I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Nwad
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Nwad » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:17 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:34 pm
Meezer77 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:17 pm
Forgive me but I have to ask... Have you enjoyed being able to watch the telly again?
No, all the things I missed about lay-life seem to be not as good as I remembered them to be, when I was a monk.
I should write about this actually, an update now that I've been back in the worldly world for 3 months.
It would be great James if you write about your "back on the ground" experiance !:) Because there is to many negative posts about monkhood life, but there is no any about lay a life difficulties...

Its often like this... Our mind embelish our memories, its almost because of hapyness hormone which is good to fix memory...

binocular
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by binocular » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:58 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:10 pm
Good question. :anjali: I will compose an answer and respond in a while.
:reading:
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Stiphan
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Stiphan » Wed May 09, 2018 5:10 pm

Well done for disrobing. Lay life is better these days than being a monk. I have resolved not to be a monk myself -- at best I may try it for a brief period if I'm not in a relationship. Monasticism is not as good anymore.

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Grigoris
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Grigoris » Wed May 09, 2018 7:39 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
One week ago I disrobed and returned to "normal" life.
I have been at monasteries and meditation centres for a total of 6 years, at Bodhinyana monastery for 4 years 6 months, two years as a full bhikkhu, a year and a half as a novice, and a year-and-a-bit as an anagarika. I've spent more than a year and six months in intensive silent retreat. And now it's time to go!

Why? Three main reasons:
(ONE:) After 6 years living in various monasteries and meditation centres, I have decided that I am Buddhist, I am a meditator, but I am NOT an ascetic, or renunciant.
I just don't like asceticism, renouncing the worldly world. I like the occasional beer. I like music and films and poetry, and great books. I like the company of women. I enjoy hiking up rugged mountains, riding bikes, exploring new places, swimming on a hot summer's day, and growing vegetables in the garden. I would like to go sailing with my father, while he is still alive and healthy enough. And I want to go hiking with my mother, who has just turned 70.

(TWO) I used to love coming to the monastery and staying for a few months each year, when I was a layperson. Now it seems like a bit of a chore. I used to love meditating, but now that it is my job I don't like it so much. I want to go back to that time when I liked being at the monastery and meditating without pressure or outside expectation. I want to get away from this feeling of obligation and the "duty of a bhikkhu" to be like this or that. It's not possible to chill out and act natural. I have to be so composed and artifical all the time. No burping around laypeople, no loud laughter, no humming a happy tune. No running from place to place from simple exuberance and energy, or having a normal innocent conversation with a woman.
I have to pretend to be "nice", when most of the time I don't feel like being "nice" at all. I'm a "real" person, not a "nice" person.
I'm tired of playing the role of "Restrained Ascetic Theravada Bhikkhu", and just want to be myself.
I know Ajahn says "Don't try to be the perfect monk, just be yourself", but when you actually do that, people raise eyebrows, frown and tut-tut.

(THREE) Back in my home town I had a really great group of friends. We cared about each other. At the commune if someone was having a hard time, or got into trouble, my friends would be concerned and there would always be someone to help out. We were connected. There was compassion. There was always someone to have a yarn with, deep into the night... either talking enjoyable nonsense for hours about nothing, or talking about deep stuff like spirituality or emotions or relationships. We really cared, and wanted to help each other.
At monasteries each of us have a few genuine friends, but most of the people are just like workmates or colleagues. People who are nice, but you only spend time with them because you work with them. That's not enough. I want to return to the community I left, and rebuild those friendship connections.

SO WHAT'S THE PLAN?
Go back to New Zealand, get a temporary job, maybe tour-guiding? Then spend a year at university getting a Post-Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching, then become a schoolteacher.

Buy a sailboat! Live on it, and sail a lot. I would like a huge yacht, but my budget probably extends only to a 8.5m keeler, with one bedroom, a kitchen-lounge, and shower and toilet. It's like living in a big caravan, except it floats.

The monastery said I'd be welcome back any time, and I left them on very good terms. I'm still Buddhist and a meditator, just not a monk. So who knows... maybe in a few years I will be reminded of how meaningless the "real world" is, and will go back... maybe!

I'll end this on a positive note: There are many things I still like about monastic life, even though I have left:
  • > A feeling of brotherhood, of being in community.
    > A sense of purpose, of shared meanings.
    > A longer outlook than just one single life.
    > Lots of time for meditation and just being.
    > The bliss and peace generated by meditation.
    > Sometimes it feels like it's a holiday every day!
    > Good food.
    > Living off the grid.
    > I don't have to work at some pointless job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for someone else.
    > The potential of enlightenment in this life.
    > Not buying into the bulls#%t of worldly values = social status, fancy house, nice car, the best toys.
I will ask about changing my username soon, hopefully back to my previous one of James the Giant if that's possible. (My previous username was Bhante Lucky)
Whatever path you choose, I hope it goes well for you.

In the previous tradition I practiced in there was a lot of pressure do go into monastic retreat, I did not have the time or money to do so. Then I finally found a teacher in a tradition with an emphasis on lay practice and it's all been smooth sailing since then. No unnecessary pressure at all and no punches pulled in the practices.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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mikenz66
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Off-topic ramblings moved to here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=31863#p471014

:heart:
Mike

SarathW
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Wed May 09, 2018 9:25 pm

Monasticism is not as good anymore.
I am sure this just your personal opinion.
I think finding a good teacher is not easy.
If you find the right teacher the monasticism could be a great idea.
Another thing is you should be well prepared for it.
Many people become monks for wrong reasons.
I still think Stephan will be a monk one day.
:sage:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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rightviewftw
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by rightviewftw » Thu May 10, 2018 12:58 am

Any plans to ordain again J?
Stiphan wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 5:10 pm
Monasticism is not as good anymore.
as if lay life is as good or better than it was...

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu May 10, 2018 1:19 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 12:58 am
Any plans to ordain again J?
It's tempting.... but no. Not yet anway.
But I'm booked to stay for a month at Bodhinyanarama Monastery in Wellington, NZ, this winter. It will be the first time I've stayed at a monastery since I disrobed.
I'm really looking forward to it!

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rightviewftw
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by rightviewftw » Thu May 10, 2018 1:29 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 1:19 am
rightviewftw wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 12:58 am
Any plans to ordain again J?
It's tempting.... but no. Not yet anway.
But I'm booked to stay for a month at Bodhinyanarama Monastery in Wellington, NZ, this winter. It will be the first time I've stayed at a monastery since I disrobed.
I'm really looking forward to it!
Sounds great, im glad on your behalf

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Thu May 10, 2018 4:07 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 5:10 pm
Well done for disrobing. Lay life is better these days than being a monk. I have resolved not to be a monk myself -- at best I may try it for a brief period if I'm not in a relationship. Monasticism is not as good anymore.
Now at that time a clansman named Raṭṭhapāla, the son of the leading clan in that same Thullakoṭṭhita, was sitting in the assembly. Then it occurred to him: “As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is not easy while living in a home to lead the holy life, utterly perfect and pure as a polished shell. Suppose I shave off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and go forth from the home life into homelessness.”
https://suttacentral.net/mn82/en/bodhi
I've been doing volunteer work for a few months now at a spiritualist center.
and in those months I'm only able to meditate an hour a day and 5 minutes of puja.

:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

ieee23
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by ieee23 » Fri May 11, 2018 12:59 pm

Lucas Oliveira wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:07 pm
I've been doing volunteer work for a few months now at a spiritualist center.
and in those months I'm only able to meditate an hour a day and 5 minutes of puja.
I have a friend who had the same experience. She gave up her science career to go live at a yoga retreat. She spent most of her time doing clerical work she could have done anywhere. She eventually left, went back to school and worked hard to get her science career back.

OTOH, I have a friend who is a Buddhist nun. Before she became a nun she tried to maximize her dhamma practice in her lay life. She gave up dating, lived close to work, and even learned to live without eating dinner so she could squeeze in as much meditation as possible. At that point she had nothing to lose by becoming a nun and a lot of support to gain.

The thing to do with going monastic is to work hard to find and get the "gigs" that allow you to spend the maximum amount of time to meditation.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Polar Bear
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Polar Bear » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:05 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:34 pm

I should write about this actually, an update now that I've been back in the worldly world for 3 months.
Hi James,

Not to pressure you but I think it’d be awesome if you gave us an update and maybe said a little more about your experience as a monk.

Kind regards,

Polar Bear

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:26 am

Polar Bear wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:05 am

Hi James,

Not to pressure you but I think it’d be awesome if you gave us an update and maybe said a little more about your experience as a monk.

Kind regards,

Polar Bear

:anjali:
Ya, time really is slipping by. Soon!

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