Yudron wrote:Does having a spouse or kids appeal to you? You hardly mentioned that compared with job stuff.
Not really at this point. I certainly do respect lay bodhisattvas (of whom there is a long tradition since the beginnings of the Mahayana) who can integrate their practice with family life. I do think wanting to start a family and raise children properly is one of the better motivations to stay in the working world rather than just amassing wealth and having no wisdom as to how it is spent.
There was a guy on the other forum I mentioned who said he had in mind something similar, though he isn't a Buddhist AFAIK, but didn't go through with it after falling in love and deciding to start a family.
If you're fine with that, then you'll be quite content and will never go hungry. Though if you're more inclined towards serious practice and study, then choose wisely where to go, otherwise you might end up in an organization that thinks office work is great practice.
On the other hand, in Tibetan traditions you can easily ordain, but support might not be forthcoming.
Theravada seems pretty reasonable and they take good care of their bhikkhus.
I heard stories about Chinese monasteries that make them sound worse than the military or prison. I think it probably varies from place to place; I doubt some out-of-the-way Malaysian monasteries would be like that, but I don't know for sure.
I'm personally more interested in Tibetan monasteries though, since my personal practice leads me more towards that direction. I have asked Ven. Khedrup some questions and I'm grateful for his replies. From what I gather, if you can handle your own transport costs and legal stuff, Tibetan monasteries can support you for a least the basic stuff -- a place to sleep, tsampa and tea. More than that I'm not sure, I remember a story ChNN told about how he shared away most of his allowance for lamps and other stuff in his first semester at his monastery college, but maybe the situation now is different.
I had a talk with a Kathog monk today. He said that ordination is certainly good, but I should think very seriously and examine my motivations. If I just want to escape working life, that is not such a good motivation; I should really think about wanting to liberate all sentient beings. He mentioned that there was actually an American monk at Kathog the last time he visited, and that he had been there for 2-3 years, which is quite interesting in light of the legal situation. He recommended that I go to Larung if I wanted to ordain in Tibet though. He said there are some very good teachers, disciples of Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, who speak Mandarin very well there. Honestly, my Mandarin isn't that great and I would rather learn Tibetan and get the teachings in the original language, but maybe it would be good as a starter.
What will you do if monasticism gets boring?
I haven't lived in a monastic setting before, but the short periods of retreat I have had were more satisfying than any day-to-day experience. Honestly boring isn't the problem, I can take a boring job if the hours are reasonable and the pay is decent. There are few such jobs in Asia though.
In our time is monasticism still the best way to gather merit? Is it still a strong path to possibly attain liberation or enlightenment in this life? The five degenerations are strongly advanced.
I am still a Dzogchen practitioner, not a practitioner of the path of renunciation. Some amount of renunciation has naturally arisen within me however, and I think a monastic setting reduces a lot of the obstacles to practice that you would find in the secular world. I think that is the main purpose of the sangha anyway; creating merit isn't the end-goal for monks in Theravada either it is attaining enlightenment, monasticism is a support system for your practice.