Can one become an anagarika but live a solitary life rather than living in a monastery?
It’s possible, and there are people who do that. Of course it’s a challenge to keep the 8 precepts in the home life. Is this something you’re thinking of?
I have an online dhamma-sister who is doing this. She’s a bit amazing.
She’s not in a position where she can ordain yet. Her income comes from some rental property she owns and she is quite frugal to live this way at home, without going out into the world. She lives alone with a few cats and volunteers on various online Dhamma projects. During vassa she had people knocking on her door to check on her because she hadn’t gone out the entire time!
Another person who live very simply is @mpac. Though I’m not sure whether she live on 8 precepts all the time.
Thank you for your reply Bhante. Yes, it is something I am thinking of. I am drawn to ordination at some point, but as of yet I have responsibilities that keep me from full renunciation. I already live alone in my travel trailer with my two sweet dogs, and I often think of finding right livelihood through online work while traveling and practicing dharma as well as teaching others who might want to learn.
Thank you, sister, for your reply. I am in a similar situation. I live in my travel trailer with my two sweet dogs and work mostly online but with some work at area businesses (two or three times a week.) My parents are aging and not in good health, so I want to be able to care for them as needed. It is wonderful to hear about your friend.
Also to add to the above. I kept 8 precepts as a householder of about 3 months before I came to live in the vihara where I am now. I started just with one or two days a week and when that felt right I naturally just kept doing it. If there were days where it wasn’t practical I didn’t work 100% I wasn’t hard on myself. The idea is to make life more simple and give more peace and time to practice.
The way I understand Anagarika means a person who follow eight precepts but do not have a house.
A caravan is about the same size as my kuti and some kutis are caravans
That is my thinking too. Just a way to dedicate more time and energy to the dharma practice. Renouncing what is unnecessary and devoting more time to the eightfold path.
Good point. Mine is about 200 square feet (18.58 square meters) and sometimes it actually feels bigger than what I need.
My kuti is 2.4 x 3.6m (about 94sq ft)
I was unaware that having a house is prohibited for anagarikas (I don’t know any). Maybe this has something to do with “going forth” from being a householder? That makes sense for ordination. I know the 8 precepts don’t prohibit handling money, but certainly limiting possessions to necessities is a good thing.
I know! I actually want to build my own smaller one I know the Vinaya talks about the size of Kutis, but I don’t remember the details.
As I understand it the term Anagarika isn’t an official designation of someone following a particular way of life from the Buddha’s time. It has come into use to designate an aspirant for monastic life and therefore is usually applied to people living in a monastery. But the main practise they follow are the eight precepts, and that can be done in houselife too—but yes, I too would understand it as simplifying life as much as possible.
I have been living on 8 precepts more or less for quite some time already—I used to call it 7 1/2 because for health reasons I am just not able to sustain my body without eating something in the afternoon. I have given up my former dwelling after giving up my job, so I have no income to pay a rent and am relying on my savings. I went for a year of “monastery hopping”, and after that moved to my parents for the time being who can also do with some support right now.
In March 2017 I took on the Anagarika precepts officially and am also associated to a monastery, but as this monastery still has to be built I am “homeless” in the proper sense of the word (my parents kindly giving me shelter).
It literally means something like an (without) āgara (house) ika (a person who is)
But can also be taken as a white clothed person keeping the 8-precepts and living simply.
It reminds me of the MN54 where Potaliya gets upset when the Buddha calls him a householder.
I think there are still more 8-preceptors who live in a house on this forum!
As far as I know there is no mention of Anagarika in Sutta.
I may be wrong.
I lived as an 8-precept Upasika/Anagarika for 3 years and meditating before I got a place in a monastery. Of course this is not a shortcut to ordination because you still have to live in the monastery with the community for some time to see if you like it there and if you fit in before you can request further ordination. But living like this is certainly a very beneficial training.
Vimala, would you recommend living at home with the 8 precepts, before thinking of whether it is suitable for someone to be ordained?
How wonderful! Best wishes on the new monastery!