While even most teacher today are ex-monks (someone who rejected the refuge and went back to the lower life), isn't it clear that such a person has own problems with his faith? How could one nevertheless rely on such people often "patiseit" the Gems?

My person wonders if there is any reliable story of an ex-monk having become a , by the Buddha, by the Sanga and good people, praised Dhamma teacher.

Can any reference in the history, beside of the modern degenerated, be found that one leaves the Buddhas religion (bond) by dis-jointing/robing, the Savaka Sangha, takes on "a wordily mission" and made even some merits while doing so?

(Not that there are also those going back to lower life but still wearing the clothers of the Arahats. And there are those never weared the robe but lived the holly life a while who went back to lower life for "missions of gains in the world".)

[This question is not for trade, exchange, stackes or what ever bonds to the world given, but for cleansing and liberation, receiving and serving it]

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    – user2424
    Feb 16, 2019 at 16:13

3 Answers 3


The answer to your question is YES, an ex-monk can be a reliable teacher.

Piya Tan is a very good example. Here is another profile of him.

He was a Theravada monk from 1970 - 1990 by the name of Bhikkhu Piyasilo, but since 1990 he is back to being the lay person Piya Tan.

He is a well-known translator and scholar of the Pali Canon. The other well-known translators are either monks (like Bhikkhus Thanissaro, Bodhi, Sujato) or academics (like T W Rhys Davids or I B Horner).

You can take a look at his excellent Sutta Discovery series.


It simply is not correct that because someone gives back their robes/vows they have "problems with their faith." There can be many reasons why a person gives back their vows that have nothing to do with doubt. Especially for Western monastics. You would do well to put away your preconceptions.


I will listen to the ex monks very cautiously. For instance, Pia Tan says it is not possible to attain Nibbana in this life. In my opinion, it is the wrong advice. Otherwise, you can learn a lot from their experience. It is no different from learning from a layperson. You can learn the theory of Buddha's teaching from anyone including non-Buddhist. However, you should exercise caution when it comes to relying on certain practices.

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