To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
brandwach
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To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by brandwach » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:49 am

To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult before making a decision?
I have a very serious Girlfriend. I love her. I also have a business that produces nearly passive income in quantities to afford a comfortable lifestyle (The business thing is, of course, in Samsara, and of course subject to decline.)
However, I do want to make the thrust of my life spiritual practice/study/meditation etc.
I guess I need to figure out if I will make it the only or just the principal thrust of my life.
I would greatly appreciate suggestions for resources to consult: books, and even lay and monastic masters who might offer telephone consultations about this matter.
Thanks and best to you all.

PS: I study Dharma about 1 hr per day, and meditate 2 hrs per day, seated and do about 1 hr walking meditation. I go to a retreat frequently, about three or four per year. I have been a buddhist for about 7 years, and am 32 years old. I have had a principally Theravada focus for about 6 months.
Last edited by brandwach on Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

brandwach
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by brandwach » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:50 am

PS: I should say I am not yet a Stream Enterer.

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James the Giant
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by James the Giant » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:18 am

Oh my, what a nice quandary! Comfortable family life, or monk's life! You have been reborn in a minor heaven, it seems.
Here is a nice play-list of short youtube videos from monks, talking about their decision to ordain, etc. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBA0427AD1924263A
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Polar Bear
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult fir

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:11 am

Maybe you should write a list of pros and cons, wait a day and review them. Then wait another day and spend that time thinking about whether you want to spend the rest of your life with the woman you love or if you want to give up everything you have and embark on a quest for total peace. They both sound enticing in their own ways. Anyway, it's certainly something to think long and hard about.

:anjali:
Last edited by Polar Bear on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Goofaholix
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by Goofaholix » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:34 am

You need to experience the monastic life for a few months to see if you are really up for it.

You've been regularly doing retreats but have they been in monastic settings or more secular retreat centres? If the latter then time to give the former a go, if the former then i don't really understand why you mention telephone consultations because you should have access to monks who you can talk to about what's involved in the life.

Sounds like you are very fortunate and can afford to do this indefinately as a layman, you might find the monastic life a cause of restlessness as you contemplate what you gave up and could easily get back.
“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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Mr Man
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by Mr Man » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:38 am

It sounds to me like you should do neither - Who knows?

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James the Giant
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by James the Giant » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:59 am

Yeah, best thing to do is take a 2 or 3 month holiday from work and stay at a monastery as a layperson. That way you can get a feeling for the lifestyle without committing to anything.
During your stay at the monastery you would also meet a lot of committed laypeople, who are (probably) managing to combine a normal family life with Buddhism. I met lots of successful and fairly wealthy doctors, architects, and business-owners, etc, during the time I was staying at a monastery, and they were really quite serious about the dhamma while still committed to their family lives.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:00 am

A collection of articles by westerners about Going Forth
BlogPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

brandwach
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by brandwach » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:51 am

Thank you all. I appreciate the community support. The retreats I have done are mostly in Mahayana Lay centers. I am doing a 10 day Goenka Retreat later this week. Certainly these days I feel a strong draw to renunciation. Matter-of-factly, I know that sensual/worldly pleasures are fleeting, and set up addictive cycles that tear down mental health. When reflecting on the whole secular/householder thing, I feel that I am more drawn to it out of a sense of what I would miss were I not to do it. Like, I think to myself that I would regret not having children. Also, my GF is a gem of a human, and I would hate to throw her to the side. It saddens me to think of such a thing. She would make an outstanding mother. But she is not a Buddhist or otherwise spiritual practitioner. This is a problem as she wants to watch TV/Movies, and eat tasty meals for pleasure in stead of practicing with me or discussing the Dharma. I don't fault her for this, but simply note that this is a difficulty for us and for my practice.
Anyway, If somehow I knew I wouldn't have those regrets about letting her go and letting go the possibility of having children I think I would take the dive. The business though successful by worldly standards, is clear to me for what it is: suffering, suffering, suffering.
On a different note, my draw to the Dharma is strong. I think about it all day long. I practice a lot. On a side note I have been doing Mahasi style noting recently. That has been great and of much greater value than Zen-style breath counting.
Anyway, I will look at the links you all posted.
Best to you all.
With Metta,

brandwach
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by brandwach » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:52 am

About going to a monastery for a few months. Yes, that's a good idea. I will send a letter to Wat Metta tomorrow about a visit.

brandwach
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by brandwach » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:01 am

Regarding the issue of living a life without access to the pleasure of sex (ordaining), I think I could be ok with celibacy. But, the whole not having a family thing seems like it might be a regret. Here I should mention that this assessment is made with an unenlightened mind. Once, meditating more, and away from stressful householder concerns my mind might straighten and no longer have this fear.
I guess I would appreciate the input especially regard to the whole issue of having children. I know that most people that have children never regret it. But, then these opinion samples are taken from Unenlightened lay people.
Anyway, may you all be well.

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Goofaholix
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:59 pm

brandwach wrote:I guess I would appreciate the input especially regard to the whole issue of having children. I know that most people that have children never regret it. But, then these opinion samples are taken from Unenlightened lay people.
Anyway, may you all be well.
When you have children you'll have much much less time for retreat practise, maybe none, other than that no regrets. So make the most of your opportunities now.

If your draw to the Dhamma is strong now then that may well be a feeling that is subject to impermanence, a few months in the monastery and you may find that changes so I wouldn't recommend basing life decisions on a feeling.
“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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manas
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by manas » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:29 pm

Hi brandwach,

I would agree with others, that you might consider taking a few months away from everything, and staying in a monastery to see if that lifestyle appeals to you, or not. Best to try it before tying the knot rather than after, right?

Bringing up children is both challenging, and rewarding, but I must inform you that, the affection one has for one's children can weigh on one's mind, especially when they go through pain or distress themselves, or occasionally inflict distress on their parents. Personally, if I know that my kids are in distress, I cannot get my mind to calm properly. (They live mostly at their mother's house, and I cannot control what happens over there, obviously). There is a tie of affection that links their welfare to mine. In short: you might find that some aspects of the Path, such as jhana, are very difficult for persons in family life.

metta
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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reflection
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by reflection » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:08 pm

Consult your heart. Nobody can tell you what is best for you. Some people may be better practitioners as a lay person than as a monk/nun.

I would, however, recommend you to share your feelings and ideas with your girlfriend - if you don't already do. Of all the people in the world -yourself aside- she might give the best insights.


With metta,
Reflection

jonno
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Re: To Marry or Ordain -Which resources should I consult first?

Post by jonno » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:17 am

Hi. I recall that when someone said to the DL that the life of a monk must be very hard, he replied with his customary laugh,"oh no! Now marriage is really hard". Perhaps you should be thinking about what you can Give to other beings in either role rather than what you can gain. Personally I have found that married life has taught me things which I never would have learned in a monastery. Sure marriage and raising a family is hard at times, but adversity is a great teacher and adds to your development and practice. Also in living in the outside world you can use your understanding ,love and compassion for the benefit of others. Whether in a monastery or within a family life, both can be of great benefit to yourself and others. The choice is yours alone of course, but let love ,compassion and the Buddhas teachings be your guiding light. Just a final thought, if his mother and father had never conceived him, the Buddha would have never been born and we would never have had the benefit of his teachings. Love jonno

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