Ordination experience of Westerners

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
Dhamma IDW
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Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Dhamma IDW » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:32 am

Split from this thread: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=30702

Please read this book who are going to enter monk hood
I could not find the PDF version online

https://www.online.buddhistcc.com/books ... etail.html

With metta
IDW

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manas
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by manas » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:49 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.
This convinces me even more, not to trust the mind's passing perceptions of things.
Like a merchant with a small
but well-laden caravan
–a dangerous road,

like a person who loves life
–a poison,

one should avoid
–evil deeds.

(Dhammapada 123)


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manas
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by manas » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 am

rolling_boulder wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:48 am
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:47 pm
For some time since coming to the monastery I would compare my meditation here to when i was in lay life, and I would see that my meditation in lay life seemed much better, much more productive, calm, and peaceful.

...

it's not easy.
Seconding this, as a mere lay 8-precept monastery resident.

It is easy to imagine that life at a monastery is so blissful and carefree, but actually at times the mental anguish of just existing in such an environment can be so intense that you want to cry, scream, or vomit. (This is at a cozy Western monastery with plenty of sensual indulgences available.)

It's also easy to imagine that if one comes to the monastery to live or ordain, it's because "That's it! I'm done with sensuality forever."
Coming to the monastery is really only the beginning of the training. The Five Hindrances are not so easily destroyed.

For me as well, hearing of monks disrobing causes intense self-doubt, because I also have an aspiration of eventually ordaining "for life."
But I don't think it is appropriate to criticism a monk for disrobing.

Good luck, James.

RB
The main reason I'm still interested in perhaps ordaining, if possible, is to live in an environment more conducive to the cultivation of samma-sati and samma-samadhi, yet I read that for some folks, meditation was easier as a layman? Is this a common experience??
Like a merchant with a small
but well-laden caravan
–a dangerous road,

like a person who loves life
–a poison,

one should avoid
–evil deeds.

(Dhammapada 123)


rolling_boulder
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:29 am

manas wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 am

The main reason I'm still interested in perhaps ordaining, if possible, is to live in an environment more conducive to the cultivation of samma-sati and samma-samadhi, yet I read that for some folks, meditation was easier as a layman? Is this a common experience??
For some folks maybe - those who are very privileged, single, and able to live aloof from the world without a job or large social life.

I think for most laypeople their daily life is too distracting and there are too many negative influences all around.

At the end of the day I will say that the monastery life is more conducive to the path, in my humble opinion.
(At a good monastery anyway.)

For a few reasons;

- community that helps you get through hardships, always reminds you of what you are doing, keeps you from falling too far off the path
- community life also forces you to face your defilements instead of just going along with them
- teachers are available to show you a good example
- the lifestyle is structured to be repetitious , which shows you a lot about your mind
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:27 am

manas wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 am
[... yet I read that for some folks, meditation was easier as a layman? Is this a common experience??
Yes that's a common experience, but not universal. I remember myself and Venerable Jayasara and Venerable Cunda and Ajahm Brahm all had that experience when we first went to the monastery.
After some time it got much better however.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by salayatananirodha » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:28 pm

sorry for your loss
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


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

budo
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by budo » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:50 pm

manas wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 am
The main reason I'm still interested in perhaps ordaining, if possible, is to live in an environment more conducive to the cultivation of samma-sati and samma-samadhi, yet I read that for some folks, meditation was easier as a layman? Is this a common experience??
I would recommend monasteries that respect your free time and that are isolated and a little distant from villages and especially cities.

I've stayed at several monasteries, some of them are hectic, some of them are sublime. The thai forest ones tend to be sublime, i.e. you show up for the ritual stuff for a few hours and then you have the whole day to yourself, it's extremely quiet, and you can do whatever you want.

I remember being at one monastery, I was stuck on a problem so decided to go their library to figure out what the suttas were saying about this problem, and a random novice who is well known there literally came up to me and said "Reading isn't practicing, can you help me clean the kitchen".
I found that quite annoying, fortunately it only happened once and the rest of my stay was good.

If it were to happen frequently then I would leave that monastery as practicing at home would be more conducive. Actually my lay life environment is pretty good, and better than most monasteries I would say. Ordaining under a living Buddha is much much different than ordaining 2500~ or so years later, there's no one to set things straight.

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Antaradhana
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Antaradhana » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:39 pm

Also share my experience.

Seven years ago, I was an anagarika in a monastery in Sri Lanka, waiting to be ordained for several months, but in the end not only did not undergo ordination, but I became disillusioned with buddhism for three years, during which I adhered to the materialistic views.

The reason for this was:

1. I was not ready to surrender everything worldly.
2. Disappointment from what he saw in Asia (excessive emphasis on ritualism).
3. Despondency associated with emigration.
4. Conflict with the russian-speaking samanera who lived there, and with whom there was basic communication, since I do not speak colloquial english (this conflict served the last straw that overflowed the cup).
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:20 pm

Lay person or monk ... the important thing is Practice!

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

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:17 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:27 am
manas wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 am
[... yet I read that for some folks, meditation was easier as a layman? Is this a common experience??
Yes that's a common experience, but not universal. I remember myself and Venerable Jayasara and Venerable Cunda and Ajahm Brahm all had that experience when we first went to the monastery.
After some time it got much better however.

I often feel like my meditation was "better" as a lay person. But I believe it's because I'm still trying to fully settle in and let go of lay life, even though i've lived in a monastery for almost 5 years, and have been in robes 3 and 1/2, I think it takes quite a long time to get over yourself, have your mind mostly convinced your a monk now and need to live like one, and then things begin to calm down.

It is a HUGE change, to go from lay life to monastic life, this cannot be understated, nor should a prospective postulant underestimate it. it's no wonder it can take years to work through many of the more large and gross hurdles.

I remember when I first went to the monastery, a monk telling me about his friend who's first four years of monastic life were a living hell, but he endured and afterwards has had a good monkhood.

as for me, I feel like I'm right at the beginning of that "calming down" stage, as my practice is seeming to settle down and settle in. I still think it will take some time, a few more years perhaps, to be fully settled in.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

tamdrin
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by tamdrin » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:35 am

Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:17 pm
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:27 am
manas wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 am
[... yet I read that for some folks, meditation was easier as a layman? Is this a common experience??
Yes that's a common experience, but not universal. I remember myself and Venerable Jayasara and Venerable Cunda and Ajahm Brahm all had that experience when we first went to the monastery.
After some time it got much better however.

I often feel like my meditation was "better" as a lay person. But I believe it's because I'm still trying to fully settle in and let go of lay life, even though i've lived in a monastery for almost 5 years, and have been in robes 3 and 1/2, I think it takes quite a long time to get over yourself, have your mind mostly convinced your a monk now and need to live like one, and then things begin to calm down.

It is a HUGE change, to go from lay life to monastic life, this cannot be understated, nor should a prospective postulant underestimate it. it's no wonder it can take years to work through many of the more large and gross hurdles.

I remember when I first went to the monastery, a monk telling me about his friend who's first four years of monastic life were a living hell, but he endured and afterwards has had a good monkhood.

as for me, I feel like I'm right at the beginning of that "calming down" stage, as my practice is seeming to settle down and settle in. I still think it will take some time, a few more years perhaps, to be fully settled in.

Are you in Thailand? If so where?

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Bhikkhu_Jayasara
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:35 am

Contrary to popular belief on this forum, monks exist in other places besides Thailand haha.

I reside in America, with Bhante Gunaratana, at Bhavana Society.
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Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Alīno
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Alīno » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:10 pm

What helps me to overcome doubts while temptations of lay life arises in mind is just to keep practicing your routine as usual.

Actually your routine, your discipline, take a role of an anchor, as a pillar that prevent your mind to fly away. While a wind rises up, your mind can start to fly away, but while you keep your training routine as usual, it just flyes aroud a pillar, and when the wind goes down there is no mo any problem or temptation any more.
All conditioned phenomenas are impermanent, they rise, still and fall apart. In Fench Foreight Legion they say "Marche ou creve" = "Walk or die", so the power of keep walking on the path whether there is windy, raining or shiny weather, is a stabilysing factor for the mind.
:anjali:
Ajahn Nanadassano (before ordaining) : Venerable Ajahn, what is the bigest error that buddhist do in their practice?
Ajahn Jayasaro : They stop practicing ...

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Grigoris
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:19 am

I think the "problem" in the West is that we do not have the opportunity to ordain for limited periods of time like, for example, in Thailand.

The Thai situation gives you the opportunity to experience monastic life, without the burden of having to keep the vows forever and the ensuing feelings of guilt for not being able to maintain the vows.

The other problem is that unlike the West, in Theravadin countries the laity generally limit their practice to Dana.

Westerners think they can practice like monks, without actually becoming monks and try to follow Sutta whose content is aimed at monastic practitioners. This leads to all sorts of problems and false moral dilemmas. Issues that the great majority of laity in Theravadin countries do not concern themselves with, in the slightest.

If you add to all this the difficulty of finding sponsorship for monastics in the West...
Last edited by Grigoris on Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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SDC
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Re: Ordination experience of Westerners

Post by SDC » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:33 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:19 am
Westerners think they can practice like monks, without actually becoming monks and try to follow Sutta whose content is aimed at monastic practitioners. This leads to all sorts of problems and false moral dilemmas. Issues that the great majority of laity in Theravadin countries do not concern themselves with in the slightest.
I think the opportunity for temporary ordination in the west would be very beneficial, especially for those lay practitioners who tend to overemphasize the importance of celibacy in the lay life. It is becoming routine to push a renunciant’s lifestyle onto that of the devotee, but people are failing to see why it is redundant to do so. Simply, if one wants the stricter lifestyle of an anagārika/anagārikā, they should elevate their behavior accordingly instead of trying to modify the culture of the upāsaka/upāsikā. I think temporary ordination would do quite well in solving this growing misplacement by allowing practitioners to see both the effect and potential of full celibacy (no masturbation), and would make the long-established progression towards monasticism that the lay structure already provides much more clear.

(Of course it isn’t wrong to encourage turning away from sensuality, but when it exclusively hovers around celibacy, the intent is muddled.)

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