Guidance on renunciation

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Guidance on renunciation

Postby Paul » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:56 pm

I am looking for advice about how best to plan for living in a situation that is either in permanant retreat, in a dharma centre or in a similar situation of 100% dharma practice.

I have strongly considered ordination, but there seems to be 1) very little support for monks and nuns in the west, to the point where they sometimes have to work and 2) I am very drawn to the Nyingma tradition, but monastic institutions, especially in the UK seem to be thin on the ground. So it seems like a lay-yogi is the way to go.

I am very interested in how people who have done a 3 year retreat have got back into the job market after disappearing off the map for such a long time. Of course the field a person works in would be very important.

I currently am in my early 30s, unmarried, don't own a house and have some decent savings. So I have no major ties at the moment. I think the best plan so far is to buy a house and pay off the mortgage as soon as possible. This can then be used to either rent out or allow me to buy further properties. This seems to have been quite successful for people I know that have managed to get into the situation I am aiming for, although it's taken them untilk their mid-fifties before they can 'drop-out' full time.

I know Tsoknyi Rinpoche has advised people to make as much money & save as much as they can so they can practice full time when they've got enough to last them. Taking this into account, maximising savings but cutting outgoing cash is something that I will have to look closely at too. I know there will be a few posters that have managed to 'retire' in this fashion and I'd be very grateful for their advice.

I'm asking about this for myself, but I think this could be a very useful topic for many people.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
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Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Clarence » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:31 pm

Hi Paul,

Noble intentions you have. First question though, why don't you move to Asia and live there for cheap and do retreat there?
I have a friend who is a monk and he just lives in India and Nepal. Our Lama is in Tibet but he has received the most amazing teachings and empowerments and relationships with Lama's just from living there. And he doesn't even speak the language really well. He doesn't want to live in a Buddhist monastery because he thinks those monks are not serious about practice so he has to juggle with his living conditions a little but he seems to make it work and gets a lot of practice done.

I would love to hear about returning after 3-year retreat as well. This seems to be not so easy. There is a 3-year Nyingma retreat in France. Chanteloube. And I am sure there are others as well. Also, don't get hung up on practicing only in the Nyingma tradition.

As for real estate:

There are several books out there about gaining wealth through real estate and becoming a landlord and real estate investor. Apparently this is pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Journal-Complete-Real-Estate-Investing-Guidebook/dp/0307345629/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1329221920&sr=8-3

Now, it is not a get rich quick thing so you might indeed have to spend the next 20 years still working. Being a landlord is a lot of work as tenants can be horrible and always something breaks down. I have a cousin who is in his early twenties who already has 4 properties. However, it is a lot of stress as well as sometimes the tenants won't pay on time and sometimes they need new furniture which costs then about half month's rent. Also, tenants change so that will cause you to have to do some work as well. Of course, you could let a company take care of all that but the question is how much will be left then. So, read some books about it. If you find the right books, they can be pretty enlightening.

Best of luck to you,

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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Paul » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:43 pm

Clarence wrote:Hi Paul,

Noble intentions you have. First question though, why don't you move to Asia and live there for cheap and do retreat there?
I have a friend who is a monk and he just lives in India and Nepal. Our Lama is in Tibet but he has received the most amazing teachings and empowerments and relationships with Lama's just from living there. And he doesn't even speak the language really well. He doesn't want to live in a Buddhist monastery because he thinks those monks are not serious about practice so he has to juggle with his living conditions a little but he seems to make it work and gets a lot of practice done.


That sounds very interesting. My main teachers and especially my root teacher spend a large amount of time in Nepal. One thing about living in Asia is 1) often countries such as India will only give a 6 month visa, so that means having to move a lot, incurring more costs and 2) generally having to have money to support oneself. Of course I know some people manage it - the question is how. I don't suppose you could ask your friend for any advice he'd have? It sounds like he's managing to do what I'd want.

I would love to hear about returning after 3-year retreat as well. This seems to be not so easy. There is a 3-year Nyingma retreat in France. Chanteloube. And I am sure there are others as well.


Interesting - I'd not come across that before. I think Sogyal Rinpoche may have similar things.

As for real estate


I hadn't thought of books - but of course there must be some out there on the subject. It's kind of obvious now...

Of course I have to buy house number one, first. Time to go mortgage shopping.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Indrajala » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:56 pm

Paul wrote:
I have strongly considered ordination, but there seems to be 1) very little support for monks and nuns in the west, to the point where they sometimes have to work and 2) I am very drawn to the Nyingma tradition, but monastic institutions, especially in the UK seem to be thin on the ground. So it seems like a lay-yogi is the way to go.


If you're any bit interested in Chinese Buddhism and could tolerate the way things are done here, you're young enough to enter a seminary here in Taiwan. However, if you went that route you would surrender all your freedom to the administrators and in the end you might not be doing what you expected (such as continual practice, as they could easily stick you in the kitchen or doing something you didn't really have in mind).

Most Tibetan organizations don't have the money or means to provide anything other than maybe rice, dal and a bed. There are plenty of western folk who ordain in India or Nepal, but they face a lot of hardship and to some degree discrimination. Everyone wants to help out and sponsor a Tibetan monk, but not the fellow from the UK in robes.

I am very interested in how people who have done a 3 year retreat have got back into the job market after disappearing off the map for such a long time. Of course the field a person works in would be very important.


Eight worldly dharmas. Gain and loss are two of them.


I currently am in my early 30s, unmarried, don't own a house and have some decent savings. So I have no major ties at the moment. I think the best plan so far is to buy a house and pay off the mortgage as soon as possible. This can then be used to either rent out or allow me to buy further properties.


If you wanted to do a retreat you probably shouldn't have so many worldly ties. What if your property burns down when you're away and you get word of it? You might leave, or even if you don't it'll be on your mind.

I'd say just have a nice pile of savings and forget about what you'll do after retreat. Like it is often said, think you'll die right after the retreat, so no matter what happens afterwards.

This seems to have been quite successful for people I know that have managed to get into the situation I am aiming for, although it's taken them untilk their mid-fifties before they can 'drop-out' full time.


That's not renunciation, but being independently wealthy, by which time you'll probably have some health concern and/or a lot of worldly commitments keeping you away from Dharma practice. I know some monastics in Canada who are independently wealthy. I don't think that qualifies as renunciation no matter the robes they wear.


I know Tsoknyi Rinpoche has advised people to make as much money & save as much as they can so they can practice full time when they've got enough to last them. Taking this into account, maximising savings but cutting outgoing cash is something that I will have to look closely at too. I know there will be a few posters that have managed to 'retire' in this fashion and I'd be very grateful for their advice.


I think the better advice would be to go into retreat with the expectation you'll drop dead after the fact, so best get as much done in that time period. If you manage to live past retreat, then maybe you'll have some funds to cover the initial period outside of retreat, but that's not really important. Getting stuff done is more important than money. Imagine you spend all those years becoming independently wealthy only to get ill with cancer and die. You could have just gone and got stuff done, but instead made money.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby MrDistracted » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Hi Paul

I know you have said before that you have faith in DJKR....I thought I might quote him:
'Ideally whatever the Dharma activity you engage with must, one way or another, become a hindrance to this worldly life.'

Personally, I'm convinced that sponsoring a few people in long retreats helped me find the conditions to do retreat.

:smile:
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby maybay » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:03 pm

There's a currency war that threatens to destroy your savings. Education is a better investment.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Nemo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:44 pm

If you are thinking about cash you probably are not ready. No renunciation. Those people never seem to do retreat. My years have taught me it is just talk out of some temporary setback in their worldly life.

The best place for retreat is the deep bush IMO. No people for miles around attracts the being that will teach you what you need to know. Study some permaculture so you can be independent. http://www.permies.com/forums/ Buy a few solar panels. Don't plan on going back. I suggest building a Dharma retreat cabin if you have the funds. No larger than 600Sq ft, preferably smaller.

Afterwards your job prospects will be shite. You won't even know about movies or sports people are talking about. You will be very soft and not well suited for the competitive world that we struggle in. Your guilelessness will get you into all sorts of trouble. After you may shack up with inappropriate women for a while to get all the pent up,.... anyway this is getting a bit autobiographical.

If you want to go just go. There is no safe way to jump into the fire.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Paul » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:08 pm

nemo wrote:If you are thinking about cash you probably are not ready. No renunciation. Those people never seem to do retreat.


I spend every holiday I have and a good percentage of my weekends on retreat or working at dharma centres. The cash issue is that the two places I would have the most access to - a monastary and a dharma centre run by my root teacher - both require paying rent, even when working there. If it were to be a permanant thing, it is a necessary consideration as far as I can tell.

nemo wrote:My years have taught me it is just talk out of some temporary setback in their worldly life.


My worldly life is great at the moment. Probably the best it's ever been. I still want out - I am serious about this, but simply don't have access to people who have managed what I am wanting to do. This is why I'm asking here. I did consider that I should privately ask my teachers and their senior students instead, to be honest, but I thought it might be an interesting conversation in general.

Unfortunately we don't have any deep bush in the UK. Too small.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby maybay » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:21 pm

Paul wrote:I spend every holiday I have and a good percentage of my weekends on retreat or working at dharma centres. The cash issue is that the two places I would have the most access to - a monastary and a dharma centre run by my root teacher - both require paying rent, even when working there. If it were to be a permanant thing, it is a necessary consideration as far as I can tell.

Talk to them. You can't expect them to bring up the subject. You lead.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Clarence » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:04 pm

Paul wrote:That sounds very interesting. My main teachers and especially my root teacher spend a large amount of time in Nepal. One thing about living in Asia is 1) often countries such as India will only give a 6 month visa, so that means having to move a lot, incurring more costs and 2) generally having to have money to support oneself. Of course I know some people manage it - the question is how. I don't suppose you could ask your friend for any advice he'd have? It sounds like he's managing to do what I'd want.

Hi Paul,

I will definitely ask my friend how he does it and how much he needs every month. He was very young when he became a monk and very young when he left for Asia. Wouldn't surprise me if his parents helped him out some. He also has some friends who pledged to donate some money for him monthly.

Interesting - I'd not come across that before. I think Sogyal Rinpoche may have similar things.

Chanteloube is great. Very nice place. Very nice Rinpoches. It is the place where Dudjom Rinpoche passed away and where Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche spend most of his time in the west.

I hadn't thought of books - but of course there must be some out there on the subject. It's kind of obvious now...

Yeah, books are your friends.

Of course I have to buy house number one, first. Time to go mortgage shopping.

Well, if you decide to do the Asia thing, you can probably live off of 600-900 euros a month if you don't travel too much. I haven't been to India in a long time so I don't know the going rate for room and board but I would guess it is that at most. Probably less. So, if you can have one house or two, you are already set. Even with a mortgage. Now, then you will still have all the problems associated with home ownership but that is a way. Of course, you could also put it in 7% yield bonds. Little risky and then you would need about 150000 to invest to make that work. Lot of money. My cousin buys 100000 euro homes with about 20000 down. His rental income is 800 a month. Minus taxes and mortgage the first few years not much is left but when the mortgage goes down, it gets better.

Either way, good luck to you. I will get back to you on the living in India thing. You can also ask this woman: damchoe.wordpress.com She is doing Shedra in India. No idea how she gets her administrative stuff arranged but you can definitely email her. Ordained people are almost normal. :smile: Took me a while to get used to that idea as well.

Best, C
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Malcolm » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:10 pm

Nemo wrote:Afterwards your job prospects will be shite. You won't even know about movies or sports people are talking about. You will be very soft and not well suited for the competitive world that we struggle in. Your guilelessness will get you into all sorts of trouble. After you may shack up with inappropriate women...


:rolling:

Glad I am not alone in this experience.

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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Lhug-Pa » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:24 am

Paul wrote:I spend every holiday I have and a good percentage of my weekends on retreat or working at dharma centres. The cash issue is that the two places I would have the most access to - a monastary and a dharma centre run by my root teacher - both require paying rent, even when working there. If it were to be a permanant thing, it is a necessary consideration as far as I can tell


I'm probably pointing out something obvious that you've already thought about, but could you afford the rent there by doing a part-time job outside the Monastery/Dharma Center? Like a 10 AM - 2 PM shift, an 11 AM - 3 PM, or a 12 PM - 4 PM shift, so that you could still do both morning and evening practices everyday? Then in your spare-time, or days off from your job, do work-trade at the Monastery/Dharma Center...?
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Huifeng » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:19 am

Guidance on renunciation?

Any future you may be planning is just another flavor of duhkha.
Resign yourself to the fact that everything is impermanent,
you have no guarantee you'll be alive tomorrow.

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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Josef » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:28 am

Paul wrote:
I know Tsoknyi Rinpoche has advised people to make as much money & save as much as they can so they can practice full time when they've got enough to last them. Taking this into account, maximising savings but cutting outgoing cash is something that I will have to look closely at too. I know there will be a few posters that have managed to 'retire' in this fashion and I'd be very grateful for their advice.


This is my plan.
I have recently changed careers in order to start earning more money so I can eventually purchase my own secluded property and retire at an early age.
Financial planning is absolutely essential for everyone in our society but if you want to have time for long term retreat we have to start creating the conditions and circumstances now.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Josef » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:34 am

Nemo wrote:If you are thinking about cash you probably are not ready. No renunciation.

I disagree.
If you are actually considering finances appropriately you are simply being smart.
If one wants to be a monk or nun that is a different situation, but for those of us who want to be self-sufficient, lay practitioners we have to prepare financially.
I am in a position to be a spiritual resource for my family and a big part of that is making sure we don't have to worry about money later on.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby maybay » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:04 am

Nangwa wrote:I am in a position to be a spiritual resource for my family and a big part of that is making sure we don't have to worry about money later on.

They won't listen to you if you don't have money?
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Josef » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:10 am

maybay wrote:
Nangwa wrote:I am in a position to be a spiritual resource for my family and a big part of that is making sure we don't have to worry about money later on.

They won't listen to you if you don't have money?

That's of course not what I meant.
I am planning my financial future so I can retire at a young age and be around and focusing on practice exclusively for the rest of my life.
Therefore being a long-term resource for those around me. Running off to a monastery or some other isolated place is not for me and it is not how I see myself benefiting others.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Nemo » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:15 am

I think we have to admit if we really cared about Dharma we would have remained useless. Learning skills and making better money do not lead to anything but endless years of toil until your nadis are too crusty and old to get the job done. The only thing an old man's winds want to do at 60 is whatever they have already been doing the last 30 years. I have watched for years. Failure in Dharma is what waits for you at the end of your "just enough money" tunnel. A burnt out 60 year old pretending to do Togal is joke. I know many Westerners avoid this truth. I expect some angry comments for poking at this common delusion. My best Dharma practice was when I gave away everything and had nothing. Not good health, or skills or respect. Now I have all these things and a nice wife. It's all bullshit. I am wasting a chance to escape by tasting all the delicious foods at the prison cafeteria. People who worry about money never get free. I know. I am now one of them. If you really cared about Dharma you would be like most of the Masters of the past. A beggar.

People who are always about the money have neither renunciation or generosity. They are "practical". Bodhisattvas are not. We are just a hobby Buddhists. Posers. Amateurs.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby Josef » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:22 am

Nemo wrote:I think we have to admit if we really cared about Dharma we would have remained useless. Learning skills and making better money do not lead to anything but endless years of toil until your nadis are too crusty and old to get the job done. The only thing an old man's winds want to do at 60 is whatever they have already been doing the last 30 years. I have watched for years. Failure in Dharma is what waits for you at the end of your "just enough money" tunnel. A burnt out 60 year old pretending to do Togal is joke. I know many Westerners avoid this truth. I expect some angry comments for poking at this common delusion. My best Dharma practice was when I gave away everything and had nothing. Not good health, or skills or respect. Now I have all these things and a nice wife. It's all bullshit. I am wasting a chance to escape by tasting all the delicious foods at the prison cafeteria. People who worry about money never get free. I know. I am now one of them. If you really cared about Dharma you would be like most of the Masters of the past. A beggar.

People who are always about the money have neither renunciation or generosity. They are "practical". Bodhisattvas are not. We are just a hobby Buddhists. Posers. Amateurs.

This is you, your practice, your circumstances.
This experience is not universal.
Think of it what you will but for me the decision to stay in the world was renunciation.
If I were to retreat to a cave it would be as a poser. It would have been a selfish and egotistical decision and my practice would be rife with obstacles because of it.
We should do our best to avoid generalizations and assumptions in matters such as this.

I can relate to your feelings and the circumstances you describe. I lived and practiced like that for about 12 years.
It was wonderful and extremely beneficial. At this point personally, I am just transitioning in to another phase of my life and setting the groundwork for making it as fruitful as I can control.
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Re: Guidance on renunciation

Postby maybay » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:34 am

286. 'Here I shall dwell in the rain, here in winter and summer,' thus the fool meditates, and does not think of his death.
287. Death comes and carries off that man, praised for his children and flocks, his mind distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.

This is universal Nangwa. The question is not of your state but your expectations.
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Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
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