Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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manas
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Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by manas » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:58 pm

I will have to wait until receiving my inheritance to pay off the government for my old student loan. But there are other miscellaneous loans of even twenty dollars here and there, to individuals from the past, the majority of whom I have lost all contact with. Where I can track them down, or even remember who they were, I will do so diligently. But I won't be able to track down or even remember everyone. What is the official stance on this issue? Thank you.
"To these too I teach the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its ending, in spirit and in letter, I display to them the holy life, perfectly fulfilled and purified."
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SarathW
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by SarathW » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:53 pm

I think ,here the debt means the legal debts. ie someone can take lawsuit against you.
So none of you listed above qualify for this.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

R1111
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by R1111 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:00 am

You can ordain as Anagarika forever and let kamma take care of it. I think people will be considerate of your situation.
If there is a reasonable way to pay it off by hard work and honest effort while developing the practise i think one should be inclined to do it, even if it takes some 5-10 years or so.
If there is no honest way by which one can settle it one should ask creditors to forfeit the claims even if partially, then reevaluate, most will be willing to do this if documentation is presented.
Student loans may be ok not to pay depending on the contract.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:33 am

manas wrote:What is the official stance on this issue?
The Vinaya texts don’t say anything about debts owed to creditors whom the candidate for ordination has forgotten about or who can’t be tracked down. They do say, however, that an ordination will still be valid even though the candidate is in debt. That is to say, being in debt is not included among the absolute impediments to ordination, such as being a matricide, a seducer of bhikkhunīs, etc.

If having unpaid (and presently unpayable) debts troubles you, then before ordaining you might perhaps deposit a sum of money with a trusted friend or a solicitor, with instructions to use it to repay any creditors who happen to show up later.

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manas
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by manas » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:10 pm

Thank you Bhante and others,
I am certainly headed in the direction of renunciation, although I will first wait until both of my children are grown up (not just in the sense of legal adults, but settled and with the necessary life-skills to be able to properly take care of themselves in the world). I need to be here for them until that time, so it is still a few years off, as my youngest is only 14 y.o. After reading the above posts, I remembered that according to law, the student loan only has to be paid off, once the debtor's income reaches a certain threshold, which to be honest, my income has hardly ever been at throughout my working life. So I think Bhante's final suggestion is a good one, to deposit a substantial amount into some kind of trust, and if anyone I've forgotten comes knocking, I can just okay it and they can get paid off.
"To these too I teach the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its ending, in spirit and in letter, I display to them the holy life, perfectly fulfilled and purified."
- from the Desanaa Sutta

perkele
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by perkele » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:41 pm

manas wrote:So I think Bhante's final suggestion is a good one, to deposit a substantial amount into some kind of trust, and if anyone I've forgotten comes knocking, I can just okay it and they can get paid off.
I think, technically, as well as practicallly, you could only "okay it" beforehand, i.e. before ordaining. Afterwards, I think, as a monk you should not be concerned with directing and ordering, allowing/disallowing any kind of money flow from whatever trust or fund. Otherwise you would not really have forfeited this trust fund as a kind of monetary possession. You would not have let go of it, and the worries about it. Apart from possible vinaya issues (about which I am not really sure, but I believe my stated position here would be in line with it), I believe it would be a definite practical impediment to have such worldly matters and responsibilities still left in the back of one's mind, although I guess loopholes would be easily found and generally accepted nowadays. I just think it would be a practical impediment that would best be discarded from the beginning.

Just my opinion, though (from an armchair position, I must add). Sure, could be difficult. But if it is possible, I think it'd be worth trying to the best of one's ability to make a really clean cut upon entering the "holy life".

:anjali:

R1111
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by R1111 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:49 pm

so what would make one knowingly perform an ordination of someone who is in debt, does this happen?

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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:42 am

R1111 wrote:so what would make one knowingly perform an ordination of someone who is in debt, does this happen?
It would happen most often with temporary ordinations. Men who are going to be in robes for just a few weeks or months will not be expected to pay off their mortgage loan or bank overdraft beforehand any more than they will be expected to give away all their money.

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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Sovatthika » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:04 am

what about for non-temporary ordinations?
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:19 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:04 am
what about for non-temporary ordinations?
The ordination would still be valid under Vinaya, but there may be consequences for the bhikkhu under secular law. For example, in Thailand if a debtor ordains as a bhikkhu (or goes into debt after ordaining) and then his creditors come chasing after him, if he can't or won't pay them, then under one of the Sangha Acts he would be forced to disrobe.

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Sovatthika
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Sovatthika » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:30 am

i suppose it wouldn't matter at all if you ordained in a southeast asian country and all your creditors were in usa. for me, i just have student loans, credit cards and maybe hospital bills. but that does total to roughly 20,000 dollars and i don't see myself paying that off soon.

it impresses me, bhante, how careful and attentive you are when questions are asked.
i had been laboring under the belief that i had to pay back everything or die as a layperson -- if i didn't think it would be good to take care of my mom i'd try to put all of my effort into ordaining
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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samseva
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by samseva » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:07 pm

Apart for temporary ordinations, whether or not it would be a breach of the Vinaya, the point of paying off your debts before ordaining is due to the fact that as a monk, you aren't allowed to own or even touch money. Even though you are ordained, that doesn't make any difference in the eyes of the law and those who you owe money to.

I also can't imagine meditating or trying to practice as a bhikkhu, all the while knowing you have large sums of debt which you fled from and which are also accumulating significant interest. Also, with the state of your current health which you mentioned in the other thread, having to disrobe due to health issues (or other reasons), and going back to your previous debts, but as a larger sum due to interests, would be quite discouraging—you aren't giving yourself options.

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samseva
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by samseva » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:41 pm

Sovatthika, if you are serious about efficient solutions/actually paying off your debt, I would look into debt consolidation. You might also want to talk to a financial advisor (the investment might be worth it). You mentioned that you have approximately $20,000 in debt. If you only pay back around $5000 per year, you will have paid it completely within 4-5 years.

If your plan is to ordain, then to some degree, your expenses should be extremely low if you live similarly. You would need to have income, obviously, but that would be the way to go about it. You could get your health back on track during that time as well. Anyway, a financial advisor could probably advise you better.

Take care.

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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by santa100 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:41 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:30 am
i suppose it wouldn't matter at all if you ordained in a southeast asian country and all your creditors were in usa. for me, i just have student loans, credit cards and maybe hospital bills. but that does total to roughly 20,000 dollars and i don't see myself paying that off soon.

it impresses me, bhante, how careful and attentive you are when questions are asked.
i had been laboring under the belief that i had to pay back everything or die as a layperson -- if i didn't think it would be good to take care of my mom i'd try to put all of my effort into ordaining
Set some concrete goals and start living as frugal as possible, even to the point of stinginess so you can have maximum saving in the shortest amount of time. You mentioned student loans so I'd assume you already had at least your B.S/B.A degree, which a full-time job can provide a decent and steady stream of income. Again, strive to put most of your paycheck into saving the best you can. The short-term hard work now will buy you long-term peace of mind once you've cleared all your debts. Another point to keep in mind is that taking care of one's parents in their old age (provided that they have no one else but you to support financially and mentally) generate just as much merit as getting ordained. All the best.
AN 3.31 wrote:“Bhikkhus, those families dwell with Brahmā where at home the mother and father are revered by their children. (2) Those families dwell with the first teachers where at home the mother and father are revered by their children. (3) Those families dwell with the gift-worthy where at home the mother and father are revered by their children."

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Sovatthika
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Sovatthika » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:38 am

no i don't have a degree or i wouldn't be so worried. right now i'm working part time minimum wage. the debt doesn't bother me now that i know it's not going to keep me from my goal, not like it had been
is there some spiritual reason i should care about that debt? it would be nice not to have it from a material standpoint, but oh well. i just see my mom being really depressed because her feet hurt and she can't or thinks she can't work. i keep seeing it and it's so concerning
anyway it's hard to save what you don't have, but i gave money to my friend to buy almsfood for monks, and yeah im pretty happy about that.
if i ordained i don't think i'd unordain; i know it happens, but i don't have anything left for this world really
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by samseva » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:31 pm

Sovatthika wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:38 am
is there some spiritual reason i should care about that debt?

[...]

if i ordained i don't think i'd unordain; i know it happens, but i don't have anything left for this world really
What if your visa isn't renewed because your bank contacted Thai immigration?

Did you read this part of Ven. Dhammanando's post:
Dhammanando wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:19 am
[...] bhikkhu (or goes into debt after ordaining) and then his creditors come chasing after him, if he can't or won't pay them, then under one of the Sangha Acts he would be forced to disrobe.
Like I previously said, you're not giving yourself options. Even if you were to ordain, you'd essentially have the constant worry of getting caught. And if you were to get caught, you'd be back to square one, but with the added debt from all the interest, and a destroyed credit rating.

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Sovatthika
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Sovatthika » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:05 am

can you not get a permanent visa how does this work

there is not hiding, there is simply not working and therefore not having to make payments. you can't be imprisoned or prohibited from travel for not paying your debt in usa
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Dhammanando
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:02 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:05 am
can you not get a permanent visa how does this work
In Thailand foreign monks have to apply for a visa extension once a year. The application requires a sponsorship letter from one's abbot, and a form signed by the abbot, the head monk of the district and the head monk of the province. It's usually fairly routine though once in a while you might run into an awkward monk who doesn't want to sign the form or who imposes some extra bureaucratic conditions of his own, like demanding that you provide him with letters of approval from the head monk of the sub-district or the village headman or the sheriff of the local police. Monks are also required to report to the immigration police once every three months.

At the age of fifty you'll be eligible to apply for a retirement visa which is permanent, though you'll still need to report to the immigration police regularly.

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Sovatthika
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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Sovatthika » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:23 am

oh, so do you have to have good credit to get a visa
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Regarding paying off ALL of ones debts first.

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:35 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:23 am
oh, so do you have to have good credit to get a visa
No, you have to have some high-ranking Thai monks who are willing to back your application. But if it ever became public knowledge that a foreign monk was being sued by a creditor, then he would have a hard time finding anyone willing to back him. And if the plaintiff's case seemed strong enough for a court to accept it, then the monk would be required to disrobe even before the case was heard. The Thais don't want to see monks appearing as respondents or defendants in a court room.

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