Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:29 am

Ok two reviews in, Wat Boworn no, Wat Rama IX yes, any websites, links or contact/location info for Wat Rama IX?

Also, new question, what are some signs of an undesirable community and so on? What would I look for that wouldn't be obvious to a green farang?
:smile:
Thanks all.
wellness
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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gavesako
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by gavesako » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:31 pm

Ajahn Sudhiro, a Thai monk who has a forest monastery in Khon Kaen province (north-east Thailand) and also in New Zealand, is affiliated with Wat Rama IX and has helped to arrange temporary and long-term ordinations for several Westerners already. This would definitely be one alternative on the Dhammayut scene, although he personally travels a lot and cannot offer a consistent training probably. See his website at http://www.rightview.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:18 pm

Thank you Ven. Gavesako.
This sounds well worth looking into. I have had a lot of tips recently about people and places to look into in the North and N. East. I will definitely be focusing a lot of attention on this area. I will definitely try to get in touch with Ajahn Sudhiro and his fellows as well.
:smile:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:22 am

Ok, I should arrive in Bangkok within ten to 14 days to actively begin my search for the right community.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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gavesako
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by gavesako » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:56 am

Better follow the news about Thailand to make sure your plane has somewhere to land: the political turmoil seems to be increasing again with rioting exected (at least if you stay in Bangkok for a while).
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:35 pm

gavesako wrote:Better follow the news about Thailand to make sure your plane has somewhere to land: the political turmoil seems to be increasing again with rioting exected (at least if you stay in Bangkok for a while).
I hear that and keeping an eye on things as best as I can. I would like to spend at least a decade or two in Asia and hope to get it done before I have to worry more about the heat turning the tarmac to liquid, which is more of a concern imho. A few more degrees up and rice won't grow anymore, then it will probably be time to run like hell away. Political unrest, when does that ever end, really, anywhere?

May they get their communal act together and get on with it to their mutual well being and happiness.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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appicchato
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by appicchato » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:42 pm

gavesako wrote:Better follow the news about Thailand...
More than thirty unbroken years here, and it's the heaviest I've seen it...as we speak...and seemingly no way out... :cookoo:

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:46 pm

appicchato wrote:
gavesako wrote:Better follow the news about Thailand...
More than thirty unbroken years here, and it's the heaviest I've seen it...as we speak...and seemingly no way out... :cookoo:
To be fair, it is about as heavy as I have seen it here in the west too. So we are increasingly all on the same page anyways. If we can avoid ww3 we are breaking even.

I'll consider flying into Chiang Mai, or perhaps even Malaysia and taking a land route into Thailand.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

fijiNut
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by fijiNut » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:04 pm

Nathan,
I am following your posting very closely as I hope to also hope go forth at one point in life when the conditions are ripe, in the Thai tradition, I on the other hand have a slight afinity towards Ajahn Anan teachings, though I haven't met him or even been in Thailand! I do hope go and visit Wat Marp Jan sometime this year for retreat.

All the best on this amazing journey you are about take!
May you be in association of Noble spiritual friends who can guide you along the Path!
May your aspirations be fulfilled this lifetime! :anjali:

kind regards,
fijiNut

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:40 am

fijiNut wrote:Nathan,
I am following your posting very closely as I hope to also hope go forth at one point in life when the conditions are ripe, in the Thai tradition, I on the other hand have a slight afinity towards Ajahn Anan teachings, though I haven't met him or even been in Thailand! I do hope go and visit Wat Marp Jan sometime this year for retreat.

All the best on this amazing journey you are about take!
May you be in association of Noble spiritual friends who can guide you along the Path!
May your aspirations be fulfilled this lifetime! :anjali:

kind regards,
fijiNut
Thanks FijiNut. All the best with your plans, I suggest you prepare well in the interim by conforming your habits and lifestyle as much as possible to the vinaya standards. I've been fortunate in many regards. For one thing I have a solid meditation practice and while I do hope to find a good community with excellent Dhamma/Vinaya I am probably going to be less dependent than others may be for meditation teachings. Hopefully I can get some solid Abhidhamma training out there and a lot of good experience on the ground. I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't yet been overseas. I realize it is a tricky time to go so things are all kind of tentative.

One snag is that a monastery here in Canada, my home country, has lost three stewards all at once just recently so I sent them a message telling them that I would be willing to stand in until they could find suitable replacements. No word back yet but I expect to hear soon if they would like me to help out.

I will do everything I can to stay in touch here in this thread or via pms and email so feel free to pm with email if you want to be included in the news loop or just monitor this thread for whatever news I can put online. I think we could all use more info on ordaining overseas as the situation is constantly changing and although I have been given many good leads it is very difficult to know what kind of people and communities you are dealing with until you are actually there. That's why I decided not to make any ordination arrangements in advance. Ten years ago when I first decided to commit to this course of action I was in favor of ordaining in the west if possible, at this point I would like to live the bhikkhu's 'homeless' lifestyle as fully as possible and I think that really requires relocating to one of the traditional host cultures. Here, homeless people are mistreated and disrespected no matter why they are on the streets, certainly they are unlikely to be fed much of anything worth eating. So, here goes...

metta & upekkha
nathan
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

fijiNut
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by fijiNut » Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:33 pm

Nathan, The few things that I have been trying to do to prepare:1)Brahmacariya - this one goes against the grain, not so much the physical urges, but the mental beating that my mind gives when it tries to resist, this one is fun to mentally watch.2)Eating at appropriate times and in moderate amounts - not hard as my experience on retreats  and mindfulness of eating have reduced my appetite drastically3)strong addithanna in meditation practice - tough cookie this one, sloth & torport hindrance is strong4)sleeping less - maybe 4-6 hours - also hard, same hindrance as in (3)5)learn a little more about Thai language and culture - funny tones and alphabets that looks like noodles, how bizzare!

The plan for me is, provided one enrols in a Thai language institute, there is a 1 year non-immigrant ED education visa to learn Thai (renewable for upto 3 years) I hope to make use of to both learn Thai and to scope out different monasteries and observe the different teachers, and  to absorb the culture both inside and outside the monasteries.This would be to mitigate culture shock and having to adjust to too many things at once, and also to assess the monastery culture and abbot so to speak. This is how I would approach ordination in Thailand, but for now the reality is there is a major kammic obstruction in the form of parental and family consent.
We'll see how things go.

Keep in touch.

kind regards,
fijiNut

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:11 am

fijiNut wrote:Nathan, The few things that I have been trying to do to prepare:1)Brahmacariya - this one goes against the grain, not so much the physical urges, but the mental beating that my mind gives when it tries to resist, this one is fun to mentally watch.2)Eating at appropriate times and in moderate amounts - not hard as my experience on retreats  and mindfulness of eating have reduced my appetite drastically3)strong addithanna in meditation practice - tough cookie this one, sloth & torport hindrance is strong4)sleeping less - maybe 4-6 hours - also hard, same hindrance as in (3)5)learn a little more about Thai language and culture - funny tones and alphabets that looks like noodles, how bizzare!

The plan for me is, provided one enrols in a Thai language institute, there is a 1 year non-immigrant ED education visa to learn Thai (renewable for upto 3 years) I hope to make use of to both learn Thai and to scope out different monasteries and observe the different teachers, and  to absorb the culture both inside and outside the monasteries.This would be to mitigate culture shock and having to adjust to too many things at once, and also to assess the monastery culture and abbot so to speak. This is how I would approach ordination in Thailand, but for now the reality is there is a major kammic obstruction in the form of parental and family consent.
We'll see how things go.

Keep in touch.

kind regards,
fijiNut
Yeah, great thoughts. I found just doing the anagarika program for a while in a wholehearted way was highly instructive. Showed me so many areas that needed a lot of work. The toughest adjustment was not eating after mid-day because you can find yourself working pretty hard even as a monk. I know it has been common in the Thai forest tradition for anagarikas to drop from exhaustion now and then in the first year or two. It is not extreme asceticism but it is not easy either. For me my life long challenge will be to simply shut up. So I have been trying to say and ask every stupid thing that might come to mind before I am wearing that uniform even though that can be a really stupid practice sometimes. I think just putting the robes on will, like any other uniform, come with great responsibilities to that order it represents and I will be both humbled and silenced to just note that color hanging there from my sleeve It would be inconceivable to me that I could just learn to carry myself like a bhikkhu without the guidance of senior and well practiced companions in the holy life to chasten and correct me and often until I learn better. For me that is the whole idea. Anyone can practice the path but the bhikkhu life is a support for a truly harmless and potentially blameless way of life, not that I should expect that I or anyone else would necessarily ever perfect that way of life. It is another kind of practice in itself in a way.

I have been kind of thinking about language school too. It will probably better to find out if the people I would like to be with for the foreseeable future will even be speaking Thai first. I picked up some CDs and the Rosetta Stone Thai course -level one. None of this is as simple as it might seem from elsewhere. Being there will afford a much more fully informed pov. Maybe I can stop in at the restaurant if I make my way that way in my travels.

Take care Fijinut, see you around.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:41 am

Hi fijiNut, all;

I was looking at FIji on the map and it is a little ways from where I will be roaming about, but not that far. Who knows which way the wind will blow and I plan to be a lot closer in a week than I am at this moment, that's for sure.

On the parental and familial approval front. I suggest you relax, keep the peace and let your virtues do the talking. I think as we get older one generally encounters a growing acceptance of who one is, for who they are, one way or another. My thinking is, make :quote: you :quote: the best you you can, knowing of course that it isn't really under your complete control anyways. You are, let's say, simply one of your biggest influences.
:smile:
As far as I know, parental approval is only necessary up to a given age, it might be best if one of the Ven. explains what the rules are and how these should be interpreted. I know that when I first went of to train for ordination my parents reaction was a great shock to me. In a tearful farewell they bid me goodbye and let me go. I had been so overwhelmed with joy that I wasn't prepared for the emotional contrast. It felt like their hearts were kind of breaking and as if I was a witness to my own funeral. I was deeply affected by it and I remembered them daily in my meditations. Always thankful for their noble parentage.

To be honest if anyone should ask how it is that I came to have an appreciation for what is noble and good I would tell them of my family. I would explain that from my father I have learned wisdom, from my mother I have learned compassion and from my sister I have learned about a virtue so strong and steady that it gives rise to an ever deepening ongoing purity of being even in this seemingly most difficult, complex and confusing age. I have been truly blessed to be born in among such kind, gentle, honest and hard working people who bring little but a mountain of meritorious thought, speech and action into the world. They set the bar high in my father's, father's house, and it is humbling. They are truly wealthy in much more than worldly things and I have never lacked much in any way for any good thing.

Still, I searched for what they would call, in their tradition, the pearl of great price. I found it, beyond any doubt, in the Buddhadhamma.

I'm back from my three day excursion to the big city.
:woohoo:
Big change for the country mouse. Lotta looking ahead, right, left, up, down, pausing, walking and running. Not to mention a thousand km on the Hyundai Accent. Man I feel sometimes like I must be getting pretty close to reaching a billion miles on the highways of this vast country I have called my home. Btw, my home town, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is in some trouble again (spring flooding). So, send out a little metta that way if you get the chance.

I hope to have time for a full report this weekend, for now I am a bit too exhausted to continue. When I am very tired I tend to ramble and write too much so I will get back to this thread in a day or two to add some detailed info on my visit to the consulate and my plans ahead. For now I'll simply let everyone know that the journey is a go and I am set to land in Thailand on the 24th.

metta and upekkha
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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appicchato
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by appicchato » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:45 am

Good wishes to both of you...FijiNut, and Nathan...

Reading the last couple of posts two things came to mind, one in each...first, the language...I may very well catch it from some direction but the bottom line is, you don't need it...not beyond basic communication...where's the bus station?, when's the next train?, how ya doin?,...I could go on but I think you get the gist...as I've eluded to in other posts Thais are not interested in 'philosophical' discussions (nor any other kind) with 'Falangs' (generally speaking, anyone not an Asian)...and if you travel around the country you'll see that Thais don't even understand each other, because those in the North don't speak anything like those in the South, even though they share the same language...and you won't be discussing Dhamma with monks either...because they don't discuss it amongst themselves...so, I would get myself a Lonely Planet phrasebook and dive into that...if you master what's in there you won't have any problems (and forget the 'tones' too, you'll pick those up as you learn new words and listen to people speak)...second, (Nathan) you won't get any guidance by any 'senior and well practiced companions'...you're on your own here...watch how they, the other monks (and lay people), do things and try to fit in...it'll all work out in the end...

Now, before anyone familiar with the monkhood and Thailand want to dispute my read on things, let me add the caveat that this view has been formed by my experience of more than thirty years in (every corner of)Thailand...granted, it won't be the same everywhere, nor for everyone...it's just that, my experience...

Again, best wishes to both of you in your endeavors... :smile:

nathan
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Re: Ordination in Thailand Info & Advice

Post by nathan » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:37 pm

appicchato wrote:Good wishes to both of you...FijiNut, and Nathan...

Reading the last couple of posts two things came to mind, one in each...first, the language...I may very well catch it from some direction but the bottom line is, you don't need it...not beyond basic communication...where's the bus station?, when's the next train?, how ya doin?,...I could go on but I think you get the gist...as I've eluded to in other posts Thais are not interested in 'philosophical' discussions (nor any other kind) with 'Falangs' (generally speaking, anyone not an Asian)...and if you travel around the country you'll see that Thais don't even understand each other, because those in the North don't speak anything like those in the South, even though they share the same language...and you won't be discussing Dhamma with monks either...because they don't discuss it amongst themselves...so, I would get myself a Lonely Planet phrasebook and dive into that...if you master what's in there you won't have any problems (and forget the 'tones' too, you'll pick those up as you learn new words and listen to people speak)...second, (Nathan) you won't get any guidance by any 'senior and well practiced companions'...you're on your own here...watch how they, the other monks (and lay people), do things and try to fit in...it'll all work out in the end...

Now, before anyone familiar with the monkhood and Thailand want to dispute my read on things, let me add the caveat that this view has been formed by my experience of more than thirty years in (every corner of)Thailand...granted, it won't be the same everywhere, nor for everyone...it's just that, my experience...

Again, best wishes to both of you in your endeavors... :smile:
Thank you Ven. Appicchato, for sharing your insights and for the candid advice.

To be honest, all of my conversations with the forest monks here in the west, even after many months at the monastery wouldn't fill three minutes either! I think this is for the best for everyone. We aren't, as monastics, in the business of being social butterflies are we? We are busy about the quiet business of mindfulness and nurturing what wisdom we possibly can. I think the monks here have prepared me well in that respect. I can also well understand the various sorts of Thai attitudes towards westerners given what much of their experience of westerners has probably been like. I do intend to pay attention, be careful, remain calm and composed and to "keep my big mouth shut!" I don't think it is much different, or at least optimally, this shouldn't be much different, even among a group of mostly western monks.

I have plenty of good phrase and language books and loads of software too. The challenge will be to pare it down to a reasonable size before I board the plane and begin plodding around the Thai countryside.

I found a whole bunch of great books at one of my favorite bookstores in Vancouver which has an extensive Theravada Dhamma section; it is one of the few book stores in Canada which does.

Banyan Books & Sound
http://www.banyen.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I found copies of many of the BPS meditation classics, which are small, concise and pack easily, as well as "The Four Foundations of Mindfulness" by Ven. U Silananda, "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm and "Satipatthana - The Direct Path to Realization" by Ven. Analayo. I'm looking forward to reading these in their entirety for the first time. They had many free copies of "Venerable Acariya Mun Bhuridatta Thera - A Spiritual Biography" by Acariya Maha Boowa Nanasampanno in the office of the Thai Consulate. I've read it a couple of times but I picked up a copy for a friend. They had a lot of other useful information there as well which I read over that evening. I returned much of it the next day but kept the complimentary map. I have a couple others but it may prove handy yet. I found another book in Vancouver, "Culture Shock! - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette - Thailand" by Robert Cooper. I haven't had time to look it over yet but it looked like it might be helpful as well.

It's available from:
Marshal Cavendish
http://www.marshallcavendish.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
(Those interested will have to browse this site to find it or maybe search amazon or something as I don't have time right now to locate a specific link.)

:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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