I live in Israel, eighteen years old, have read quiet about buddhism and especially zen buddhism. According to what I have read (including a book written by a monk) and seen (videos on that topic) i have decided that I want to live a humble life of a monk on a journey to enlightenment.
The question is how do i make it possible?
P.s. “Thanks in advance”
1. Go to Japan
2. Join a Zen Monastery
3. Realize you’re spent your life as a renunciant for nothing
well you can get a plane ticket to japan, that’s a start.
but seriously you’re 18 yrs old, and u wanna be a monk? for god’s sake, go into science or engineering and actually HELP the world. stop being so selfish “I want to live a humble life of a monk on a journey to enlightenment.” get a degree in medicine and cure people for god’s sake
i don’t know if you are allowed to study abroad but i would suggest you spend four weeks at sogenji (temple in the maruyama mountains near okayama) then decide whether you want to stay a year…one step at a time
Japan is a difficult country to try to live in permanently because of the amount of people per square mile of arable land. Few immigrants are accepted. There is nothing wrong with getting a work visa or something and trying it out for a year though. One of my daughter’s friends did that. She taught english at one of the schools in the countryside….she had a bit of a difficult time….one of her experiences was that some kids threw rocks at her because she was so tall and blonde.
When my daughter went to visit her, the main difference she noticed was that Japan was very quiet.
Start by learning Japanese and going to Japan, maybe?
But before that I suggest you should question why you want such a thing. The life of a monk is not an easy one. But more importantly, if enlightenment was only available to people who can give up their lives to live in a monastery or a cave, it wouldn’t be much use would it? As Charlotte Joko Beck said, you must learn how ‘chop wood, carry water’ can somehow become, ‘make love, drive freeway’.
I believe that enlightenment is available to all and that your current life can provide you with more than enough opportunities and lessons to make the ‘journey’ you desire. What you need is here and now. Why seek elsewhere?
Ultimately, if you cannot attain enlightenment where you are, what on Earth makes you think going somewhere else will make a difference?
Why Japan? There are good places outside Japan. Come to the United States and you can join any number of Zen retreats, like the Zen Center in San Francisco, following Suzuki Roshi, or Shasta Abby Soto Zen Center, following Jiyu Kennett Roshi. Easier to get in, you already speak the language, they don’t think westerners can’t learn Buddhism, no change of diet, dress or schedule. There are also Ch’an Temples such as Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco (you can tell I lived in California). All are welcoming. Probably the same is true in England or many other countries that are closer.
Take your time. And read “The Unborn”, about Zen Master Bankei. It expresses it very clearly. A sample at