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issues concerning whether to ordain

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  • swishsticks
    Dear Venerable Monks, It would be of assistance to me, and perhaps others in this group, to know a little more about what you believe makes for a successful
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 6, 2003
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      Dear Venerable Monks,

      It would be of assistance to me, and perhaps others in this group, to
      know a little more about what you believe makes for a successful
      decision to join the sangha.

      This is something I have recently been pondering, and I find there
      are a lot of differing ways to see it. For example, views against
      could include: one can be mindful anywhere, one must live an
      integrated life of meditation while in the world, one has to be
      an 'advanced' practitioner to contemplate such a step, celibacy is
      against nature, the sangha is an out-of-date lifestyle, etc.

      On the other hand, one could say that the sangha offers a means of
      training the mind and heart in a way which leads to true freedom,
      which is the purpose of our life here. It is a skillful set of
      conventions for those who wish to investigate their true nature
      within the Buddhist tradition.

      I wonder if you could share any reflections/experience on what type
      of people make 'good' candidates and become worthy monks. I am 37
      yeras old, and have seen something of the world in its many aspects,
      but I find that I am getting weary of the lay lifestyle. So much of
      life seems to be about distracting ourselves from its basic
      realities, through such means as endless entertainment, and so many
      people seem to be at the unhappy mercy of their untrained minds and
      hearts.

      I am not considering making an instant decision, but rather thinking
      of how, over the next 2-3 years, I could best prepare myself for such
      a step and test it to see if it is a deep-rooted desire which I would
      be prepared to follow through with at some stage.

      Your answers would be very much appreciated.
    • Bhikkhu Pesala
      ... Not only lay people, but also many monks are still at the mercy of their untrained minds. Ordaining in itself doesn t change the deep-rooted tendencies,
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 8, 2003
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        > It would be of assistance to me, and perhaps others in this group, to
        > know a little more about what you believe makes for a successful
        > decision to join the sangha.

        Not only lay people, but also many monks are still at the mercy of their
        untrained minds. Ordaining in itself doesn't change the deep-rooted
        tendencies, one must gain deep insight knowledge to do that.

        In my view, what makes a good monk or nun, is the motivation that
        drives them to join the Sangha. Are they running away from problems,
        bowing to parental pressure, or just looking for a convenient livelihood?
        A monk should be 100% dedicated to learning, teaching, and
        practising the Dhamma. If he still has any worldly aims, he may succeed
        in his worldly aims, but do himself more harm than good.

        Maybe as a lay person you can understand better than me what makes
        for a successful marriage. I guess that the first priority would be to marry
        the right person, but judging that is difficult. Romance and marriage are
        not quite the same. Second might be sincerity, fidelity, openness. Then
        third would be courage, committment, patience, and wisdom.

        So number one on my list would be to find a monastic community that is
        really working, with a teacher who is widely respected. When you think
        you have found the right place for you, spend as much time as you can
        helping the community in whatever way you can as a lay person, and
        getting to know their aims and attitudes. When you have no serious
        doubts, then join the community as a postulant, and do whatever is
        required of you.
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