Considering monastic life, 8 questions

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

Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby Sati1 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:29 pm

Hello,

I wanted to ask a few questions about the monastic life, particularly in Thailand. I am 32 years old, living in the UK, and considering to travel to a monastery to possibly ordain. For about one year I have been practicing the Dhamma and am intensely drawn to release all cravings and pursue a life towards full liberation. I would like to ask for advice on the following matters regarding life as a monk:

1. Can one keep a savings bank account in one's home country (UK and USA) in case one eventually wants to return to "the world", or is it necessary to give up everything one has and owns everywhere?

2. Is it usually necessary to register at a monastery far ahead of time, or can one just travel to Thailand with a few monasteries in mind and then visit them and stay at one that has space and seems like a good fit?

3. Would it be possible to access the internet to study the Dharma, through for example Access to Insight, Dharma Wheel, or other websites, or is there usually no internet access? How about e-mail?

4. Do monasteries usually have a library for studying the Dharma in great depth (mainly Pali scriptures and commentaries)? I am an academic by training and would consider it very important to study the teachings in depth, perhaps even to learn Pali.

5. Much of my meditation happens through journaling every day. Is that something one can continue doing as a monk, or is writing not allowed? (I understand that the question might sound silly :) ).

6. I was wondering if this timeline seems reasonable: This year (2014), attend 2-3 retreats here in the UK and continue to study, meditate, etc daily. Also get involved with the local monastery (Amaravati). Early next year travel to Thailand to stay at a monastery for 3-4 weeks. If the lifestyle seems suitable, fly back to the UK once more to dissolve all commitments here before flying back to Thailand for the long-term.

7. Can one be visited by friends and family?

8. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I am currently married without children. The marriage is ok, but no longer strikes me as meaningful as the path to liberation. Does anybody have experience or know of people who left behind their wife for the Path (besides Buddha himself)? I know that this would cause pain to someone and feel quite conflicted about whether Buddha would support such a decision.

And just one more (nr 9, added after posting): Do monks exercise? This seems important to maintain mind and body strong for mindfulness and meditation.

Many thanks.

Metta,

Satti1
Last edited by Sati1 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sati1
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----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not haave gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:56 pm

Dear Satti1,

Great questions. I've been curious about a few of those as well. I look forward to the responses.

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:13 pm

1. Yes, but you'll need to appoint somebody to operate the bank account and handle the money for you.

2. Either, it depends on where you want to go, some places you'll need to register well ahead, others you can drop in, others you'll learn about as you travel and talk to people.

3. It depends on the monastery how restricted this would be, you will probably be able to go to town and share internet cafes with boys playing online games, not the best study environment.

4. Yes, but unless you can read Thai the library won't be much use to you, unless you are at a monastery that has mostly foreigners in which case you should have access to books in english.

5. If you are at a monastery that operates as a retreat centre then it would probably be discouraged, otherwise it shouldn't be a problem.

6. Yes, these kinds of questions you are asking are best answered when you are at Amaravati.

7. Yes.

8. I understand that ordination is ok if you get your spouses blessing, in much the same way as you need your parents permission. I'm not sure how a potential preceptor would view it if he knew your ordination was a cause for pain or divorce for your spouse.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby appicchato » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:25 pm

*Yes to all of your queries...no, it is not necessary to register ahead of time...and with access to the internet it's not necessary to find a library, everything is on the net...all monasteries have the Tipitika but they never get used, but they're not in Roman script (nor English) anyway...PM me if you've got more specifics...

*Applicable to Thailand only
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby Sati1 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:46 pm

Dear Goofaholix and Apicchato,

Thank you very much for your responses. They bring me great relief, as I was thinking that one can neither read nor write at a monastery. I will do as you suggest (Goofaholix) and check with Amaravati for more details.

Metta,

Satti1

:anjali:
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not haave gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby andyebarnes67 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:43 pm

hi Sati,

just curious why you feel you want to go to Thailand? Why not amaravati itself or one of the few other Forest monestries here in the UK?
Metta

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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby chal3oye » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:14 am

Either, it depends on where you want to go, some places you'll need to register well ahead, others you can drop in, others you'll learn about as you travel and talk to people.

3. It depends on the monastery how restricted this would be, you will probably be able to go to town and share internet cafes with boys playing online games, not the best study environment.

4. Yes, but unless you can read Thai the library won't be much use to you, unless you are at a monastery that has mostly foreigners in which case you should have access to books in english.

5. If you are at a monastery that operates as a retreat centre then it would probably be discouraged, otherwise it shouldn't be a problem.

6. Yes, these kinds of questions you are asking are best answered when you are at Amaravati.

7. Yes.
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby Sati1 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:27 pm

andyebarnes67 wrote:hi Sati,

just curious why you feel you want to go to Thailand? Why not amaravati itself or one of the few other Forest monestries here in the UK?


Hi Andybarnes67,

Thank you for your response and apologies for the delayed response. My thought was that by going to Thailand it would be easier to immerse oneself fully with less danger of leaving for the "comforts of home". Have you spent some time at Amaravati? Is the setting there similar to that of a monastery in Thailand? I will be attending two retreats there this year and hope to learn more about the monastery then.
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not haave gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby Sati1 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:28 pm

Dear chal3oye,

Thank you very much for your response. This is very helpful. I plan to ask these questions at Amaravati.

Best
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not haave gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Considering monastic life, 8 questions

Postby andyebarnes67 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:53 pm

Hi Sati.
No. I haven't been to Amaravati yet either; but I too hope to visit soon.
As I am reliant on public transport, it will take some organising.
I thought I'd first visit once or twice for the day to see if I felt
I'd like to spend longer.
I take your point on 'missing home' particularly at Amarv.
As this where the retreats are held (a constant reminder, I guess).
They do have a more private monastery, I think in Devon.
I spend quite sometime on the FS websites and had a couple
of books frim FSP and I an a little envious that you are taking the
first steps towards taking the robe.
I fear I need to develop more non-attachment myself.
Who knows, we might bump into each other at Amarv.
We must let each other know when we expect to visit.
Metta

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