Upper age limit for becoming a bhikkhu?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Upper age limit for becoming a bhikkhu?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:58 am


I'd never heard this before but under the Wikipedia entry for...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samanera" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

.... it states that "However, for people who enter the monastery at the age of 60 or older, they will not qualify the age requirement of becoming a Bhikkhu and they will only be ordained as samaneras."

It does not provide a reference for this statement.

Does anyone know if it is true, or even better, where this is specified in the Vinaya? Is it globally throughout Theravada, or does it differ on a country-by-country, or monestary-by monestary basis?

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Re: Upper age limit for becoming a bhikkhu?

Post by cooran » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:42 pm

Hello Retro,

It will become more of a problem I think - especially in countries without an age pension. Supporting the monks with daily food and necessities can be difficult for lay people having to take time off from work to present it. Most women (who were the chief providers) work outside the home nowadays. Bhikkhus don't wander around the streets in the west on Alms round - e.g.our monastery is about an hour's drive, and by the time the dana has been offered, the chanting and eating done, and the dhamma talk given - a half a day has gone.

The Vinaya does not permit storage of meals on site. So fewer monks, with more restrictions on 'just who' will inevitably happen. We recently sent donations to a Sri Lankan monastery where a middle-aged monk is looking after about thirty elderly monks, many of whom are quite ill ..... not the idealised version of meditating 18 hours a day, supported by happy lay disciples, and attaining Nibbana in this very life, eh? We are in the Dhamma-declining age, and it should be an impetus for us all to practice diligently.

Another thread on this topic;
Age limit for entering monastic life
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 048#p60270" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Upper age limit for becoming a bhikkhu?

Post by DNS » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:12 pm

Welcome to Wikipedia! :thinking: :tongue:

I am about 99.9% sure that there is no upper age-limit. Certain monasteries may have set an upper limit because of lack of funds or support for health issues, etc., but nothing in the Vinaya afaik.

See a couple of examples I have cited in the thread cooran linked.

That is why I have pretty much given up on editing wikipedia. When you write something good and factual, someone comes along the next day to change it. :tongue:

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Re: Upper age limit for becoming a bhikkhu?

Post by JIMBOSAN » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:21 pm

Good question - I recently was researching monasteries I might visit and read this http://www.bhavanasociety.org/main/page ... n_process/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Their requirements for ordination are that you be between 25-35 - I'm to old :tantrum: this is a little off the ordination subject but I read this and it left me scratching my head - from:The Requisites of Enlightenment by Venerable Ledi Sayādaw

To put it in context he's speaking of the Four Types of Capacity for Path Attainment

"Further classes also arise, as for example in the case of individuals whose necessary period of practice is
seven days; the stage of an arahat may be attained if effort is made in the first or second period of life,3 while
no more than the lower stages of the paths and the fruits can be attained if effort be made only in the third
period of life."

2This is not mentioned in the canonical texts referred to above, and their commentaries. (Editor)
3Three periods of life are usually distinguished, viz. youth, middle, and old age. See Path of Purification
(Visuddhimagga), tr. by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, p. 721.

He seems to be saying in the last line that if your of a certain age you won't reach Arahant stage ? I think there' is or maybe was some emphasis on age in the past because the path isn't easy - anyhow just a thought

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Re: Upper age limit for becoming a bhikkhu?

Post by A fool from HK » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:50 am

If there is such a limit, I will not have a chance to be a monk in this life.

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