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Status of converts during 4 months trial period?


#1

In the suttas, we often see that recluses from non-Buddhist groups who want to become bhikkhus have to undergo a four months trial period before being fully admitted into the sangha. Is there anything in the vinaya about them? What is their status during this time? Samaṇeras?
(Isn’t samaṇera/ī ordination just for people under 20?)
Ajahn @Brahmali? :anjal:


#2

They can’t be sāmaṇeras, because it is said they received both the pabbajjā and the upasampadā after the trial period. On the other hand, it seems they would have to live with the Sangha, or at least be close to it, in order for the bhikkhus/bhikkhunī to evaluate them. They might have been ārāmikas, “monastery workers/attendants”, which might be regarded as the precursor to the modern anagārikas.

There is a short section on these people in the Mahakkhandhaka called the Aññatitthiyapubbakathā or in I.B. Horner’s translation “On one who had formerly been a member of another sect”.


#3

Are there any resources on what this trial would be looking at in terms of qualities of that potential bhikkhu?


#4

In Kd 1 (Horner’s translation):

On one who had formerly been a member of another sect

Now at that time the one who had formerly been a member of another sect when he was being spoken to by his preceptor regarding a rule, having refuted the preceptor, went over to the fold of that same sect (as before), but having come back again, he asked the monks for ordination. The monks told this matter to the Lord. He said:

“Monks, he who was formerly a member of another sect … having refuted the preceptor and going over to the fold of that same sect (as before), on coming back should not be ordained. But, monks, whoever else was formerly a member of another sect and desires the going forth in this dhamma and discipline and desires ordination, to him you should grant probation for four months.

… follows the procedure of giving probation …

“Monks, a former member of another sect becomes one who succeeds thus, one who fails thus. And how, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who fails? Herein, monks, a former member of another sect enters a village at too early a time, he returns too late in the day. Thus, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who fails. And again, monks, a former member of another sect comes to be one whose resort (for alms) is among prostitutes, or he comes to be one whose resort (for alms) is among widows, or he comes to be one whose resort (for alms) is among grown girls, or he comes to be one whose resort (for alms) is among eunuchs, or he comes to be one whose resort (for alms) is among nuns. Thus, too, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who fails.

“And again, monks, a former member of another sect in regard to those various things which have to be done by his fellows in the Brahma-faring, comes to be not dexterous therein, not vigorous, not possessed of consideration for those kinds of things, not able to act himself, not able to direct (others). Thus too, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who fails. And again, monks, a former member of another sect comes to be one who is not of keen desire as to the recitation, as to the interrogation, as to the higher morality, the higher thought, the higher wisdom. Thus too, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who fails.

“And again, monks, a former member of another sect becomes angry, displeased, dissatisfied if dispraise is being spoken of the teacher, the views, the approval, the persuasion, the creed of that fold of a sect from which he has come over; he becomes pleased, elated, satisfied if dispraise is being spoken of the awakened one or of dhamma or of the Order; or else he becomes pleased, elated, satisfied if praise is being spoken of the teacher, the views, the approval, the persuasion, the creed of that fold of a sect from which he has come over; he becomes angry, displeased, dissatisfied if praise is being spoken of the awakened one or of dhamma or of the Order. This, monks, is the knitting together in regard to what may be the failure of a former member of another sect. It is thus, monks, that a former member of another sect becomes one who fails. Therefore, monks, if there come a former member of another sect who has failed, he should not be ordained.

“And how, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who succeeds? Herein, monks, a former member of another sect does not enter a village at too early a time, he does not return too late in the day. Thus, monks, does a former member of another sect become one who succeeds. And again, monks … point by point the contrary of the above … This, monks, is the knitting together in regard to what may be the success of a former member of another sect. It is thus, monks, that a former member of another sect becomes one who succeeds. Therefore, monks, if there come a former member of another sect who has succeeded, he may be ordained.

“If, monks, a former member of another sect comes naked, a robe belonging to a preceptor should be looked about for. If he comes without the hair of his head cut off, the Order should be asked for permission for shaving it close. Monks, if those come who are fire-worshipping matted hair ascetics they may be ordained, probation should not be given to these. What is the reason for this? These, monks, affirm deeds, they affirm what ought to be done. If, monks, there come a former member of another sect who is a Sakyan by birth, he may be ordained, probation should not be given to him. I, monks, will give this special privilege to (my) relations.”

The most important of which I think is probably

“And again, monks, a former member of another sect becomes angry, displeased, dissatisfied if dispraise is being spoken of the teacher, the views, the approval, the persuasion, the creed of that fold of a sect from which he has come over; he becomes pleased, elated, satisfied if dispraise is being spoken of the awakened one or of dhamma or of the Order; or else he becomes pleased, elated, satisfied if praise is being spoken of the teacher, the views, the approval, the persuasion, the creed of that fold of a sect from which he has come over; he becomes angry, displeased, dissatisfied if praise is being spoken of the awakened one or of dhamma or of the Order.


#5

@sabbamitta, do you think :thinking: these paragraphs are the genuine article?! There’s too much discrimination for my liking; while in other places such discrimination is not visible: there’s no prohibition in ordaining prostitutes, widows, and young girls! He has a prophetic dream about people of different ‘colour’ becoming one colour, and so on. He visited a courtesan for a Dana. I agree that faith in triple gem must be a minimum requirement. :pray:


#6

I have no idea how genuine this is.


#7

This list is also found in an EBT: AN 5.102

“Mendicants, even if a monk is of impeccable character, he might be suspected and distrusted as a ‘bad monk’ for five reasons.
What five? It’s when a monk frequently collects alms from prostitutes, widows, voluptuous girls, eunuchs, or nuns.
Even if a monk is of impeccable character, he might be suspected and distrusted as a ‘bad monk’ for these five reasons.”

It’s got nothing to do with possible ordination of these groups, just with how the public might perceive a celibate male ascetic associating closely with them.