Thailand monestaries

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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ttliic
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Thailand monestaries

Post by ttliic » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:58 am

Hello,

I have a question for the Monastics and lay persons who use the forum who are familiar with Thailand and it's monasteries.
I am European but speak Thai having lived and worked in Thailand previously for a number of years.

I am interested in ordaining in Thailand at a forest monastery longterm and I would like to spend 4-6 months travelling Thailand to visit different suitable places.

I am looking for places which keep the Vinaya to a high standard, have a history of ordaining Westerners, and also teaching them the Vinaya, and know all the Visa issues and so on. I am only familiar with the Ajahn Chah monasteries so any suggestions/lists of others they think would be good to check out on my trip would be most welcome.

Thank you
Last edited by ttliic on Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Thailand monestaries for Thai speakers

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:31 pm

I can recommend Wat Phu Songkho which is about an hour from Udon Thani. I ordain there (well all ordination ceremonies happen at Wat Pottisomphon in the city) for 3 months and they occasionally have foreign visitor monks, but I think they'll be reluctant to take you unless someone can vouch for you. this is a very rustic Wat, good vinaya, some monks living in caves and/or practicing dhutangas.

Another good one is Wat Tao Tahm which is about 45 mins from Udon thani, it's immaculate and very disciplined, I only stayed there a week, I'm not sure if foreign monks stay there often.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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samseva
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Re: Thailand monestaries for Thai speakers

Post by samseva » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:08 am

If you can speak fluent or near-fluent Thai and seem like a reliable and dedicated practitioner, I don't see why some wats would refuse to ordain you only on the basis that you are a foreigner. I'm sure some would, or some would hesitate, but I think closing yourself off to only wats that openly ordain foreigners might be reducing your options.

ttliic
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Re: Thailand monestaries for Thai speakers

Post by ttliic » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:59 am

Hi

It isn't so much of an issue of them refusing to ordain a foreigner. It is that I don't think it would be a good idea to ordain at a place that that didn't have foreigners, or a history of ordaining foreigners, or at least an understanding of foreigners. Speaking the language helps with day to day things, instructions, listening to talks, but in Thailand you are still a foreigner and always will be, and with that there are issues that are not about language. I am not very good at explaining things, but if a person has spent a long time in Thailand they will understand what I am saying. If someone was already a monk and travelled to Thailand for practise perhaps it would be fine, but for someone who was to ordain in Thailand and begin their monastic training there for the long term then I am not so sure

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samseva
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Re: Thailand monestaries for Thai speakers

Post by samseva » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:12 am

ttliic wrote:Hi

It isn't so much of an issue of them refusing to ordain a foreigner. It is that I don't think it would be a good idea to ordain at a place that that didn't have foreigners, or a history of ordaining foreigners, or at least an understanding of foreigners. Speaking the language helps with day to day things, instructions, listening to talks, but in Thailand you are still a foreigner and always will be, and with that there are issues that are not about language. I am not very good at explaining things, but if a person has spent a long time in Thailand they will understand what I am saying. If someone was already a monk and travelled to Thailand for practise perhaps it would be fine, but for someone who was to ordain in Thailand and begin their monastic training there for the long term then I am not so sure
Okay, good to know. Thanks for sharing this information.

But I will say that the first foreigners who were ordained did have to deal with such things. It might be a challenge, but maybe being able to study with a highly prolific meditation teacher, which could otherwise not be possible, would be worth the hassles. I'm not really trying to convince you, just speaking my mind. :smile:

ttliic
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Re: Thailand monestaries for Thai speakers

Post by ttliic » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:42 am

samseva wrote:
ttliic wrote:Hi

It isn't so much of an issue of them refusing to ordain a foreigner. It is that I don't think it would be a good idea to ordain at a place that that didn't have foreigners, or a history of ordaining foreigners, or at least an understanding of foreigners. Speaking the language helps with day to day things, instructions, listening to talks, but in Thailand you are still a foreigner and always will be, and with that there are issues that are not about language. I am not very good at explaining things, but if a person has spent a long time in Thailand they will understand what I am saying. If someone was already a monk and travelled to Thailand for practise perhaps it would be fine, but for someone who was to ordain in Thailand and begin their monastic training there for the long term then I am not so sure
Okay, good to know. Thanks for sharing this information.

But I will say that the first foreigners who were ordained did have to deal with such things. It might be a challenge, but maybe being able to study with a highly prolific meditation teacher, which could otherwise not be possible, would be worth the hassles. I'm not really trying to convince you, just speaking my mind. :smile:
Yes, I have often wondered about how those early ones managed to do it. I came to the conclusion that it was a combination of either exceptional students, or an exceptional Ajahn.

The largest issue is the big difference in culture, and with that the difference in way of thinking. It is a two way thing also I think. I spoke with a Monk who told me that some of the famous forest Ajahns from the 20th century became reluctant to ordain westerners due to problems they had in understanding and teaching those that they ordained, and that this still persists to this day in some places.

dagon
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Re: Thailand monestaries for Thai speakers

Post by dagon » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:42 am

ttliic wrote:Hi

It isn't so much of an issue of them refusing to ordain a foreigner. It is that I don't think it would be a good idea to ordain at a place that that didn't have foreigners, or a history of ordaining foreigners, or at least an understanding of foreigners. Speaking the language helps with day to day things, instructions, listening to talks, but in Thailand you are still a foreigner and always will be, and with that there are issues that are not about language. I am not very good at explaining things, but if a person has spent a long time in Thailand they will understand what I am saying. If someone was already a monk and travelled to Thailand for practise perhaps it would be fine, but for someone who was to ordain in Thailand and begin their monastic training there for the long term then I am not so sure
I think I understand some of the issues that may be concerning you.

Ordination where they have experience of falang Monks gives them more experience with dealing with the ongoing visa issues.
The lay supporters of the Monastery are more used to western taste in food and will often ease things for you rather than expecting you to think som tam aroy mak mak, - Mai aroy. ped mak mak.
The stresses of facing the reality of monastic practise is hard - being in a situation where there is no one who understands (and preferably shares) the same cultural experiences.
Dealing with the experience of trying to get a straight answer from someone who culture is based on non-confrontation.
While you speak Thai it is hard to communicate with the nuances as your first language.
Often the language you hear spoken in TFT monasteries' is Issan (loa) or mixed with central Thai
Being a curiosity subjects you to extra scrutiny at a time you already are having to deal with adaption.
All small things but in total can be overwhelming - more so in the long term.

Is that what you are talking about?

metta
dagon

Shodo Jishin
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Re: Thailand monestaries

Post by Shodo Jishin » Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:23 am

I am looking myself. I am American (a zen Buddhist priest now) and live in Bangkok.

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