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

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:18 am

Zom wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:41 pm
In Thailand Buddhism is strongly intertwined with social life and traditions, where monkhood is more a social role rather than a personal spiritual way of life.
I think the kind of Thai monks you're talking about would probably reply that you're presenting a false dichotomy here. They would say that their "personal spiritual way of life" consists in accumulating merit as they don't believe themselves to have the paramī to attain anything higher in the present life. And that the way they aim to accumulate merit is by devoting themselves to this or that approved social role: sangha administration (in the case of urban bureaucrat monks), monastic education (in the case of Pali teachers, Abhidhamma teachers, etc.) or preaching dāna and sīla, performing apotropaic rituals, interceding in village disputes, etc. (in the case of village monks).

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

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:57 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
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.
That sounds great! How about getting a big boat eventually and running "sailing retreats"? :woohoo:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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

Post by Zom » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:00 pm

I think the kind of Thai monks you're talking about would probably reply that you're presenting a false dichotomy here. They would say that their "personal spiritual way of life" consists in accumulating merit
Most of thai monks I met, talked to, and knew personally didn't really have that goal. They used their monkhood as a way to get education, get higher social position (which is based on respect) so to get better job later. All of them disrobed eventually after being in robes (including samanera years) for some 10-15 years. One more is still in robes for more than 20 years, but has a very bad reputation and use his monkhood as a way to earn big money, fooling rich thai sponsors. One more uses his monkhood just to travel around the world (western world, preferably). He is fine with "chantings", but strongly resists talking about Dhamma in any way. Obviously, there are those monks you are talking about - but I'm not really sure they are a majority. I may be mistaken though - because you know the situation much better than I do, ofc.

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

Post by rolling_boulder » 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 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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Cittasanto
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:26 am

Welcome back James :anjali:
I am sure you made the best choice for your development. Sometimes asthetic life is not suited for everyone all the time and it is better to be true to the path you walk than develop discord in yourself due to mismatching paths even if they are close.

I look forward to seeing you from time to time.

BTW I was called manapa initially.

Dy firrinagh focklagh
In Truth
Cittasanto
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Buddho
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Buddho » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:41 am

I'm glad that you had the experience and decided that it wasn't for you. Life as a monastic is not easy and you constantly have to go against the currents of your defilements. Although you no longer wear brown robes, you can still practice and that's the most important thing. I believe Nibbana is a gradual process and we've got to keep developing ourselves in line with the Path so that one life time we can make an absolute end to this whole mass of suffering. Good luck to you!

Truthseeker91
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Truthseeker91 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:22 pm

Hi James,

I was also a monk for close to 5 years therefore I can appreciate what you have said in the opening post. The lure of sensual pleasures and that which is generally pleasing is hard to withstand but there is most definitely a danger hidden in sensual pleasure - the simile of the poisonous drink that looks lovely and tastes great comes to mind (sorry I cannot remember where in the Sutta Pitaka this is).

One of the most difficult things for me as a lay person is not being able to see my Dhamma companions on a regular basis... There is an element of truth in what you say about friendships and associates in monasteries but I personally have met some amazing people, in monasteries, both those gone forth and lay people.

I hope you manage to re-integrate into society and maintain the 5 precepts.

With Metta,
Truthseeker

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

Post by INTPbuddhist » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:16 am

Hi James,

Was great meeting you at WBD in October (I'm Michael, one of the two brothers that abruptly left after 3 days). I'm not too surprised you disrobed. When yourself, Tomas and I were driving down the mountain to drop you off for a hike, I could sense quite strongly your doubt towards the ascetic life. I remember you saying something about how living alone in a hut in the forest doesn't feel natural. It's hard to disagree. May you find happiness following your natural tendencies and interests!

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

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:53 pm

INTPbuddhist wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:16 am
Hi James,

Was great meeting you at WBD in October (I'm Michael, one of the two brothers that abruptly left after 3 days). I'm not too surprised you disrobed. When yourself, Tomas and I were driving down the mountain to drop you off for a hike, I could sense quite strongly your doubt towards the ascetic life. I remember you saying something about how living alone in a hut in the forest doesn't feel natural. It's hard to disagree. May you find happiness following your natural tendencies and interests!
Thanks Michael. Yes, when I met you I was just a week away from making the big decision. I had pretty much made up my mind aready. Did you spend some time at a monastery in the end?
Best wishes.

Meezer77
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Meezer77 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:17 pm

Forgive me but I have to ask... Have you enjoyed being able to watch the telly again? I could never ordain I would just miss my telly too much.

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

Post by JamesTheGiant » 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.

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

Post by DooDoot » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:03 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:34 pm
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.
Can you kindly share if your primary urge to ordain came primarily: (i) from an urgent need to end suffering within; or otherwise (ii) from enticing positive messages heard from without, such as the bliss of jhana, etc?

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

Post by JamesTheGiant » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:10 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:03 pm
Can you kindly share if your primary urge to ordain came primarily: (i) from an urgent need to end suffering within; or otherwise (ii) from enticing positive messages heard from without, such as the bliss of jhana, etc?
Good question. :anjali: I will compose an answer and respond in a while.

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

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:24 pm

why not be lay reclusive contemplative?
get a tent and a friend to train in the outdoors, off-grid with internet. Maybe ill join for as long as visa lasts if we get along in terms of views and you want id join for a while.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Meezer77
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Meezer77 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:02 pm

Look forward to reading your update.

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