Monday, October 09, 2006

Me as a Buddhist monk in 2003

I told you that I have proof that I was once a monk for 7 days.

It is quite common for Thai males to become short-term monks. I am not Thai but go to the Thai Forest Tradition temple. My sister suggested that I ordain as a monk to make merit to share with my mother who is a lung cancer patient. I agreed, but at the time I truly believed that you should want to be a monk for the rest of your life when you decide to be ordained. Not for short term. But it was a special situation.

There's no special ceremony for short term monks. You go through the same procedures and become a fully ordained monk, with 227 training rules to follow. No less. You just ask to leave the monkhood when you feel that you can't continue being a monk.

I took this opportunity and asked myself to truly train as a monk, to think like a monk. Body, speech and mind. For my own understanding, and because of the support of the community. With so many teachers, good information and good environment, I gained an understanding of the path that is unshakable. I am not saying that I knew everything. But I finally understood the practice. I knew which direction to go, and that I had much to learn.

Unlike before, I now think that it's good to be a short term monk if one isn't just keeping up the appearance. Train like a monk inside and out. Chances are that one will gain understanding and maybe even consider staying as a monk. In any case, one can learn a lot!

Here are a few more pictures:

Getting ready to shave off the hair and eyebrows.

Receiving the requisites from Mom.

A snapshot with friends.

9 comments:

Sachi said...

I feel the need to point out that it's slightly funny that you post this pic so close to Halloween... Only slightly though, considering this monk thing is serious business.

I keep looking at the pic thinking, "Wow... all those yards of fabric.... would make nice pillows, no?"

Francesca said...

How interesting. I had no idea you could become a short-term monk. It must have been quite an experience. How long did you have to train to become a monk, if only for seven days?

Kerry said...

What lovely photos and memories, Jason, you will be able to carry that experience with always.

Jason said...

Sachi, LOL. I was thinking that maybe I'll spin up some cotton and make fabric suitable for offering next year.

I'll make sure not to let you see that particular project, just in case. LOL Kidding of course. :-)

Francesca, I stayed at the the temple 2 days before the ordination. But I did take some material home to memorize months before. You are suppose to memorize everything that you need to say or answer in Pali. Other stuff I learned as I went along with the other monks. The major work for a monk is the work on one's own heart, one's mind. All the training rules help keeping one on that path.

Depends on the teachers, some may require you to stay at the temple for one year before ordination. Even then they might only let you be a novice first for a year before becoming a monk. Each individual case maybe different.

Kerry, the benefits that I gained do stay with me. :-)

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

What great pictures and what a wonderful opportunity to expand your understanding of the religion and yourself. No wonder you have such a peaceful way about you. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. I think that the cotton would be great as an offering!

micah said...

hmmm, the ultimate dicpline teacher...no wonder you can crank out the knitting! That's devotion even if for a week. Looking at one's self is harder than looking at others.
Cool photos!

Elemmaciltur said...

Interesting to see....I'm not a Buddhist, but it's always interesting to see this kind of thing. And the fact that you're not originally from Thailand makes it more interesting.

Matt said...

What an Experience! you'll have to share more with us....maybe a weekly or monthly thing?

Jason said...

Thanks Jane, Micah, Elemm, Matt! That was so long ago that I sometimes feel that it was another person in those pictures. I now keep only 5 precepts. LOL But I do my best to do what's best for the mind. :-)

Matt, what are you suggesting? :-)