Ordained as a Monk: Q&A w/ Ang - Ethniclanna

Ordained as a Monk: Q&A w/ Ang

Last month one of our newest staff members, Ang, sent us a photo while he was taking a few days off, that really piqued our curiosity! We thought you guys might be interested too, so with the help of our Graphic Designer, Kra’Taai, conducting the interview in Thai, and our Director of Logistics, David, helping out with the English translation, we did a little Q & A to find out more about this awesome picture.

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So what is going on here Ang? Is this a buddhist sacrament or rite?

This is the ceremony Buddhists go through to be ordained as a monk.

Is this a regular occurrence, to be ordained as a monk? 

Yes, many men are ordained as a monk for various reasons throughout their life. For example,it is quite common to become a monk for a short time when one of your parents passes away.

Some men become a monk at a very young age and will remain a monk for their entire life. It is also common for older men to become a monk in preparation for death and re-birth.

Can you become a monk only during this time of year?

No, but in Thailand many Buddhists are ordained as a monk at this time of year in honor of the king’s birthday.

Where did you get ordained?

The name of the temple is Panom Kwan, it is located in Nong Ha village in Phrae province.

How long does it take to become ordained?

Most boys will stay in the temple for a minimum of 7 days and up to 15 days, though some stay as long as 3 months – until the end of Buddhist lent.

What are the steps involved in becoming a monk?

  1. First your mother and father must shave your head and shave off your eyebrows.
  2. Then they ceremoniously pour water over their sons head as a symbol of purification.
  3. Then the parents will offer food to their son.
  4. After this the son must beg his parents for forgiveness for all of his previous sins.
  5. Then the son must change into a white shirt and pants (this is the ceremonial outfit of a novice monk).
  6. Then he must walk around the temple three times while reciting a prayer.
  7. After this he must go inside to start the ordination process. This consists of paying respect to the Buddha, and chanting, then The senior monk administers the Three Refuges and the Ten Precepts or training rules.
  8. After this the boy is officially recognized as an ordained monk.

What was your favourite part of the ceremony?

My favorite part was receiving alms because it was very humbling. It also made me feel very proud to be a Thai person, and see how many Thai people show respect to Buddha, and make merit and offerings everyday.

Thanks for talking to us Ang, and congratulations on getting ordained!