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I wasn't lucky enough to be born in a Buddhist society and I only discovered Buddhism late in life mainly because of my innate dissatisfaction with life as a whole.

Actually, I was born into a middle-class family and life wasn't that grim when I grow up, but even at my young age, I saw life as a journey that one has to pass through without his will. Funny enough, I used to envy old people because I thought that they are approaching freedom which is death.

Obviously, I was wrong, death according to Buddhism is just one step in the cycle, I mean for those of us trading the circle of Samsara.

Now, I'm convinced and I have faith in the teaching of the Buddha, but I sometimes fear that I'm too old to abandon the world and become a monk. I'm in my mid thirty have I missed the boat?

I have vowed to follow all precepts stated for the lay followed, however, I don't want to feel comfortable in the worldly life and I want to maintain my zeal to become a monk, if not now may be in the next life.

What should I do friends?

Many thanks.

  • What makes you think mid thirties makes you too old for monkhood? – ruben2020 Jan 11 '18 at 19:04
  • It's said that Ayya Khema ordained as a bhikkhunī when she was aprox. 55 years old. – Thiago Jan 11 '18 at 22:13
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Age is in no way a limit (aside of to young). When such skillful intent arise, don't wait. Circumstances change. Even this very day could be the last of an auspicious life. Easy can it happen to fall into a sickness or lost a glimb in an accident, make hindering deeds, fall into debt, war, famine... or chance ones mind and be caught, no more really able to walk the holly life in it's full.

Aging, sickness and death, suffering, unavoidable to escape where one might be, are the reason to seek for coming out, and it's not a matter of age, which is just a point on the wheel.

As the Buddha told, having not amassed wealth in the youth, not even renounce in the age, such is truly a wasted life. Now it might be clear how perfect a time of skillful intent is.

There is no loose in leaving those not seeing and those just talk behind.

Take this The Goad-stick and walk on young man! There are countless not capable, even if they would wish.

DN 2: Samaññaphala Sutta — The Fruits of the Contemplative Life

Look forward, never turn back and walk, step by step. The Devas will opend the doors on the way, for one holly in his intent for a real zeal.

Metta & Mudita

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]

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I could easily have written your query. At this time however there are a few differences which may be helpful if shared.

Am in my mid 40’s. Never thought that it was actually possible. Met a Venerable at the local Vihara who stated otherwise and has taken me under his wing so to speak with ordination to be the outcome. Yes, it’s a long road, lots to learn. But if it’s truly in your heart, it will be. Make yourself visible and learn as much as you can from as many as are willing to share. Have you decided upon a school of thought? So much to consider.

Please forgive for giving what equates to being advice, but the same is also my personal experience. Hope this is helpful in some small way.

All the best to you.

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I think that If you train at home eventually you will gradually become content with less and will come to see the drawbacks of home life. Longing for freedom from home life will arise. I think that is the best way.

One could be going forth on conviction too, then just need conviction i guess:) One such as this will have easier time convincing one self to go back to home life without support in general i think.

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Obviously, I was wrong, death according to Buddhism is just one step in the cycle, I mean for those of us trading the circle of Samsara.

The above is merely an interpretation of Buddhism. 'Samsara' does not necessarily mean cycling in past & futures lives, as described in SN 22.99, which says:

Just as a dog, tied by a leash to a post or stake, keeps running around and circling around that very post or stake; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for people of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

He assumes feeling to be the self...

He assumes perception to be the self...

He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

He keeps running around and circling around that very form... that very feeling... that very perception... those very fabrications... that very consciousness. He is not set loose from form, not set loose from feeling... from perception... from fabrications... not set loose from consciousness. He is not set loose from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is not set loose, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

SN 22.99



Now, I'm convinced and I have faith in the teaching of the Buddha, but I sometimes fear that I'm too old to abandon the world and become a monk. I'm in my mid thirty have I missed the boat?

Mid-thirty is not old. The Buddha attained enlightenment at 35 years old & some of his new disciples who became enlightened were older than him.

I have vowed to follow all precepts stated for the lay followed

This is not something special. People of another religions follow similar precepts & vows.

however, I don't want to feel comfortable in the worldly life and I want to maintain my zeal to become a monk

The ideal step to discovering if the life of a monk is suitable for you is to live a in meditation monastery as a meditating layman for about 12 months.

if not now may be in the next life.

Ideas about the 'next life' is for the purpose of making laypeople moral. If you wish to overcome suffering & attain enlightenment, Buddhism teaches the mind must realise the impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) & not-self (anatta) of life. In summary, higher Buddhism is about giving up ideas life is "I", "me", "mine" & "self". This starts with reaslising life is impermanent.

While this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondañña the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: “Whatever is subject to arising is all subject to cessation".

1st sermon of the Buddha


Now, what is impermanent, is that unsatisfactory or satisfactory?

Unsatisfactory, O Lord.

Now, what is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard it as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?

Indeed, not that, O Lord.

2nd sermon of the Buddha

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