Age limit for entering monastic life?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
shjohnk
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Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by shjohnk » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:46 pm

Are there any age limits for a person entering monastic life? My reading only seems to indicate that the candidate needs to satisfy general physical and mental health requirements; age doesn't seem to be mentioned. Does any one know about how this works in monastic orders that accept people from all countries? i.e: I know that in Myanmar or Thailand etc. some people choose to ordain after 70 and end their days as a monastic, but what about in the more international orders? Any age limits? Thanks for any input!

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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by Individual » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:10 am

Doubt it. In Thailand, young children are often ordained at a very young age, being raised to be monks from birth:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Categ ... f_Thailand" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Image

Their status as novice monks, though, isn't exactly the same as a real bhikkhu, though, I guess. I'm not sure if there are any age limits for full ordination.
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shjohnk
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by shjohnk » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:28 am

Well, maybe the old-age tradition is in Myanmar. I know its one of the SE Asian countries. Nice photo :)

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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:48 am

Before the age of 20, one is a novice. Full ordination must be at a minimum age of 20.

No maximum age. In North Hollywood, California a few years back there was an ex-Protestant minister who ordained at the age of 92 or 95, lived for a few years until his death at that monastery. Sri Lankan monks were at his bedside chanting while he passed.

:bow:

Currently they have another older monk who ordained at the age of about 85.

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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:28 am

Greetings,
TheDhamma wrote:No maximum age.
Thanks goodness for that.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Ben
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by Ben » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:33 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
TheDhamma wrote:No maximum age.
Thanks goodness for that.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Seconded!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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cooran
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by cooran » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:19 am

Hello all,

Do I notice a slight tendency in this thread for posters to assume it is only Males who may wish to ordain someday? :o

My understanding is that in many asian monasteries, females have to be under 50 years of age with very limited places.
Elsewhere - as at Ajahn Brahmavamso and Ajahn Vayama's monastery - numbers for females are extremely limited ... down to less than five.

However - there is hope - this is a response I had from a young friend who is presently an Anagarika at Santi Monastery, in New South Wales:

Taking Anagarika precepts (8 precepts) is actually not considered an ordination, believe it or not. You are still a layperson, just on 8 precepts with a bald head wearing white. However it is symbolic of your aspiration to eventually ordain. Here at santi the procedure for ordination is first you come along and stay as a short term lay guest. After 4 weeks stay you then are considered a "long term lay guest". After three months you are allowed to take anagarika precepts. After one year you can then take novice nun/monk precepts (10 precepts). After one year as a novice you can take higher ordination if you so wish. Currently at santi there is no higher ordination for women, but it is the monasterys goal for this to happen, and Bhante Sujato (abbot) is highly supportive of full Bhikkuni ordination.

Ordination rules vary greatly from monastery to monastery, the anagarika thing is purlely cultural (thai), the Buddha didn't do this. If you are interested i can send you info in more detail - i have a printout of a few pages of santi ordination info i can send to you, i am more than happy to do this for you.

Ordination is open to anyone regardless of their age, gender, background etc.

The santi website is http://www.santifm.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I hope this helps.


metta

Chris
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BlackBird
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by BlackBird » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:48 am

I noticed a certain reluctance from some Western Monasteries to ordain older people.
I enquired about this to a certain Monk, because I thought it a little callous.

Apparently older people become more stuck in their ways, and so may have to spend more years in the white Anagarika robes, before they can recieve higher ordination. I don't think this a rule set in stone so much as a general proceedure.

It is something to think about, for all those out there who are considering Monastic life for their retirement...
I'd be careful about thinking in terms of actually living that long anyway, life is uncertain - But death is certain.
"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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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:41 am

Hi Blackbird & All,
I have attached a PDF of a document I recieved from amaravati a while ago which talks about this procedure.

I think the general rule of thumb for western monestaries (those in the west run by westerners (those raised in the west) rememberin a western Buddhist thread) is taken from christian monasticism where the age limit applies, I believe, this is true according to some of the sites I have seen to do with ordination in christianity, but may be simlpy a case of them targeting the prime audiance?

Chris I don't think there is an asumption here about sex, it is simply the case of examples are going to be more prevelent from men due to the ordination problems women are having due to the female line dying off for what ever reason, the same would apply to anyone who can be ordained! the same would be true in medicine if we were talking about a breast cancer (which affects men also but to a lesser extent) the vast majority of examples are from women so it would be natural for women to be talked about more than men.

Retro I third that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
as you can probably tell from the attachment I have looked into ordination and would probably be a novice now if I hadn't met the love of my life! :woohoo:
Attachments
Angarikas-UK_EU.pdf
(80.59 KiB) Downloaded 518 times
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

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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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:04 am

Hi Chris
just read your post again particularly the part I quote below, and from my experiance this is quite standard in the west, I think, well I have heard, that in asia you could get ordained straight away, this was in the 60's/70's so may of been or the norm at the time? but was from the FWBO files and one other place which the name escapes me, but certainly havn't heard anything which would directly correct this as most of the examples I hear or read from western monks who ordained in asia around this time or before don't talk about their anagarika days, and very seldomly their novice days. although I do think if this was the case it would of been peculiare to somewhere, and don't think it was lay to Bhikkhu but a certain period of Novice ordination would of been involved.
Chris wrote: However - there is hope - this is a response I had from a young friend who is presently an Anagarika at Santi Monastery, in New South Wales:

Taking Anagarika precepts (8 precepts) is actually not considered an ordination, believe it or not. You are still a layperson, just on 8 precepts with a bald head wearing white. However it is symbolic of your aspiration to eventually ordain. Here at santi the procedure for ordination is first you come along and stay as a short term lay guest. After 4 weeks stay you then are considered a "long term lay guest". After three months you are allowed to take anagarika precepts. After one year you can then take novice nun/monk precepts (10 precepts). After one year as a novice you can take higher ordination if you so wish. Currently at santi there is no higher ordination for women, but it is the monasterys goal for this to happen, and Bhante Sujato (abbot) is highly supportive of full Bhikkuni ordination.

Ordination rules vary greatly from monastery to monastery, the anagarika thing is purlely cultural (thai), the Buddha didn't do this. If you are interested i can send you info in more detail - i have a printout of a few pages of santi ordination info i can send to you, i am more than happy to do this for you.

Ordination is open to anyone regardless of their age, gender, background etc.

The santi website is http://www.santifm.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I hope this helps.


metta

Chris
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

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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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:26 am

Manapa wrote:
Ordination rules vary greatly from monastery to monastery, the anagarika thing is purlely cultural (thai), the Buddha didn't do this. If you are interested i can send you info in more detail - i have a printout of a few pages of santi ordination info i can send to you, i am more than happy to do this for you.
As far as I understand it's not even a Thai cultural thing, it's a cultural thing of this particular sub-tradition. Which I think is very sensible! It is certainly possible in Thailand to go straight from layman to full Bhikkhu (Though I believe that technically you take the novice ordination then the full ordination sequentially).

Metta
Mike

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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Manapa wrote:
Ordination rules vary greatly from monastery to monastery, the anagarika thing is purlely cultural (thai), the Buddha didn't do this. If you are interested i can send you info in more detail - i have a printout of a few pages of santi ordination info i can send to you, i am more than happy to do this for you.
As far as I understand it's not even a Thai cultural thing, it's a cultural thing of this particular sub-tradition. Which I think is very sensible! It is certainly possible in Thailand to go straight from layman to full Bhikkhu (Though I believe that technically you take the novice ordination then the full ordination sequentially).

Metta
Mike
Hi Mike
Well I supose 30 mins is a time period :)
but I am leaning to the same 'conclusion'
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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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Ben
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by Ben » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:21 am

Chris wrote:Do I notice a slight tendency in this thread for posters to assume it is only Males who may wish to ordain someday?
Sorry Chris.
I was just thinking about myself.
Thanks for the update re: Santi
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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BlackBird
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by BlackBird » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:10 am

Manapa wrote:Hi Blackbird & All,
I have attached a PDF of a document I recieved from amaravati a while ago which talks about this procedure.
Thanks Manapa. This was an interesting read.
"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

Path Press - Ñāṇavīra Thera Dhamma Page - Ajahn Nyanamoli's Dhamma talks

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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:18 pm

Chris wrote: Bhante Sujato (abbot) is highly supportive of full Bhikkuni ordination.

Ordination is open to anyone regardless of their age, gender, background etc.
:twothumbsup:

:clap:

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