Too young to ordain?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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truthseeker135
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Too young to ordain?

Post by truthseeker135 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:02 pm

This is my first post so sorry if it is too long-winded. I'm 17 years old and in my senior year of high school. I have been Buddhist for the past 4 years of my life, meditating and studying the suttas. My practice has varied throughout. I'll meditate every day for a couple of months, than not at all for a couple of months. However what has not varied is my desire to renounce one day. Since I'm in my senior year of high school it is coming time to decide what I will do for the next couple of years. My mother wants me to go to college or the military to gain life experience before I make the decision to ordain. I wanted to know if 18 is too young to begin the path of renunciation? Should I gain more life experience first, or should I just go for it since I intend on ordaining after the military or college anyway? I know this is something I will have to decide for my self, but I would appreciate some advice and guidance.
With Metta,
Robert

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DNS
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by DNS » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:11 pm

I don't think that's too young. This way you could ordain and then if you don't like it, you'll still be young enough to go to college or other plans. There are many people who don't start college until their mid-20s so you wouldn't be out of place in case you do decide leave the ordained life.

truthseeker135
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by truthseeker135 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:17 am

Thank you. That is a very valid point. There's no harm at giving it a shot.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:23 am

I don't think it's TOO young. It is very young for becoming a monk but go for it and try it out.
Later in life you'll have all sorts of things that stop you being a monk such as debt or husband or wife or jobs or whatever.

Ajahn Nissarano once told me there are so few chances in a single life where a person has both the freedom and desire at the same time to become a monk and renounce the world. Maybe two or three chances in a life.

Emphasize to your mother that you can change your mind at any time and stop being a monk. Most western monks don't last more than 5 to 10 years anyway, it's only a very tiny minority perhaps 5% who make it past 10 years. My mother was happy to hear that, and I encouraged her to see it as a phase I was going through and would grow out of in time.

Go visit the monastery and stay for a month or two first. Most monasteries will make you do that anyway before you ordain.

Let us know how you go in your adventure!
Which monastery are you considering first?

SarathW
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:42 am

Both above advice is great.
In Sri Lanka some children become Novices as little as age seven I think.
I wanted to become a monk when I was young my mother (parents) stopped that.
Perhaps it is a good thing considering the state of monks in Sri Lanka but looking back I still think that I should have become a monk.
Worse come to worse you can disrobe and start a normal life.
I think nowadays you can do studies at any stage in your life.
Perhaps this will be another good life experience.
The most important is to keep on doing what you are doing now and improve your knowledge in Buddhism as well.
Good luck!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

truthseeker135
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by truthseeker135 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:04 am

Thank you Sarath and James.
The monasteries I am considering right now are Ajaan Dick Silaratano's Forest Dhamma Monastery, Ajaan Geoff's Metta Forest Monastery, or Temple Forest Monastery. I plan on going on a retreat over Christmas break at Temple Forest monastery or Forest Dhamma monastery as they are a lot closer to me than Metta since I'm on the east coast. I will be sure to keep you all posted on the journey.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:27 am

truthseeker135 wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:04 am

The monasteries I am considering right now are Ajaan Dick Silaratano's Forest Dhamma Monastery, Ajaan Geoff's Metta Forest Monastery, or Temple Forest Monastery. I plan on going on a retreat over Christmas break at Temple Forest monastery or Forest Dhamma monastery
That's a very good plan. Remember to book ahead, since many USA monasteries have a waiting list.

truthseeker135
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by truthseeker135 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:08 am

I will make sure to schedule the visit especially since it would be around the holidays when I'm sure monasteries can get quite booked.

SarathW
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:25 am

You have to be careful selecting a teacher.
Do you need a Theravada teacher or a Mahayana teacher?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by lostitude » Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:49 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:23 am
it's only a very tiny minority perhaps 5% who make it past 10 years. My mother was happy to hear that, and I encouraged her to see it as a phase I was going through and would grow out of in time.
:rofl:

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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by SarathW » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:45 pm

lostitude wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:49 pm
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:23 am
it's only a very tiny minority perhaps 5% who make it past 10 years. My mother was happy to hear that, and I encouraged her to see it as a phase I was going through and would grow out of in time.
:rofl:
This is one of the great things when you are a Westerner.
We can't do this in Sri Lanka.
If you do not study and establish yourself when you are young you basically end up being very poor and without a job.
People look down upon you as a failure.
Some monks study and get a job and disrobe to solve his problem.
I think every person should become a monk for a shorter period of time at least.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Mkoll
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:14 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:11 pm
I don't think that's too young. This way you could ordain and then if you don't like it, you'll still be young enough to go to college or other plans. There are many people who don't start college until their mid-20s so you wouldn't be out of place in case you do decide leave the ordained life.
I agree. Plenty of people take a year or so off after high school to explore the world some way. Ordaining could be your way of exploring the world.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Idappaccayata
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by Idappaccayata » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:14 am

truthseeker135 wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:04 am
Thank you Sarath and James.
The monasteries I am considering right now are Ajaan Dick Silaratano's Forest Dhamma Monastery, Ajaan Geoff's Metta Forest Monastery, or Temple Forest Monastery. I plan on going on a retreat over Christmas break at Temple Forest monastery or Forest Dhamma monastery as they are a lot closer to me than Metta since I'm on the east coast. I will be sure to keep you all posted on the journey.
I would recommend checking out Dhammasala Forest monastery as. It's quite small but a great place to practice. The Ajahn there is a teacher
The furniture may be exquisite,
And the bars of solid gold,
But once the bird realizes that the cage is a cage,
It finds within that cage
No joy

- Ajahn Jayasaro

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Zom
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by Zom » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:46 pm

I agree. Plenty of people take a year or so off after high school to explore the world some way.
Eh, good tradition and opportunity in the West. Unfortunately, doesn't exist in my world 8-)

Like in old joke about telegrams:
- no mon. no fun. your son.
- how sad. too bad. your dad.

truthseeker135
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Re: Too young to ordain?

Post by truthseeker135 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:45 pm

Thanks everyone for the support and advice. I've realized that ordaining is a necessary step to reach my goals and I should make the effort to ordain when I can. I intend to keep updating and will continue to ask questions and provide my input on this forum when possible.
With Metta
Robert

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