Going forth, conducive to meditation practice or bogged down with monastic duties?

But not all monasteries have internet facility or library and even if they have it may be incomplete so it’s much better to read a lot before ordaining

I don’t think you need to read it twice because the suttas is already repetitive without realizing it you may actually read it for four or five times already

Then it’s down to researching the monasteries. Haha. Anyway, pros and cons.


Hi @mhviriyo,

Your reply is super helpful. If ordaining in a foreign country, do you find language to be a barrier within the Vihara, or is that an unnecessary concern? When my time here at the dhamma centre is done, I plan to visit a selection of vihara’s and spend time at each one just as you suggest. I have been a dedicated daily meditator in a certain lay tradition for nearly 10 years, and although the benefits have been numerous, I feel there is an element of the practice that is missing. Sutta study is one of those elements, the ongoing and dedicated support of the sangha and teacher is another. With the right foundation and right view, I feel my practice will progress in ways that lay traditions can’t support. This is the bases for my decision to go fourth. Pa Auk sounds intense and intriguing, I look forward to diving deeper. Thank you for your guidance :pray:t3:


You can always come for the English speaking monasteries.

Eg. Wat Pananachat, Sāsanārakkha Buddhist Sanctuary


@NgXinZhao Haha so many resources! Even through this website I really feel the support of the sangha :pray:t3:


At certain periods of the year the schedule is put aside, to allow for periods that suit the specific needs of the individual. Currently, the community alternates between two weeks of scheduled period, followed by two weeks of unscheduled period.

This is something I want to highlight from SBS. There’s 13 opportunities to go for 2 weeks retreat (16 days) in 1 year in SBS. Depending on how you use the unscheduled period. Well, sometimes, once a year, there’s sewing class during the unscheduled period as well, but you need only attend it one time to learn sewing, not every year.

And SBS sends monks to overseas monasteries for a year or 2 during the 5 years dependence period to get overseas experience.

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Hola, @Benjamin

Glad you found some of it helpful. I invested a fair amount of time into this “aiming” process due to some life circumstances, so if any of this can save you or anyone some time, it’s my pleasure. I’m also more than happy to get more specific over PM in case what has been offered in various responses already has left some questions in the air. Or to share how/why I chose.

:globe_with_meridians: As to the matter of a language barrier. In my experience, yes and no. First, there are so many options with full or partial English guidance available that I’m sure one won’t be able to consider them all. Unless one would make this the goal. And that alone might provide one possible answer. And I do recall ven. Ajahn Sumedho laughing warmly at the idea of a quest for a perfect monastery in one of his talks. :slight_smile:

(I dabble in rudimentary Thai so I was personally also considering jumping in and taking the Nissaya under a nicely hidden but locally respected venerable in a mountain monastery in Northern Thailand, hoping my language skills would improve over time. A number of more independently minded people have gone down this route and acquired the required Thai or Burmese and Pali skills on the way. Then again, there have been such wonderful conditions created with Western aspirants specifically or partially in mind in several lineages, that depending on how one wanted to play this, it might be useful to look at what has been done in this regard over the past decades. If not already. I also know a brother who wanted to study under a specific Thai master but despite his basic Thai skills still needed a translator during his instruction conversations - and this was kindly arranged. So… I suppose almost everything is possible.)

Without commenting on the benefits and potential challenges of each place, I’ll just mention a few places/options that come to mind of the many to aid one’s preliminary online research, for example. Many of these will have good or excellent libraries to boot as well, so… that’s rarely an issue. I’ll send you the Majjhima myself if you end up going to a very exotic bookless place. :smiley: :nerd_face: :books: The Dhammawheel forums have great archived discussions on various options as well, with some of the same names showing up here, if you feel like digging in.

  • Wat Pah Nanachat (Thailand) was specifically set up for international aspirants (Nanachat literally means “international” after the Forest Monastery part). The network of Wat Nong Pah Pong/late Ajahn Chah spans many continents and quite a number of its monasteries are English only or mostly. (There are a number of venerables here who know more about this than yours truly). Some of the network’s viharas in Europe are great places as well.

  • Wat Suan Mokkh/Wat Suan Mok Phalaram (Thailand) used to have a Nanachat project part, and Ajahn Poh (he was reinstated as the abbot the last I knew, which was a year or two ago) may still be open to welcome one into the fold, but there may be some administrative buts nowadays.

  • Pa Auk’s (Pa Auk Sayadaw’s network) branches both in Myanmar, and now also abroad, are often international in nature. Show up, sit down, go. It becomes a matter of how small, big, remote, connected, etc you need it. (Venerables from there are present here on these forums as well, I believe).

  • The Mahasi network of late Mahasi Sayadaw has intensive practice centers with ordination options.

  • As does Panditarama of late U Pandita.

  • Sayadaw U Tejaniya teaches in both English and Burmese and may take an aspirant to teach at Shwe Oo Min (the Nissaya will be officially under the head of the monastery, I believe) not far from Yangon.

  • There are a few English-friendly Dhammayut options in Thailand and the US, I believe (there are, again, more knowledgeable people around for this).

  • I know people who have leant towards a different route compared to the handwritings of ven. Ajahn Chah and ven. Ajahn Buddhadasa who invited practitioners to “return to the forest” independently of each other. So, one can also become a scholarly monastic-MA-student at the Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidayalaya University in Bangkok. Stay at a monastery, and visit the city for study. The city vs the forest discussion could be a Pandora’s box.

  • Na Uyana Aranya monastery in Sri Lanka would take on Western aspirants.

  • Also English options in Malaysia

  • Australia

  • Uncountable less networked monasteries and teachers etc, etc.

What a great adventure, @Benjamin! I’m deeply happy over this exchange. Unable to be in robes at this moment, I’m compensating for it by writing long posts in response to your questions. Apologies for the logorrhea. :wink:

It’s probably hard to fail in the end. Also, some monks do travel later on. And the same faces start showing up in different countries, immigration office cues, and monasteries after some time. It’s only fuzzy at first.