What is special about ordination?

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salayatananirodha
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What is special about ordination?

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:53 am

I have a friend who seems to insist that ordaining is kind of superficial and that you can live like a monk without ordaining and you would not be missing out on anything and may even have an advantage. I don't share this opinion but I don't have hard evidence on hand to refute. There are also so many monks these days appearing not to live a good holy life. What sets one apart if they ordain, or is he maybe right?
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


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DooDoot
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:57 am

No need to work for the purpose of full-time practise. No need to engage in the superficialities of worldliness.

While I have never ordained, my formative years of practice were in a monastery. Its the best place to practise.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:25 am

One of the big things I realised was that a monk's aims in life are completely different from lay people. That's a really huge significance of ordaining.
There's a chant that monks do which says
" I am no longer living according to worldly aims and values."

So for me a big difference between being a lay person and an ordained monk was that I wasn't trying to earn money anymore and I wasn't trying for success in life, I wasn't trying to have a relationship with a special woman...
...everything about my life as a monk marked me out as a complete loser in the worldly world.

The aims of a lay person and someone who is ordained are utterly different. The worldview and aims and what constitutes a successful life are just so profoundly at odds.
I don't see how a layperson person can approach that mindset a monk has, that complete abandonment of worldly aims and values.
Even if a lay person is spending long times in retreat, maybe six or nine months of the year, they are eventually intending to go back to a pretty regular life of earning money and working for success in whatever sense they choose.

Of course a layperson can also attain stream entry and have profound meditation, it's just that their values and motivations are different from monks.

rightviewftw
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:32 am

I imagine that being a monk ideally would be a constant reminder to remain focused on doing the work, not slacking off and being restrained.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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budo
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by budo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:21 am

Let's have a mental exercise:

1) A person who his whole life was serious about what he was doing and never wasting time. Anything that he puts his mind to, he does it with seriousness and thus is successful. When he was teenager he attains good grades and finishes university quickly. He starts a business and makes millions of dollars. Now that he's a millionaire he travels the world, follows the hedonism path until he is sick of it. No longer interested in the material world he spends all day meditating. He doesn't have to worry about a job, money or food because he made his money in the past. He gets up in the morning, meditates 4-8 hours, reads suttas 1-2 hours, and goes to sleep until he attains what he sought, first level of enlightenment.

2) Average person who never really succeeded in life, too lazy to work hard in school, or in business, just wants to "get by", sees Monasticism as an easy way out. Has no problems memorizing chants and rituals. Has no problems fasting if it means not having to work in a cubicle. Begs for food as a monk his whole life, never really achieves enlightenment, nor anything else, but dies as a monk regardless because it's easy.


In short, don't put the cart before the horse.

whynotme
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by whynotme » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:52 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:25 am
One of the big things I realised was that a monk's aims in life are completely different from lay people. That's a really huge significance of ordaining.
There's a chant that monks do which says
" I am no longer living according to worldly aims and values."

So for me a big difference between being a lay person and an ordained monk was that I wasn't trying to earn money anymore and I wasn't trying for success in life, I wasn't trying to have a relationship with a special woman...
...everything about my life as a monk marked me out as a complete loser in the worldly world.

The aims of a lay person and someone who is ordained are utterly different. The worldview and aims and what constitutes a successful life are just so profoundly at odds.
I don't see how a layperson person can approach that mindset a monk has, that complete abandonment of worldly aims and values.
Even if a lay person is spending long times in retreat, maybe six or nine months of the year, they are eventually intending to go back to a pretty regular life of earning money and working for success in whatever sense they choose.

Of course a layperson can also attain stream entry and have profound meditation, it's just that their values and motivations are different from monks.
I think this is a very good point. Yes, it is very hard for a lay person to have the view of the ordained one.
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whynotme
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by whynotme » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:02 am

budo wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:21 am
Let's have a mental exercise:

1) A person who his whole life was serious about what he was doing and never wasting time. Anything that he puts his mind to, he does it with seriousness and thus is successful. When he was teenager he attains good grades and finishes university quickly. He starts a business and makes millions of dollars. Now that he's a millionaire he travels the world, follows the hedonism path until he is sick of it. No longer interested in the material world he spends all day meditating. He doesn't have to worry about a job, money or food because he made his money in the past. He gets up in the morning, meditates 4-8 hours, reads suttas 1-2 hours, and goes to sleep until he attains what he sought, first level of enlightenment.

2) Average person who never really succeeded in life, too lazy to work hard in school, or in business, just wants to "get by", sees Monasticism as an easy way out. Has no problems memorizing chants and rituals. Has no problems fasting if it means not having to work in a cubicle. Begs for food as a monk his whole life, never really achieves enlightenment, nor anything else, but dies as a monk regardless because it's easy.


In short, don't put the cart before the horse.
A person that lives in the first case may still exist, but he still holds on worldly things. He can achieve something, but it is hard for him to give up everything

For example, if he is fed up with the worldly things, why not give up everything? You may think, just keep them as they are still needed to live the life. But that is point!!! If you see everything as chain, as slavery, as suffering, will you still keep them as necessary? If you view all the worldly thing as feces, will you still get up in the morning, meditates 8 hours, read sutta 2 hours and goes to sleep? If you view all the worldly things as feces, you don't need to do anything, ANYTHING, because there is no value in doing anything.

The way you described, it may still hide some attachment to the success in worldly things.
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SarathW
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by SarathW » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:19 am

Of course a layperson can also attain stream entry and have profound meditation
Perhaps it is better to reach these levels before becoming a monk.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Volovsky
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by Volovsky » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:21 am

salayatananirodha wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:53 am
I have a friend who seems to insist that ordaining is kind of superficial and that you can live like a monk without ordaining and you would not be missing out on anything and may even have an advantage. I don't share this opinion but I don't have hard evidence on hand to refute. There are also so many monks these days appearing not to live a good holy life. What sets one apart if they ordain, or is he maybe right?
There is nothing wrong with your friend's point of view. Everyone should practice the way he/she feels suitable. As long as one respects monks there is no problem in being lay practitioner.
Last edited by Volovsky on Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rightviewftw
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:05 pm

in theory monasticism is the better option but in practice i think it is difficult to find a monastic community where people are well-learned, well-practiced and are not dogmatic and i think therefore so many people disrobe.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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budo
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by budo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:28 pm

whynotme wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:02 am
budo wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:21 am
Let's have a mental exercise:

1) A person who his whole life was serious about what he was doing and never wasting time. Anything that he puts his mind to, he does it with seriousness and thus is successful. When he was teenager he attains good grades and finishes university quickly. He starts a business and makes millions of dollars. Now that he's a millionaire he travels the world, follows the hedonism path until he is sick of it. No longer interested in the material world he spends all day meditating. He doesn't have to worry about a job, money or food because he made his money in the past. He gets up in the morning, meditates 4-8 hours, reads suttas 1-2 hours, and goes to sleep until he attains what he sought, first level of enlightenment.

2) Average person who never really succeeded in life, too lazy to work hard in school, or in business, just wants to "get by", sees Monasticism as an easy way out. Has no problems memorizing chants and rituals. Has no problems fasting if it means not having to work in a cubicle. Begs for food as a monk his whole life, never really achieves enlightenment, nor anything else, but dies as a monk regardless because it's easy.


In short, don't put the cart before the horse.
A person that lives in the first case may still exist, but he still holds on worldly things. He can achieve something, but it is hard for him to give up everything

For example, if he is fed up with the worldly things, why not give up everything? You may think, just keep them as they are still needed to live the life. But that is point!!! If you see everything as chain, as slavery, as suffering, will you still keep them as necessary? If you view all the worldly thing as feces, will you still get up in the morning, meditates 8 hours, read sutta 2 hours and goes to sleep? If you view all the worldly things as feces, you don't need to do anything, ANYTHING, because there is no value in doing anything.

The way you described, it may still hide some attachment to the success in worldly things.
If he attains stream entry, then non-returner is just a matter of time, and when that happens he will give up everything else. Whereas the monk who is not serious will never even get to that point.

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budo
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by budo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:31 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:19 am
Of course a layperson can also attain stream entry and have profound meditation
Perhaps it is better to reach these levels before becoming a monk.
This is my position as well and seems to me the best of both worlds. Also nothing stops a lay person from attending retreats.

dharmacorps
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:31 pm

It depends on one's circumstances in life, and what you have to "work with". For some, ordaining might not be possible. For some, living the lay life may be a hand to mouth fight for work and money. For others, they may be fortunate enough to create a life where they can focus on their practice (this does involve a degree of financial independence of course), which isn't an equivalent to ordaining, but there are unique situations out there, unfortunately quite rare. I think ordaining and a relatively free, somewhat hermitic lay life both have their possibilities.

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AgarikaJ
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by AgarikaJ » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:59 pm

salayatananirodha wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:53 am
I have a friend who seems to insist that ordaining is kind of superficial and that you can live like a monk without ordaining and you would not be missing out on anything and may even have an advantage. I don't share this opinion but I don't have hard evidence on hand to refute. There are also so many monks these days appearing not to live a good holy life. What sets one apart if they ordain, or is he maybe right?
Maybe to counter-caricature your point with the view of a guy who was quite serious about meditation and practice and chose to ordain for a while (at that time, later apparently he lost all interest in following the Dhamma, according to newer book titles). The book can be a bit tedious, so I think I can give a spoiler: he leaves monkhood after not too long. I am talking about Tim Ward's 'What the Buddha never taught'.
http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... d_1993.pdf

Seemingly, and I would believe it anytime, living the life of a monk in a serious manner is hard work and you need either enough faith or the right personality for it, as being a monk is definitely not bumming around somewhere in the tropics and laying in a hammock all day -- even in a monastery most lax in its implementation of Vinaya rules.

For me as a layperson, I imagine it a little bit like prison: you look outside the window, you could do everything, but due to a 'clever' decision of yours, you are now locked behing those walls. You get time outside, but contact with people will be superficial. The food might seriously suck if you are not into Asian cuisine and -- that would be me -- the unfiltered noise of the cicadas would drive me insane in no time. And "sitting around" all day long with only you and your mind might be something quite unfunny.

So I guess, you can either do the time, or you don't do the 'crime'. :quote:

I would suggest to your friend to ordain anyway. I do not think he is right, but maybe under his brazen shell making light of everything, there is a being who will be able to apply himself to a monk's life. If not, he will be an experience richer, and maybe loose some of his cynicism on the way. It would be a win-win for him in any case.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

SarathW
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Re: What is special about ordination?

Post by SarathW » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:09 pm

So I guess, you can either do the time, or you don't do the 'crime'. :quote:
:clap:
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