James the Giant wrote:Ten years after I borrowed the money, I have finally paid off my student loan and credit cards.
It's an excellent feeling, being free of that damned obligation, that albatross.
And now I am free to ordain, wonderful!
Now I have a choice:
Immediately go to Bodhivana Monastery near Melbourne and become an anagarika there, or perhaps here in Perth at Bodhinyana.
Save for six more months, and then go visit Thailand, stay at Wat Pa Nanachat for a few months, and visit Sri Lanka, to get a taste of life in a Buddhist country.
Then find a good monastery, probably back here in Australia. (or Wat Pa Nanachat if I like that.)
I am inclined towards the first option, saving 6 months more and visiting Thailand. But I guess I will visit or live there for some time anyway, as a bhikkhu.
I have 4 or 5 thousand dollars now, which would be more than enough to get me through an anagarika year in Australia, in case I needed to see a doctor or dentist or visit home just before I became a novice.
Hmm choices, choices.
Dear James The Giant...I post this MILINDA-PANHA just for you..because of your decision to go forth.
After I posted "The Debate : Going Forth" @ Sariputtadhamma/JTN.
a member asked me a question about "householders and monks". I couldn't answer so I searched the Milindapanha in details and I found this wonderful Thera Nagasena's answer...so amazing I wish To share with you all.
The Debate : Lay People and Monks
[www.as.miami.edu/phi/bio/Buddha/Milinda.htm - Cached]
King Milinda said: "Venerable Nagasena, the Lord has said: ‘Right spiritual progress is praiseworthy for householders and homeless wanderers alike. Both householders and homeless wanderers, when progressing rightly, can accomplish, because of their right progress, the right method, the Dharma, that which is wholesome.’ If, Nagasena, a householder, dressed in white, enjoying the pleasures of the senses, inhabiting a house overcrowded with wife and family, using the sandalwood of Benares, as well as garlands, perfumes and unguents, owning gold and silver, wearing a turban ornamented with gold and jewels, can, if he progresses rightly, accomplish the right method, the Dharma, the wholesome; and if a homeless wanderer, bald-headed, clad in the saffron robe, dependent on begging for his livelihood, careful to fulfil correctly the four Sections of monastic morality, submitting to the 150 Pratimoksa rules, and observing all the thirteen Austere Practices, without omitting any one, can also, if he progresses rightly, accomplish the right method, the Dharma, the wholesome; then, Venerable Sir, what is the difference between the householder and the homeless wanderer? Fruitless is your austerity, useless is the homeless life, barren is the observation of the Pratimoksa rules, in vain do you observe the austere practices! What is the use of your inflicting pain upon yourself if you can thus while remaining at ease win the ease of Nirvana?"
Nagasena replied: "You have quoted the Lord's words correctly, your majesty. To make right progress is indeed the most excellent thing of all. And if the homeless- wanderer, in the consciousness of being a homeless wanderer, should fail to progress rightly, then he would be far from the state of an ascetic, far from a holy life; and still more so would that apply to a householder dressed in white. But both the householder and the homeless wanderer are alike in that, when they progress rightly, they accomplish the right method, the Dharma, the wholesome. And nevertheless, your majesty, it is the homeless wanderer who is the lord and master of the ascetic life, and to be a homeless wanderer has many, has numerous, has infinite virtues. To measure the virtues of being a homeless wanderer is not at all possible. It is as with a jewel that fulfils all one's wishes; one cannot measure its value in terms of money, and say that it is worth so much. Or it is as with the waves in the great ocean, which one cannot measure and say that there are so many. All that the homeless wanderer still has to do, he succeeds in doing rapidly and without taking a long time over it. And why is that so? Because the homeless wanderer, your majesty, is content with little, easily pleased, secluded from the world, not addicted to society, energetic, independent, solitary, perfect in his conduct, austere in his practice, skilled in all that concerns purification and spiritual progress. He is like your javelin, your majesty. Because that is smooth, even, well polished, straight and shining dean, therefore, when well thrown, it will fly exactly as you want it to. In the same way, whatever the homeless wanderer still has to do, he succeeds in doing it all rapidly and without taking a long time over it"
"Well spoken, Nagasena. So it is, and so I accept it."
And Nagasena continued: "But, in any case, your majesty, all those who as householders, living in a home and in the enjoyment of sensuous pleasures, realize the peace of Nirvana, the highest good, they have all been trained in their former lives in the thirteen Austere Practices peculiar to monks, and through them they have laid the foundations for their present sanctity. It is because then they had purified their conduct and behavior by means of them, that now even as householders, living in a home and in the enjoyment of sense-pleasures, they can realize the peace of Nirvana, the highest good."
"But whosoever enters the Order of monks from bad motives, from covetousness, deceitfully, out of greed and gluttony, desirous of gain, fame, or reputation, unsuitably, unqualified, unfit, unworthy, unseemingly—he shall incur a twofold punishment, which will prove ruinous to all his good qualities: in this very life he shall be scorned, derided, reproached, ridiculed and mocked; he shall be shunned, expelled, ejected, removed, and banished. And in his next life, like foam which is tossed about, up and down and across, he shall cook for many hundreds of thousands of eons of years in the great Avici hell, which is a hundred leagues big, and all ablaze with hot, scorching, fierce, and fiery flames. And when he has been released thence, his entire body will become emaciated, rough, and black, his head swollen, bloated and full of holes; hungry and thirsty, disagreeable and dreadful to look at, his ears all torn, his eyes constantly blinking, his whole body one putrid mass of sores and dense with maggots, his bowels all afire and blazing like a mass of fire fanned by a breeze, helpless and unprotected, weeping, crying, wailing, and lamenting, consumed by unsatisfied longings, he that once was a religious wanderer shall then, now a large hungry ghost, roam about on the earth bewailing his fate."
"But if, on the other hand, a monk enters the Order suitably, qualified, fit, worthy and seemingly, content with little, easily pleased, secluded from the world, not addicted to society, energetic and resolute, without fraudulence and deceit, not gluttonous, not desirous of gain, fame, or reputation, devout and from faith, from a desire to free himself from old age and death and to uphold the Buddha's religion, then he deserves to be honored in two ways by both gods and men. He is dear and pleasing to them, they love him and seek after him. He is to them as fine jasmine flowers are to a man bathed and anointed, or good food to the hungry, or a cool, clear, and fragrant drink to the thirsty, or an effective medicine to those who are poisoned, or a superb chariot drawn by thoroughbreds to those who want to travel fast, or a wishing jewel to those who want to enrich themselves, or a brilliantly white parasol, the emblem of royalty, to those who like to be kings, or as the supreme attainment of the fruit of Arhatship to those who wish for Dharma. In him the four applications of mindfulness reach their full development, the four right exhorts, the four roads to psychic power, the five cardinal virtues, the five powers, the seven limbs of enlightenment, and the holy eightfold path; he attains to calm and insight, his progressive attainments continue to mature, and he becomes a repository of the four fruits of the religious life, of the four analytical knowledges, the three kinds of knowledge, and the six superknowledges, in short, of the whole Dharma of the religious life, and he is consecrated with the brilliantly white parasol of emancipation."
And yes, the member, who asked question, was very happy with Thera Nagasena's answer!!