Thinking about ordination

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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby randomseb » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:12 am

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:Becoming a serious hermit with nothing but practice 24x7. Lots of Milarepa's, Kalu Rinpoche's and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoches at least on the outer level.

Kirt


That's the ideal, but without some kind of support, be it a community or your wealth, you'll go hungry.


Milarepa survived on nettle, the spiky plant.. The moral being find out what natural foods can be harvested in the area you plan on settling, and plan on moving around a lot.

Don't need to go to Asia to be a hermit!

I personally solved this dilemma of the modern world by moving to a remote dharma center on a West coast island, a place meant for quiet meditation and contemplation (not social networking, gathering and general goofing off - aka some monasteries), with the potential for entering into novicehood if the lifestyle here suits me

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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby kirtu » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:16 am

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:Becoming a serious hermit with nothing but practice 24x7. Lots of Milarepa's, Kalu Rinpoche's and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoches at least on the outer level.

Kirt


That's the ideal, but without some kind of support, be it a community or your wealth, you'll go hungry.

That's actually one unfortunate part of being a western national -- you can't legally live as a mendicant in Nepal or the Himalayas.


Okay but if what you and some others have said is true and reasonably accurate - you can live in India, Nepal and Bangladesh on $300/month (room and food). I haven't seen anyone address transportation costs though or other costs like visa costs and medical costs. If we assume $200 transportation + $45 visa costs incurred every five months then we need $4090/yr to live in the Himalayas legally (glossing the necessity of having an open plane ticket to somewhere which could be an additional complication).

Is this approximately correct?

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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:46 pm

randomseb wrote:Milarepa survived on nettle, the spiky plant.. The moral being find out what natural foods can be harvested in the area you plan on settling, and plan on moving around a lot.


That isn't realistic for most people.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:50 pm

kirtu wrote:Okay but if what you and some others have said is true and reasonably accurate - you can live in India, Nepal and Bangladesh on $300/month (room and food). I haven't seen anyone address transportation costs though or other costs like visa costs and medical costs. If we assume $200 transportation + $45 visa costs incurred every five months then we need $4090/yr to live in the Himalayas legally (glossing the necessity of having an open plane ticket to somewhere which could be an additional complication).


If you lived on monastery food, it could be very cheap and/or free. It depends where you live.

The visa issue in India is less of a problem now because you just need to leave the country every six months and not stay out two months during that period.

Nepal is different, though, because tourists can only stay six months if I recall correctly.

Truth be told if you can find a retreat center to stay in that isn't prohibitively expense and/or a monastery, then it shouldn't be an issue in India if you have a bit of cash for visas.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby kirtu » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:59 pm

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:Okay but if what you and some others have said is true and reasonably accurate - you can live in India, Nepal and Bangladesh on $300/month (room and food). I haven't seen anyone address transportation costs though or other costs like visa costs and medical costs. If we assume $200 transportation + $45 visa costs incurred every five months then we need $4090/yr to live in the Himalayas legally (glossing the necessity of having an open plane ticket to somewhere which could be an additional complication).


If you lived on monastery food, it could be very cheap and/or free. It depends where you live.


But what are the actual worst case (worst case in the cheap category) and best case estimates assuming that people don't find free food/accomodation? How are non-Indians/non-Tibetans in Bodhgaya able to stay for a long time according to them on next to nothing?


The visa issue in India is less of a problem now because you just need to leave the country every six months and not stay out two months during that period.


Don't you mean that you have to leave India every six months and stay out for 2 months? Or has this changed? According to what you wrote this has turned into a visa run problem.

Nepal is different, though, be cause tourists can only stay six months if I recall correctly.


in a 12 month period. I thought it was five months.


Truth be told if you can find a retreat center to stay in that isn't prohibitively expense and/or a monastery, then it shouldn't be an issue in India if you have a bit of cash for visas.


And what is that estimate?

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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Rroman » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:05 am

The visa issue in India is less of a problem now because you just need to leave the country every six months and not stay out two months during that period.

I believe the rules have changed. At least that is what I have been told. You can now leave India for only a day, no the 2 months that one would use o have to do.

Nepal is different, though, because tourists can only stay six months if I recall correctly.

5 months. A business visa costs are 650.00 for six months. But they are hard to renew, from what I have been told. A year
Y visa then would cost 1,200 a year. I have a friend that has been here for over 3 years with no visa. I think when he does leave he will have to pay 5,000. I think, though I could be wrong as I usually am.

Truth be told if you can find a retreat center to stay in that isn't prohibitively expense and/or a monastery, then it shouldn't be an issue in India if you have a bit of cash for visas.


There are places to stay in retreat for next to nothing. Other then your food costs that is. Though I have priced a place to do a year and it would cost around 5,000 that is with food and visa. But yes, you would then still have to get out here. Though, with the help of a teacher, they could help with expensises depending on merit, I would think.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby randomseb » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:12 am

I recall looking into going to Asia somewhere for ordination or at least staying at a monastery for a while (like in the 1900's, say) and there was a particular visa type for monastic practice or some such, where you needed to be sponsored by a western monastery or temple to qualify, and it was much longer than a standard tourist visa. This was nepal or some such place, last year or the year before.. You could look into that if you are serious,.starting off by getting involved with a local place and working up to a big move.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby purestsoul » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:13 am

Yudron wrote:Does having a spouse or kids appeal to you? You hardly mentioned that compared with job stuff.


The joys of a spouse and kids are like small candle-sized flames compared to the huge raging fire of bliss that is samadhi/nirvana/enlightenment.

Also it is much more work maintaining a spouse and kids compared to meditating and attaining enlightenment.

The Returns of Investment from an Enlightenment and spiritual standpoint on investment in kids and spouses is almost zero while the ROI on meditating and enlightenment is infinite.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby kirtu » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:13 am

purestsoul wrote:Have you liberated yourself yet? Have you achieved Buddhahood yet? If not, then what makes you qualified to liberate all sentient beings?....
Really naive.


In the Mahayana tradition we always have the intention to save all beings irrespective of our personal state. This creates great merit and helps create great wisdom eventually.

If we wait until we are liberated from samsara before raising the intention to liberate all beings then we will fall into the Arhat path. Self-liberation is not the focus in the Mahayana tradition.

BTW most Buddhist teachers are not liberated or Buddhas yet but they still work constantly to save and teach beings. So the rhetorical flourish quoted above only serves to limit responses and to try to win arguments (more ego). Thankfully in the Mahayana from day one our motivation is broader (this is actually said in Indian Buddhist texts to be why a beginning bodhisattva has a broader view than even an accomplished Arhat and is said to be one of the marks of the greater attitude of the Mahayana over the Hinayana approach).

In some traditional Pure Land communities the kind of rhetorical question you asked can be posed and heard. I would hope priests and monks would put an end to that since certainly the Pure Land community is Mahayana and seeks to eventually liberate all beings.

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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Indrajala » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:32 am

kirtu wrote:And what is that estimate?

Kirt


It depends on the person.

If we assume about $100 for a tourist visa (taxi expenses, photocopies, passport photos, visa fees, etc...), then you only need a few hundred dollars to get your visa for six months and then renew it again in six months. You have to exit the country, but depending on where you are it might not be a big deal (going from Bodhgaya to the Nepal border is easy by bus, but then you'd have to pay for a Nepali tourist visa, so another $45 or something to that effect).
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby kirtu » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:05 am

Huseng wrote:... (going from Bodhgaya to the Nepal border is easy by bus, but then you'd have to pay for a Nepali tourist visa, so another $45 or something to that effect).


And what's the estimate on travel costs in India/Nepal/Bangladesh? One often sees apartments and food costs but rarely travel costs (would it really be possible to travel 3rd class in India given all the people crowding the trains?)?

In the 60's and 70's many current Western Buddhist teachers would live in India for a year or two and then return to work to raise money to go back, etc. This is more difficult now due to poor economic conditions and visa restrictions but may still be possible. I know a few people who do this but they are 1st generation Asian/Indian so they have a special status.


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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Indrajala » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:01 pm

kirtu wrote:And what's the estimate on travel costs in India/Nepal/Bangladesh? One often sees apartments and food costs but rarely travel costs (would it really be possible to travel 3rd class in India given all the people crowding the trains?)?


If you travel in 3rd class with a reserved ticket, your bunk is yours. I never had any issues. It was quite pleasant and I met lovely people. China is horrible with overcrowding and everyone smoking. India though is surprisingly quite clean and orderly. The train might not run on time, but the seating is fine. Nobody smokes in the carriage.

A reserved ticket in 3rd class A/C between Delhi and Gaya Junction (Bodhgaya) is 942 rupees in 3rd tier A/C. 1st class is 2,440. I think that includes your snack and evening meal on the overnight train. When I took the train to Bodhgaya I travelled first class and got butler service, a snack and delicious vegetarian meal. If you take a lower tier bunk, you might need to bring a blanket or sleeping bag if it is cold outside.

If you want to get an idea of train costs see this site:

http://www.cleartrip.com/trains

Nepal doesn't have trains. Buses are plentiful and inexpensive.

If you travel by bus in India, it can be dirt cheap. If I recall correctly, taking a bus from Gorakhpur to Kushinagar (an hour and a half or something to that effect) cost 35 rupees. Keep in mind an average day labourer makes 100~150 rupees per day. If you travel like a local it is quite cheap if you have a bit of western currency. If you wanted to hire a car for a two hour journey it might be 700 rupees if you don't haggle (I took a private car from Gorakhpur to the border close to Lumbini).

Tourist areas like Dharamsala, Connaught Place in Delhi and even Leh can be pricey when it comes to food and accommodations.

If you get a group minibus going somewhere around Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh it can be cheaper to travel that way (the travel agencies can book these). For example, you can get a seat on a minibus from Dharamsala to Leh.

In the 60's and 70's many current Western Buddhist teachers would live in India for a year or two and then return to work to raise money to go back, etc. This is more difficult now due to poor economic conditions and visa restrictions but may still be possible.



It depends on your standard of living. Dharamsala can be relatively expensive by Indian standards if you rent a flat and eat nice food all the time. If you lived in a monastery you might be able to get away with 100 rupees per day, though you might sleep in an unheated cement room and eat dal and rice for every single meal.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:58 pm

So what happens when you are doing a traditional three year retreat in India or Nepal? I mean, obviously you cannot leave every six months, so... :shrug:
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Indrajala » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:13 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So what happens when you are doing a traditional three year retreat in India or Nepal? I mean, obviously you cannot leave every six months, so... :shrug:


Good question.

I've heard of people doing such things while staying illegally, though I advise against this because it could mean a prison sentence.

In Nepal you can obtain certain visas like journalist visas (they cost over $1000/year) and business visas. There are agents who handle such things without you having to present yourself when applying. I've also heard of people getting married and thus having legal residence in the country, even while in retreat.

I'm not so sure about India. There are people who stay extended periods. There are volunteer visas, though you'd have to presumably be associated with an organization and be formally sponsored to obtain one.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Sherlock » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:40 pm

I don't suppose anyone would know about the situation in Eastern Tibet (the areas currently part of Qinghai or Sichuan)? From what I've heard, the government is much laxer there than in the TAR; I don't think nomads have much in the way of paper documentation too. Would it be possible to just get a paper marriage there and stay in Larung Gar?
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby Indrajala » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:44 pm

Sherlock wrote:I don't suppose anyone would know about the situation in Eastern Tibet (the areas currently part of Qinghai or Sichuan)? From what I've heard, the government is much laxer there than in the TAR; I don't think nomads have much in the way of paper documentation too. Would it be possible to just get a paper marriage there and stay in Larung Gar?



I wouldn't attempt anything like that in China. For one thing, as a foreigner in an area such as that you'd be on the radar of local authorities.
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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby larch » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:40 pm

Dear Sherlock, dear all,

I somehow don't understand why everyone seems to want to move to some remote place for practice. Please forgive my ignorance (I'm aware of the benefit of such periods for practice).

I can relate to your thoughts. But in my humble opinion, I would suggest you first complete your education. You should have a fallback option and getting university education certainly helps also on the path (in my opinion). It helps you to choose (come on, restricting your choices wont help making a good decision) and during your university education, you'll have so much freedom you wont be getting that easy again. It would also allow for a lot practice, time to find the right decision and it will help to broaden your view.

Of course there's also distraction and temptation, but this will wait for you everywhere. So again, no need to hurry a decision. Furthermore, while I don't intend to compare the practice opportunities of ordination, it's not like lay life is a wasteland in that regard. Quite the contrary. I'm not trying to suggest anything here. In the end you have to consider the options for yourself. Just make sure to have a realistic view on them and on yourself.

I can also relate to the views on work in the first world that have been expressed here. I came to consider them as part of my practice let me tell you it works. Hardships are on any path, unless you consider to cling to some illusion of an easy life, in which case it will fail badly (I'm not implying that you do).

You ask if you approach this with an escape motive? I guess that question you can only answer for yourself. It is not wrong to disagree with the life conditions that you see around you. Actually, I think it is a sign of intelligence to observe the world around you and to realize, that something is wrong with that. If I remember correctly, the Buddha himself did that ;). So I guess we can rule out that motivation to choose a different way of life is not bad :). But merely wanting to escape one hardship might let you find yourself in the next one.

Just my two cents. I'd be happy to continue this discussion!


May you all be well and happy! :namaste:



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Re: Thinking about ordination

Postby mandala » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:23 pm

Sherlock wrote:Recently, I have been seriously considering ordination.....

I don't know, am I approaching this with some kind of escape motive? Is it wrong to approach it with such a motive?


My feeling is, and correct me if I'm off-base here, that your main concern at the moment is about indecision of your possible future career and ability to make alot of money in a job you may not enjoy... and wondering what your options are?

I'd be inclined to investigate your options into a career you might enjoy - whether it's university, trade college or other. And at the same time find out a bit more about ordination and look into the reasons why you're drawn to it... motivation is a key factor, and only you know what's driving you.

Ordination is generally taken as life-long commitment - if you're not 100% sure, it could be helpful to study or work for a while to make sure you can commit to something for a period of time.

In alot of places (especially in the west) you'd also need to be able to financially support yourself with basic living costs - how would your family feel about supporting you as a monk if you don't have any savings? You haven't mentioned how would your family feel about you becoming a monk?
In what tradition would you ordain? Are you really ok about never having a wife and kids?

Here's some great advice that I've found helpful, from Thubten Chodron:
A monastic or someone aspiring to become a monastic should have aversion to the life of a householder. The meaning of "aversion," however, is key. It's not aversion in the sense of "I don't like to work; I'd much rather lay around" or "I'm afraid I won't be able to make it in the world so I want to become a monastic." Not like that. Rather it's aversion in the sense of "I have a precious human life which won't last forever. I don't want to waste it doing useless activities motivated by a self-centered attitude. I want to spend my time on the Dharma--studying, practicing, serving others--not on having a relationship, raising kids, climbing the corporate ladder, etc." Thus, it's aversion to living in situations where we create negative karma or lack the opportunity to practice, no matter how pleasant and desirable those situations may appear to society in general.


cheers!
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