Monk for a Month?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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tiltbillings
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:52 am

When I saw the thread title, the first thought I had was was that it takes at least a month just to get to learn how put the robes on so they do not fall off, but then looking at the pictures I see that this is the group of monks that wears a big yellow sash that holds everything in place. That problem solved. If it had been a full ordination, that I would question, but a novice ordination probably is okay, but a number of legitimate questions have been raised. I can only shrug my shoulders.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:59 am

Hi Mikenz66
mikenz66 wrote:And there are many advantages to the student when Dhamma and accomodation are freely given and dana can then also be freely given.
yes I fully agree, but in conection to this program on closer analasis this is a "commercial enterprise" done in connection with a group who are helping Refugees feed themselves, get education, and sell their goods, I suppose a sort of fancy Retreat centre which uses the profit for something good can have its advantages.
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Jesse Smith
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Jesse Smith » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:19 am

With no disrespect intended to the Thai tradition, I see so many problems with this. It seems to minimize the basis for take up the robes, leaving home, sincere renunciation, commitment to a homeless life, etc. One weak comparison I could think of is those charity events where someone spends a night in jail, get's all dressed up in a striped uniform, and "pretends" to be an incarcerated criminal. I have to wonder how the people serving multiple years or even life sentences see this, how closely they think this reflects the true nature of a life in prison. (Just to be clear, I'm in no way comparing a monk's conditions with imprisonment).
From what I've read in the Suttas, the Buddha's words to monks, his advice on their conduct and their interaction with lay people, this type of program conflicts so much and opens up many problems.
Maybe I'm clinging to the name of the program, "Monk for a month". Maybe "Monk's physical surroundings for a month." Or "Live among monks for a month".

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Cittasanto
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Cittasanto » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:13 am

Jesse Smith wrote:With no disrespect intended to the Thai tradition, I see so many problems with this. It seems to minimize the basis for take up the robes, leaving home, sincere renunciation, commitment to a homeless life, etc
How?
One weak comparison I could think of is those charity events where someone spends a night in jail, get's all dressed up in a striped uniform, and "pretends" to be an incarcerated criminal. I have to wonder how the people serving multiple years or even life sentences see this, how closely they think this reflects the true nature of a life in prison. (Just to be clear, I'm in no way comparing a monk's conditions with imprisonment).
Didn't bother me and I was in a prison which still had slop outs in the morning (go to the toilet in a bucket at night and chuck it out in the morning)
a charity event is hardly comparable to full time imprisonment! besides it is a charity event and not supposed to be the real deal.
From what I've read in the Suttas, the Buddha's words to monks, his advice on their conduct and their interaction with lay people, this type of program conflicts so much and opens up many problems.
Maybe I'm clinging to the name of the program, "Monk for a month". Maybe "Monk's physical surroundings for a month." Or "Live among monks for a month
there are places which basically offer the same thing without the robes, such as 8 or 10 precept retreats, this is just slightly different as you wear robes also, which are given to novices who live by the 10 precepts, and Anagarika who live by 8
plus it could be said if they were truly genuine practitioners they would
Satipatthana Sutta wrote: having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building
and only go and find another monk when they felt they needed a teaching, advice, or support in their practice, and only gather in monasteries when it was Vessa, and they make it clear this project is a commercial enterprise aimed at foreigners who wish to adopt robes for a short time, and the proceeds are in aid of other projects.
I am only giving another outlook not defending this group.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by jcsuperstar » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:02 am

in thai traditional buddhism most men become a monk for a short time. it's seen as a right of passage of sorts, and brings merit to one's family. i doubt any monks in thailand really see it as any sort of insult. in fact most thai monks i know love the idea of westerners spending time in temples and learning the dhamma.
Last edited by jcsuperstar on Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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robertk
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by robertk » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:12 am

One can check with the Tipitaka and Vinaya and see whether promotions like this were done in the Buddha's time. If they were then it is great, if on the other hand ordaining as a Bhikkhu was a serious undertaking then it might be different.

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Jesse Smith
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Jesse Smith » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:23 am

robertk wrote:One can check with the Tipitaka and Vinaya and see whether promotions like this were done in the Buddha's time. If they were then it is great, if on the other hand ordaining as a Bhikkhu was a serious undertaking then it might be different.
Are these promotions offering the heartwood, or selling pieces of bark as souvenirs?

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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by jcsuperstar » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:02 pm

no more or less than any retreat session i'd say depending on the person. but if you find a problem with that then thats your deal i guess. what these things are suppossed to do is let people learn more about the dhamma, and the life of monks in an intensive learning setting. i can hardly find fault in that, it would be a blameless act.

i've never done the "monk for a month" package, but i took 10 precepts when i lived at a Wat in thailand to practice meditation, theres no difference, but i guess i didnt get anything from it though, somehow me living in a temple to study with monks cheapend the dhamma and would be something the buddha was against? i dont get the critisism.... i along with many thai women will be living at a temple this weekend (though with only 8 precepts ) for magha puja day again this is seen as a great way to honor the buddha and sangha is that somehow disrepectful too?
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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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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:07 pm

Temporary ordination is common in Burma. Temporary monks are known as Dullabha = difficult to get. That is because human rebirth is difficult to get (rare), to meet the Buddha sāsana is rare, and to ordain as a bhikkhu in that sāsana is rare.

The custom in Burma is for many men (and some women) to enter the Sangha at some stage in their life at least once, and some do it many times. During early adolescence they may become a novice, and at 19 years from conception they enter the Sangha again as a bhikkhu.

It is not uncommon for them to stay for only two weeks — often during the Burmese New Year vacation when many offices and colleges are closed. Young novices may stay only a matter of days.

If the abbot is good, they will get some useful education and training. If they are well-educated Buddhists from pious families they will already have a basic understanding of what the monks' life entails, and what the benefits of meditation are.

On balance, I think it is a beneficial custom, but it is unfortunate if young men are bribed and cojouled into become monks by relatives, although they have neither the will mor wisdom to do it voluntarily.

If you have the opportunity to ordain, and wish to meditate seriously, do take it — you will learn a lot more from living the monk's life than looking at how well or badly others manage to do it.
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Snowmelt
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Snowmelt » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:02 am

I understand that monastics may not ask for food. I had understood that they also may not ask for money. Is this not the case? Or are these people not monastics?

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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:33 am

Snowmelt wrote:I understand that monastics may not ask for food. I had understood that they also may not ask for money. Is this not the case? Or are these people not monastics?
the person who sets it all up isnt a monk

basicly from what i know about this, the monks arent heavily involved, they allow it, and it helps them out, but a layman sets it up runs it etc. this wasnt the idea of monks who wanted some cash going out and buying ads and charging for retreats
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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

Snowmelt
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Snowmelt » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:04 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
Snowmelt wrote:I understand that monastics may not ask for food. I had understood that they also may not ask for money. Is this not the case? Or are these people not monastics?
the person who sets it all up isnt a monk

basicly from what i know about this, the monks arent heavily involved, they allow it, and it helps them out, but a layman sets it up runs it etc. this wasnt the idea of monks who wanted some cash going out and buying ads and charging for retreats
Understood. :)

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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by Avery » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:41 pm

Jesse Smith wrote:With no disrespect intended to the Thai tradition, I see so many problems with this. It seems to minimize the basis for take up the robes, leaving home, sincere renunciation, commitment to a homeless life, etc.
I reiterate what other people said, this is a quite common practice in countries with a Theravada tradition and it seems to tie the monasteries in with their communities. I believe that before government-mandated schooling anyone who wanted to learn to read would be taught in a monastery.

I am surprised by the cost, though. I think if you entered a monastery in Burma the cost would be roughly half of this. I'm sure it sounds nice to give a lot of money to support the monastery that houses you, but if you pay so much you might start thinking it is a vacation you have paid for instead of a devotion which you are engaging in. Does this make sense? See, normally, a three-week "retreat" or dullabha is part of a local community that supports the monks on a regular basis, so there is no payment made before or after dullabha. In this case, though, you are coming in from the outside and giving them money to house you up. If it's a small amount it will seem more like a donation, and maybe you will realize it is insufficient for the long-term maintenance of the monastery. But for $700... I associate that sort of price with Caribbean cruise lines.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:On balance, I think it is a beneficial custom, but it is unfortunate if young men are bribed and cojouled into become monks by relatives, although they have neither the will mor wisdom to do it voluntarily.
This is also true. There are many services like this that actually attract pious relatives, who then force their nephews or sons into the sangha. Last night my Burmese friend told me that this is how he was "turned off" from Buddhism.

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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by fabianfred » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:13 am

To get more details click on the link to the Facebook pages for Monkforamonth (in the bottom corner of the Monkforamonth website)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fang-Thai ... 5067157310" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There you will find many more photos and comments by those who have attended the project.

I am fabianfred at the E-Sangha site and I do the Dhamma and Vipassana instruction....if anyone has any more questions..

we also have a monkforamonth group on Flickr for more photos

http://www.flickr.com/groups/974377@N21/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Monk for a Month?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:59 am

Hi Fabianfred.

:hello:

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel, by the way.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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