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

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 pm

Greetings binocular,

I wasn't talking about you at all, so your reaction is totally misplaced....

Metta,
Paul. :)
binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:32 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:05 pm
Maybe if their refuge is a charismatic individual, rather than the Triple Gem.
If people are so superficial, then I question what they're actually learning anyway...
Character assassination again?
Why is it that when someone begins to point at basic problems of religious epistemology, they get a barrage of replies assassinating their character?
One need not be ordained in order to actualize the Buddha's teachings, nor to point others in their direction, or share their understandings of them.
Does any monk (or anyone else) believe that about me? I see no reason to think so. So far, they have all considered themselves the authority on what is the Dhamma and on what I am supposed to believe the Dhamma is.
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:57 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:25 am
But do those temporarily ordained Thai monks bash lay people? Do they blackmail them into submission and criticize them to the ground?
Firstly, it's pretty well known that due to the easy accessibility of temporary ordination a small number do far worse.

Secondly, this is a thread about James's life journey, not about your personal grievances, show some consideration.

Thirdly, if it is really true that you have been bashed, blackmailed, or criticised into the ground by a monk or monks then lodge a complaint about that monk through appropriate channels rather than smear the entire sangha on a public forum, show some respect.
binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:25 am
Okay, so a monk wants to criticize me to the ground, wants to consider himself the authority on my life, without speaking more than a few lines to me? And I'm supposed to obey him, trust him unconditionally, or believe that the best I can hope for is perhaps paccekkabuddhahood in some distant eon?
No, you are supposed to use your own brain and vote with your feet, if you think you are supposed to obey a teacher and trust him unconditionally then you have joined a cult and not any branch of Theravada Buddhism that I am familiar with.
binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:25 am
How can one have faith in the dhamma without first having faith in a person?
It's not about the messenger, it's about the message. The Buddha did not proclaim himself the son of God nor that faith in him (or his monks) leads to salvation, you are confusing your religions.
“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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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:00 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:46 am
It may be idealism but the fact the Western monks are expected to ordain for 5 years appears to be a reflection of this very same idealism and is what distinguishes the Western ideal from the traditional Asian model I mentioned above.
Good point. However 5 years is no the same as a lifetime, it is enough to establish someone in a practice while leaving plenty of time to raise a family, have a career, or teach the dhamma as a layperson if these are things someone wants to do.
“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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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Modus.Ponens » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:36 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
[Original Post]
Welcome back, James. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you all the best with the transition to lay life.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by cappuccino » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:22 pm

faith leads to salvation in our religion also

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by ieee23 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:02 am

James,

Thank you for the candid account.

Many people would not be that open about their motivations and experiences.

Whether they liked reading it or not you did a service to the readers here and possibly people thinking about ordaining, arriving here via Google.

Your experiences are things that should be considered by everyone contemplating ordaining.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:07 am

Greetings ieee23,

I agree, and should James be willing to share, I'd be very interested in how James transitions back to lay life.

We often hear accounts about how people "get their affairs in order", in order to prepare for ordination, but we infrequently hear about how one returns to lay life, without any established momentum (e.g. a job, a home), whilst trying to remain true to the Dhammic pursuit which has dominated recent years, and remains a strong interest.

In this regard, I wish James all the best, and am confident that surmounting the upcoming challenges will be a test of strength and character, which I trust will lead him onwards in good shape.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:35 am

Good posting Retro.
This is a big problem in Sri Lanka.
Many monks wish to disrobe do not know how to integrate to the society.
Financial constrain and the social stigma are the main problems.
Many monks first find a job such as teaching before they disrobe.
I think there should be a exist strategy for people when person becomes a monk.
This have a terrible outcome when very young people are ordained.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by ieee23 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:08 am

SarathW wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:35 am
This have a terrible outcome when very young people are ordained.
It has a terrible outcome for any type of person who disrobes after a long time.

Older people may not have families who can give them a home until they get back on their feet.

Older people might have a harder time finding jobs in their former fields.

Older people may have no choice other than to take out loans for education and be in debt into their retirement years.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:41 am

alcohol intoxication violates the fifth precept. it would be important to know this continuing on as a lay follower.
"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: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:57 am

I like the occasional beer.
Yes, this is a very good point.
It is a disappointment to learn that a person who practices as a monk for seven years still has the craving for alcohol. There is a general misconception that occasional consumption of alcohol is acceptable.
Please see the following discussion on this topic.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/is ... nally/6543
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by mal4mac » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:21 pm

SarathW wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:57 am
I like the occasional beer.
It is a disappointment to learn that a person who practices as a monk for seven years still has the craving for alcohol.
Why? Isn't it supposed to take several lifetimes to get rid of all craving, to become enlightened? That someone still craves alcohol after a few years in a monastery should hardly be surprising. It does seem, though, that a lack of faith is involved. If you *really* have faith that letting go of all craving is the path to the end of suffering then would you disrobe?
- Mal

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Zom » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:35 pm

It does seem, though, that a lack of faith is involved. If you *really* have faith that letting go of all craving is the path to the end of suffering then would you disrobe?
Sometimes it is, but I think James clearly said this was not the problem in his case.

The problem is modern trend of presenting buddhist practice as "hardcore monastic/meditative one", while ignoring preliminary stages of the path, on which you learn how to slowly but progressively build up good qualities and remove negative qualities, including craving for worldly things. This is the reason why people go ahead and fail. They just were not prepared for such level of practice from the very start.
Isn't it supposed to take several lifetimes to get rid of all craving, to become enlightened?
This is a nice point, by the way. Rarely taken into account by those who are ordaining, and (I think) even by those who are already ordained.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Mr Man » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:52 pm

Zom wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:35 pm
It does seem, though, that a lack of faith is involved. If you *really* have faith that letting go of all craving is the path to the end of suffering then would you disrobe?
Sometimes it is, but I think James clearly said this was not the problem in his case.

The problem is modern trend of presenting buddhist practice as "hardcore monastic/meditative one", while ignoring preliminary stages of the path, on which you learn how to slowly but progressively build up good qualities and remove negative qualities, including craving for worldly things. This is the reason why people go ahead and fail. They just were not prepared for such level of practice from the very start.
Isn't it supposed to take several lifetimes to get rid of all craving, to become enlightened?
This is a nice point, by the way. Rarely taken into account by those who are ordaining, and (I think) even by those who are already ordained.
Hi Zom

Do you have some links to where the Buddha taught the "preliminary stages" to non-monastics and framed the teaching in that way. ie Do not go forth stay as a lay person, do this and do that and then in time it will be appropriate to go forth.

Did the Buddha teach for enlightenment in a future birth? Did he say start your practice now and then perhaps in a few life times time you may achieve the goal?

Thanks

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Zom » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:16 pm

Do you have some links to where the Buddha taught the "preliminary stages" to non-monastics and framed the teaching in that way. ie Do not go forth stay as a lay person, do this and do that and then in time it will be appropriate to go forth.
There are a lot of suttas about gradual path and its stages, I think you know them well. MN 107, 125 and DN 2-10 are the most evident, but also there are others. While this is true that Buddha didn't forbid lay people to ordian if they whished so, this doesn't mean they should start their practice directly from ordaining and meditating. In some cases he even wasn't pleased with the excessive desire of certain monks to do intensive practice, like in AN 10.99, AN 9.3 - simply because they were not ready for it. I have an idea why he didn't introduce a kind of "sandbox" for lay people who were going to ordain (unlike many monasteries nowadays, by the way, including Ajahn Brahm's Bodhinyana). If you want, I can go in details.
Did the Buddha teach for enlightenment in a future birth? Did he say start your practice now and then perhaps in a few life times time you may achieve the goal?
He did say that even a stream-winner's practice can last up to 7 lifetimes, not speaking about someone below that stage. People often forget this "nuance".

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