Options for EBT-focused ordination in the West

As I make my plans to head East to ordain, I was asked during a group session with students today about Western monastic options that specifically offer:

  • a strong focus on the EBTs rather than on the abhidhamma/commentaries
  • limited chores/chanting
  • sufficient options for plant-based and vegan diets
  • jhana-focus
  • good vinaya

I had personally done research on this in years-past, but I had not come across any in the West (US, Canada, UK, et cetera) that I could recall, so I had no recommendations to offer. While I am fortunate that my proclivities and conditions make going-forth in the East my preference, it seems that’s not entirely appealing to everyone. :man_shrugging:

Anyway, I thought I would tap into the varied and knowledgeable folks at SC D&D for some guidance that I may be able to extend?

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Here you go:

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Ajahn Viradhammo’s temple in Canada and Ajahn Jayanto’s temple in New Hampshire come to mind.

But of course for vegetarian food and EBTs, the best is @ayyasoma 's Empty Cloud in New Jersey! :grin:

@Metaphor - Are they ordaining people at Pacific Hermitage now?

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Ha! goodness me, they’ll be asking for nice views and good wifi next :slight_smile:

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Haha, sign me up!

I get dibs on an Ocean-View kuti!

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Not sure. I think an interested person would have to contact the Hermitage and make inquiries.

https://www.abhayagiri.org would always be a great recommendation to check out. It’s a larger monastery and its founder LP Pasanno was a student of Ajahn Chah and at least in my opinion he has established one of the finest practice centers that remains faithful to that lineage and also just has a lot of really good people and excellent monastics and lay people in the community there. So certainly one to check out.

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I wish people had “Harmonious community where people care about each other” on the list. Because without that, a monastery is worthless for monastic life.

And it’s always sad to me to see people putting dietary things on a list like this. Unless you have a medical condition, you really need to give that up as a requirement. It’s like picking a university based on the cafeteria.

The lack of chores thing is funny to me as well. Who is supposed to get things done? That being said, there is a difference between “monastery building work as a core focus of life” and “chores”.

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Yeah, last I heard, as a Hermitage they don’t ordain anyone. You’d have to ordain at an Ajahn Chah tradition monastery first afaik.

Seconded! Just keep in mind that they have a (quite long) waitlist for ordaining there. (Same with Ajahn Brahm’s Bodhinyana Monastery). But as large and healthy communities they are definitely worth visiting and getting to know!

To be fair, this is not the kind of thing you can ask about directly. Who is going to say that their temple is an inharmonious and heartless disaster area? :laughing: I mean, my temple sometimes feels like it is… but I’d never say so publicly! … wait … oops… :laughing:

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Oh no! I was not aware of this! There are long lines of people waiting to ordain? How long does it take to wait? What is one to do to avoid having to wait when the time comes? I have obligations to my parents and debts to pay which don’t allow me to ordain right now. It never occurred to me though that when these responsibilities are taken care of I may not have the option to ordain… I live in the United States and was hoping to ordain and train here as well. I mean if I have to go to Wat Pah Nanachat I will, but I was really hoping to grow the community in my own country. It is heartbreaking to hear that genuine practitioners are unable to ordain here in the states.

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You’ll definitely have to contact them about this.

Well, usually people like me whose “hair is on fire” come to Asia.

One friend of mine got himself added to the Bodhinyana waitlist before sorting all that out. When his turn came up a few years later, he was actually ready to ordain by then.

Another option is Ajahn Dick’s monastery in Virginia.

I know, right? And that’s for the men! It’s so much worse for Buddhist women (even in Asia)! :pensive: We’re still very much in the early days here :slightly_smiling_face:

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My queue for Bodhinyaya was 5 years long, and I ordained elsewhere anyway. Totally wasn’t ready when I put my name in the list. One should put one’s name in the lists like now, if one is serious.

  1. Overseas list, super slow going.
  2. Get Australian PR, then you can get bumped up to local list which can go fast.
  3. Need a lot of planning and time to get Australian PR, good job etc.
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I don’t know the formalities of preparing for ordination at Abhayagiri but I was an eight precept anagarika when I visited there and so I was allowed to work in the kitchen and do some other work duty stuff the way the other Anagarikas were operating. My sense was that the other Anagarikas had been there already for six or eight months so it may be that you do a one year tenure in white so that the community can get to know you a bit better and you can get to understand your own capacity for monastic training, and then likely graduate into Samanera ordination maybe for another year until you’re then accepted into the community of Bhikkhus. Again I’m just guessing at the Timeline but I think quality ordinations are a lengthy process with some tenure earned along the way so that the by the time one steps up and is ready for full ordination both the community and the candidate are ready and qualified.

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To be clear, Bodhinyaya has the same 1 year anagarika 1 year novice before fully ordained. And the waiting period is waiting to be anagarika!

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