Becoming a Monk

Georges B. J. Dreyfus

in The Sound of Two Hands Clapping

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232594
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928244 | DOI:
Becoming a Monk

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In this chapter, the author examines monastic discipline and describes his second day at the Nam-gyel monastery in Tibet. He was taken under the protective wing of some monks who helped him get settled and explained to him the rudiments of the monastery's routine. The author turns from his own experiences to the more typical career of a young Tibetan monk arriving at one of the central monasteries described in the previous chapter, focusing on his relationship with his teachers—a relationship (at times difficult) around which his entire life in the monastery revolves. Tibetan scholastic culture is based on a model of apprenticeship; it supports the whole monastic culture, which relies on daily discipline to promote certain habits. The author recounts some of his monastic experiences and introduces his main teachers. He also discusses the roles of gurus, who are crucial elements of Tibetan Buddhism, in monastic education.

Keywords: Tibet; monks; monasteries; Nam-gyel; monastic discipline; monastic education; teachers; Buddhism; gurus

Chapter.  9766 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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