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

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:27 pm
Hope you learned and gained a lot from your monastic life, James, and that it will be a beneficial learning experience in your lay life!

Would you say being a monk was difficult?

Obviously, sensual pleasures have their lure and it is very difficult not to give in to them. If or when I become a monk I plan to remain a monk for life, and I hope to be able to do that, but I understand that for many it's easy to see the sensual enjoyment of lay life vs the strict asceticism of monastic life as a reason to disrobe, and I'm sure it won't be easy for me either. I, however also see the danger in "ordinary" life and the benefits of renunciation. Remember the gratification, danger and escape teaching.

There is gratification in lay life that you enumerate in your post with many examples - sensual pleasures that give much joy and satisfaction, but then there is the danger as well: old age, sickness, death, the impermanence of all acquisitions, pleasures and joys, the inevitable physical and mental pain; and then there is the escape. People say it's wrong to see monastic life as escape as if it's a mistake to become a monk to escape the dangers I enumerated, but if one is serious about escape from saṃsāra, then monastic life is the way to go, and it involves renunciation of sensual pleasures, albeit difficult. But then you have to weigh in the advantages of that renunciant life. But since I've not been a monk yet, I probably am not entitled to judge anyone who disrobes since I haven't seen it from the inside. This is why I can only wish you the best in lay life and hope it was the experience of a lifetime for you!
binocular wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:01 pm
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
One week ago I disrobed and returned to "normal" life.
I have to say I saw this coming, because in your posts here, you didn't sound like a monk, there was no authoritative impetus in your words. And "Bhante Lucky"? What was up with that?

I, for one, am not happy when a monk disrobes. Obviously, he has his reasons, and in some ways, it is probably better to disrobe than to pretend or try to be something that he strongly feels he isn't.
Nevertheless, disrobing is a form of betrayal that can cause a crisis of faith for lay people who have relied on that monk to teach them the Dhamma.

I think (novice) monks should live in isolation and not teach lays or publicy present themselves as representatives of the Dhamma until they are sure they want to be monks for the rest of their lives.

Take care.

As two people I know who are thinking about ordination, I will just say don't be too sure of yourselves. Frankly I say anyone who is so sure that they will be a monk for life, is setting themselves up for failure and doesn't understand anicca ;). While my gut feeling/intuition says I will be a monk for life, life itself has taught me that anytime I thought I had everything figured out, it laughed and flipped everything around on me. So I don't worry too much about how long I'm going to be a monk, and just focus on the important things needed to improve myself.

Regardless if you are a monastic or a lay person, there is still the noble eightfold path, and still your practice. Even though I too feel some sadness at Bhante Baddho's disrobing, since he was technically my first " monk friend/peer" that I kept in contact with, I understand and can identify with nearly everything he listed, and more.

As for the monks life being hard, that depends on how much you are really trying to let go, you can lounge around in the robes and be respected, bowed to, fed, and minister to the laity's needs with some chanting, rituals, and counseling, or you can really go for broke, really do the practice, that is when the difficulty ramps up like mad and your confidence in your ability to do this starts to falter.

When I was in lay life, I thought I had it figured out pretty good, thought I had learned to let go a lot and came far in my practice, but now I realize I didn't really know what it truly meant to let go until I came to live at the monastery, and most likely I still don't (which is even scarier). following the Buddha's path is without a doubt the hardest thing a person can do, ". This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. ", and I hold nothing against anyone who decides to disrobe, it wouldn't be proper for me to do so since I have no idea how long I may be one myself.

While there are no statistics, at least in Theravada, from all I know regarding disrobing, it seems something close to 80% of people who become monks eventually disrobe, and not even necessarily in the first few years, even at 10, 15, 20+ years in robes. it is much much more common to disrobe then to stay one for life.

And last but not least, do not forget he can ordain 6 more times in this life ;), the future is uncertain and my friend James I wish you peace, happiness, and contentment in whatever you do, if you ever make it over to America come see me.
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Bhikkhu Jayasāra -http://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath and https://bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Stiphan » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:45 pm

Hi Bhante Jayasara,

That's why I said "But since I've not been a monk yet, I probably am not entitled to judge anyone who disrobes since I haven't seen it from the inside." I'm sure it's not an easy path, but lay life is also not easy, so all I was saying was that, in my view as I see it at this moment in time, the advantages of monasticism outweigh the advantages of lay life. But certainly I can't properly compare the two as I haven't yet experienced the former firsthand - my view is more theoretical than experiential, but hopefully still worth saying it.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Digity » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:59 pm

I like the candidness of these discussions. I think it's healthy for those considering ordaining, who might have a naive or romanticized idea of what the monastic life is like.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Stiphan » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:03 pm

Digity wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:59 pm
I like the candidness of these discussions. I think it's healthy for those considering ordaining, who might have a naive or romanticized idea of what the monastic life is like.
That's why it's good to be realistic about it, and not condemn monks' decisions to disrobe.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:06 pm

Nevertheless, disrobing is a form of betrayal
I don't think so.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:08 pm

I think (novice) monks should live in isolation and not teach lays or publicy present themselves as representatives of the Dhamma until they are sure they want to be monks for the rest of their lives.
Not necessary. Anybody can teach Dhamma. There is a Sutta to support this.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:17 pm

I realize I didn't really know what it truly meant to let go until I came to live at the monastery
Good point.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:19 pm

following the Buddha's path is without a doubt the hardest thing a person can do, ". This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.
Perhaps this is what stops me becoming a monk.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:26 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:01 pm
disrobing is a form of betrayal that can cause a crisis of faith for lay people who have relied on that monk to teach them the Dhamma.
Anything can be a form of anything once we are the arbiters of what words mean ("A grapefruit is a form of planet") but I have never heard this expressed elsewhere. I know lots of ex monks and nuns, and nobody, lay or monastic, has ever expressed the idea that disrobing is a form of betrayal. It's just an acknowledgement that someone has decided that monasticism is not for them. Lay people have sometimes said that thay feel "betrayed" by other things that monks and nuns have done, but this has almost always been the result of the lay person fostering unrealistic expectations and lashing out when the person they thought of as "their special monk" does not play according to their rules.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Zom » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:41 pm

Anything can be a form of anything once we are the arbiters of what words mean ("A grapefruit is a form of planet") but I have never heard this expressed elsewhere. I know lots of ex monks and nuns, and nobody, lay or monastic, has ever expressed the idea that disrobing is a form of betrayal.
I'd say that "betrayal" is when someone keeps his life in robes for the sake of material gain, praise, social benefits, etc.
I like the candidness of these discussions.
Yes, this is indeed a rarely discussed matter. Usually ex-monastics are silent (or not straight) about the reasons, and this is understandable.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:48 pm

I'd say that "betrayal" is when someone keeps his life in robes for the sake of material gain, praise, social benefits, etc.
Agree. Even if you disrobe you still can live like an average monk.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:53 pm

Considering the fact that the Nibbana is a far fetch theory for me, what I admire about monks is they protect the Dhamma for future generation. Without their effort, we will not have the Buddhism available to us in this fashion.
Even if you become a monk for one day, I think it is a great benefit for yourself and others.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:05 pm

Greetings binocular,
Nevertheless, disrobing is a form of betrayal that can cause a crisis of faith for lay people who have relied on that monk to teach them the Dhamma
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...

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.

I for one really appreciated James' comments because they touch on some of issues that I pre-empted would exist if I myself happened to ordain. It gives me more confidence I made the right decision for me and does nothing whatsoever to diminish my faith. If anything, the forthright honesty gives me confidence in the authenticity that underlined his decisions, a quality that I see as integral both to pursuing the Dhamma, and to a meaningful, worthwhile life.

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 pyluyten » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:40 pm

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
I used to love meditating, but now that it is my job I don't like it so much.
hello, i wish you will find back this pleasure.
actually i am very confident you will discover the training is till here, like someone who does not forget how to ride a bike.
simply you will ride the bike to another place.
if people doing retreats have this, why a monk would not?

i bet you will post again, maybe within a week, a month or a year, so i hope to read this

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:47 pm

pyluyten wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:40 pm
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
I used to love meditating, but now that it is my job I don't like it so much.
if people doing retreats have this, why a monk would not?

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 only just now, after 3 years, that I am starting to get back to that place. It can take years, literally, to adjust to such a different lifestyle, and I've found that so much of that adjustment meant the work was more in the range of satipatthana, being mindful of whats going on in your mind and body, rather then the peace of samatha.

You have lived X amount of years being conditioned in a certain way, then you are dunked into the ocean without a life preserver and have to swim, in a new way of life, a new mindset, it's not easy.

It's also the thing where a monastery for a lay person is a refuge from the world, you come here for a week to get away from your life, but for us the monastery IS our life, and it's filled with all the greed, hatred, and delusion you'll find out on the outside.

I also look forward to James's response to this.
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