Becoming A Monk

AS A FIRST STEP, PLEASE VISIT THE MONASTERY SEVERAL TIMES. FOLLOWING THIS EXPERIENCE, AND IF IT IS MUTUALLY AGREEABLE, JOIN THIS SMALL BAND OF MEN IN COMMUNAL LIFE, DILIGENTLY PRACTICING BOTH TOGETHER AND INDIVIDUALLY FOR THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF ALL SENTIENT BEINGS. Here a few monks will dedicate themselves to carrying on the great tradition of Mahayana Buddhist temple life and working for the welfare of mankind. This is too big a leap for one step. Before dedicating, you will need to resolve the question: is this or is this not the path you want to follow? So therefore, prospective monks are first invited to make non-committal visits, the first visit limited to 3days/2nights, in order to get a feeling for temple life and to discuss hopes and doubts. These short stays are free of any charges, except that one must provide his own transportation to and from the monastery. Following this experience, the prospective monk may apply to live in the monastery for several months as an aspirant, again free of charge.

The Long View

Living at CTM is NOT an escape from the world; it is deep and difficult training to SERVE the world and all its creatures. The monk provides a very valuable role in society: the acquiring of vision, INNER VISION, which can guide humans out of the messes they are causing. The monk trains to purify his body-speech-and-mind, thereby bringing himself into harmony with the Buddha's Dharma; this enables him to intersect with the peoples of the world to influence them toward abandoning the root causes of the problems and to assist them in realizing for themselves the vision of the Dharma, resulting in happiness for themselves and others.

Support For The Monastery

The land, buildings, and the director are self-supporting and need no outside capital. The moderate income of the monastery can support several monks at any given time in the Initial and Aspiration phases. However, when monks reach the stage of full membership in the community, after having been in residence for over a year, they become a part of the support for the monastery. The sutra says, "The bodhisattva is for giving, not for taking." And Saicho writes, "Forget self; benefit others" (MO KO RI TA). Without the help of truly bodhisattva monks, we cannot benefit others by carrying out the building projects and outreach programs, providing free training for new aspirants, or making possible the travel and training of the monks in the Tendai tradition.

The Search

If one has doubts, we are happy to recommend another Buddhist path which might be a better fit. This is based on the belief that all Buddhists, even all humans, are one family. After completion of the Aspiration phase, one would make the decision to join the brotherhood of monks and become part of the self-supporting community.

Success With Mantras

The Mahavairocana Sutra describes the road to success for bodhisattvas cultivating bodhi via the gateway of mantras:
"If the practitioner sees a mandala, is certified by a Venerable to practice mantras, accomplishes mantras, generates the bodhi-mind, has deep faith and compassion, is without miserliness, dwells in the subjugation of the passions, is well able to analyze how things arise from conditions, observes the prohibitory precepts, is well established in various disciplines, is possessed of skillful expedient means, is intrepid, knows the proper time and the wrong time for doing something, readily makes gifts, has no fear in his mind, diligently cultivates mantra practices, has mastered the real meaning of mantras, always delights in sitting in meditation, and delights in performing rites of accomplishment, he will indeed have success with mantras."

California Tendai Home Page Visiting the Temple Becoming A Monk The Tendai Sect & Ordination Temple Life Consecration of Temple Photo Gallery Slide Show