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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Becoming A Monk In A Thai Temple

    Any non-Thai here knows how to go about becoming a monk in a Thai temple? Any experience to share and any temple to recommend?

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    My friend, an American, did it last year. He had to get approval from the "head-monk" of the Wat. He also had a VERY good and honorable reason why he wanted to go through the process and used his connections in the local community as well (he was in business there for a while and knew the right people). You would have to speak and read almost fluent Thai, so I've heard. I think it is quite difficult.

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    Unless you have a well-developed Buddhist practice and speak Thai well (including specialised Buddhist terminology), I'd recommend a retreat at Wat Suan Mokkh. It has 11-day, silent retreats starting on the first day of every month and lead in English. It's a very good introduction to the relevant spiritual practices.

    Retreats at Suan Mokkh International

    The following site gives a guide to a range of other meditation places in Thailand:

    The Meditation Places in Thailand - Dhammathai.org

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    You might want to read a book called Phra Farang published by Arrow Books.

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    In general, in a temple where the monks take their vocations seriously: You need to make an appointment with the Abbot, explain your reasons to him and show that you have been a Buddhist a reasonably long time (about 5 years) and have studied the scriptures and philosophy, you must also have experience of Vippasana meditation, many temples require you to take their vippasana course before you'll even be considered for ordination. You'll be expected to show references and recommendations from a temple back home. It's normal for the Abbot of your home temple to write to the Abbot of the temple where you want to be ordained and recommend you for ordination. You'll be asked why you didn't ordain in your home country. You'll also generally be expected to ordain for at least a year. The abbot will ask you to attend his temple regularly, come to chanting sessions and talk with the monks, say 6 months of this. You'll also have to learn the lengthy Pali ordination ritual by heart.

    Some country temples will allow you to just wander in and be ordained fairly quickly, if you have friends or family in the area, but that's more for the novelty value than anything else. Any serious temple makes it very difficult for a farang to ordain as their experiences have shown that not many farang have the commitment, the belief, or the stamina for the life of a monk. All studies, unless you find a temple with a large number of foreign monks, will be in Thai and Pali and you should have a working knowledge of both languages.

    Very little of this applies to Thais but the requirements for a farang ordination are srict.
    The Above Post May Contain Strong Language, Flashing Lights, or Violent Scenes.

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    ^^ could be useful, don't know if it makes a difference but he started out in the UK.

    Pra Farang, by Phra Peter Pannapadipo

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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billdo2000 View Post
    My friend, an American, did it last year. He had to get approval from the "head-monk" of the Wat. He also had a VERY good and honorable reason why he wanted to go through the process and used his connections in the local community as well (he was in business there for a while and knew the right people). You would have to speak and read almost fluent Thai, so I've heard. I think it is quite difficult.



    ขอบคุณมากครับ I can speak conversational Thai, read and write some elementary Thai. I hope to keep learning till I can be considered fluent and proficient enough. My interest in Buddhism, particularly Theravada Buddhism began a few years ago when I lived in Thailand. Now, I'm doing Buddhist studies (Theravada and Pali) in a Sri Lankan temple in Singapore as a lay student. After the course, I hope to be able to live the life of the teachings in a temple in Thailand. It's not possible to get the same environment in Singapore If you think it's o.k., please do share what was your American friend's reason for going through monkhood in Thailand.


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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oswulf View Post
    Unless you have a well-developed Buddhist practice and speak Thai well (including specialised Buddhist terminology), I'd recommend a retreat at Wat Suan Mokkh. It has 11-day, silent retreats starting on the first day of every month and lead in English. It's a very good introduction to the relevant spiritual practices.

    ขอบคุณมากครับ You've been very helpful and your suggestions are very useful. Will check them out.

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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    Some country temples will allow you to just wander in and be ordained fairly quickly, if you have friends or family in the area, but that's more for the novelty value than anything else. Any serious temple makes it very difficult for a farang to ordain as their experiences have shown that not many farang have the commitment, the belief, or the stamina for the life of a monk. All studies, unless you find a temple with a large number of foreign monks, will be in Thai and Pali and you should have a working knowledge of both languages.

    Very little of this applies to Thais but the requirements for a farang ordination are srict.

    ขอบคุณมากครับ I don't mind studies in Thai and Pali. In fact, I prefer that it be so. Is it true that there's a distinction between farang-farang (Caucasian foreigners) and non-farang farang (East Asian foreigners)? I've heard of Malaysians and Singaporeans entering monkhood in Thailand quite easily.

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    Very interesting - can anyone give me any history on the massive statues at Por Foi Loom ( near Nong Khan) - thats as near as I can get to the correct name , corrections welcomed if needed - awesome sculptures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramseth View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    Some country temples will allow you to just wander in and be ordained fairly quickly, if you have friends or family in the area, but that's more for the novelty value than anything else. Any serious temple makes it very difficult for a farang to ordain as their experiences have shown that not many farang have the commitment, the belief, or the stamina for the life of a monk. All studies, unless you find a temple with a large number of foreign monks, will be in Thai and Pali and you should have a working knowledge of both languages.

    Very little of this applies to Thais but the requirements for a farang ordination are srict.

    ขอบคุณมากครับ I don't mind studies in Thai and Pali. In fact, I prefer that it be so. Is it true that there's a distinction between farang-farang (Caucasian foreigners) and non-farang farang (East Asian foreigners)? I've heard of Malaysians and Singaporeans entering monkhood in Thailand quite easily.
    Other Asians aren't refered to as Farang or "non-Farang Farang" {whatever that is} here in the Land of Wannabe Smiles. Only Farang are Farang.

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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Other Asians aren't refered to as Farang or "non-Farang Farang" {whatever that is} here in the Land of Wannabe Smiles. Only Farang are Farang.

    Perhaps more clearly, farang foreigners and non-farang foreigners.

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    farang monk

    I don't believe there are many farangs on here that have ever ordained in Thailand. I spent 3 months in a temple North of Bangkok in 2007. As an ordained Buddhist monk. It's not as hard as everyone talks about. Basically, you should find a temple that you like and then develop some good camadrie with the abbot and even some of the other monks. Show the abbot that you can speak a little Thai, but more importantly, show that you have a major interest in Buddhism. I was the only farang that ever ordained at this temple. no one there spoke English except the abbot who spoke enough for me and him to get by. I really enjoyed the peace and tranquilty. My problem, or I would probably still be there, was I had a Thai girlfriend. Enough said about that or your going to see a bunch of responses here from all the jaded farangs. If you really have an interest in becoming a monk, I can give you a name of a older monk, in Bangkok, who lives at a small temple and he would dearly love to help you. He doesn't speak any English but there are always many people who visit him that does. give me a e-mail if you want more info on this. Metta
    p.s. I am a retired American, now 66.

  14. #14
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    Wat Thamkrabok has several farang monk.

    I'm not sure whether being a former junkie slimebag is a prerequisite or not.

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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Earl View Post
    Wat Thamkrabok has several farang monk.

    I'm not sure whether being a former junkie slimebag is a prerequisite or not.

    Thank you. Most of us are all addicted to one thing or another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luangpohbill View Post
    I don't believe there are many farangs on here that have ever ordained in Thailand. I spent 3 months in a temple North of Bangkok in 2007. As an ordained Buddhist monk. It's not as hard as everyone talks about. Basically, you should find a temple that you like and then develop some good camadrie with the abbot and even some of the other monks. Show the abbot that you can speak a little Thai, but more importantly, show that you have a major interest in Buddhism. I was the only farang that ever ordained at this temple. no one there spoke English except the abbot who spoke enough for me and him to get by. I really enjoyed the peace and tranquilty. My problem, or I would probably still be there, was I had a Thai girlfriend. Enough said about that or your going to see a bunch of responses here from all the jaded farangs. If you really have an interest in becoming a monk, I can give you a name of a older monk, in Bangkok, who lives at a small temple and he would dearly love to help you. He doesn't speak any English but there are always many people who visit him that does. give me a e-mail if you want more info on this. Metta
    p.s. I am a retired American, now 66.

    Thank you sir. Very interesting. Being a newbie in this forum, I don't have enough post count to email now. Will email you soon.

  17. #17
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    Today I strolled in to Wat Doi Saket in Doi Saket (45 minutes outside of downtown Chiang Mai) asking if I could ordain in a couple of weeks for 10 days & they said no problem.

    I don't think it's really that difficult, as luangpohbill said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thaiguy View Post
    Very interesting - can anyone give me any history on the massive statues at Por Foi Loom ( near Nong Khan) - thats as near as I can get to the correct name , corrections welcomed if needed - awesome sculptures.

    wrong thread Tg

    but if you don't know the proper name, it is difficult to help

    Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Park, Nong Khai, Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Park in Nong Khai, Nong Khai Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Park

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    Quote Originally Posted by bustak View Post
    Today I strolled in to Wat Doi Saket in Doi Saket (45 minutes outside of downtown Chiang Mai) asking if I could ordain in a couple of weeks for 10 days & they said no problem.

    I don't think it's really that difficult, as luangpohbill said.

    Thanks. That's good news for those wishing to try out a short stint of monkhood for themselves to see what it's really like.

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    Member Ramseth's Avatar
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    Just a sidetrack. I think most of us know Sala Daeng station near Patpong. It means red (Buddhist) pavilion, yes? I don't see any around there. Anyone knows where the name Sala Daeng came from or which Sala Daeng it's referring to?

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    Hi there Ramseth and welcome to the forum.

    Where exactly is Wat No Name?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramseth
    Just a sidetrack. I think most of us know Sala Daeng station near Patpong. It means red (Buddhist) pavilion, yes? I don't see any around there. Anyone knows where the name Sala Daeng came from or which Sala Daeng it's referring to?
    probably demolished it to make the station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoGeAr View Post
    Hi there Ramseth and welcome to the forum.

    Where exactly is Wat No Name?

    Hi and oh! It's just a name I made up. Wherever I am, in my apartment room or in my hotel room, that's probably the wat with no name. Something like the saying, wherever I leave my hat that's my home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramseth
    Just a sidetrack. I think most of us know Sala Daeng station near Patpong. It means red (Buddhist) pavilion, yes? I don't see any around there. Anyone knows where the name Sala Daeng came from or which Sala Daeng it's referring to?
    probably demolished it to make the station.

    You're probably right. Anyway, a friend just jokingly said it meant redlight district.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramseth View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramseth
    Just a sidetrack. I think most of us know Sala Daeng station near Patpong. It means red (Buddhist) pavilion, yes? I don't see any around there. Anyone knows where the name Sala Daeng came from or which Sala Daeng it's referring to?
    probably demolished it to make the station.

    You're probably right. Anyway, a friend just jokingly said it meant redlight district.
    It was named for the old Paknam-line railway station, it had a red roof. Sala just means open-air pavilion, nowt to do with Buddhism in this case.
    Last edited by DrB0b; 20-12-2008 at 05:29 PM.

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