When exactly is it worth considering to ordain as a monk? Is it something that happens automatically during the path, that is, (a) special experience(s) or insight into the three characteristics?

Is strong uncomfort experienced when living the monastic life?


  • I think that in some countries everyone (or every man) ordains but (for most of them) only temporarily.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:37
  • As far I know, in some countries people ordain due to societal custom et cetera, but even in ordination intention is key. If it's some external force that is moving you, it is not necessarily a bad thing and can definitely encourage one to become a monk for life, but usually this is not the case.
    – Val
    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:39
  • I assumed it was a stage of people's education, and a good opportunity to stay if they choose to.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 5, 2018 at 13:56
  • When you are already observing the precepts there will be no uncomfort living the monastic life.
    – OyaMist
    Oct 5, 2018 at 17:16
  • Which precepts are you referring to?
    – Val
    Oct 5, 2018 at 18:03

5 Answers 5


When you become dispassionate in continuing the lay life or when you get enough confidence that you can successfully fend off the temptations of lay life, it is worth considering ordination. I would suggest staying in a monastery or a meditation center first, continuously for about 6 months while keeping to the 8 precepts to see if you can handle it well.


The Pali suttas have the following stock phrase about the best time being when you become dispassionate in continuing the lay life:

Now, there is the case where a Tathāgata appears in the world, worthy and rightly self-awakened. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars and in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure.

He [the person discussed above], hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from the household life into homelessness?'

So after some time he abandons his mass of wealth, large or small; leaves his circle of relatives, large or small; shaves off his hair and beard, puts on the ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness.

MN 38

Some men still delight in sex but become monks because they think jhana will give them a better type of orgasmic pleasure. It is doubtful these men can succeed.

  • Why are you bringing up sex now? It wasn't even mentioned in my question.
    – Val
    Oct 7, 2018 at 8:31
  • 1
    Imo it is very important to feel pleasant feelings during the path. Whether this is due to Jhana or from somewhere else, positive feelings give rise to conviction in the teaching. It ia very hard to quit sensual pleasures and, at the same time, be in a vacuum, that is, having no alternative pleasure at hand.
    – Val
    Oct 7, 2018 at 8:34
  • Not for me. I gave up sex for 18 months because discovering buddhism and meditation. regards Oct 7, 2018 at 10:01
  • @Val One reason for bringing it up now might be that ordained monks are supposed to be strictly celibate.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 7, 2018 at 11:32
  • Yes DD, but during your discovery in dhamma & meditation you had other spiritual pleasures, didn't you?
    – Val
    Oct 7, 2018 at 13:36

If you have already gotten the qualified teacher, and your trust is strong enough to do everything follow to that teacher. You should ordinate as soon as you can.

If you don't know how to prove your teacher, see the qualification of buddhist teacher here.

If you choose the right monastery where is most of their monks try to do follow to tipitaka-pali, such as no use money, your ordination will be very easy, then you just have to patient to stop your unwholesome mind and try to attain jhāna and magga.


When is the best time for ordination?

Now. Don't waste time. Intentions are not for sure.

  • This is not the word by the Buddha. The Buddha, to my knowledge, never taught to lay people immediately the 4 NT, instead he gave talks on more feasible topics like generosity, virtue, and the drawbacks of sensuality and the benefit of renunciation. Similarly, going straight for monastic life while still seeing the advantages in lay life will probably only cause problems.
    – Val
    Oct 7, 2018 at 13:32
  • This is not the word by the Buddha. The Buddha, to my knowledge... Oct 8, 2018 at 12:26
  • What are trying to say? Are yoh the person that is trying so hard and who is always saying "my person" instead of "I" ? You know that conventions exist and by doing your approach you just proof that you just bolster the "I" even further?
    – Val
    Oct 8, 2018 at 12:33
  • see "Intentions are not for sure", the tiny whole one had to wlak on is already destructed... access for long time cut off... Oct 8, 2018 at 12:42

To try to complement other answers:

  • A long time ago -- some schools of Buddhism involve 20-odd years of training and people start as children, though perhaps they don't/can't ordain until they're old enough
  • Maybe in a next life -- I think that's the attitude of many lay people; some schools (e.g. Pure Land) maybe write off ordination altogether
  • When circumstances allow -- some people ordain e.g. after a close member of their family dies, or after some other 'life-changing' event
  • Not too late -- this answer suggests that after age 45 or so is getting to be too late
  • After a trial period, and consultation with teachers

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