Joining a Buddhist Monastery

#1 Oct 4th, 2008, 18:22
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  • idanp is offline
#1
hello there!

I am travelling in north India right now, and would like to join a buddhist monestary, not as a monk, but just to live with the monks for a short period of time. would anybody know about
places one could do that in north India (or elsewhere???) ??

thanks!
#2 Oct 4th, 2008, 18:38
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#2
Mod Note: I have moved your post into Yoga, Spirituality and Religion Forum idanp.

There are buddhist monasteries at McLeod Ganj/ Dharamsala, and I have seen foreigners living in them. Other areas for buddhists in India are Bodhgya in Bihar, and I think somewhere in South India but am not sure where. Hopefully, some of our members can help you out here.
Every cloud has a silver lining!
#3 Oct 4th, 2008, 20:15
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#3
Hi...
In the last three years, I have been to atleast four times more monasteries than temples...!
Ladakh, Spiti Valley, Manali, Mcleodganj, Bylakuppe (in Coorg)...

In the South, in Bylakuppe, you are not allowed to even enter the premises (unless you get a written permission) - that is so for all the foreign tourists... The police in the North are not so fussy about rules (maybe they are plain ignorant)...

The one place where I have met foreigners (only tourists and not monks) staying at monasteries is at Kei Monastery in the remote Spiti Valley... There is decent accommodation, and good food... Though you will be expected to clean up your room and the utensils...

All other monasteries I have met many foreigners who are actually practicing Buddhism there - some of them even Teachers... Many of them are at the Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh...

Cheers...!
#4 Oct 4th, 2008, 20:16
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#4
<cross-posted with Solo>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aishah View Post There are buddhist monasteries at McLeod Ganj/ Dharamsala, and I have seen foreigners living in them. Other areas for buddhists in India are Bodhgya in Bihar, and I think somewhere in South India but am not sure where.
Up north and from what one hears, that would probably be the area to head for yes, esp. for a non-committed visit/stay, and they'll likely be geared to such visitors, hence with the least chance of you intruding upon them I guess.

Down south you're probably thinking of Bylakuppe and surroundings (in Karnataka) Aishah, where there are a number of Tibetan settlements (well, there must be others dotted around India, but these are quite well-known). Officially these are supposed to require a permit & announcement of visit these days; reports of people still visiting "on the fly" seem to vary. Please don't treat these people as a tourist attraction anyway, they're just going about their daily business of living and farming and studying and such (and at least when I was there, there was also very little English spoken btw, as in next to none. And my visit while very enjoyable did give me some afterthoughts as to the prudence of it all.)

For the latter, see for instance http://www.namdroling.org/ & its further pointers. Come to think of it, I guess but can't be sure that for non-Tibetan Buddhism, Bihar (and possibly Sarnath, in UP?) would be the best bet, can anyone confirm this? There'll probably be other Buddhist denominations represented here and there, but most living Buddhism in India will be of the Tibetan variety (itself in its various manifestations) I think.
Last edited by machadinha; Oct 4th, 2008 at 22:48..
#5 Oct 4th, 2008, 20:35
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#5
Some of the Monasteries at Rewalsar Lake have basic rooms for rent, but you don't actually "live" with the monks. KK
#6 Oct 4th, 2008, 22:16
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Thanks Mach, for helping out there, also Solo re buddhist monasteries in the South. I have a friend who is interested in Buddhist teachings and in one of our chats she told me of this area in the South, but I just couldn't remember any names.
#7 Oct 4th, 2008, 22:38
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#7
I think they have programs for serious international students alright (as well as branches or at least courses abroad if I'm not mistaken), details should be on their site or perhaps in its further links (there are monasteries of various Tibetan denominations or certainly outlooks/emphasis in the area I believe btw). A mastery of Tibetan may well be mandatory for a resident stay, in fact it seemed to be last time I checked.

Try also http://www.palyul.org/ for (what I believe to be) the wider school that Namdroling Monastery is related to.
#8 Oct 6th, 2008, 21:22
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#8
Hiya...
Though the most famous (and the largest Tibettan settlement too) monastery in the South is at Bylakuppe, there are several dozens of obscure monasteries spread evenly all across the states all over the country... Though I've been to quite a few monasteries, I learnt about the existence of several more only recently when I was at Mcleodganj in July 2008. The Buddhist sites would help...
Cheers...!
#9 Oct 6th, 2008, 21:28
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#9
There is also an active Buddhism in Sikkim but i have no idea about the possibility of staying at the monasteries there.
#10 Oct 6th, 2008, 21:35
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#10
Pay 50 dollars for a ten-day permit to visit Arunachal Pradesh (extensible for 50 dollars for another ten days; don't know about further) and stay at the Bomdi La monastery. The monks there are very friendly and run a guesthouse that is open to all. That area is unspoiled and visited by few tourists. The monks will truly be glad to see you, and would like to practise their English and meet people who are genuinely interested in Buddhism.

If you have time, and a little luck, you could try to arrange to stay at the Tawang monastery, which would be utterly amazing. This is the only one of the great monasteries of old Tibet that remained outside Chinese control.
#11 Oct 6th, 2008, 21:57
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#11
McLeod Gunj, near Dharamshala, has a couple where you can stay. A IM member I know just stayed at one last weekend. If Buddhism is your interest that is a convinent destination.
#12 Oct 6th, 2008, 22:11
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#12
Hi Silversurfer...
Gosh...! This IM Member from the Czech Republic spoke to yours truly too - a couple of times even the very night she was leaving... Spoke to her bus conductor too...!
And I hope I managed to help her with the inputs...
Cheers...!
#13 Jul 20th, 2009, 17:51
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#13
Hi, I'm travelling to mcleod gunj sometime august. Could you help me out with more details on the monasteries and their locations in the area?
#14 Dec 17th, 2009, 03:57
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  • Thuillier is offline
#14

Staying in a Tibetan Monastery

Hi, I just came across this site after waking up with an urge to take off from Dublin for a month of peace and balance in January. A friend said only a certain amount of people are allowed into Tibet each year. Is this true? If so what do I do to get in? Having read through the posts I would so appreciate any information on Tivet and the reality of staying in any of theonasteries mentioned above. Bomdi La and McLeod Monasteries sound perfect. Any info would be much appreciated.
Best,

Ian
#15 Dec 17th, 2009, 05:51
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thuillier View Post Hi, I just came across this site after waking up with an urge to take off from Dublin for a month of peace and balance in January. A friend said only a certain amount of people are allowed into Tibet each year. Is this true? If so what do I do to get in? Having read through the posts I would so appreciate any information on Tivet and the reality of staying in any of theonasteries mentioned above. Bomdi La and McLeod Monasteries sound perfect. Any info would be much appreciated.
Best,

Ian
I'm sorry, Thuillier, but your post is very confusing.

First you ask about traveling in Tibet, and then you ask about monasteries in Bomdi La and McLeod Ganj. Bomdi La and McLeod Ganj are in India, not Tibet.

Bomdi La is in Arunchal Pradesh is in a part of India that requires special permits to visit, so it's not easy to get in, and given that you seem to have very little experience or information in this area, at this point I don't think you should bother trying. McLeod Ganj, on the other hand, is very, very easy to visit. While most actual monasteries aren't set up to take in casual visitors, Dep Tse Chok Ling monastery in McLeod Ganj does have rooms it operates as a guesthouse, and although McLeod Ganj is busy and touristy, the monastery itself is pretty quiet. Here's some info about it: http://www.harmonies.com/biographies/diptsechok.htm

And for what it's worth, it's not true that "only a certain amount of people" are allowed into Tibet each year, but if you want more info re: traveling to Tibet, you should be looking into websites about traveling in China, not India, since China now controls Tibet, having invaded the country over 50 years ago. But because of great political sensitivity, monasteries in Tibet itself are certainly not set up to take in casual visitors, so if your aim is to try to do a brief stay in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, you'll have more luck trying someplace in India.
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln
"The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

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