In the past few years, I’ve encountered an interesting phenomena. When some lay devotees need help from us Sangha members, they do not ask directly, they come and ask us in an indirect fashion, leading to a round-about that sometimes lead to nowhere.
A person A1 wishes to ordain
under Venerable B1. He approaches Ven. B1 and asks a series of questions. Relevant ones, mind you.
1. “How do I become a monk?”
2. “What should I do?”
3. “Whom can I ordain under?”
4. “Where can I find the right teacher?”
Now, it may be that A1 is really enquiring and have no intention to ordain under Ven. B1, in which case, his questions are fine. But he actually wishes to ordain under Ven. B1, then he should simply ask the following pertinent questions:
5. “Can I ordain under you, Ven / Master / Shifu / Ajahn / Sayadaw / Rinpoche?”
6. “Shifu (etc), will you please take me as your disciple and give me the ordination?”
Questions 5 & 6 applies if and only if A1 wishes to ordain under B1. If A1 do not make any of the above two requests, it is highly unlikely that B1 will respond to the above question 1 to 4 assuming that A1 wishes to ordain under B1. In response to question 1-4, Ven. B1 would most likely give relevant advices but in most cases, would not suggest “Why don’t you ordain under me?”. It does not quite work that way.
Similar to the above, except that this person wishes to learn Dharma from Ven. B1.
1. “Ven, where and whom should I learn Dharma from?”
2. “Ven, can you recommend a Venerable to give a Dharma talk?”
3. “Ven, can you recommend Venerable to be our spiritual advisor?”
Again, you should be asking for Dharma directly and not asking such round about questions. Surely you do not expect the monk to be recommending himself?
In all other cases where person A1 seeks the services of Ven. B1, be it counselling, giving of Dharma, giving blessings, taking of refuge, taking of precepts, conducting a retreat, etc etc, one should simply make a sincere and direct request:
1. “Ven, I / we would like to seek your help to ________ . Please let us know if it is possible. …. …. ”
Simple as that. In some cases, you may be redirected to send that same direct request to the monastery, temple or society that the venerable is presently resident in. But again, it is the same direct approach.
Think simple. Just imagine if you are asking a friend out. “Who would you recommend to go watch this movie with?” … trust me, you are not going out any time soon! :p
Granted, there is the case where you really just need some recommendation, then this blog post do not apply to you. Move along, this is not the blog post you are looking for … 😉
Sabbe satta sukhita hontu! ^_^