Ordination in Sri Lanka

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:20 pm

Hello

At the end of December, beginning of January, i am travelling to Sri lanka on a 3 month visa with the soul aim of ordination. I know this is a major dessision and one i have not made lightly, i have had this desire since childhood only now years later am i able to live a life long dream. excited, you bet! apprihensive, too right! but so very determined.

So my question to you all is regarding any information you have on Monesteries in Sri lanka that you know that western lay practioniers have been and ordained. A teacher or abbott who can speak english whould help. I find the mashai sayadaw method most suitable to my mind.

Information such as addresses or website links would be so much appreciated as i would like to write beforehand.

with kind regards to all who take the time to read this and special thanks to all who hwlp in my quest

With Mettta
Andrew
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:55 pm

http://nauyana.org/

Na Uyana Aranya is a very prestigious meditation center, although it is in the Pa Auk tradition. From what I've heard, it's not too hard to go from Mahasi to Pa Auk.

Otherwise http://lanka.sirimangalo.org/ might be of help.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby James the Giant » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:33 pm

Hi Andrew, here's a very helpful list of monasteries in Sri Lanka.
This one is aimed at people intending to ordain: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/Sri-Lanka-monasteries.pdf
This one is aimed at laypeople going to Sri Lanka to practise seriously: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/Sri-Lanka-laypeople-monasteries.pdf

They were done in 2005 but I believe they would still be a great resource for phone numbers, address for writing to them, and general information.
Could you PM me with information on how to get a 3 month visa? I thought I had to get a one month visa and renew it each month. I'm going there next year too.

Many thanks!
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:10 am

Many thanks to James and Youghart for your replys very usefull indeed.

James the pdf list is awesome infomation and gives as you have said plenty of telephone numbers and addresses

As for the visa situation you are right it has changed very recently to an online 30 day visa. however after speaking to the high commision in london for sri lanka they are still issuing 90 day single entry visa as before you just have to apply to them.

try this for more details http://www.srilankahighcommission.co.uk ... &Itemid=17

good luck and hope to see you there next year.
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:27 pm

many thanks for the info LonesomeYogurt however the link below for sirimangalo and yuttadhammo in sri lanka looks like a no no. it appears yuttadhammo is leaving sri lanka for thailand then onto canada. Shame but i understand he has been hit rather hard with dengue fever and sounds a little dispondent

Otherwise http://lanka.sirimangalo.org/ might be of help.[/quote]

with metta kindness :anjali:
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby theY » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:08 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:http://nauyana.org/

Na Uyana Aranya is a very prestigious meditation center, although it is in the Pa Auk tradition. From what I've heard, it's not too hard to go from Mahasi to Pa Auk.

Otherwise http://lanka.sirimangalo.org/ might be of help.


I confirm this reply.

Pa Auk tradition have tipitaka memorizer.
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby hermitwin » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:12 am

Parappuduwa Nun's Island at Dodanduwa.
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby hermitwin » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:13 am

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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby piano piano » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:56 pm

Hi everyone
My first post.
Your best bet is to visit BPS (Buddhist Publication Society) in Kandy and get in touch with Ven. Nyanatusita, the editor there. He is the one who compiled some lists above mentioned, and is quite knowledgeable about places and monastics in Sri Lanka. Often western monks visit at Forest Hermitage where he lives (walking distance from BPS). That is just to get a general overview.

After that it is certainly a good idea to go see the individual places and get a feel of them. Na Uyana is a large monastery; when I was there 5 yrs ago there were only perhaps 5 English speaking (young) monks staying there. Unfortunately very few Sinhalese monks speak English in general, at Na Uyana I did not get past very basic communication skills).

A place where many speak English, including some the teacher Ven. Pemasiri, is Siematipala Meditation Center next to Kanduboda meditation center. Quite a few westerners staying and ordaining there, but Ven. Pemasiri does not give full ordination. As it is close to Colombo, it is rather hot and humid there. The advantage for you is that it is in the Mahasi tradition.

A cool, sometimes even cold place is Bowalawatta (for some unknown reason called University Forest Solitude). It is not a meditation monastery, with few monks, but very well supported.

A line to consider is certainly also the one of Ven. Kiribatgoda Gnyanananda (sometimes spelt that way to differentiate from Ven. K. Nanananda the former Pali scholar who has his monastery at Devalagama near Kegala; also worth a visit).
For info see here: http://theravadin.wordpress.com/

At Nissarana Vanaya you have Ven. Dhammajiva as meditation teacher, also Mahasi school. And he speaks English rather well.

One thing I learnt specifically at Ven Pemasiri's place was that people ordaining were soon disappointed to learn that they did not have much time for meditation, as they needed to learn many things. Therefore it is a good idea to separate the two things, desire for meditation and desire for ordaining, at least for the first few years.

An advantage with ordaining with Na Uyana would be that they also have many branches, and are well respected.

One thing for sure: you need to learn Sinhalese soon to survive in any monastery there.
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby pilgrim » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:08 pm

If you are set on the Mahasi method, sooner or later you'll find your way to Kanduboda near Colombo.
http://www.insight-meditation.org/index.html
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:42 pm

Many thanks to the wonderful replys. been away for a few days and this information is a fantastic suprise. :twothumbsup:

Piano Piano thank you so much for the great info, looks like you have some excellent knowledge on the subject. I must admit with such good information i have many places to check out and try. I will head for the BPS as i've been ordering from them for a few years now and have always wanted to meet Ven. Nyanatusita, i also have contacted Venerable Bhante Sobhana who is at present just outside of Kandy. I can completly understand the need and desire to learn Sinhalese i have tried to find some sort of CD but to no avail.

Does anyone know of any language schools in Colombo where perhaps it is possible to learn at least some basics?

I am very easy and not in anyway stuck to one particular method of meditation (mashai) i just seem to keep doing this method out of habit i suppose. I have no problem in learning new techniques.

I have spent a long time making this deccission to become ordainned. I could write a whole load of info as to why i am doing this, i will instead try to sum it up in a ferw words. Life is about being hear rather then in the future or past and in this moment i know i have arrived, if i do not ordain how will the future generation profit from the teachings, i am doing this only for the good of all, not a selfless act of wanting to run away from society or become a recluse, a wholehearted decission to benifit others.

For everyone who even spends the five or so minutes reading this i thank you, and for all those who reply, you are wonderious people.

Many thanks :thanks:
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:24 pm

Dmytro wrote:I would also recommend the meditation center of Ven Pemasiri (Sumanthipala Na Himi Senasun Arana
Kanduboda, Sri Lanka).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pchO5pWcRKY
http://www.phil.muni.cz/suriyalamai/Dha ... htrope.pdf
http://blag.biz/Mango_tree_wisdom

Good luck!


Thank you so very much for the help Dmytro. :twothumbsup: The center mention of Ven Pemasiri sounds very interesting as it has been mentioned twice now.

I wonder does anyone know of a web site or blog page for this center?

and Dmytro would this (Sumanthipala Na Himi Senasun Arana Kanduboda, Sri Lanka) be the address?

many thanks :D
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:33 pm



this is simple awesome. :heart: I do have a small question and please be gently as i have no idea what these apps things are or how they can be used.

basically I dont have a mobile phone to load apps onto and wondered if there a another way around this?

can i load it onto computer? normal windows lap top?

or will i have to find a nice friend who has this technology?

Perhaps someone knows of the old fashioned CD of Sinhalese.

I dont want to sound ungreatfull as i honestly think this is awesome information. I hope you can HELP :anjali:
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby James the Giant » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:07 am

The good old Lonely Planet Sinhala Phrasebook. Good for a start.
http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/sri-lanka/ ... asebook-3/
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby Dmytro » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:07 am

Hi Andrew,

andrewhallas wrote:I wonder does anyone know of a web site or blog page for this center?


There's no website, except for a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sot%C4%81 ... 4482988271

and Dmytro would this (Sumanthipala Na Himi Senasun Arana Kanduboda, Sri Lanka) be the address?


Yes.

Sinhala lessons on the web with audio: http://www.speaksinhala.com/

Best wishes!
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby piano piano » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:15 am

A few further considerations.

Certainly it has been said in other threads that it is better to approach ordination gently,
not to rush into it. It is easy to become a monk, but hard to remain one. It is particularly
easy in Sri Lanka, and other places in Asia, where the Anagarika-concept introduced by the
Ajahn Chah-"school" is not practized; that practice gives people time to adjust to the new
life-circumstances without putting on them obligations and demands they might have
idealized or unrealistically fantasized about. In Sri Lanka you can be a samanera on the day
of your arrival, if you want. But that would be foolish. It is not less foolish, though, if you
postpone it for a few weeks only.

These obligations and demands can become particularly heavy in a totally foreign culture
and environment like Sri Lanka. Several things add to the pressure you put yourself in. The
first and probably most important is the visa-situation. Unlike withThailand where you can
just do an easy visa-run to a neighbouring country, Sri Lanka as an Island doesn't give that
opportunity. India is close, yes, Chennai/Madras just an hour's flight away, but getting an
Indian visa more than once isn't easy anymore. A better option would be Malaysia where you
get an automatic 3-month visa-on-arrival, and have an inexpensive flight with Air Asia from
Colombo to Kuala Lumpur (costs like a little more than US $100, around the same as a
flight to nearby Madras. The other option, Bangkok, a bit more expensive if by direct-
flight, yet also cheap if via KL and from there by train, but also easy visa-wise).

So even with the relative luxury of a 3-month visa for Sri Lanka, your time to find the place
to ordain would be narrowed down to a little more than two months, because you need to
apply for the new visa in the remaining weeks. That means, as a new arrival who is not
familiar with culture, customs, places, monasteries, climate, food, transportation you come
under immense pressure due to this limitation of time.

Now it will be good for you to know that a visa can be extended for lay-Buddhists staying
in a respected institution (respected by the Government that is). This is a process that
involves runnig from pillar to post, if you have to do it yourself: a support letter from the
institution or meditation center is required, then the signature of an official monk of the
area, plus filing the whole thing with the Buddhist adminstration of the Government, and
then hoping the docs are forwarded in time to the visa-granting office, which means this is
a time- and nerve-consuming process.

Fortunately, large monasteries like Na Uyana handle this for you. But even with them you
have to initiate the process early on. That means you don't have a passport for a while, and
are technically in difficulty for that time if you wish to look at other places meanwhile. But
you can do it anyhow.

I was there when the civil war was still raging with bombs still being placed on buses, so
buses were checked at check-posts and people frisked. The one time it happened to me I
had no other identification than an airline-mileage card (I did not want to hand over my
credit-card for fear they might keep it), and I passed with that. So it should be easy now
that there are no check-points anymore.

In your situation I would keep an open time-window that you give yourself to check out
places and get accustomed. You need more than just a few weeks time to know which
place is good for you. Therefore my advice: Remain a lay-person for several extensions of
visas, and even keep the option open to look at places other than Sri Lanka, which means,
take enough money to pay for flights and stays on the way.

Once you are ordained you can't handle money anymore, so it is hard to travel, even on
very short trips, like on a bus-ride. Even though Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, it is rare
that someone approaches you (a monk) to ask if you require assistance. Even if you have a dayaka or
kappiya (person assisting a monk with things he can't do by himself), you need to be aware
that people in these countries can be extremely unreliable. Asians often don't have this kind
of sense of urgency that westerners have when it comes to giving a promise or accepting a duty toward
another person.

Another important aspect of life in Sri Lanka is the food-situation. Obviously as someone
willing to ordain you are aware that you will live by whatever you get. Initially this might not
be much of a problem, except that you might get frequent stomach-upsets and diarrhea, because Sri Lankan
food tends to consist of a lot of carbo-hydrates with very little veggie-curries which are very hot.

They also serve a lot of what they call chutneys (but not the kind that you might know from
Northern India, yet more similar to the ones of Southern India, but still different, basically
just coconut plus red or green chili, often raw). Too much chili can cause a problem for the stomach. Most
Sinhalese are vegetarians, and since milk is not as abundantly available as in India for
instance, and even grains other than rice is rare (wheat needs to be imported) you'll have a
hard time to get enough protein.

This may seem a trifle for someone with an idealized fantasy of ordaining in his mind. But it
can have dire consequences for someone with a different body-type accustomed to other
nutrients. Malnutrition will become a normal reality for you. Again, Na Uyana has the
advantage of large quantities of food being prepared there. In fact, donors are wait-listed
to come and cook for the monks; whole villages make it their pride to be listed to come
for one day in a year and cook food for the monks. So a daily changing crowd of people
prepare the dana there. Which does not mean the food is particularly rich, but certainly
abundant.

The situation at Ven. Pemasiri's place Siemantipala Meditation Center is similar, only there one person is cooking plus some pindapata dana is offered to lay-people. Monks do go for pindapata, which they don't do at Na Uyana, except the older ones staying up in the hills far from the new monks. (Na Uyana is that large.)

The conclusion from this is: It is important to look at how a place where you might ordain is
supported. If you know monks and their preoccupation, you will have noticed that in the
long run food becomes the major concern for them. (When I was kappiya at a monastery in Europe, I overheard one monk present there informing another who was to come later, about my skills: "He knows how to cook!". :smile: )

It is not my intention to discourage anyone reading this, but just to give my point of view
gathered from my definitely limited and biased conclusions from my experience there, providing a possibility for reality check for those who might not know what they are heading into.

May you be happy with your worthy intentions.
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby James the Giant » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:54 pm

piano piano wrote:A few further considerations...

Wow, thanks for taking the time to give that info Piano Piano, that's both sobering and useful.
It makes me glad that I have decided to ordain in the west!
But I'll still go there for three months next year, just in case it grabs me.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:04 pm

pianopiano

What wonderful information shared 'PP' these are wise words indeed and a must read for all who are thinking of ordination anywhere in Asia not just Sri Lanka. I really thank you from the bottom of my heart, as I'm sure this must of taken you a fair amount of time to write & compose. It hits all the right emotions spots for someone just about to embark on this great journey. so wonderfully written. thank you 'PP'

I have spent almost all my life travelling the world, I don't mean the GAP year student thing that has become so popular over the years. I actually disappeared, immersed myself into the world, I wandered around the world, just seeing where life took me, almost like a passenger onboard my own ship just watching with fascination my mind and its association with life unfolding. (only in the last year have I found about 'tudong') but it seems I've did something very similar for over 10 years

My life has been rough, not really like most people growing up in England, but this is the most wondrous life I know, being rough and giving up my attachments to everything. Most people will read that sentence as giving up material possessions, but as we know it's about giving up 'everything' all those attachments we have in our mind as well. Then truly becoming free.

Its only now have all those wonderful lessons in my life seemed to have slotted into place so perfectly I know that my destiny is to become a homeless one.

With your wonderful advice 'PP' My rough plan of attack is to do exactly what you have said. I'm going to spend some time wandering around Sri Lanka visiting the many wonderful meditation centres and some of the great suggestions that have been provided for the entire 3months. By this time I will know if Sri Lanka is the place for me to ordain or not. If it is right I would have had enough time to get a sponsorship letter from a monastery to help assist me in a new visa.
I would then Fly home and either sort out new visa and close the last loose end of my life hear. If Sri Lanka is not the place for me I will then try Thailand and Malaysia.

Once again 'PP' I thank you so very much for the great advice and hope that it will also benefit other who are reading this.also maybe considering ordination in Asia

Metta Metta Metta

Andrew
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Re: Ordination in Sri Lanka

Postby andrewhallas » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:42 pm

Dmytro wrote:
Sinhala lessons on the web with audio: http://www.speaksinhala.com/

Best wishes!


This is awesome stuff, thank you so very much Dmytro. Such a wonderful language and following along with these lessons I really like it ebb and flow and easy to grasp (ish) with more practice i think i will be able to at least attempt to have conversations, and with practice we get better.

many many thanks for the info.

If anyone has even a small peice of advice wether on visa's or travel while there, any more meditation centres or monesterys you have experience with or have herd about i really would appreciate the advice. even if your granny has some special formular for mosquito repelant.

Metta kindness to all :heart:

Andrew
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