Foreigners Ordaining As Buddhist Monks In Thailand
34 replies to this topic
Posted 2009-07-08 14:03:43
There are always someone asking about ordaining as a Buddhist monk here in Thailand.. I am a retired American and I just ordained on the 3rd of July for Khao Phansaa.. If any one has any questions there would like answered, I will be happy to give you my knowledge and experience of what to do and how to do it... And no, I don't speak fluid Thai, and can not read one Thai alphabet character... Metta
p.s. I can not get on the internet every day, so please be patient for your answers...
Posted 2009-07-08 14:10:21
How difficult is it and how long does it take to prepare for ordination the first time?
Posted 2009-07-12 20:44:46
I had actually seen two ordinations before, one in the U.S. and one here in Thailand.. So kind of knew what was going to happen, although things get changed a little bit from ordination to ordination, the actual ceremony is the same... It took me two weeks to get the words pronounced correctly... and it helped that I ordained with another Thai man, who actually didn't know the words any better than me... but there was a monk who is your Aciraya, teacher, who tells you what to say... like a repeat after me... and I asked him to please slow it down just a little and please pronounce things clearly.. so except for the kneeling for about an hour, it came off good...
Posted 2009-07-12 21:40:56
How are you able to get by without speaking Thai? Do any of the monks speak english? I would think the effect of the teachings would not be as potent if you can not understand what the teachings are.
Posted 2009-07-13 00:56:24
Congratulations, luang-pee. I was a monk in 2540, but at that time I already spoke and read Thai, so that was a lot easier. You are in for an interesting journey, and your approach to answering questions here is good, I congratulate you.
Where are you? I do think it makes a difference for your own experience whether you are in Bangkok or a far-away province.
Posted 2009-07-13 07:56:46
That's pretty similar to mine. And I am a Thai as well. Those words are in Pali so I guess there is no advantage of being a Thai.
Posted 2009-07-15 07:46:44
How do you deal with the living conditions and the type of food you have to eat? (Compared with the west)
I really have a lot of repect for what you are doing
Posted 2009-07-15 08:03:42
As you have just started your journey, I would be very interested in your experience of every day temple life as a new monk. Would be great if you gave a regular update. Good luck, I admire and respect what you are doing.
Posted 2009-07-22 00:26:23
I can only speak for myself, not for the OP who hasn't replied yet. Maybe he is busy with his dhamma or meditation studies and/or does not have internet access at the moment.
The living conditions were simple but clean. No luxury, and none expected.
The food was what the villagers gave us: Home-cooked Thai food. Excellent and second-to-none, simply unbeatable. A luxury you can't even pay for in the western world, as the fresh ingrediants are not available.
The only problem I had in the first days was getting up before sunrise. That used to be the time when I was getting ready for bed. But the human body (at least mine) proved to be adjustable.
Posted 2011-05-04 20:23:54
i am very interested in ordaining/moving to thailand. what channels do i need to move through?
i am a practicing meditator and believe strongly in Buddhism. i currently live in Brisbane, QLD Australia.
Posted 2011-05-06 08:55:54
come and see what we have going in our temple....stay and join in with the meditation, chanting, etc. You can ordain as a novice for a few months before deciding to go for Monk.
Posted 2011-05-06 12:49:02
Does it include assistance with visa issues for foreigners?
Posted 2011-05-06 12:59:51
It's now rapidly approaching two years since you ordained.
Just interested how things have come along for you.
Have your expectations changed since you joined?
How has your progress been ?
Is it important to have a Master/Teacher who has good rapport with you?
Is monastic life harmonious with your health needs?
I applaud you for your dedication.
Posted 2011-05-08 18:59:22
We have myself and another Farang monk here, and a friend nearby, and we have experienced the trials and tribulations of getting the one-year visa for monks, so can give good advice. We are near the border at MaeSai for those quick emergency runs too.
Posted 2011-07-14 05:25:08
I have looked at the site, but I can't see where the Wat is located??? I am in Chiang Mai, and once I've cleared my (virtual) desk, I'd love to spend some time at a temple, especially if it had some nice farangs in I could share with in English
Please let me know roughly where you are anyway.
(Update, just read your last post and mentions "MaeSai" so maybe Wat is in Chiang Rai?)
Edited by pete66, 2011-07-14 05:28:25.
Posted 2011-07-21 16:01:58
We are about 150 kms north of Chiang Mai.
You can get a bus from Chang Puak bus station- 80 Baht 3 hours.
We are actually about 7 kms south of Fang. You can ask the driver to let you off outside the temple.
If you would like to come then please feel free to email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
With Metta, Phra Greg Chuntawongso
Posted 2011-09-09 18:30:20
fabianfred, I would like to ordain as a monk in Thailand, but not as a saffron-robed Thai monk. My lineage of refuge is Vajrayana and my technique was influenced by Zen. I would like to ordain following the Pali texts and Thai rituals but with brown robes as a Thai/Zen monk. Would this be possible at your Wat? What are the requirement to ordain as a novice monk? You can contact me directly via my username at gmail if you prefer. Thanks.
Posted 2011-09-10 02:45:09
That would be a bit like going to register with the Medical council and expecting to be a lawyer.
You'll need to go to a Vajrayana or Zen monastery to do this, there aren't many in Thailand.
Posted 2011-09-10 09:22:54
I think there is almost zero chance you can become ordained in Thailand without accepting the precepts and becoming a monk.
However, if you are interested in a study of that as a lay observer, there may be programs that will take you for that purpose...but will not offer ordination.
The "Monk for a month" program comes to mind.
To find such a program you will have to do some serious searching however.
As for Zen or Vajrayana there are a few places in Bangkok that sponsor courses and seminars.
I know there is a Seon (Korean) Zen center on Soi 63 near the Ekami bts stop that often has talks, studies, and seminars on Seon Zen in English.
Well, actually that Seon center is quite a way down Soi 63 from the Ekami BTS exit, but you can get there my a motorcycle, TukTuk, or taxi down Soi 63.
Do a Yahoo or Google search on those topics, and you should find the names and addresses of both. But there aren't that many in Bangkok.
But as always, seek and ye shall find.
Edited by IMA_FARANG, 2011-09-10 09:24:24.
Posted 2011-09-11 21:52:18
Wow.. It's been over 2 years since I started that topic. Seems like yesterday. Well, I'm still here. Just finishing my 3rd vassa period. (rainy season). My main temple is Wat Khao Lang in Khok Samrong, Lopburi. Presently, I'm just finishing up my 3rd vassa at Wat Promkunaram Buddhist Temple near Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The abbot here asked me to spend vassa here to help the Thai monks with their visa's, id's and be a sort of spokesman/teacher for Americans who come to the temple here. I can't say it's been all fun and games. My Mom and sister live near, so get to visit with them.
I'm going to say something here that will probably tick some people off. But I think that most Thai monks have a harder time in foreign countrys than us farangs do especially in Thailand. I think it's because most of us have been traveling around to different country's and learn how to adapt. Where as most Thai's have never been outside of Thailand. I know in Thailand, I can pretty much always find someone who speaks English, whether it's in the market area or immigration. Here in the US, you pretty much can't find anyone who speaks Thai, that isn't Thai. Even at immigration. And we have a whole lot of laws here that Thai's don't have in Thailand. A couple come to mind that I got mixed up in here in Arizona. One is the animal control law. Here in Arizona especially, dogs have to be either behind a fence or on a leash. You can't let them run loose in the neighborhood. It cost this temple over 3000 bucks in fines to learn that lesson. I've spent this last year teaching the 4 dogs we have here, that they can't go outside the fence when the gate is open. A rolled up newspaper and praise when they listen works great. Thai's don't seem to talk to dogs?
Another law that the monks can't understand is, taking photos. Here in the US, we have a privacy law. Your not allowed to just whip out your camera and start snapping photos of people. Especially children. A monk here just recently was driving down the street, seen some kids at a school bus stop, stopped his car and snapped their picture. Needless to say, about 10 minutes later, a city policeman pulled him over and wanted to know what the heck he was doing. It took me about 30 minutes to convince the cop this monk wasn't a pedophile and he just took the photo because he wanted to send the picture back to his nephews and nieces to show how American kids dressed going to school. Needless to say, we had a quick monks meeting when we got back to the temple.
It's not all chants and meditation at Buddhist temples.
I want to say something about myself. I'll be 69 in 10 days. I'm not a novice at life. I was a US Marine, went to Vietnam in 67' landed back on US soil in Jan. 70'.
I ran a manufactoring plant in the LA area in the 70's and 80's. Been married twice. Been around the world twice. I've had practacally every toy you could want. Cars, houses, boats, horses, dogs, harleys. I've partaked of most drugs that didn't involve needles. I was a known name in the Cutting Horse world back then. Everyone who was involved in cutting horses knew me. Being in LA, I met bunches of movie stars. Including Pierce Brosnin, John Wayne, Mark Harmon and a bunch of others. I spent about 10 years of my life being a drunk. Spent 10's of thousands of dollars on booze and drugs. I became a monk mainly because, I needed to find there was something out there in the world besides wine, women and song. There is.
I can't say I'm a perfect monk, because I'm far from it.
One thing I have learned is, you don't need all them toys.
Life is about more than toys.
Life for me, is learning to be happy with your self. No matter your flaws. It's a daily struggle, because we are our own worst critic.
Would I like to be a better monk, yes, of course. But I just take it one day at a time. I forgive myself daily. I quit beating up on myself for not being perfect.
I could go on and on, but this is starting to become a novel, I just wanted to say, I'm still here, and I'm still learning.
Edited by khaowong1, 2011-09-11 21:53:53.
Posted 2011-09-12 06:15:56
khaowong1...ditto...I'm an American (from LA) whose been in Thailand for more than thirty years...this is my fifth Vasa...just wanted to give you a shout out...be well...
Posted 2011-09-12 09:44:24
Wow! Certainly not what I expected to see on a Monday morning in Bangkok.
I am a retired american living in Tnailand with my Thai wife and family. I'm NOT a monk and not likely to be, so just call me a "Lay Buddhist believer", if that makes sense.
I was "introduced" to Buddhisim in 1966 in Vietnam also. Being not quite 20 years old when I went there I paid very little attention at the time. I was to young, to stupid, and to full of my own imagined self-importance to pay attention.
Now I'm close to my 65th birthday, and Buddhisim is quite important to me. I too had my alchohol problems, and Buddhisim was one of the things that got me back on the right track.
Anyway, nice to see posts from both of you.
May your chosen paths lead you both to fufillment.
Posted 2011-09-14 00:14:28
You also be well. Where is your temple?
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