That’s true, and just for yourself or anyone else, there are a number of senior monastics on this forum, including myself, who are happy to talk if any advice or feedback is needed. I hope you find the path for you!
Thanks so much for this story!
When I was there, yes. We had visiting senior Mahayana monks from Bhutan and Taiwanese tradition, and they were treated kindly and respectfully. I remember the senior Mahayana monk sitting next to Ajahn Pasanno at the meal time.
Two Bhutanese monks were invited to Thailand by I think Ajahn Jayasaro; the senior one needed an operation and an attendant came to translate. One of our monks, (Ven Natthiko, more recently known as a meditation teacher in Sweden) was sent to Bangkok to look after them while they were getting medical care. They’d never been outside of Bhutan before. They arrived at the hospital and went to the elevator. When the doors opened, they looked at each other, and the junior monk asked Natthiko, “Is this an elevator?”
Later they came to Nanachat. I can’t remember what happened at the meal time, I think they might have been served in a kuti (they didn’t really eat Thai food; they brought a suitcase of dried meat from Bhutan!)
But I remember the senior monk gave a Dhamma talk in the outside sala, it was really special. Someone asked him what the difference was between the goal of Mahayana and Theravada, and he said, “None. We just want to get enlightened, same as you.”
Again, I can’t speak to what might have changed, but in my day, there would normally be a period of probation while getting to know a visiting monk from an unknown background (i.e. not referred by someone we knew), then they would be accepted in the Sangha. I can’t recall having any Mahayana monks come for long-term stays, so not sure how that would have been handled.
The Ajahn Chah tradition has this concept of nānasaṁvāsa “different communion”. Essentially they treat any outside monk as of a different communion, with certain exceptions. They would be accepted after probation of a few weeks.
Note that this isn’t what nānasaṁvāsa means in the Vinaya. Here’s the relevant passage from the Khandhakas. (pli-tv-kd10:1.10.2-3)
There are these two grounds for belonging to a different Buddhist sect. Either one makes oneself belong to a different Buddhist sect, or a unanimous assembly ejects one for not recognizing an offense, for not making amends for an offense, or for not giving up a bad view.
It’s not mean to be applied as a blanket exclusion of those outside one’s circle, but as a specific (and probably rare) means of detaching oneself from a bad community, or else excluding a monk of bad behavior. And there is no precedent in Vinaya to treat other monks on probation unless they have actually transgressed an offense.
I mean probably? I dunno, I was just speaking with a couple of young monastics in the US, they were looking forward to spending the vassa in tents. But what would I know, I spent my first vassa in a cave here: