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Thanks again for the invaluable information you are all giving me.

A well known temple can cost between 10000-20000 baht for ordination.

Could the price be higher? It seems like a lot of money to me - 20 000 baht = 420 Euro

Where can I find a list of English-speaking monasteries?

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Thanks again for the invaluable information you are all giving me.

A well known temple can cost between 10000-20000 baht for ordination.

Could the price be higher? It seems like a lot of money to me - 20 000 baht = 420 Euro

Where can I find a list of English-speaking monasteries?

It is not actually a price, it is a donation. And if you are special, famous, a farang, etc, they may expect a little more. And yes, it is a considerable amount. Nevertheless it is not you usually pays, it is a lay supporter. The lay supporter is supposed to gain lots of merit from supporting your ordination. Actually, you should not have to pay anything - its best if you or the temple can arrange a lay supporter to make the donation. I'm not 100% sure, but a farang-thai temple should take care of all this. An option could be to hang around the temple in white clothes, learning your ordination chants etc, making your good intentions know, etc, until a rich sponser sees you and decides to get some merit by sponsering you... this way is best for all concerned in terms of 'karmic merit'. If you can get your parents to pay, this would be another excellent option, because it is what the Thais do.

By the way, do you have permission from your parents? You might need a letter from them giving their permission.

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What a relief knowing I won't have to pay it. Well, what if no one decides to sponsor me? What if I don't have the money to make a donation?

My parents have been divorced since I was two. I have no contact with my father. My mother has given me her permission. But she won't give me money. I am currently making a web site (I'm a web designer) so I hope I will earn enough to pay everything that's needed. I calculated 1300 Euro all in all. I currently have 990 Euro.

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What a relief knowing I won't have to pay it. Well, what if no one decides to sponsor me? What if I don't have the money to make a donation?

My parents have been divorced since I was two. I have no contact with my father. My mother has given me her permission. But she won't give me money. I am currently making a web site (I'm a web designer) so I hope I will earn enough to pay everything that's needed. I calculated 1300 Euro all in all. I currently have 990 Euro.

If your parents are divorced you should just need a letter from one of them, the 'legal guardian'.

About the money situation, I caution against turning up to the temple with nothing in your pockets. Sounds adventurous but can lead to sticky situations. Its nice to make some donations as a lay person before becoming a monk, you'll need some money for the visa if the temple doesn't organise it. (there is no merit for paying for visas as far as I know).

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Then, as soon as you are ordained (which shouldn't take long - because I used to be a Thai Budhist Monk myself) ask your Ajarn ...

Wow. how cool is that? How was it being a monk? Can you describe it for us? I have always wanted to do this but lacked the appropriate conditions. I guess following the Vinaya day in and day out has got to be really tough. Major kudos no matter what!

E.

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Stefan,

A couple of people here have commented on the book " Phra farang ", the story of Phra Peter Pannapadipo (aka Peter Robinson). It's an excellent book and think it would be of value to you, and I recommend it.

http://www.geocities.com/prapant.geo/Phra_Farang.htm

A few years ago Phra Peter left the monkhood to establish the Students Education Trust (which he directs). He is a very nice man, and I think if you were to contact him here:

http://www.akelius.com/set/contact_us.html

he might be able to suggest a course of action (or direct you to those who could) that would bring you closer to your goal of becoming a Buddhist monk. Best of luck to you Stefan.

Edited by lannarebirth

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Hi

I ordained in a Thai temple earlier this year. I can confirm it cost me a fortune. Much more than I expected. approximately $1000 US.

When you ordain, you need robes and bowl. Most temples have heaps of spares lying around, so you should be able to get some of these. But as you are a foreigner, they will expect you to be rich. It is customary to give donations to the monks at the ceremony - approx 200B each, and then approx 2000B for the preceptor and 1000B for the other 2 monks who act as your teacher.

After that there is the customary lunch, which you will be expect to provide. Then another donation to the monks at the lunch - 200B each.

You may also need a white sabong, and shirt for the initial phase of the ordination and gift packs for the monks - and maybe your self. umbrella, pillows, blankets, etc.

You may not need to hire the band, or microphones, chairs etc if you have no family coming.

Buddhism in Thailand is a a big business. But don't worry too much, you will get donations that will give you back some of your investment.

I would suggest you arrive on a tourist visa and find a good temple, ordain there and then worry about the visa. I ordained on a tourist visa.

Bankei

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I have never checked into what is minimally required in Thailand to ordain as a Buddhist monk but I do know that according to the Buddha's teachings you really only need a few things like a bowl and some robes. It may be that in Thailand the custom is to spend alot of money but I think if you make it clear that you want a minimal ordination you will be able to find a temple that will do it very cheaply......but you won't gain very much status for doing it this way.....since the OP is a foreigner coming to Thailand, my guess is that he is not interested in the status of being or having been a monk.

Chownah

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$1000 to ordain is too much for me. Are you sure about this? I figured out that I will have enough for my airplane ticket, visa, and travel in Thailand. I will keep asking around, including monks, but I hope the price for being ordained is as low as possible - actually, I thought it was free! :o

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You can reasonably expect to 'pay' anything up to $1000 for ordination. There is one temple in BKK that ordains movie stars, high government officials, other important people, & they would most probably be donating much more than $1000. A 'rich' & prestigous temple might expect 25000 baht or more. Some 'farang' temples might be 'free' but they will expect a 5 year hardcore commitment.

Without a sum of money to donate, ordination options become more and more limited.

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$1000 to ordain is too much for me. Are you sure about this? I figured out that I will have enough for my airplane ticket, visa, and travel in Thailand. I will keep asking around, including monks, but I hope the price for being ordained is as low as possible - actually, I thought it was free! :o

Actually, I think you only really have to have one preceptor monk and something like 7 other full fledged monks, a certain number of robes, a bowl, and a few other miscellaneous items I think. You don't even need a temple. This is from the Buddha's teachings....the Thai gov't might have some requirements but I'm pretty sure they will be minimal...maybe you will have to pay for a special visa...I don't know. Keep looking and I think you will be able to find it for very cheap. No big ceremony is required at least by the teachings of the Buddha.

Chownah

P.S. I'll go ask around and see what I can find out.

Chownah

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I went to a Buddhist forum which I frequent and asked where was the cheapest place in Thailand to ordain as a monk and so far I got one response from a monk who recommends Wat Pah Nanachat (WPN) in northeast Thailand. This is a monastary in the Thai forest tradition. They tend to stay with the original teachings of the Buddha which is probably why you can have the simple ordination as originally taught by the Buddha...I think. Anyway I found that at a Buddhist forum called E-Sangha...you might google for them and if you go there the Theravada Forum is probably the one you would want to look at and make further inqueries......also....here is the link for Wat Pah Nanachat:

http://www.watpahnanachat.org/

If you are interested you should contact them as soon as possible as there are arrangements that must be made to stay there and they can also probably give you good personal advice about your wishes to ordain......they speak English there (and Thai too!!).

Chownah

Edited by chownah

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Some more good information from E-Sangha...this is from thier general Buddhism forum:

Hello all,

I have lately been getting quite a few PM's enquiring about the practical details of ordaining as a bhikkhu in Thailand. Rather than replying to each separately I will just post to this thread and henceforth direct enquirers to it.

It used to be the case that foreigners could get ordained in Thailand very easily, indeed almost at the drop of a hat, but owing to abuse of the system (e.g., hippies getting ordained just so that they could get a long-term visa) new regulations were introduced that made bhikkhu ordination somewhat more difficult.

A non-Thai who wishes to ordain in Thailand and stay here long-term now needs to enter the country with a special "monk-to-be" visa. Strictly speaking, abbots are prohibited to ordain a foreigner who does not have one of these visas. In practice a lot of abbots outside Bangkok and the larger cities are ignorant of this rule (or else they know about it, but don't give a ######!) and will ordain foreigners who don't have it. However, if you ordain in this way it's likely that you'll run into problems when you apply for a visa extension. Therefore it's best to do things by the book.

To be eligible for a monk-to-be visa you will need to obtain a letter from an abbot in Thailand certifying that he is willing to ordain you. You will also need a letter of sponsorship from a Thai layman. (At some embassies it is sufficient to give the layman's name and address). This person will be making quite a big commitment, for he will be responsible for your behaviour and for repatriating you if you go insane, commit a crime or whatever.

So, given these new regulations, there are two ways that one can proceed. The better course, imo, is to come out to Thailand on a normal visa and spend a few months travelling about, visiting temples, going on retreats, questioning ajahns, making acquaintances etc., until you find some place or teacher that clicks with you. Then notify the abbot of your wish to ordain and follow whatever procedures are in place there. These will vary a lot; some abbots may write you a letter and find a lay sponsor for you straight away; if that happens then you just need to go to Laos or Malaysia, get the special visa, re-enter Thailand and you might be a bhikkhu by the end of the week. Other abbots will expect you to go through some kind of program, e.g., spending so many months as an 8-precept layman, then so many months as a samanera, before being eligible for bhikkhu ordination. If that's the case then you might need to enter and leave the country several times during your training, as the normal visas only last for 2-3 months.

Another way to proceed is to start attending a Thai temple in your home country and befriending the monks there. If they like you and trust that you're sincere they may be willing to arrange for an abbot in Thailand to issue a letter and find you a sponsor. I wouldn't myself recommend this procedure, however, for it has the drawback that you'll be committing yourself in advance to ordaining at a temple and with an abbot that you know nothing about. (Bear in mind that once ordained, your preceptor can insist that you stay with him for five years, so you really ought to select the man with some care). On the other hand, if you are only planning for a temporary ordination this might be the better way to go.

Once you have been ordained as a bhikkhu you will be eligible to apply for a one-year visa. This can be extended every year without needing to leave the country.

Regarding the best place to ordain for foreigners, this is a matter on which opinions will differ (and sometimes heatedly!). Obviously if you already have some faith in one or another of the Theravada sub-traditions (e.g., Mahasi-style vipassana, the forest tradition of Ajahn Mun or its off-shoot, the Ajahn Chah tradition, or Ajahn Buddhadasa, or Ajahn Naeb or whatever) then the choice will be dictated by that. For example, to train with Ajahn Maha Boowa you'll need to be ordained in the Dhammayuttika Nikaya; to be a monk in the Ajahn Chah tradition you'll probably need to start at Wat Pa Nanachat, etc. On the other hand, if you don't have any such prior commitment, then my own suggestion is that you start off at some place where you'll be trained properly in Vinaya. As far as I know this really cuts down the choices to three:

1) A Dhammayuttika Nikaya temple. In general the Vinaya observance is stricter in this Nikaya than in the Mahanikaya. The drawbacks, however, are that as a Dhammayutt monk you'll miss out on much of the richness of Thai Buddhism, you'll only be able to stay at about 5% of the temples in Thailand, Dhammayutt Abhidhamma scholarship is poor, and the one and only practice tradition is that of Ajahn Mun, with its eternalist doctrine of the "citta that lives for ever." Also the Vinaya observance tends in some respects to be pharisaical rather than virtuous; e.g., the Dhammayutts take pride in not using money, but in fact most of them do have bank accounts, even including some of the Ajahn Mun forest monks. They differ from money-using Mahanikaya monks only in that they don't physically handle the money.

2) Wat Pa Nanchat. This is Ajahn Cha's branch wat for training western monks. The Vinaya training in this wat is quite thorough and not so prone to Dhammayutt-style hypocrisy. The drawback is that you're not likely to learn very much Dhamma or to get competent guidance in meditation. Also, I don't think it's very healthy to be living with other western monks during one's formative years of training; too much time gets wasted on gossiping and squabbling.

3) Wat Tha Ma O; this is the Burmese monastery in Lampang of my own Pali teacher Sayadaw Dhammananda. Though the wat is primarily a Pali and Abhidhamma study centre, the sayadaw is also a meditation master and he gives his monks at least as good a Vinaya training as they'd get at Wat Pa Nanachat, but with much else besides. This is nowadays the only place in Thailand that I can wholeheartedly recommend for a western would-be bhikkhu.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. If you have any questions on this matter I'd prefer that they were posted here rather than sent by PM, unless they concern a matter that really needs to be kept private.

Best wishes,

Dhammanando Bhikkhu

***link deleted; links to other forums not permitted; quotes added; :o sabaijai***

What I have pasted here is from post #6 and was written by a monk presently in Thailand as indicated.

Chownah

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The Royal Thai Immigration website says nothing about a 'monk-to-be' visa, and I never heard of such a visa. Perhaps the non-immigrant O ('0' = 'other') can be issued for this purpose.

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