How to Become a Buddhist Monk in Lesser Time

Okoma V.
13 Min Read

Anyone over the age of 8 can desire to know how to become a Buddhist monk. Many people in all Buddhist traditions take monastic vows when they retire.

Buddhist monks choose not to marry and remain celibate while living in the monastic community. This is so that they can focus on achieving enlightenment.

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Monks do not have to spend the rest of their life in the monastery, they are completely free to re-enter mainstream society and some only spend a year as a monk.

Therefore, today we will learn all that is needed to be known on how to become a Buddhist monk in lesser time.

Table of Contents

Who Is A Buddhist Monk?

A monk is a person who voluntarily chooses to dedicate his or her life to religious asceticism in a monastery, either living alone or with other monks.

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Bhikkhu and bhikkhuni are Buddhist terms for monks and nuns. A Buddhist monk, then, is a monk who is in charge of maintaining and distributing Buddha’s teachings as well as instructing Buddhist laypeople.

Most guys in Thailand will become monks at some time in their lives. Many Thai women are claimed to reject marrying a man who has not been a monk for at least three months.

However, believing that if they have been ordained and practiced for a long time, they will be more trustworthy and faithful.

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What Does A Buddhist Monk Do?

Monks and nuns of Buddhism are expected to fulfill a variety of roles in the Buddhist community. Through meditation, a monk can condition how the mind works.

For starters, they uphold Buddhist doctrine and discipline. Second, they serve as role models for the laity. Monks also serve as a source of merit for followers.

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By giving gifts and providing support to monks, these followers can earn merits. Monks and nuns must live an ascetic life focused on the study of Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and the upholding of good moral character in exchange.

Lastly, Buddhist monks build capacity in laypeople, by encouraging their growth and spiritual development.

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Buddhist Monk?

Before you may become a fully ordained monk or nun, you’ll have to wait three to five years. A novice monk, on the other hand, takes fewer than three years to complete.

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The training takes ten years to finish in total. You can train laypeople to become monks or nuns here.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Become A Monk?

To be able to become a monk, you must be below 50 years of age. However, if you are under 18, you must have permission from your parents.

In addition, those who have terminal illnesses or severe disabilities can not be accepted as monks. 

Monks and nuns in the Plum Village tradition are celibate and make a life-long commitment to the community.

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How To Become A Buddhist Monk

Buddhism is a religion that has been in existence for over 200 years.

You will realize that it doesn’t take a whole lot to become a monk. Just read through the article below, you’ll see that the exact steps on how to become a Buddhist monk are listed below;

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Now, we will explain them;

1. Learn About Buddhism

You can’t call yourself a Buddhist if you don’t know what Buddhism is all about. Begin by becoming acquainted with the religion.

You must first learn the Eightfold Path. It contains the correct path to livelihood and is the method to end all afflictions. Then, learn the four Noble Truths, which are the foundation of Buddhism.

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2. Join A Temple/Sangha

Buddhism is a world religion, so temples exist in so many countries. You may want to become a regular member for years before trying to become a Buddhist monk.

Some religious institutions, like other sorts of religious institutions, are more conventional, while others have evolved with the times. Look for a community that shares your beliefs and appeals to you.

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Get a spiritual mentor while you’re in the sangha. His guidance will provide you with a thorough understanding of what it takes to be a monk.

3. Prepare For The Monastic Life

To begin the process of entering the monastic life, you must first have become a lay Buddhist by learning about Buddhism’s practices and receiving the Precepts (usually at the Ten Precepts Retreat).

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You’ll meditate in the abbey for a while. Becoming a Buddhist monk necessitates daily meditation and a deliberate effort to alter one’s mental state.

When you live in an abbey, you’ll spend a lot of time in meditation. This is something that takes time to master.

Because you will be following the Vinaya, which states that monks are not allowed to work, make sure you have enough food to survive the duration of your stay at the monastery. Prepare to take a chastity oath as well.

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4. Become Ordained as a Monk

The ordination ceremony marks your decision to become a Buddhist and will be performed by an ordained monk. During the ceremony, the monk will transmit you the three jewels and five precepts and also give you a Buddhist name.

After your ordination as a novice, you will be given an instructor which is an ordained monk, he will give you specific instructions for the particular monastery you are joining. Later on, you will become a full-monk.

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Lastly, you will take the Bodhisattva vow. A Bodhisattva is a person who devotes his or her life to the Buddhist way.

How To Become A Zen Buddhist Monk

The word zen means meditation. Zen Buddhism started in India and has gradually spread to the western world over the years.

A monk who can marry is a Zen Buddhist monk. Zen monks in Japan are allowed to marry, just like monks in other nations. The contradiction is that monks and nuns who have sworn to chastity cannot marry.

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The zen monk or nun strives to be a model practitioner and human with unwavering compassion for others. The following are the steps to follow if you want to become a Zen Buddhist monk.

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Step 1: Begin Practicing Zen Buddhism

Here, you learn the religion, its beliefs,, and practices

Step 2: Discuss Ordination In your chosen Buddhist Temple

It is imperative to know that every Buddhist temple has slightly different requirements. Check this with the current monks in your chosen temple.

Step 3: Reside in a monastery

Reside for at least one or two years and get the rigorous training required to become a zen Buddhist monk.

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Step 4: Get Ordained

Before your ordination as a zen Buddhist monk, you must complete the postulate, which is training that lasts one year. After this, you will be ordained as a novice monk.

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Step 5: Beyond Novice Ordination

To become a complete zen priest, you will further undergo a five-year commitment for training. Meditation and consultation with teachers are the keys to determining if you will become a full zen Buddhist priest.

How to Become a Female Monk

Becoming a nun is a worthwhile way to spend your life to benefit others.

To become a female monk called a nun, you have to follow the steps below which are similar to those of a monk.

Step 1: Know the Buddhist Teaching

Before deciding to take ordination, have a thorough foundation in the teachings of the Buddha, such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lam-rim).

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In essence, check for where to study for an understanding of buddha teachings under a qualified teacher.

Traditionally, before requesting ordination, you must have completed several years of study and practice under a teacher.

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Step 2: Have a Spiritual Guide

Your teacher teaches the foundation for life in the monastery. He will also decode when you are ready to take the ordination vows. Consequently, the signs permission for you to be ordained.

Step 3: Enter the Buddhist Path

Here, you learn meditation and all other Buddhist practices. You also take the lay vows since many become celibate.

Step 4: Ordination

The vows are taken for life, therefore, it is important to spend time and think through the decision.

Becoming a Buddhist monastic means that you are joining a community – the Sangha.

Traditionally, one stays in a monastic community for at least 5 years after becoming ordained. However, this is not always the case.

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Step 5: Support yourself

Normally, the four basic requisites of food, clothing, dwelling, and medicine are provided for those in monks. However, many monks and nuns provide service to their local dharma communities in exchange for their basic needs.

So, discuss with your sangha to ensure stability once you are ordained.

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Where To Study To Become A Monk

Although there is no academic degree required, Monks and nuns in the Plum Village tradition must undergo a three-year novitiate before full ordination as a monk or nun (bhikshu or bhikshuni).

Also, to make it easier, these schools are Buddhist universities you can attend around the world to take courses in Buddhism studies and become a Buddhist monk.

  • Naropa University
  • Dharma Realm Buddhist University
  •  University of the West
  • Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon
  • Donguuk University
  • Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
  • Nanhua University
  • Wonkwang University
  • Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies
  • Bikhsu University of Sri Lanka

These universities offer programs in Buddhism Studies either as a certificate course or an advanced degree.

  • University of Oxford
  • University of South Wales MA Buddhist
  • SOAS University of London
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Webster University
  • Won Institute of Graduate Studies
  • Boston University
  • Harvard University

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