I’m planning on beginning the ordination process pretty soon (less than a year).
I don’t want to get into specifics, but I was planning on ordaining at a particular place because of its seclusion, lack of distraction, dedicated environment, etc. However, it seems that the monastery is in a somewhat blatant eternalist lineage. (Edit: I’m not referring to all TFT itself, just to this particular instance at least, it has strong inclinations). Originally I thought it was a lot more subtle and maybe not such a big deal, but looking into it in more detail over time has made it clear that there is an idea of an undying indescribable consciousness equated with Nibbāna.
I feel that everywhere I turn, I run into this. Honestly it’s a bit disheartening. The Thai Forest tradition, which is by far the most internationally available lineage of monasteries for Westerners to ordain in, is filled with these kinds of ideas at every turn from all levels of practitioners, it seems. Sometimes it’s more subtle, sometimes it’s more blatant, but it’s there. Not only that, but this view has pervaded Buddhism everywhere: It’s almost surprising (and relieving) to come across a practitioner who doesn’t think Nibbāna is some eternal state of awareness.
I’m wondering if anyone, especially monastics, has any advice about navigating this. Originally I thought I could manage and some disagreement and whatnot is always good to test our comfort levels. But I feel that I’m going to “go crazy” if I’m surrounded by people who all want to realize what is essentially just an Upanisadic Pure Consciousness. I’ve even seen the same metaphor of all rivers joining the ocean used.
It also has less to do with the view itself as much as it does the general environment of Dhamma discussion. It seems inevitable that certain topics or discussions about Dhamma could be severely limited if people are basing practice on a goal such as that.
Do you have any experience to share? Would you think it’s less of a big deal and it is still fine to start out in a place like this? Am I exaggerating? Lol. The environment really does seem good as far as seclusion, nature, etc. goes, so that’s another thing to consider.
Just throwing this out there to see if anyone may have anything to add. I’m still doing some thinking, and figured my siblings in Dhamma might have guidance.
Thank you! Much mettā