Erratic Stability (Approaching Ordination)

There are varies obligations that arise when one decides that ordination is a path they are truly considering. We must get permission from our parents, clear our debts, and understand the gift/sacrifice we are undertaking. For some their Kamma allows for a swift transition, but for others it can be quite the challenge.

In the west, debt has become almost as certain as sickness, old age, and death. Debt itself has become the currency of the west. Rarely do people pay for there education, car, or home outright. The dreams of freedom, liberty, and justice are taught from a young age, but this “American Mantra” has become almost nothing more then a capitalist lure; a trap, into indentured servitude.

One could go really in depth about this, but perhaps another time. The point of this post is to talk about the interesting situation this puts Buddhist laypeople as they approaching one of the greatest decisions of their lives; ordination, and the long swamp they must cross to get to the Sangha gates.

It’s been a long path to get to where I have gotten, and I am much closer to the end of this part of my journey. Many bad habits have been remedied, much has been learned, and an end of all that debt is within reach. Of course though as one gets to the threshold of the Sangha, Mara sits their asking me in his devilish condescension, “What has taken you so long?”.

I’m at the “Crossroad”, the Faustian moment is upon me, the devil has presented his deal. His daughters dance around me as Mara smirks smoking his cigarette in his fancy suit and tie. He says, “You have forever, Buddhas aren’t forged in Sanghas. They are forged in Samsara, I have the path you desire.”

I can see two paths now, where before I could only really see one…
The original was ordination, to the Sangha where all the answers I desire await me.
The new one: wealth, family, friendship, and merit, a delayed path for a more fruitful journey and path.
That’s the most “noble” way I can present Mara’s promise.

Now obviously a deal with the devil I do not intend to make, but this really gets to the point of this post. This ‘contract’ sits in front of me, Mara is constantly in my sight. The pestering and badgering, the constant pressure of desire. I can’t rid myself of the guy and it’s annoying. On the back roads outside the ancient city walks a man, and he’s there to make a deal.

The closer to ordination I get the more odd and unfamiliar the territory becomes. There are people I come across that truly destabilize my stability. Laypeople that make claims of spiritual achievement, monks that have disrobed, perceived short-comings of bhikkus/bhikkunis. My fears of the Vinaya grow as well as I become more aware of the dilemma rising in the West around following these rules.

There are a million different things I want to say about this storm I’m walking through and the flooded grounds that cover and surround the path through it. Apologizes for the descriptions of the glances in directions and the characters on the random trails I’ve stumbled through. I’ll wrapped this up.

There is a great danger in debt. It will keep you from a swift exit to refugee. It will have taken you long enough to find the the Sangha, but the gatekeeper will not let you enter if there is a price upon you. You will be forced to shamble around the walls of the ancient city, to wander around it’s countrysides. In those erratic lands awaits a man, and boy does he have a deal for you.

I apologize, there is more I’d like to say, but I must keep up with the daily routine.
Let this post be an area where people can take about what they are running into on their path to ordination. It can be a difficult time and I have found it difficult to talk about, let alone find answers. I’ll come back here when I feel I can put more of what I have to say in words. Thank you for giving me space to put some of these thoughts down, they have been very burdensome to carry.


Can you ask Mara to wait for a year so you can try the Anagarika-training at a monastery of your choice for a year to see how monastic life is? If it is not for you, you can always sign the other contract. Or sign no contract and just keep on going like you are doing now. :wink:


Can you ask Mara to wait for a year so you can try the Anagarika-training at a monastery of your choice for a year to see how monastic life is? If it is not for you, you can always sign the other contract. Or sign no contract and just keep on going like you are doing now. :wink:

I don’t really feel like there is much choice in the matter. I really see it as the a decision between right and wrong. A choice made out of wisdom or a choice made out of desire. My whole life I have made choices out of desire and it has only lead to suffering. For once I hope to make a choice out of wisdom and find a truly blameless bliss.

I get that one can say, “but yeah it’s still a choice!”, but honestly the more I look at it the less there seems to be an option. It’s like a man burned by a fire enough times, sure he has the “choice/option” to put himself back into the fire, but eventually he just won’t do it.

Namo Buddhaya!

In my opinion these are trifling obstacles.

Not a trifle is the finding of a suitable preceptor and a place that will allow you to train in a way that makes leaving home worthwhile.

What is worthwhile will depend on what you need of support & teachings, your alternatives for training as a layman and the aspirations regarding the monastic life.

It seems to me that often people assert that any ordination is better than the laylife but it is clearly not so because many people do end up disrobing.

Often i see people ‘go to ordain’, not even knowing who will be their preceptor. I think that this is far from ideal and kind of like going to ‘get married’ not knowing who the bride is. It is much better to know exactly who will be the preceptor and to know much about him, such as his views and stances on the various things.

Also i think people are quick to focus on what they can’t do and lamenting that instead of exploring what they can do as layfolk, things such as learning the entirety of suttapitaka and whatnot.

An ordination ceremony is easily performed but it doesn’t remove defilements.

I also think that if one can’t train without being ordained then it is not a given that one will do better having ordained.

I’m about to do a year of anagarika-ship soon, but for many years before this I wanted to ordain, but there was still something inside that prevented it, and the opportunity never materialized.

But after I dealt with a significant personal issue (with the help of a lot of metta) it’s like the path just opened up. Almost spooky when I look back on it, but in a good way :slight_smile:

It feels like to me that there’s a point when the mind decides on renunciation/ordination, but there’s still a bunch of past kamma that needs to resolve itself before you actually do it.


Namo Buddhaya!

I hope it works out well for you.

I also have wanted to ordain for many years.

In hindsight i don’t mind having waited because there were pros and cons to it.

As it is now, I still want to ordain but that in a certain country, to train in a particular way, and for this need a preceptor with particular qualifications.

I have narrowed my search and will go abroad next year to look further. It will be good if i find and alright if i don’t.

As i see it, if i don’t fit in then i don’t fit in, it doesn’t bother me.