The Importance and Benefits of Monasticism: A Recommended Talk from this Week

Luis, yes, there are some wats (temples) in Thailand that allow temporary ordination. It is a tradition that many young men ordain temporarily, in order to demonstrate respect and gratitude to their parents, as well as to demonstrate to the outside world ( or to future marriage partners) that they experienced and have embraced the benefits of temple life and practice. I also met in Thailand a married middle aged guy that ordained temporarily, had retired and left his family behind in Singapore for a while, with the idea to be in robes as a samanera for a while.

After I disrobed as a temp. samanera in Fang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, I came back to my wat and did a formal anagarika ordination. I kept the 8 precepts strictly and shaved my head. But, I was also in the lay world, worked in an office and tried to balance lay life with the 8 precept life. For me, it worked well, and was a terrific path of practice for 3 years. I kind of stopped accepting myself as an anagarika when I decided to listen to music again, and to very occasionally eat after midday, as I found it so difficult with my work to eat before midday. Again, my attitude was that if I couldn’t keep the 8 precepts strictly, then I would abandon the role of an anagarika.

Still, I live as close to the eight precepts as I can. I just bought a small cabin in the Wisconsin forest with a kuti-sized cabin, and will live there ( I am either losing my mind, am a future unabomber, or I have a really good idea…time will tell which is true :slight_smile: ). I have the thought to reordain one day, and so I feel it’s far better to stay on this more strict semi-lay path, so as to keep as much of the renunciate sensibility as possible. This is kind of the “middle path” that I’ve carved out for myself. On reflection, I didn’t mean to talk about myself so much, but maybe by way of example I helped with your question.


Thanks so much for articulating this point (and actually, raising the initial question at all: for me, you’ve stimulated some very interesting and valuable comments). I’m inclined to think a deep mutual inter-respect for the assembles is also likely to be an important factor in the sangha’s survival. Sometimes I feel that some conversations that (very rightfully) speak to the needs, challenges and general perspective of one group can often appear to overshadow, or downplay, or just forget the needs, challenges and general perspective of another group.

For myself, I sooner look at it as people grappling with the many, many difficulties of life; some of them wear robes some of them don’t, but no-one (save for the obvious) is excused.

I think there may be some assumptions within this notion that wouldn’t withstand scrutiny.

It’s kind of curious, because as much as I can quite easily relate to what I take to be the general thrust of your point, in this aspect I see it rather the other way; I’m quite horrified by the thought of how much more bleak my world would be were I to be stripped of the knowledge that some of the people on this planet that have the fortitude to attempt to dedicate their lives spiritual peace in a world that appears to thoroughly rejects this as a reasonable undertaking to pursue. My world is better, I estimate if there are more good people in it.


Not @Aminah’s quote but some posts have been more negative in tone more recently

Yes, I can see that. That’s the way I feel when I just think about the monks from a distance, sweeping their path, meditating and maintaining noble silence.


I try to respect everyone, especially those who live good lives.

The appropriate relationship between laity and monastics is mutual respect and mutual support. If we can live up to this ideal, we are all going to go a long way.


Greetings @DKervick, Before I absent myself from this topic, I just wanted to express my support for you expressing your current doubts and disillusionments :slight_smile:

It’s a good thing to be able to rely on kalyanamittas to help support one in times of doubt, or confusion or need. Though this isn’t a practice forum, and contact tends to be more distanced and ‘professional’ or scholarly, still after years of contact it is hard to just stand back in these times…

My last 2 cents regarding this;

I always remind myself that this path is long term - many lifetimes, and any small step I can make to inclining my mind in a positive direction means less work for whatever inherits my Kamma after my death. I suppose I’m lucky in that I have no doubts regarding re-birth or the path overall.

Also I find that having adopted the path, has significantly reduced my own suffering in the here and now. As such, anything else about Buddhism, lay or monastic, etc etc, is just an added bonus, and really irrelevant. One can let go of the big/systemic picture :balloon: :slight_smile:

with metta and karuna

:anjal: :sparkling_heart: :sunflower: :butterfly: :sun_with_face:


From ajhan Brahmali’s post- I think some men might be thinking they are it and express their arrogance (or women, as the case may be). But the person who has laid down conceits won’t think in this way. The Arahanth is your ideal monk, to whom we aspire to become. Monks are people and aren’t perfect. I don’t really understand the reasoning if one person provided spiritual guidance and the other person physical nourishment, why it’s so wrong? It’s mutual respect and not trawling the internet for ‘free’ dhamma.


That was true for me for years, but everything is pretty stale now.


Yes the middle way is difficult to find - neither stagnation nor striving :slight_smile:
But at least this gives you a hint of where to look for a re-invigoration of the practice if that is what you are after.

Looking back over achievements is also an important task for balanced evaluation. Sometimes it is possible to just take for granted and forget what has been accomplished over time. There’s no magic advice, as you know. But all in all I think the most important thing is not to force yourself to do what doesn’t feel right. I’m a firm believer that things happen at the right time. ‘It’ will happen when it’s ready and ripe…

Anyway, at least it gives one some direction of where to look to address these perceptions and feelings of dissatisfaction.
*what has changed? * what is different to what I expected? * am I bored? * do I have unfulfilled desires? has my focus or goal changed? have my beliefs changed? where did I think I would be at at this point in my life? what external factors are influential? why? In, In, In with the focus…
Or test things out :slight_smile:
Abandon ‘Buddhism’… what would that be like? Decide to have no fixed views? Good? Bad? Who knows? - or just take an official holiday from ALL thinking about these things! A period of not thinking about any of this stuff :balloon: :smiley: :balloon: Let it all go. No right or wrong - just causes and conditions. Accept and forgive. No more prison!


I have practical problems in my life that Buddhism can’t solve. Although spiritual practice can be of some assistance, it can’t solve everything.


Sounds difficult.


A_Critical_Study_of_Pabbajja_Concept_in.pdf (268.8 KB)

It is glad to watch Benefit of Monasticism. I have been researching related to Monasticism. During my monkhood about 37 years of journey experiences, I realised that one kind of spiritual prison that is called some monastic centres. Due to that reason, many minks are going to disrobe. As a 5 G technological world, how we monastic service with this situation?
I could not see any innovation for monasticism? I will be happy to all of your suggestion, comments and follow up. Then I will complete my writing?
May all beings be happy and peaceful mind.
With loving kindness


Hi @DKervick,

Thanks very much for your sharing: it really does sound like you’re having a tough and difficult time… Wishing you much metta.

You’re absolutely right that the Dhamma can’t solve your practical problems for you. It definitely does not make practical problems go away.
What Dhamma practice can do is address suffering, and how that is caused by our minds reacting and wanting these problems to go away.
Sometimes in the midst of all our suffering, all we can do is to just try to enjoy the moments of peace whenever they occur; to make peace, be kind and be gentle as per the 2nd factor of the Eightfold Path. We often create more suffering when we want the problems to go away.

I think it is quite noteworthy to raise here that the Buddha, even when talking about “worldlings” that commit a lot of bad acts, invariably talks about them as “these worthy beings”. We probably need to separate between the worthiness of the beings, vs. their worldly activities in samsara. Wordly activities are often done with different motivations with different consequences, but are often bound in desire, which invariably causes suffering. So if we add that, then the logic above doesn’t necessarily seem true.

I can attest that Ajahn Brahmali generally does try to respect everyone, lay persons or monastics alike.

Once again, I truly hope that the conditions for your problems cease soon!

With metta.


But their activities in samsara are also valuable and worthy of respect. Planting food, cultivating the plants, harvesting the food, processing food and transporting it are all required for life to survive - including the lives of monks, which are completely dependent on the samsaric activities of others.


hi @DKervick,

I think you are right, and I think many monastics are also cognizant of that. It is simply that the results of these activities don’t yield a “final fruit”; these activities end up causing new causal loops to happen rather than ceasing things.

I thought about your comment when I did this guided meditation by Ajahn Khemavaro yesterday; his comments in the first 10+ mins was quite pertinent to your comment above i think. The guided meditation is here:

Hope the above is helpful!

With much metta,


Translation of vibhava tanha please. :grinning:

Craving non-existence.

As in this line from the Dhammacakkappavattanasutta: SuttaCentral

… craving for sensual pleasures, craving to continue existence, and craving to end existence.
kāmataṇhā, bhavataṇhā, vibhavataṇhā.


Ty @mikenz66.
a- changed to vi-, or a different prefix altogether?

Sorry, I’m not expert on Pali prefixes…

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