October 26, 2010

Survey on Perceptions of Monasticism within Buddhism

via Jennifer Harris,

Hi! Working toward my PhD in community psychology, I’m conducting a survey (one version in English, the other Tibetan) of the perceptions of monasticism within Buddhism. With its spread to the West, Buddhist practitioners in the United States tend mostly to be lay and there are very few monasteries. This study therefore examines the role and relevancy of the monastic tradition within the Western Buddhist cultural community.  I will also be posting an exact replica of the survey in the Tibetan language so that I can cross-examine two distinct cultural communities’ perceptions about monasticism.

The first version of the survey, which is for Westerners, is available here. Help Jennifer out!

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kasumetok@hotmail.com's picture

DEar friend in the dharma, i sent you an e mail just now. I have been ordained a getsulm in the tibetan tradition for 12 years. I am 62.....an american by birth, the mother of four grown sons. I have lived the past ten years in north india and nepal....in retreat and doing refugee work and studying with my masters. I am A CHOD practitioner for many years, perhaps you know this is the Shamanic Tradition some say dates back to 6000 years with the BON tradtition. But I have also received the empowerments from the other lineages and have been with my root lama for over 35 years. I raiswede my children on the wet east coastal islands off Vancouver island, British Columbia. I was in peace corps in the seventies in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Nepal. I feel the monastic ordination was a direct gift and order to me from my root lamas, I am also ordained in the Nagpa lineage. So I hold all the vows. In the tibertan nun traditon one can only go to the novice level unless you go to CHina or taiwan for Bikshuni,. I contemplated this, but found that i did not need to complete this at this time in this life. The Nagpa tradition is how I live, a wandering Chod pa yogi lifestyle......we western monastics have to support ourselves anyway, and it is very difficult to get any constant patrons. though i was blesse3d by having some patronage in my life.....which has helped. I am committed to the robes..inside and try to get a long as best i can....but i find it is absolutely essential to go to INDIA and keep very close to the community of ordained pepople, even though it seems like we are all ways very distinct individuals and not really intimate enough to create together spaces....except of course THO SAM LING, in dharamshala found by a dutch Gelukpa nun who is wonderful. anyway, I am in BC now have been for a summer and fall.....planning to return to india in springtime. let me know what you would like to chat about....namaste...ktmparkin

jennifer's picture

thanks, john! i hope you get this. if you click on the "here" above the picture it will direct you to the online survey. feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions...jennrharris@gmail.com


John Kightlinger's picture

I am not sure if I can be much help. But I was a monk in the Tibetan tradition for a short time and, at least, got a taste of it...whatever it is. If you could provide me with some specific questions, I will try to respond.