What if I can never pay off my debt?

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

What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby suttametta » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:04 pm

I'm wondering about my situation. I have student debts that now I can't pay off. I have been struggling to earn enough money to pay for rent and food. I have had this debt for 20 years and it has only gotten bigger. I feel that I am a victim of a generational crime by the banking industry and the United States government. My parents graduated with advanced degrees but neither had student debt, because there were scholarships then. I have wanted to become a contemplative for a long long time now. I'm feeling pretty despondent about this. I have pleaded with my father for financial help. He his well off. But he has refused me. I reminded him that I only incurred this debt at his demand. At that time, I was planning to leave and go to the monastery, but he became so enraged by this idea that he upset my mother terribly. She implored me to relent. So I did. They promised they would help me after I graduated, because, according to him, "It is I who wants you to have this degree." Now he denies ever having said it. My step-siblings, who didn't go to school, also now side with my father against me. I actually have made some good use of my life. I have received all the transmissions of the important contemplative traditions of the world, even the most secretive and cherished of the Tibetans and Indians. But I worked through the path and came to understand the Theravada to be what liberated me. I am very well established in meditation. I am invited to teach at a Tibetan Buddhist center by a Rinpoche. After much research, I don't believe in Mahayana or Vajrayana. Also, I cannot stand working for small pay not to be able to afford even to pay off my debt. I feel my life is perhaps complete. I can enter meditation of the liberated kind, and die now. Life for me has no use. I am of no use to anyone either. If the wise ones care to share some wisdom here, I could probably use it. But if not, and I suspect this problem is going to vex the bhikkus, then I know what I have to do.
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:27 pm

You seem to have deep and abiding frustrations as well as certain other influxes ("I cannot stand...") alongside claiming quite a developed meditational profile as well as various esoteric transmissions and whatnots.

This description seems to be all over the map, with various possible avenues of redress already summarily rejected.

Is there really a question here? Even paying back student loans with a simple job, there is an opportunity for a lifestyle with more quietude than a monastic would have at a bustling monastery, so being able to create space for bhavana can happen in a number of contexts. Living a contemplative lay life is well within reach...

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby santa100 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:33 pm

It's important to set priority to your goals. If you really want to pay off your debts then this task should take the highest priority at this point in your life above anything else. Don't waste a single penny on anything unnecessary, work 2 or 3 jobs if need to, find the cheapest rent or move back to your parents place temporarily, etc. do whatever it takes (by legal means obviously) and focus single-mindedly on 1 priority at a time. Good luck..
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:37 pm

You could consider whether bhava-tanha / vibhava-tanha are coming into play. Just a suggestion.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby manas » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:57 pm

Hi metta

there are others in a similar situation. Folks who would be well suited to the contemplative life, but due to some rule or life circumstance, can't ordain. I would suggest considering just being a lifelong 8-precept layman, maybe, who goes on retreats, gets ongoing instruction from a trusted teacher, and just does as much work as is needed to survive? One could make much progress and live in quite a renounced way, even though not in robes.
:anjali:
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby suttametta » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:00 pm

manas wrote:Hi metta

there are others in a similar situation. Folks who would be well suited to the contemplative life, but due to some rule or life circumstance, can't ordain. I would suggest considering just being a lifelong 8-precept layman, maybe, who goes on retreats, gets ongoing instruction from a trusted teacher, and just does as much work as is needed to survive? One could make much progress and live in quite a renounced way, even though not in robes.
:anjali:


This is a stupid rule. The Sangha is irrelevant to our time. I'm angry now. Yesterday I was suicidal... Perhaps this is all for the best. I probably should go on meds.
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:18 pm

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
Peace,
James
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby JacquelineR » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:43 pm

Take care, Suttametta, take care, your life is valuable, and Mkoll is right to let you know that there are people who can listen, we all go through rough patches. And all things are impermanent- even debt. :group:

I want to show you one way in which your experiences are valuable- I want to use them as an opportunity to highlight how the Catholic Church supports appropriate candidates for monastic life or the priesthood who might have student debt. Catholics have the "Laboure Society", http://labouresociety.org, which assists with student debt resolution for select candidates. If you feel like something like this could be useful in Buddhism, you shouldn't be despondent about your debt, you should talk to like-minded people and make it happen. Even if it monastic life mightn't necessarily be for you at the moment, it may be able to help others.

Of course, the Catholic church has institutional differences to Buddhism and is established in the West, and sponsored loan repayments wouldn't suit those seeking temporary ordination, but it's certainly an idea for serious future monastics in countries like the US where people have a lot of student debt.
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Re: What if I can never pay off my debt?

Postby suttametta » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:31 pm

This is all very constructive. Thank you.
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