What is holding you back from ordaining?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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appicchato
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by appicchato » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:32 am

...but in reality the distractions are more painful than the boredom itself.
Moves me... :thumbsup:

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Zom
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Zom » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:17 am

This post of Jack, is one of the most amazing if not the most amazing post I have seen on Buddhist message boards and/or newsletters. It cuts through allllllllll sh!t and hits the bull's eye!
Many people understand that. However the problem is that just understanding is not enough to overcome this boredom. You have to be fully prepared for renunciation, and when someone jumps into monastic life without this "preliminary work", this dukkha of boredom grabs him sooner or later. I mean that it is better to reach some level of renunciation in worldy life, and only after that go ordain. I think the main problem is that some people try to run away from dukkha going to (live in) the monastery. But it grabs you even there.

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Phra Chuntawongso » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:06 pm

Hi everyone.
Just a bit of an update on what is going on in my life.
I have been advised by some of my burmese friends that now is probably not a good time to be heading to Myanmar.
Don't know exactly what is going on but it doesn't hurt to get advice from locals.
Anyway,I have paid of my debt :clap: and have been in touch with the Buddhist hermitage in Malaysia.
They have invited me to come and spend some time with them and if I still wish to ordain after some time and we are sure that we will be right for each other then they will be happy to ordain me.
They wish me to go for an initial period of 2 weeks to be sure that I can (or will)do all that is asked of me,meditation wise.
Apparently they have had people who are either unable or unwilling to follow the rules and so impose this 2 week period on anyone wishing to stay at the meditation center.
After this I will be able to continue with my practise and if all goes well ordain.
I am flying to Thailand on august 31 and will make my way to Malaysia from there.
With metta
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Lost in time
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by KonstantKarma » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:27 pm

chiangmaigreg wrote:Hi everyone.
Just a bit of an update on what is going on in my life.
I have been advised by some of my burmese friends that now is probably not a good time to be heading to Myanmar.
Don't know exactly what is going on but it doesn't hurt to get advice from locals.
Anyway,I have paid of my debt :clap: and have been in touch with the Buddhist hermitage in Malaysia.
They have invited me to come and spend some time with them and if I still wish to ordain after some time and we are sure that we will be right for each other then they will be happy to ordain me.
They wish me to go for an initial period of 2 weeks to be sure that I can (or will)do all that is asked of me,meditation wise.
Apparently they have had people who are either unable or unwilling to follow the rules and so impose this 2 week period on anyone wishing to stay at the meditation center.
After this I will be able to continue with my practise and if all goes well ordain.
I am flying to Thailand on august 31 and will make my way to Malaysia from there.
With metta
That's great! I have read your story with interest. I am sure you'll be happily accepted wherever you find yourself.

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by grasshopper » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:43 pm

BlackBird wrote:Thank you Grasshopper. The next step is for me to practice what I preach. It's one thing to be a (sometimes) lucid communicator but another thing to truly live one's insights. The whole Buddhist practice is a bit like peeling layers off an onion, I guess.

metta
Jack
Hey! Are you back in Dunners? I read somewhere you are planning to come back to NZ. I contacted you via email just before you left to SL :)
However the problem is that just understanding is not enough to overcome this boredom. You have to be fully prepared for renunciation, and when someone jumps into monastic life without this "preliminary work", this dukkha of boredom grabs him sooner or later. I mean that it is better to reach some level of renunciation in worldy life, and only after that go ordain. I think the main problem is that some people try to run away from dukkha going to (live in) the monastery.
I totally agree with you Zom.

Once upon a time, I too had these wonderful romantic sense of monasticism (I do still get such thoughts when I come across a good Dhamma talk though). But after having experienced Buddhist temples in a particular traditional Buddhist country and also some monks of a Forest Sangha tradition in the West, I got totally disenchanted with monasticism (and the total package of Buddhism) after seeing ugly office-politics and the tendency to strictly adhere to tradition at the expense of common-sense at such institutions. I held these places and also monks high up on a pedestal but unfortunately, not any more. The drawbacks of living in monasteries - apart from the obvious renunciation and boredom that come tagged along - is hardly given ANY air-time by monks and lay people during their talks and teachings. It's all about how good monasticism is and that lay people are missing out so much, which is an incorrect notion and is inadvertant false marketing about monasticism.

To me, now, it seems like the best place to practise is living like a lay person but then it has it's problems of having to get qualifications and/or work to get the money to provide prerequisites for oneself (and one's immediate family members etc.) which has the potential to attenuate one's effort and blur the focus.

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Alex123
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:59 pm

grasshopper wrote: Once upon a time, I too had these wonderful romantic sense of monasticism (I do still get such thoughts when I come across a good Dhamma talk though). But after having experienced Buddhist temples in a particular traditional Buddhist country and also some monks of a Forest Sangha tradition in the West, I got totally disenchanted with monasticism (and the total package of Buddhism) after seeing ugly office-politics and the tendency to strictly adhere to tradition at the expense of common-sense at such institutions.
I have a question. What exactly do you mean by "ugly office politics?" . Is it possible for a simple monk to avoid it? Don't climb the ladder, don't become an abott. Aren't there just as much, if not more, politics in the lay life when it comes to bosses coworkers, the government tax agencies (IRS, CCRA, etc)?

As for Vinaya. What exactly do you mean? It seems that most (and especially the stronger) rules are "thou shalt not do this..." kind which seems to me like giving more freedom, less things to do. It limits choices and thus helps to declutter the mind. The simpler the life, the less worry about the real world (taxes, kids, bossess, co-workers), the more space for quite meditation. he stronger rules, they do have a purpose and may are not bad.
To me, now, it seems like the best place to practise is living like a lay person but then it has it's problems of having to get qualifications and/or work to get the money to provide prerequisites for oneself (and one's immediate family members etc.) which has the potential to attenuate one's effort and blur the focus.
Again, where are less distractions and engagements? In lay life or in monastic life?



I understand that a monk may have to do blessing rituals for the laity. Can one do them only externally, as necessary evil, but without internally adhering to those wrong beliefs?


With metta,


Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:20 pm

Alex123 wrote: I understand that a monk may have to do blessing rituals for the laity. Can one do them only externally, as necessary evil, but without internally adhering to those wrong beliefs?
Which ones are wrong belief? You mean reciting the Ratana Sutta?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike

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Alex123
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Alex123 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:28 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Alex123 wrote: I understand that a monk may have to do blessing rituals for the laity. Can one do them only externally, as necessary evil, but without internally adhering to those wrong beliefs?
Which ones are wrong belief? You mean reciting the Ratana Sutta?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike
I've read some stories about monks who didn't like doing various rituals for the laity. I do not know if they meant that particular sutta. I've heard that in Thailand there are a lot of rituals. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have said "wrong" beliefs. But I hope you know what I mean. Is it possible to engage in required rituals (assuming that they don't fully fit with one's idea of monasticism) only externally?

As I understand it - one depends on one's Kamma, not on protective charms and amulets. So the wrong belief is to believe that spells, incantations, incense, rituals, etc can overcome Kamma.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:46 pm

Alex123 wrote: As I understand it - one depends on one's Kamma, not on protective charms and amulets. So the wrong belief is to believe that spells, incantations, incense, rituals, etc can overcome Kamma.
Certainly you can find all kinds of charms and amulets being sold by monks in Thailand. I don't imagine you'd get involved in a group that did that. As for reciting some blessings when someone builds a house or gets married, I don't see any wrong view in that. You are simply requesting anyone who is listening to take heed and help. We chant this every week with the monks at my Wat and they chant it to us (among other verses) after we have offered them food and provisions:
"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."

"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."
Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

Sabba-buddhānubhāvena
Sadā sotthī bhavantu te.
Through the power of all the Buddhas, may you always be well.

Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

Sabba-dhammānubhāvena
Sadā sotthī bhavantu te.
Through the power of all the Dhammas, may you always be well.

Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

Sabba-saṅghānubhāvena
Sadā sotthī bhavantu te.
Through the power of all the Saṅghas, may you always be well.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#bhavatu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Mike

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Viscid » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:08 am

mikenz66 wrote:
"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."

"Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ..."
Bhavatu sabba-maṅgalaṃ
Rakkhantu sabba-devatā
May there be every blessing. May all heavenly beings protect you.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#bhavatu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Mike
Okay, so what does "May all heavenly beings protect you." mean? Doesn't that imply that there are external, real heavenly beings which choose to protect some people and not others? Do you believe that? This doesn't raise any red flags?

If I ever even think of ordaining, the doubt which accompanies beliefs such as this immediately stops me in my tracks.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by suriyopama » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:39 am

Viscid wrote:Okay, so what does "May all heavenly beings protect you." mean? Doesn't that imply that there are external, real heavenly beings which choose to protect some people and not others? Do you believe that? This doesn't raise any red flags?

If I ever even think of ordaining, the doubt which accompanies beliefs such as this immediately stops me in my tracks.
That may be one of the reasons why "doubt" is the 5th hindrance.

The monk can have sceptical doubt, but he is advised to note it mindfully without clining to it.

"When sceptical doubt is present in him, the monk knows, "There is sceptical doubt in me," or when sceptical doubt is absent he knows, "There is no sceptical doubt in me." He knows how the arising of non-arisen sceptical doubt comes to be; he knows how the rejection of the arisen sceptical doubt comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the rejected sceptical doubt comes to be."
— MN 10 (Satipatthana Sutta)

Sceptical Doubt
A man traveling through a desert, aware that travelers may be plundered or killed by robbers, will, at the mere sound of a twig or a bird, become anxious and fearful, thinking: "The robbers have come!" He will go a few steps, and then out of fear, he will stop, and continue in such a manner all the way; or he may even turn back. Stopping more frequently than walking, only with toil and difficulty will he reach a place of safety, or he may not even reach it.

It is similar with one in whom doubt has arisen in regard to one of the eight objects of doubt. Doubting whether the Master is an Enlightened One or not, he cannot accept it in confidence, as a matter of trust. Unable to do so, he does not attain to the paths and fruits of sanctity. Thus, as the traveler in the desert is uncertain whether robbers are there or not, he produces in his mind, again and again, a state of wavering and vacillation, a lack of decision, a state of anxiety; and thus he creates in himself an obstacle for reaching the safe ground of sanctity (ariya-bhumi). In that way, sceptical doubt is like traveling in a desert.
- Thanissaro "The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest "
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el026.html

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Alex123
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:05 am

Can we please come back to my original question?


Which lifestyle fits better, the monastic (with its imperfections). Sure there may be many ceremonies, but is it that bad? Can one abstain from office-politics and remain a monk (reject being an abbot) and don't aspire to climb a monastic ladder?

Or

Holding a full time job, worrying about taxes, bosses, coworkers, providing necessities, paying bills, etc?


With best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:18 am

From my observation you won't be free of various conflicts as a monk. Anyone who thinks so probably hasn't spent any time in a monastery...

Mike

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Alex123
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:From my observation you won't be free of various conflicts as a monk. Anyone who thinks so probably hasn't spent any time in a monastery...

Mike

But are they less than those one would find in lay life? Are those monastic conflicts (of course there will be some) less distracting from Dhamma than lay one's?

Or to ask directly:

Which path is quicker and better for progress toward maggaphala?


With best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by suriyopama » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:21 am

Alex123 wrote:Which path is quicker and better for progress toward maggaphala?
To have a reliable and trustful answer to this question, we should only question real maggaphalas. We need equal number of subjects coming from both paths, lay and monastic, then we have to compare how fast and easily they have reached the status of maggaphala.

;)

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