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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acinteyyo
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by acinteyyo » Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:29 pm

What is holding you back from ordaining?
I'm incapable of breaking up with my girlfriend.
Sometimes it makes me sad, when I lose restraint, I'm really loving her but I know that it won't last.
I'm kind of caught between two stools.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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jcsuperstar
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by jcsuperstar » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:13 pm

meindzai wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
meindzai wrote:Pretty much sealed that last week too since I got engaged. :)
Congratulations! (I think? :tongue: - it feels like a funny sub-forum in which to say that...)
lol. I know, right? I had debated just making a general post about it in the lounge but it even felt wierd to announce it as if I was saying "Welp. Guess I'll be sticking around samsara a little while since I'm getting married soon." But I actually believe I'll make a better husband than monk. Having contemplated a celibate life before getting into a relationship, I can't even bare the thought of being anything less than completely loyal, faithful, and respectful of my partner. Marriage may be samsara but it doesn't have to be hell. :)

-M
kinda what i did.. btw congrats!
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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pilgrim
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by pilgrim » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:16 am

acinteyyo wrote: I'm incapable of breaking up with my girlfriend.
Sometimes it makes me sad, when I lose restraint, I'm really loving her but I know that it won't last.
I'm kind of caught between two stools.
LOL...reminds me of the Ajahn Chah story where the young monk kept pining for his ex-girlfriend. So Ajahn advised him to keep a little momento of her to pull out whenever he felt that way, a bottle of her faeces! ... .Caught between two stools..LOL

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acinteyyo
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by acinteyyo » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:05 am

pilgrim wrote:
acinteyyo wrote: I'm incapable of breaking up with my girlfriend.
Sometimes it makes me sad, when I lose restraint, I'm really loving her but I know that it won't last.
I'm kind of caught between two stools.
LOL...reminds me of the Ajahn Chah story where the young monk kept pining for his ex-girlfriend. So Ajahn advised him to keep a little momento of her to pull out whenever he felt that way, a bottle of her faeces! ... .Caught between two stools..LOL
lol... :toilet: but unfortunately that wouldn't help, her faeces can't upset me that much. breaking up with my girlfriend means to break up with the whole life we built up together. I feel that it's my duty or that I've got some kind of commitment... rather that I'm responsible for her, since we built up our lives with each other based on our relationship. I dunno... think it's quite selfish. But I know that the responsibility I feel is also an excuse for myself. However sooner or later I'm going to leave the householders life, it's not a question about whether or not, but when.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Vardali
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Vardali » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:38 am

What is holding me back is household obligations (I am the breadwinner here, too), but also my opinion that at the stage of the path I am on, I would just swap "layperson"-dukkha with "monastic"-dukkha.

I feel fortunate that - other than my obligations to earn our roof over the head and food on the table - I have all freedom in the world to practice.

So it is up to make the most of it (which I am not fully utilize yet) wherever I am.
And I am just not convinced that the monastic way is the only path to renunciation (I would be wondering of how much of monastic life is actually avoidance?)

:anjali:

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Kokoro
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Kokoro » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:57 pm

It is my hope to ordain some day, but before I do that I must settle my debts, financial and otherwise, and if this life should end before I am able to ordain, then I hope to be able to do so in the next life as early on as possible once any remaining debts from this life if left unsettled upon its end, are satisfied.

:anjali:

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retrofuturist
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:06 pm

Greetings Vardali,
Vardali wrote:And I am just not convinced that the monastic way is the only path to renunciation (I would be wondering of how much of monastic life is actually avoidance?)
It's an interesting perception, that.

I'm convinced that its anything but avoidance, for the reason that monastic life provides suitable conditions for mindfulness, concentration and analysis of dhammas. When one can dedicate themselves to more deeply examining the world (and remember that in the Buddha's parlance "the world", is nothing but the six senses or five aggregates of experience) they are actually coming face-to-face, deeply and directly with the world. On the other hand, true avoidance would be a lack of mindfulness. Avoidance would be shifting bodily positions without consciously realising one is doing so to alleviate some physical discomfort and so on... lack of mindfulness is a common trait in everyday society.

One's motivations for the monastic life may be attributable to avoidance, but the monastic way itself is certainly not one of avoidance - in fact, it is very much the opposite.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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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Wind
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Wind » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:43 am

retrofuturist wrote:
One's motivations for the monastic life may be attributable to avoidance, but the monastic way itself is certainly not one of avoidance - in fact, it is very much the opposite.

Metta,
Retro. :)
I agree Retro. When one decides to leave the household life to monastic, he essentially decided to face his craving through the six sense base head on so he can conquer them and cleanse his mind of defilements toward liberation. Monks are not avoiding anything, they are taking up the fight against ignorance, although some people might ordain because they are running away from something. I guess one have to understand their own motive.

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Vardali
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Vardali » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:53 pm

Retro, I am sure that monastic life allows you a more stringent focus on all aspects of practise. That's deffo a plus :)

Perhaps my opinion - and it is nothing more than that ;) - is biased from the impression I have gotten from my Christian background, but it appears to me that a key component of monastic life is to minimize "temptation". And while I'm aware that there is much more to practise, I hope the following example illustrates my personal unreadiness with the monastic approach.

I mean, a whole lot of practise is aiming at guarding the sense-doors. One way obviously is by strengthening the "internal" guards and level of awareness. The other is by minimizing exposure. That to me, this latter part feels a bit like a cop-out, like removing options to ensure that one doesn't pick the "wrong" choice. :) By doing so, you may start feeling confident that you have mastered some restraint, even though this is just based on lack of opportunity. I want to be sure I can overcome craving and clinging while it is a very real "threat", or I cannot feel I have safely mastered this challenge.

If your path in that respect is clear and you do not have such reservations, good for you :) I, myself, just want to make sure I'm not falling into a "the grass is greener on the othe side" of practise of an -perhaps - idealised perception of renunciate lifestyle that leads to a illusionary sense of "safety" due more to lack of options/choice rather than proper safeguarding mind and sense-doors.

This is just part of it, though, but I am afraid I cannot make my personal concern much clearer than that :)

with metta,
V.

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BlackBird
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by BlackBird » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:58 pm

Vardali wrote: I mean, a whole lot of practise is aiming at guarding the sense-doors. One way obviously is by strengthening the "internal" guards and level of awareness. The other is by minimizing exposure. That to me, this latter part feels a bit like a cop-out, like removing options to ensure that one doesn't pick the "wrong" choice. :
How is it a cop out? I understanding your explanation, but I don't understand why that's a bad thing...

metta
Jack :heart:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Vardali
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Vardali » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:16 pm

BlackBird wrote:
Vardali wrote: I mean, a whole lot of practise is aiming at guarding the sense-doors. One way obviously is by strengthening the "internal" guards and level of awareness. The other is by minimizing exposure. That to me, this latter part feels a bit like a cop-out, like removing options to ensure that one doesn't pick the "wrong" choice. :
How is it a cop out? I understanding your explanation, but I don't understand why that's a bad thing...

metta
Jack :heart:
It might not be a bad thing at all, it might actually be the smart thing to do. It just doesn't sit right with me (yet), though, it feels to me like not facing what "is".

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Guy
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Guy » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:21 pm

Hi Vardali,
Vardali wrote:Perhaps my opinion - and it is nothing more than that ;) - is biased from the impression I have gotten from my Christian background, but it appears to me that a key component of monastic life is to minimize "temptation". And while I'm aware that there is much more to practise, I hope the following example illustrates my personal unreadiness with the monastic approach.

I mean, a whole lot of practise is aiming at guarding the sense-doors. One way obviously is by strengthening the "internal" guards and level of awareness. The other is by minimizing exposure. That to me, this latter part feels a bit like a cop-out, like removing options to ensure that one doesn't pick the "wrong" choice. :) By doing so, you may start feeling confident that you have mastered some restraint, even though this is just based on lack of opportunity. I want to be sure I can overcome craving and clinging while it is a very real "threat", or I cannot feel I have safely mastered this challenge.
Recently I heard a good simile (one of Ajahn Chah's) regarding meditation, but I think it applies just as well here.

When you have a path which is covered in leaves then you won't even notice if another leaf falls and lands on that path. When you have a newly swept path and a leaf falls on it, that leaf will stand out clearly. The simile was refering to the way the mind notices objects much more easily when the mind is still an peaceful, like the newly swept path whereas a scattered mind will hardly notice another object arising.

Using the simile in this context I would say that lay life is like the path covered with leaves - full of stimulating sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch sensations - we have our work cut out for us when it comes to guarding the sense doors. Not to say it's impossible, but it is obvious why the monastic life is more conducive to meditation practice since us lay people are constantly bombarded with the preliminary work. Perhaps only getting some deep meditation during retreat periods.

:soap:

(Going off on a tangent a bit here) I would say that many lay people don't guard the sense doors as well as they might like to think they do (myself included) or else why wouldn't we ordain if we were REALLY restrained already? Instead we might think "I'll guard my sense doors for those things that I don't like, but the things I do like...well...maybe not so much". I know this from watching my own mind, how it takes things up and proliferates about them due to selectively guarding the sense doors.

End of :soap:

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Goofaholix
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:37 pm

Vardali wrote:It might not be a bad thing at all, it might actually be the smart thing to do. It just doesn't sit right with me (yet), though, it feels to me like not facing what "is".
Actually a large part of human activity is designed to stay one step ahead of what is, one step ahead of loneliness, one step ahead of boredon, one step ahead of insecurity, one step ahead of restlessness, one step ahead of anxiety, one step ahead of pain. All we do is attach to things that take our attention off the things in life we don't want to face, we buy the latest toy, find the latest romance, watch the latest blockbuster.

The point of the monastic life is that it restricts your options to keep one step ahead of these things, you have to face them, when you face them you have the opportunity to gain freedom from them.
“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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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by Northernbuck » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:57 am

That's just about the easiest question that I can answer. I am not strong enough.
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7

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RayfieldNeel
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Post by RayfieldNeel » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:52 pm

I have 2 things that hold me back from becoming a monk of some stripe:

1)Family obligation: I have a wife and 2 fairly young kids; my interest in Buddhist teachings didn't really sink in 'til just the last couple of years.

2)I'm still figuring out my path. I'm focusing on teachers rather than schools...the problem is that my 3 favorite teachers/authors represent 3 very different schools. :tongue:

If my wife dumps me for some reason, I will be giving this a lot of thought once my kids are grown.

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