I know in some traditions of Buddhism that Yogi/Yogini practitioners have their own ordination vows. This makes perfect sense to me because a Yogi/Yogini is a full time practitioner and would fall somewhere between the monastics and lay people. This is interesting to me because I live a Yogi/Yogini lifestyle and want to ordain but don’t want to live in a monastery, but instead stay in the wilderness.
“a monk — not attending to the perception of village, not attending to the perception of human being — attends to the singleness based on the perception of wilderness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of wilderness.”–MN 121
This doesn’t have anything to do with actually living in the wilderness, it’s the Buddha describing a meditation on perception, using meditation objects as a gradual meditative entry into emptiness. If you consider the context of the sutta, you’ll see the Buddha starts with the perception of a village and its emptiness and moves to perception of the wilderness and its emptiness, to the earth, then to the immaterial attainments and to signlessness.
It helps to see how our six senses are empty and insubstantial and that anything that could belong to a self is empty. SN22.95
I only have my cell phone and dollar store glasses so I can only read magazine length articles on my phone before my eyes hurt and I get a headache so it’s going to take me quite a while to go through the Tipitaka
You will have to do the search. But in suttas there is examples. I would say if you are sure you are ready with strong concentration. Or else it will be slow in learning or benefiting in meditation itself. Because at night there can be so many scary sounds in the forest. But if you do in a more desert looking environment like Burma or Tibet than you will have to deal with cold or hot. Sound great. Go for it. Don’t worry much on tradition. Follow inner guidance.
I’m a 63yo Native American from the Penobscot Nation in Maine, USA and I live in an off grid cabin in the woods of Maine, USA. I don’t have running water, indoor plumbing or electricity and use a wood stove for heat. It’s a lot of work living here but it’s a great place to practice. My people have been here since time immemorial and the woods are our home and the animals are our friends. I used to be a hunter, trapper and guide for my people so I’m very comfortable in the woods and prefer being with the animals than around people. I’ll work my way through the Tipitaka and continue my search for a teacher to assist me. I’m coming from a Vajrayana background and I’m used to Tibetan monks and nuns who are very kind and helpful. But now I’m having a hard time finding any Theravada or Early Buddhist monks or nuns who will assist me.
One thing is for sure. Any forest tradition would be awesome. So search about that. And you will have to email each to see if anagirika ceremony takes long or short. But if you want fast there is other traditions that probably just accept your will to want to stay as layperson. Just email nowadays. Prepare financially for worst case scenario when you need to go back home
I’m in no hurry and even when I do find a suitable teacher it will take 2-3 years to get to know that person before I ever even consider ordaining with them. The thing is I want to ordain and come home to the woods to practice. Then I’d only need to check in with my teacher once or twice a year.
‘This spot, Nāgasena, is free from the objections to talking matters over. And I am a model companion for any one desiring to do so. I can keep a secret, and will keep yours as long as I live. In all the eight ways just described my insight has grown ripe. It would be hard to find such a pupil as you may have in me.
‘Now towards a pupil who conducts himself thus aright the teacher ought to conduct himself in accordance with the twenty-five virtues of a teacher. And what are the twenty-five? He must always and without fail keep guard over his pupil. He must let him know what to cultivate, and what to avoid; about what he should be earnest, and what he may neglect. He must instruct him as to sleep, and as to keeping himself in health, and as to what food he may take, and what reject. He should teach him discrimination (in food), and share with him all that is put, as alms, into his own bowl. He should encourage him, saying: “Be not afraid. You will gain advantage (from what is here taught you).” He should advise him as to the people whose company he should keep, and as to the villages and Vihāras he should frequent. He should never indulge in (foolish) talk with him. When he sees any defect in him he should easily pardon it. He should be zealous, he should teach nothing partially, keep nothing secret, and hold nothing back. He should look upon him in his heart as a son, saying to himself: “I have begotten him in learning.” He should strive to bring him forward, saying to himself: “How can I keep him from going back? “He should determine in himself to make him strong in knowledge, saying to himself: “I will make him mighty.” He should love him, never desert him in necessity, never neglect him in anything he ought to do for him, always befriend him—so far as he can rightly do so —when he does wrong. These, Sir, are the twenty-five good qualities in a teacher. Treat me altogether in accordance therewith. Doubt, Lord, has overcome me. There are apparent contradictions in the word of the Conqueror. About them strife will hereafter arise, and in future times it will be hard to find a teacher with insight such as yours. Throw light for me on these dilemmas, to the downfall of the adversaries.’
If you wish to become a monastic, then it’s 5 years under training with the teacher before you get to be independent. If you’re just doing it as 8 precept, you can do it on your own. No need for any ceremony.
It’s better to stay in a monastery. A lot of learning takes place by observation, learning to live together in harmony, able to have ready access to teachers whenever a question pops up.
There are no monasteries near me and I’d love to come to Sāsanārakkha Buddhist Sanctuary but I’m poor and on a fixed income so no money to do that. Unfortunately here in America Buddhism is for rich white people and not for poor people, especially poor people of color
PS: Times have changed so imho it’s time to adapt the Vinaya to the 21st century or start a new branch of Buddhism for the west based on the Tipitaka.
It’s basically free to live in monastery as a monastic, because one would be giving up accepting money, buying, selling etc.
Upholding the vinaya is basically the core of Theravada, but yes, many monks didn’t have proper training for the first five years. In those cases, they are to remain with the teacher until they are properly trained.
Do explore your local monasteries and inquire on the process of becoming a monastic there.
Don’t be attached to staying at your home. Monastery is basically the home for the homeless ones. Leaving the household life for the homeless life is a common way to say renounciation.
The 5 years of training is like taking PhD, one needs to be trained or else, we get low quality monastics.
I’m talking about Buddhism in general here. My experiences are with Dharma centers that charge hundreds of dollars just for a meditation class. It is refreshing to find the Forest Tradition where they don’t charge anything. So I need to make the distinction between a monastery and a Dharma center.