Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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aspiring_sotapanna
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:07 am

Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by aspiring_sotapanna » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:45 pm

Hello

My name is Pankaj, 26 yo from India. I wish to ordain in Theravada monastery in Sri Lanka. I have narrowed down my options to: a. Na Uyana Aranya b. Mithrigala Nissarana Vanaya. Now I have three concerns here that I would very much like to be addressed before proceeding.

1. As per suggestions available in this forum I should visit these two monasteries before ordaining and going for a long term commitment. However one needs to get an entry visa if one wishes to stay in Sri Lanka for more than 3 months. Now what would be the correct procedure to obtain one? I can ask one of the monasteries (Na Uyana does facilitate getting an entry visa if my application is approved) but what if I decide to stay at Mithrigala after visiting both the places. Then I might leave the impression that I am exploiting the facilities provided by one monastery to ordain at another. Is there any other way to obtain entry visa to Sri Lanka. Please advice.

2. Please provide any information/review about the current state of these two monasteries. Are there English speaking senior monks at these monasteries who can guide me from time to time. I found out that the the seniormost monk at Na Uyana i.e. Ven. Ariyananda Thera passed away last year and that the English speaking senior monk at Mithrigala stays abroad most of the time.

3. What is the basic difference between the two meditation styles taught at these two monasteries. I hear Pa Auk tradition specifies detailed and precise instructions which is very much to my preference btw. But I would also like to know more about the Mahasi style followed at Mithrigala. Just some background info here: I have been practising Goenka Vipassana for the past 4 years and I find the rigour in Goenka tradition very much to my liking. Does that make me more suitable for one tradition more than the other.

Sorry for the long post. Its just that I found this forum an ideal place to ask such questions. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks & Regards
Pankaj

SarathW
Posts: 8288
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:55 am

Hi Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.
I am sorry I can't help with your question.
Why don't you go there for three months and find it out?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

paul
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by paul » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:06 am

I have visited both monasteries earlier in life and think Na Uyana Aranya is far superior for my needs, as it is in a rural area away from Colombo, being particularly concerned as I am with wilderness meditation as described in MN 121. The choice of monastery depends on what the individual’s needs are, according to temperament, but NUA has a connection with Pa Auk. The training will not be as regimented as you have outlined, and you will be left to your own resources to a certain extent. The crucial thing is finding a teacher with whom you have a rapport. An Australian, I stayed in Sri Lanka for six months recently (not at a monastery), by extending a three-month tourist visa for another three months, but I had to attend the Immigration office in Colombo every month for the final three months and that would be a chore if you lived at Na Uyana Aranya. If you became a monk within the first three months, then you would probably be able to apply for a residency visa under the religious category, with a covering letter from your monastery.

aspiring_sotapanna
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:07 am

Re: Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by aspiring_sotapanna » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:21 pm

SarathW: Indeed I am intending to visit the monasteries before oradining. I was under the impression that a tourist visa cannot be upgraded to residency visa in Sri Lanka and I would like to avoid taking multiple trips. So if I could get an entry visa in the first place, I would definitely go for that option.

paul: Thanks paul. I agree with your opinion that Na Uyana being in a rural area is a superior setting for meditation. I have a question though.
The crucial thing is finding a teacher with whom you have a rapport.
According to this, it appears that I am allowed to pick and choose a teacher according to my preference at Na Uyana. Is that correct?
Also according to this http://nauyana.org/files/Na-Uyana_Visa_ ... edures.pdf and http://www.immigration.gov.lk/web/index ... Itemid=198 I need to arrive with entry visa into Sri Lanka to obtain residence visa later on. Are you sure I can upgrade a tourist visa to residence visa?

Thanks in advance

paul
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by paul » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:07 pm

1) I have obtained a residency visa by this method in the past and it states it clearly in the NUA information:

6. After arriving in Sri Lanka with the entry visa, you can apply for the resident visa. You will be given a 30 day-visa on arrival, and the monastery will help you to apply for the resident visa. Visas for monks and nuns are free. Lay people need to pay for the application. (~Rs 20,000/USD200 per year).

In relation to the visa, understand that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country and the religion carries great influence in the secular sphere as well, it is part of Sri Lankan nationalism, just as Hinduism is in India. Don’t worry about the visa, if you have a genuine intention to become a monk, then NUA will organise it.

2) This, including the language barrier, has a disadvantage for foreigners, as they are regarded as outsiders and you will have to find your own way within the monastic system. You will be able to choose your own teacher and in many other ways will have to make your own decisions. The situation will not be a clear-cut training as you expect. It is not a training monastery (pirivena).

NUA APPROXIMATE TIMELINE TO BHIKKHU ORDINATION

1-4 months: Upāsaka (8 Precepts)
6-12 months Pabbajjā (going forth) and abiding as a Sāmaṇera (Novice monk) (10 Precepts and 75 Sekhiya rules) January – March: Vinaya Classes
April: Vinaya Exam
June: Upasampadā (higher ordination) at Galduwa Monastery


3) You should be familiar with the eight precepts and the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as custodian of the dhamma after it declined in India.

aspiring_sotapanna
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:07 am

Re: Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by aspiring_sotapanna » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:06 pm

Hello paul

1. Thanks for elaborating the NUA timeline for ordination. It gives me a brief idea of what to expect at NUA, atleast during the initial months. Also I am not worried about getting a strict training per se. Although I would like to establish myself according to Vinaya guidelines, I would like do that through my own efforts in a gradual manner. I am already familiar with the eight precepts after attending several Goenka vipassana meditation retreats. So that should be a non issue. The fact that I can choose my own teacher is also a plus point for me.

2. Now for entry visa I think I should follow NUA guidelines as suggested by you and due to lack of any other option.

Thanks a lot

SarathW
Posts: 8288
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Selecting a Sri Lanka Monastery for Ordination

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:17 pm

paul wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:07 pm
1) I have obtained a residency visa by this method in the past and it states it clearly in the NUA information:

6. After arriving in Sri Lanka with the entry visa, you can apply for the resident visa. You will be given a 30 day-visa on arrival, and the monastery will help you to apply for the resident visa. Visas for monks and nuns are free. Lay people need to pay for the application. (~Rs 20,000/USD200 per year).

In relation to the visa, understand that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country and the religion carries great influence in the secular sphere as well, it is part of Sri Lankan nationalism, just as Hinduism is in India. Don’t worry about the visa, if you have a genuine intention to become a monk, then NUA will organise it.

2) This, including the language barrier, has a disadvantage for foreigners, as they are regarded as outsiders and you will have to find your own way within the monastic system. You will be able to choose your own teacher and in many other ways will have to make your own decisions. The situation will not be a clear-cut training as you expect. It is not a training monastery (pirivena).

NUA APPROXIMATE TIMELINE TO BHIKKHU ORDINATION

1-4 months: Upāsaka (8 Precepts)
6-12 months Pabbajjā (going forth) and abiding as a Sāmaṇera (Novice monk) (10 Precepts and 75 Sekhiya rules) January – March: Vinaya Classes
April: Vinaya Exam
June: Upasampadā (higher ordination) at Galduwa Monastery


3) You should be familiar with the eight precepts and the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as custodian of the dhamma after it declined in India.
Thank you, Paul.
Your post made me to strongly think about becoming a monk.

:D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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