'm not good at politics but to me, of all countries with a Theravada majority, the safest for a European seems to be Sri Lanka. What are your thoughts on this?

- I do not expect to be able to learn an Asian language and I've heard that Sri Lanka has English speaking monks. Do you think I could manage with English alone or would it be necessary to learn Sinhala?

- I don't know if I would be allowed to migrate there. Can you tell me about the Lankan immigration law?

- I do not know much of the stuff you talk about here. I have no clue of traditions or methods. I have read nothing besides the Tipitaka but I have very strong faith in it. Is this a problem? I imagine it would be good to walk up and down and sit in a forest, like those first bikkhus. What tradition or monastery would be good for me?

These are currently my main questions. I appreciate you reading this. If there are other important things to consider that I didn't think of I would also be glad to hear from you. If I think of something else I will post here. Thank you so much for any help.
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

It may help to get a monastery experience: https://nl.dhamma.org/centre-in-the-netherlands/ see there for like minded locals
SarathW
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by SarathW »

You can't escape from life by joining a monastery.
Try to escape the samsara as a layperson.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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DooDoot
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by DooDoot »

SarathW wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:32 am You can't escape from life by joining a monastery.
Try to escape the samsara as a layperson.
so the Buddha should have been a layperson? :roll:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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DooDoot
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by DooDoot »

maxh wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 8:28 pm My body is quickly tired and I sleep during the day. (I'm currently having tested if this is due to genetics.)
Welcome Max

At least in most Western monasteries, you probably cannot sleep during the day. This said, possibly your lack of energy has a psychological component related to a lack of motivation and you might have more energy in a more wholesome & friendly environment, such as in a monastery.
maxh wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 8:28 pm. I have decided that I want to be a Theravada monk. I want to buy a plane ticket and leave it all behind.
In most Western monasteries, you will only be ordained after a probation period. Therefore, you can live in many Western monasteries as a layperson, then as a novice, until you & they decide you are to be ordained.

There are some European monasteries at this link: Forest Sangha.

Best wishes
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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SarathW
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by SarathW »

DooDoot wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:43 am
SarathW wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:32 am You can't escape from life by joining a monastery.
Try to escape the samsara as a layperson.
so the Buddha should have been a layperson? :roll:
Just imagine trying to put up with a head monk like you.
:tongue:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by JamesTheGiant »

maxh wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 8:28 pm
- Do monasteries generally appreciate people entering, in part in order to escape a life of poverty? (I wish I could show more respect by entering as a well to do gentleman. I just can't.)
The Buddha said there were many reasons for people to become monks, but he also said that some reasons were much better than others. Escaping your current situation is not a good reason, but maybe it's good enough for now.
- Would my disability, that is, being physically tired quickly, be looked down upon? Would they find me lazy?
To be honest, yes.
The monastic routine is usually quite rigid, with most monasteries getting up at at least 4 in the morning and not going to bed until after 10 at night. Senior monks have more latitude but as a junior bhikkhu you will be expected to follow the schedule exactly.

It is a demanding lifestyle, and is not for those who want a life of relaxation and sleep.
Becoming a bhikkhu is not an escape to a heaven of stillness and quiet.
It's a life with many rules and duties. It needs motivation, and is easily as difficult as the outside world.
- I have smoked tobacco for a long time. ...
Tobacco is almost irrelevant, it's one of the smallest things you'll be giving up as a monk. No masturbation, no phones, no internet, no food after noon, etc etc.
- I'm not good at politics but to me, of all countries with a Theravada majority, the safest for a European seems to be Sri Lanka. What are your thoughts on this?
All the theravada nations are safe for westerners. But some like Myanmar are difficult with visas and things.
- I don't know if I would be allowed to migrate there. Can you tell me about the Lankan immigration law?
This is information you can research yourself.
- I do not know much of the stuff you talk about here. I have no clue of traditions or methods. I have read nothing besides the Tipitaka ... I imagine ...
You need to visit monasteries or dhamma centres in Europe for a few weeks and months, and spend some time there first. That will save you from wasting a lot of time in the future.
If you can't arrange short to medium term visits and stays at monasteries in Europe, then you'll have extreme difficulties doing the same in Sri Lanka.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by JamesTheGiant »

So, the next step for you is simple:
Google the contact details of monasteries near the Netherlands, and email or phone them to ask when you can come stay. Contact four or five of them.
I'd expect most of them to be closed to visitors until after Covid-19 is controlled.
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

I recall Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu said in a dhammatalk that monasteries traditionally work as a place to welcome who is in a bad situation, like spouses who broke up, abandoned children.
Nothing wrong with your intention. Everyone has difficulties in life. You may find that monasticism was all you needed. :console:



Edit.
Here it's
Good Heart, Good Mind wrote:Q: We’ve talked about generosity. What about charity? Why don’t Buddhists support charitable organizations for people in need, as other religions do?

A: Traditionally, every monastery functioned as a charitable organization. If a child was orphaned, it would be taken into the monastery and raised by the monks or nuns. If a man or a woman lost a spouse, he or she could ordain. Either that or they could live as lay attendants at the monastery. I know of some monasteries where they always keep a couple of huts empty in case a husband and wife in the village get into a big argument and need a place to go to get away from each other for a while. The point is that the monasteries have long been functioning as charitable organizations on a grass-roots level—local people helping local people. Also, the monasteries in Asian countries have functioned as one of the few ways in which people of a low social position could advance to a high social position. Many of the Supreme Patriarchs of Thailand, for instance, have been the sons of peasants.


Ps: the Buddha said not to trust who discourages you to ordain. Be careful. :spy:
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
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See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
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Assaji
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by Assaji »

Hi Maxh,

There are several Theravada centers in the Netherlands:

https://www.dhamma.ru/sadhu/153-netherlands

I think the people there will be glad to answer your questions and to guide you in your quest.

You may also find useful the guide:

https://retreat-infos.de/page95/page95.html

Good luck!
smashpotato
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by smashpotato »

If you do decide you want to go to Sri Lanka or somewhere else in Asia, here are some very good resouces:

https://www.bps.lk/olib/mi/mi008.pdf

https://retreat-infos.de/Download/Retre ... _Oct07.pdf
BKh
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by BKh »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:45 am The monastic routine is usually quite rigid, with most monasteries getting up at at least 4 in the morning and not going to bed until after 10 at night. Senior monks have more latitude but as a junior bhikkhu you will be expected to follow the schedule exactly.
This is true for "good" monasteries. But it sounds like the OP would be better off finding a bad monastery. :jumping:

In a run-of-the-mill temple, you would be lucky to have anyone pay attention to you at all. As long as you blended in culturally they wouldn't expect much. Many born-Buddhists will have the attitude that It's better to have you being a sub-par monk rather than a lay person. But blending in culturally is key. If you can't do that, you would find yourself in a really grim situation of not being welcome, but not actually being told directly that you aren't welcome. That kind of environment could be really toxic to your mental health.
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Inedible
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by Inedible »

You could try learning EFT as an immediate way to help yourself. You have access to the Internet and there are free resources out there. It can help with quitting tobacco, sleeping better, being tired during the day, and other problems you are experiencing. It is known for working quickly.

It is an odd thing to suggest, and more so to suggest it here. If you give it a chance and get it to work, though, you can feel better today.
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Aloka
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by Aloka »

SarathW wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:56 am
DooDoot wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:43 am
SarathW wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:32 am You can't escape from life by joining a monastery.
Try to escape the samsara as a layperson.
so the Buddha should have been a layperson? :roll:
Just imagine trying to put up with a head monk like you.
:tongue:
:offtopic: inappropriate comment.
SarathW
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Re: Please help me join a monastery

Post by SarathW »

Aloka wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:20 pm
SarathW wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:56 am
DooDoot wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:43 am
so the Buddha should have been a layperson? :roll:
Just imagine trying to put up with a head monk like you.
:tongue:
:offtopic: inappropriate comment.
Sorry for that.
I am still struggling to observe the five precepts.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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