Thai version

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Officially becoming a monk

The rest of the ceremony went smoothly and consisted of higher ordination, or acceptance as a full-fledged monk. This included asking the Venerable Abbot to be my preceptor, making sure I had a full set of robes and alms-bowl, receiving a new name in Pali, and answering the interrogation of the Sangha. This set of 13 questions are mostly yes / no questions in Pali asked in a pre-determined order. Some of the questions might seem a bit strange to a modern day ordainee "do you suffer from leprosy?" and, "are you a human being?" were two that made me snicker. But these questions are not only simple tradition; my further study of the ceremony
showed a deeper meaning in many of the inquiries. (You shouldn’t laugh at the Vinaya, I suppose.)

Following my formal request to the Sangha and their acceptance, the Venerable Abbot officially welcomed me as a monk at Wat Kansas. But before breaking for many photo opportunities in and around the Bot, the Venerable Abbot spoke seriously and meaningfully to me about the role and responsibility of being a monk. I would gain merit for myself and my family, but I would also learn the Dhamma, and I would try to live my life mindfully, following the 227 precepts of the Vinaya, and paying homage daily to the Triple Gem.

Following the ceremony, when I first greeted my family as a monk, I had to keep firmly in mind that I should not return their wais. That was a hard thing to do, especially to my own parents and grandmother! Instinctively I wanted to hug my younger sister, but one rule of the Vinaya prohibits any physical contact with females. Instead, feeling a little bit sad but mostly happy, I smiled at my sister and reminded myself not to wai her back.

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