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What Costs Are Involved In Becoming A Monk

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9 hours ago, rockyysdt said:

What were your operating costs after the initial ordination, over the 7 years?

 

 

Actually, there are no operating costs that I can remember.  If I needed a new pair of flip flops, they were donated, If my robes got ripped, they were donated.  I had a room to sleep in, food to eat, water to drink.  All studying materials were donated, even the ones in English.  My hair was cut every month on the full moon, soap and toothbrushes and toothpaste was donated.  We had a small stand on our temple grounds that sold soda's, chips and candy bars for visitors,  normally, some monks would gather there after the evening chanting period and someone always bought us a coke.  Rocky, I can't think of a thing we actually needed money for.  There were some monks that had cell phones and someone had to buy extra minutes for them.  But nothing by and large required any of us to have money in our pocket, which most of us never had.  If we were going somewhere to pay respects at another temple, we always had a ride and someone paying for the petrol.  We were sometimes given money on bind a bot rounds by the public, but that money always went into the temple fund.  We didn't keep any of it.  

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2 minutes ago, DaRoadrunner said:

I see we are considering the financial side when you mention costs.

 

However, there are non-financial costs too. Such as, only one meal a day and no pu$$y. Nope, I would not last one day.

No worries. Buddhists dont know the concept of sin.

 

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25 minutes ago, khaowong1 said:

Actually, there are no operating costs that I can remember.  If I needed a new pair of flip flops, they were donated, If my robes got ripped, they were donated.  I had a room to sleep in, food to eat, water to drink.  All studying materials were donated, even the ones in English.  My hair was cut every month on the full moon, soap and toothbrushes and toothpaste was donated.  We had a small stand on our temple grounds that sold soda's, chips and candy bars for visitors,  normally, some monks would gather there after the evening chanting period and someone always bought us a coke.  Rocky, I can't think of a thing we actually needed money for.  There were some monks that had cell phones and someone had to buy extra minutes for them.  But nothing by and large required any of us to have money in our pocket, which most of us never had.  If we were going somewhere to pay respects at another temple, we always had a ride and someone paying for the petrol.  We were sometimes given money on bind a bot rounds by the public, but that money always went into the temple fund.  We didn't keep any of it.  

QUOTE: to have money in our pocket, which most of us never had. 

 

How did you cope with those fake monks?

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14 hours ago, khaowong1 said:

Actually, there are no operating costs that I can remember.  If I needed a new pair of flip flops, they were donated, If my robes got ripped, they were donated.  I had a room to sleep in, food to eat, water to drink.  All studying materials were donated, even the ones in English.  My hair was cut every month on the full moon, soap and toothbrushes and toothpaste was donated.  We had a small stand on our temple grounds that sold soda's, chips and candy bars for visitors,  normally, some monks would gather there after the evening chanting period and someone always bought us a coke.  Rocky, I can't think of a thing we actually needed money for.  There were some monks that had cell phones and someone had to buy extra minutes for them.  But nothing by and large required any of us to have money in our pocket, which most of us never had.  If we were going somewhere to pay respects at another temple, we always had a ride and someone paying for the petrol.  We were sometimes given money on bind a bot rounds by the public, but that money always went into the temple fund.  We didn't keep any of it.  

Thanks for your reply K.

 

One of my ambitions is to take the plunge and devote my life to practice.

 

My current life is far from satisfying.

 

If I did take this path a major concern revolves around visa costs, passport renewal costs, as well as medical and dental.

 

These would be the big hitters for someone without money.

 

How did you go with these issues?

 

 

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9 hours ago, rockyysdt said:

Thanks for your reply K.

 

One of my ambitions is to take the plunge and devote my life to practice.

 

My current life is far from satisfying.

 

If I did take this path a major concern revolves around visa costs, passport renewal costs, as well as medical and dental.

 

These would be the big hitters for someone without money.

 

How did you go with these issues?

 

 

"Visa costs, passport renewal costs, as well as medical and dental."   Here is where I am going to get a lot of flack.  I was retired.  I got a Social Security check each month from the U.S. Govt.  It went into a bank account of which I had a Visa debit card which I used for those incidentals.  And only those incidentals.  I never used it for anything else.  Except my airplane travel when I came back to the US.  When I first started in 2007, they had a so called "Monk" visa available, they discontinued that and now foreign monks have to get a "Ed" visa to stay.  That was a pain in the tush.  There was a high ranking monk in Bangkok that I knew personally who helped me get that.  My Thai was and is not so good, I can get by, but I for some reason got really good at the Pali chants.  When I had to go see a immigration official, I would break out the Pali blessing chants and everything was smiles and roses.  😀  I had to go see a doctor a couple of times, and I would take my Visa debit card, give it to this nice temple follower that I knew whom spoke English, and he would go to the bank for me and get the money I needed to pay the hospital for me.  Here's one thing I would recommend to anyone who doesn't speak or read Thai.  If you live in Thailand, find a temple who's abbot and several monks speak good English.  If you don't live in Thailand, find a local temple, preferably a Thai temple, who's monks and abbot speak really good English.  It will save you a lot of headaches.  When you get to the point of really wanting to give it a try, talk to me.. I'll give you some pointers about where to find books in English that you will need.  

 

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23 hours ago, oldhippy said:

QUOTE: to have money in our pocket, which most of us never had. 

 

How did you cope with those fake monks?

Truthfully, I never actually ran into any.  It's not like as a monk you get to wander around all over the place.  Only the abbot was allowed to do that.  We were always, if out away from our home temple, only just going to some religious event.  Not hanging out on the corner.  My temple was about 10 miles out in the country away from any size city.  I can't recall any of the monks at my temple having more than 20 baht in his pocket at anytime.  

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@khaowong1 What's career mobility for long-term monks like? can they readily move between temples, go on trek (Thudong) does the abbot at your local temple decide? How much does the Sangkha organization in the province knows of each monk in a temple, do you get performance review or job posting to know if there's a temple that's in need of monks to move there?

 

And what about Thai temples in other countries?

someone with English skills like yours must be needed?

 

If you have time, please recount your experience about your time spent on ;missions' abroad, I have little experience with some Thai temples in a couple of western countries, some are just barely houses and holding together by the sheer support of the locals. 

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On 12/24/2019 at 3:52 AM, mekong.star said:

my adopted son will become monk soon. i have been told i need to contribute 300,000 baht.  i don't understand this.

Neither do I....his first lesson in life should be to work for what he wants and not expect others to pay his way...that one simple lesson will stand him in better stead for the rest of his life, more than anything he will learn in the Temple.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, digbeth said:

@khaowong1 What's career mobility for long-term monks like? can they readily move between temples, go on trek (Thudong) does the abbot at your local temple decide? How much does the Sangkha organization in the province knows of each monk in a temple, do you get performance review or job posting to know if there's a temple that's in need of monks to move there?

 

And what about Thai temples in other countries?

someone with English skills like yours must be needed?

 

If you have time, please recount your experience about your time spent on ;missions' abroad, I have little experience with some Thai temples in a couple of western countries, some are just barely houses and holding together by the sheer support of the locals. 

Digbeth, damn good questions.  I'll answer to the best of my knowledge.  

Career mobility.  The only mobility up is either as a vice-abbot or abbot.  Since there is only a limited amount of temples, not easy to do.  Most abbots are there for life.  So unless your an extra ordinary monk, slim to none.  It happens, but very seldom.  My abbot was young, 30's, when he became an abbot and only because the temple he took over was abandoned and he rebuilt it.  And has done a damn good job.  Having said that, here's where a Farang monk could shine.  If you both read and spoke Thai fluently and read and spoke English fluently, you could be asked by the big cheeses in Bangkok to take over a temple in say, the US, England or Australia.  But you would have to be known by them for this to happen.  Which is not easy.  I happened to get lucky once, by luck, I was invited to a birthday celebration of the Supreme Patriarch in Bangkok, and met the big cheese who decided who would be abbots in these Thai temples in the US.  Spent an afternoon with him, with him asking me many questions about the US.  If my Thai had been much, much better, I could have picked a temple to be abbot of.  I actually spent almost a year at a Thai Buddhist temple in Arizona as a honorary vice abbot, while the abbot was in Thailand furthering his education.  Didn't much care for it.  Too much paper work and too many problems.  

Thudong.  Your not allowed to leave the temple for any amount of time until you've been a monk for 5 years.  On your own.  Sometimes, the abbot decides for everyone to leave the temple on thudong for 3, 4 or 5 days.  But not very often.  

Sangka Organization.  The abbot of your temple sends in a report of his monks about once a month.  So unless your an extraordinary monk, they know pretty much nothing about you.  Most abbots love having Farang monks at their temples, mainly for meeting with Thai ladies whom have Farang husbands.  Plus, it's kind of an honor thing for them, so, they pretty much don't want you moving to another temple.  When I went to Arizona for a year, it's because a big muckety muck asked for me by name, so my abbot could hardly refuse.  😆.

Thai temples in other countries.  Yes, those temples are always looking for Farang monks.  If your Thai is really, really good, and your English is also, they would probably pay for your way to get there.  However, after staying at several temples in Arizona, and spending some time at the big temple in LA, Wat Thai LA, I was not impressed with them.  Or the monks who live there.  I found most if not all, the Thai monks who live there, are there for the money.  It's a very easy lifestyle for them.  Good food, good living conditions, and money in their pockets.  I know 4 Thai monks personally in the US who thought they hit the mother lode and opened their own temples.  For the money.  2 in Arizona, 1 in California and 1 in El Paso, Texas.  They don't have permission to call them "Temples" so they call them "Meditation Centers".  And yes, they are barely houses and are only held together by local Thai peoples donations.  Those guys are pushing the limits.  I don't know how they are still running.  Barely, I think.  They all 4 got their green cards so they can live here permanently.  They are snakes of the first order.  They run around from Thai temple to Thai temple, looking for handouts, because they are always broke.  They all seem to have a Thai citizen, normally an elderly woman, who supports them.  Oh well, not my problem. 

That's about it on my experience.  Any more questions?  

 

Edited by khaowong1
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Posted (edited)
On 1/1/2020 at 1:54 AM, khaowong1 said:

"Visa costs, passport renewal costs, as well as medical and dental."   Here is where I am going to get a lot of flack.  I was retired.  I got a Social Security check each month from the U.S. Govt.  It went into a bank account of which I had a Visa debit card which I used for those incidentals.  And only those incidentals.  I never used it for anything else.  Except my airplane travel when I came back to the US.  When I first started in 2007, they had a so called "Monk" visa available, they discontinued that and now foreign monks have to get a "Ed" visa to stay.  That was a pain in the tush.  There was a high ranking monk in Bangkok that I knew personally who helped me get that.  My Thai was and is not so good, I can get by, but I for some reason got really good at the Pali chants.  When I had to go see a immigration official, I would break out the Pali blessing chants and everything was smiles and roses.  😀  I had to go see a doctor a couple of times, and I would take my Visa debit card, give it to this nice temple follower that I knew whom spoke English, and he would go to the bank for me and get the money I needed to pay the hospital for me.  Here's one thing I would recommend to anyone who doesn't speak or read Thai.  If you live in Thailand, find a temple who's abbot and several monks speak good English.  If you don't live in Thailand, find a local temple, preferably a Thai temple, who's monks and abbot speak really good English.  It will save you a lot of headaches.  When you get to the point of really wanting to give it a try, talk to me.. I'll give you some pointers about where to find books in English that you will need.  

 

Thanks K.

 

I always thought that once you are ordained the Sangha pays for everything (medical, dental, travel, documents)!

 

That certainly blows away the mystique of choosing ordination as a path to Awakening?

 

I guess the important question is, how far did you get towards Awakening, and did Monkhood facilitate your progress?

 

As Awakening and escape from Samsara is everyone's goal, why did you bail?

 

Thanks for your frankness.

 

R

 

 

Edited by rockyysdt

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5 hours ago, rockyysdt said:

Thanks K.

 

I always thought that once you are ordained the Sangha pays for everything (medical, dental, travel, documents)!

 

That certainly blows away the mystiqu🤔e of choosing ordination as a path to Awakening?

 

I guess the important question is, how far did you get towards Awakening, and did Monkhood facilitate your progress?

 

As Awakening and escape from Samsara is everyone's goal, why did you bail?

 

Thanks for your frankness.

 

R

 

 

No, the Sangha basically pays for nothing.  Until your an abbot of a temple somewhere, then they pay for some of your expenses.  Not all.  I know if your a Thai monk, you can get free medical and dental, but us Farangs were on our own.  

 

Not sure how far I got on my Awakening, sometimes it felt really close and at others still too far away.  I noticed it depended on what monks I was around at the time.  Some monks gave off really good vibes.  Others, nothing.  There is a Farang monk, named, Ajahn Sumano, 50+ years in the monkhood, lives near Pak Chong, Thailand.  He studied with Ajahn Chah while he was still alive, I used to go visit him whenever I got a chance.  Great to be around, was very easy to get along with and was very helpful in the journey.  

 

I bailed because of my Mother.  She lost her husband, my step-father, then got really sick and needed family to take care of her.  I was it.  Still taking care of her now after 6 years.  Doesn't look like she's going to make it through 2020.  She's 97 now.  Maybe this is part of my Awakening.  🤔

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On 12/24/2019 at 9:52 AM, mekong.star said:

my adopted son will become monk soon. i have been told i need to contribute 300,000 baht.  i don't understand this.

That's outrageous!

 

when I ordained many years ago the main expenses were the robe and bowl, probably only a few thousand all up for all of the gear.  In addition to that the monks who officiated in the ceremony each received an evelope with about $1000 baht in it (which they hopefully gave to their steward to handle).

 

Holding big lavish parties, if that's what the money is being used for, doesn't seem in keeping with an ordination.

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20 hours ago, Brucenkhamen said:

That's outrageous!

 

when I ordained many years ago the main expenses were the robe and bowl, probably only a few thousand all up for all of the gear.  In addition to that the monks who officiated in the ceremony each received an evelope with about $1000 baht in it (which they hopefully gave to their steward to handle).

 

Holding big lavish parties, if that's what the money is being used for, doesn't seem in keeping with an ordination.

I agree.  I seen many lavish parties.  Another of those Thai face things.  And the majority of the time, these guys were just going in for maybe 3 months.  Ridiculous.  

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Throwing a village party either ordination or wedding, the family is expect to at least break even or have some profit from the invitation envelopes returned with money. 

 

Being ordained even for a short time, if the temple in good area has many events such as funerals and outside blessings, the monks get the envelope for 3-400 baht per event over the course of the month, without room and board to pay, when they disrobe after a couple of months, the could get a solid chunck of money to start off in life. If there's enough monk in the temple, but being the new guy probably don't get much call out to events.

 

Now with the new year blessings, businesses call out the monks to their premises for breakfast alms, many would return with truck full of donations, yellow buckets full of mama noodles and such... seem very wasteful, and this is in addition to the normal almsround 

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