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Preparing for Ordination

Reflections for Westerners Considering Monastic Ordination in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition
by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron.
Published by Life as a Western Buddhist Nun

For free distribution. Write to Sravasti Abbey, 692 Country Lane, Newport Wa 99156, USA.

(full text below)


The decision to take monastic ordination is an important one, and to make it wisely, one needs information. In addition, one needs to reflect over a period of time on many diverse aspects of one's life, habits, aspirations, and expectations. The better prepared one is before ordaining, the easier the transition from lay to monastic life will be, and the more comfortable and joyous one will be as a monastic. This booklet, with articles by Asian and Western monastics, is designed to inform and to spark that reflection in non-Tibetans who are considering monastic ordination in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Thich Nhat Hanh's article and materials in this booklet have been edited and reprinted with his kind permission.

Gendun Rinpoche's article first appeared in "Karme Gendun," the newsletter of Kundreul Ling, and has been reprinted here with his kind permission.

Daria Alma Fand - cover illustration and design.
Edwin G.M. Solheim - cover computer graphic assistance.

This booklet as a whole is copyright by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron. For permission to reprint the entire booklet, please contact her. For permission to reprint any of the articles separately, please contact the individual author. Addresses may be found with the biographies of the contributors.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

The Benefits and Motivation for Monastic Ordination
Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron and Bhikshuni Tenzin Kacho

Being a Monastic in the West
Bhikshu Thich Nhat Hanh

If We Want to Work for the Good of All Beings, What Should We Do?
Bhikshu Gendun Rinpoche

H. H. the Dalai Lama Answers Questions at Life as a Western Buddhist Nun

A Letter to a Friend Considering Ordination
Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

A Garland of Advice for Prospective Monastics
Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Writing an Autobiography
Luminary Temple in Chia-I, Taiwan

Waiting for the Right Time
Upasaka Guy Rom

Protocol for Sangha in the Tibetan Tradition
Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Appendix 1: The Sramanera and Sramanerika Ordination Ceremony: A Summary
Bhikshu Tenzin Josh

Appendix 2: The Sramanera/Sramanerika Precepts

Biographies of the Contributors


Suggested Reading

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