Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

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TMT
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Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by TMT »

Im interested in the possibility of learning Mandarin or Japanese, if that would provide opportunity to move to a country where the dharma is more established. What I mean is, if I wanted to ordain and live in a monastary theres almost no options here in america. My concern is that lets say learning Japanese through Rosetta Stone wont help you understand Dharma Terminology used in Japanese.
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Shotenzenjin
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by Shotenzenjin »

TMT wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:02 pm Im interested in the possibility of learning Mandarin or Japanese, if that would provide opportunity to move to a country where the dharma is more established. What I mean is, if I wanted to ordain and live in a monastary theres almost no options here in america. My concern is that lets say learning Japanese through Rosetta Stone wont help you understand Dharma Terminology used in Japanese.
I am learning Japanese to read and write Japanese I'm Deaf going blind so speaking it is a bit out of reach for me but reading and writing isn't slowly but surely.

There is a dire need for translators as there is so much Dharma in Japanese that's not translated. That's a very long term project I'm in the early early stages of learning.

Dharna terms depending on what sect or tradition you follow there are dictionaries of Japanese Dharma terms.that are very useful.

I am Hokkeko of true Buddhism Nichiren shoshu. To practice and learn to practice you don't need to know Japanese but learning Japanese will only strengthen your practice
Generation's shall pass, our determination shall grow, at the foot of Mount Fuji
Like smoke that reaches far beyond the clouds.--nichimoku shonin. Third high priest of Nichiren Shoshu

Hokekko of true Buddhism https://nstny.org

Introduction to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism
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TMT
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by TMT »

Shotenzenjin wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:22 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I didnt realize there were dictionaries like that. Of course there are ample opportunities to learn and practice here in america. Im interested in the possibilities other countries offer to leave the house holders life.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Depending on which tradition you follow, there are many opportunities in the United States where you can renounce the world and devote all of your time to Buddhist study and practice, do a three year retreat, study with great teachers.

You can learn conversational Japanese or Chinese and this will help you, if you go overseas, to make friends, many of whom will probably speak some English. Whether you can live there as a monastic would depend on visa restrictions.
But even learning a language takes a lot of time.

The thing not to get fooled by is the idea of the “monk lifestyle”. It looks so serene and beautiful in colorful photo books and websites. I have a Dharma friend who made up new words to the song, “it’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy” but his words were, “...Buddhist monk fantasy”. I don’t remember all the words, just that part. It was funny.

If you are male, I would suggest visiting a theravadin temple that has monks living there. In the Thai traditions, you can be a monk for 3 days, or a week, or a month or whatever you like. Then, see if you like it as much as you think you will. Who knows? You might!

Keep in mind, even monastics have to pay their own way somehow, in terms of money. If you can’t go begging with a bowl, how will you do it?
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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_johnarundel_
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by _johnarundel_ »

Hi!

Learning original languages that the writings are written in is very helpful to understanding the true meaning and intention of a text.

Sadly, I cannot read the sutras or the gosho in its original language. But I hope to learn.
"The five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo are the core of the Lotus Sutra and the origin of all Buddhas throughout the entire world. Upon seeing the signs that these five characters now must be propagated, I, Nichiren, have set the precedent, today, at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law."

- Nichiren Daishonin, “Shuju onfurumai-gosho” 種種御振舞御書


https://www.nichirenshoshu.or.jp/eng/daishonin.html
KiwiNFLFan
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by KiwiNFLFan »

TMT wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:02 pm Im interested in the possibility of learning Mandarin or Japanese, if that would provide opportunity to move to a country where the dharma is more established. What I mean is, if I wanted to ordain and live in a monastary theres almost no options here in america. My concern is that lets say learning Japanese through Rosetta Stone wont help you understand Dharma Terminology used in Japanese.
I have studied both Mandarin and Japanese. Learning either one through Rosetta Stone will teach you grammar, which is used in all forms of Japanese and Mandarin. You'll also learn basic vocabulary that is used in everyday conversation and that is necessary to know to speak and understand the language, as well as characters. From there, learning Dharma words is just learning a bunch of new vocabulary, similar to learning, say medical or legal terminology in those languages. You need to know the basics first, though.

If you want to go overseas and ordain (in the Mahayana tradition), Taiwan may be your best bet, though South Korea may work too. Mainland China isn't a good place to practice Buddhism. I'm not sure if Japan actually has monasteries like China, Taiwan or Korea do, because Japanese monks do not receive full pratimoksha ordination like monks in China, Taiwan, Korea and Vietnam do. My understanding is that they are ordained under Bodhisattva precepts, but the point I'm making is that they are not required to be celibate, and many are married and have children (the Taego school in Korea also has married clergy). Therefore, they are typically referred to as "priests" in English rather than "monks", as they do not observe the 250 precepts of the Vinaya. Many temples in Japan are family-run enterprises.

If you want to ordain, it's worth investigating the type of Buddhism you want to practice - Fo Guang Shan, Dharma Drum Mountain, Seon, Cheontae, possibly Rinzai/Soto etc, find the one that resonates the most with you, and then start learning Mandarin/Japanese/Korean. Learning a language is not an easy task, and requires a lot of effort. Feel free to PM me if you want advice learning any or all of these languages (I have studied Korean too, though not as extensively as Mandarin or Japanese).
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by FiveSkandhas »

I have lived in Japan for just about half my life and I could say a lot on this subject but it would take forever. If you have any questions I might be able to answer some of them.

To ordain in Japan differs depending on the sect. It is worth noting that formal priests in Japan usually come from families of priests. For someone who is not the child of a priest to ordain is possible but rare. Priests largely make their living from funeral rites and other activities involving the danka, or community of local families registered with a given temple. Thus it has been hard for "newcomers" to break in because the danka networks are hundreds of years old and already spoken for by each temple. This is changing however because the danka system and what has been called "funiary Buddhism" is rapidly collapsing. Japan is in a period of "experimental Buddhism" where many priests are casting about for new ways to remain relevant.

The most "orthodox" way to become an ordained Japanese priest is to go to a 4-year college associated with the sect you wish to join and major in Buddhist Studies. Needless to say you need a fairly high level of Japanese language proficiency to do this. Then you need to do shugyo, or actual training under a Master. In most cases, priests come from priestly families, as noted, and your Master would be your father. For an outsider to find a Master is difficult but not impossible. Still you need to convince this person to take you on, which is an obligation that most priests are reluctant to take on unless they know you very well. So you would need to form a connection with a priest and cultivate a good relationship with him and his temple before he might possibly agree to take you on as a disciple.

The period and nature of shugyo training varies widely by sect and even by individual priest. It might involve some lengthy period of monastic training away from your specific Master in a large practice temple. At the very least you should expect a number of years of shugyo before formal ordination. Then once university and shugyo are finished you would be a basic priest. Depending on the sect, there may be different "levels" of priesthood that involve further periods of training.

Lastly there is also the issue of how to actually make a living as a priest once you have completed all this study and training. If you are a foreigner there is also the issue of attaining and keeping a visa that allows you to stay in Japan.

This is not the only way to ordain, and there are "shortcuts." IMHO the whole process is very deeply dependent on personal relationships, which take a long time to form.

Also beware of shady "ordination mills" that promise to make you a priest in a few months or whatever. These exist. Since freedom of religion is guaranteed in Japan, anyone can simply put on robes and call themselves a "Buddhist Monk," and a number do so, for various reasons ranging from personal vanity to tax scams and cheapo funeral provisions. There are also "new religions" and out-and-out cults of a quasi-Buddhist flavor. But needless to say, all this is a far cry from training formally with one of the true traditional sects that have been around since medieval times.

I hope this information is helpful.
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi
TMT
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Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by TMT »

FiveSkandhas wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:56 pm
I hope this information is helpful.
Thank you. All this is actually very helpful. Im realizing as I look into the possibility of going to any country that the dream and the reality of it are far different.
TMT
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Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:10 am

Re: Would learning Mandarin or Japanese allow you to practice in another country?

Post by TMT »

KiwiNFLFan wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:06 pm
TMT wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:02 pm Im interested in the possibility of learning Mandarin or Japanese, if that would provide opportunity to move to a country where the dharma is more established. What I mean is, if I wanted to ordain and live in a monastary theres almost no options here in america. My concern is that lets say learning Japanese through Rosetta Stone wont help you understand Dharma Terminology used in Japanese.
I have studied both Mandarin and Japanese. Learning either one through Rosetta Stone will teach you grammar, which is used in all forms of Japanese and Mandarin. You'll also learn basic vocabulary that is used in everyday conversation and that is necessary to know to speak and understand the language, as well as characters. From there, learning Dharma words is just learning a bunch of new vocabulary, similar to learning, say medical or legal terminology in those languages. You need to know the basics first, though.

If you want to go overseas and ordain (in the Mahayana tradition), Taiwan may be your best bet, though South Korea may work too. Mainland China isn't a good place to practice Buddhism.
Thanks thats great information to have. I guess what intrigued me so much about china, if one went that route was the documentary "Amongst White Clouds". Its a documentary about the hermits in the Zhonang mountains. Its fascinating and it really kind of pulls you when you think about it compared to the drudgery of working the 9 to 5. Of course I know things are never as easy or as dreamy as they seem but alas you cant help but romanticize it.

Could a foriegner even immigrate to china to go become a renunciate? Or is that pretty much impossible? I would imagine they only let professionals and the like come for work but I really dont know anything about it.

Also I appreciate the offer for helping with any questions. I might pm you for some tips if I decide to learn a new language. I follow the Tibetan tradition which is why mandarin was quite interesting because I believe at places like Larung Gar they teach in Mandarin also.
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