How To Become A Monk | Expert Tips

Monks have been known to live most of their days meditating as it offers them a Zen state of mind. Most people would love to attain a higher state of peace, like monks but don’t know how to become a monk.

This is why, in this article, we will provide you with expert guides on becoming a monk.

According to Wikipedia, a monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by living monastically, either alone or with any number of other monks.

A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all living beings or be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation.

So, to fully understand the journey involved when you want to become a monk, I sat with a monk. For some hours, we talked about the pathway to “monkship.”

I documented all the ideas which I have represented in this article. Check out the table of content below to access all you will learn.

Why Become a Monk?

The main reason people become monks is to serve a higher authority. For Buddhist monks, it is to serve Buddha, and for Catholic monks, it is to serve God and the nation.

To do this, one must restrain his or her desires and interests. One must do this to avoid distractions from worldly attachments and affairs.

Monks would instead give up worldly possessions for a chance to connect with their inner man. To a Monk, letting go of things that are so important to most people today is very liberating.

Who Is A Monk?

A  Monk is a person who withdraws from society to concentrate on religious service. Several major religions have monastic practices, most commonly Christian and Buddhist.

It takes a life committed to studying, devotion, and years of training. One who intends to become a monk must be willing to give many things up.

Below are the steps you must follow in your quest to become a monk:

Devote Yourself To Religion.

 Being a monk means living in spiritual, physical, and philosophical devotion to your chosen faith. You begin your path to monkhood by deeply committing to your spiritual growth and development.

This will involve studying daily and engaging in prayer sessions several times daily. Strive to embody your faith in every aspect of your life.

Research Different Monastic Orders.

Although the basic routine of becoming a monk might be the same in any order, there are also significant differences.

Monks in contemplative orders spend most of their time inside the monastery’s walls praying, while those in active orders leave the sanctuary to serve others. Some active orders assign monks to work far from a monastery.

In communal orders, the monks spend time with their fellow monks, working, praying, and eating together. In eremitic orders, monks do not interact with each other and spend most of each day in their cells.

Commit To A Life Of Celibacy.

Regardless of religion or order, nearly every monastic community practices celibacy. Begin walking the path of monkhood by taking a personal vow of celibacy.

This practice will allow you to gauge if this is a realistic and practical goal. Having committed successfully to celibacy will also show the depth of your devotion when you approach a monastery to join.

Practice Communal Living.

Another aspect of most monastic orders is living in a close community with others. This means sharing meals, quarters, and in some cases sharing all worldly belonging with others. You can begin testing out this lifestyle by practicing communal living.

Let Go Of Your Worldly Possessions.

Along with living in communion with others, monks across religions give up their ownership of material possessions.

In some cases, monks donate everything they own to the church or temple. You can get a taste of this life and move closer to monkhood by giving away some of what you own now and start living a simpler life.

As one who wishes to become a monk, it’s expected that you have not been in a committed relationship for at least five years.

It is so because the monastery wouldn’t want to absolve you and have issues draw you back. However, the Monastery does not encourage divorce.

A person with children may not be accepted as a monk or nun. This is because children are solid ties and would be difficult to abandon.

There is no age limit for monks. However, it is at the discretion of temples and Abbeys to make the final decision about one’s age.

How to Become A Buddhist Monk in Lesser Time| Guide

Becoming a Christian Monk

Visit A Monastery.

 Visiting a monastery is one of the first steps you must take to become a monk. Monasteries are open to visits from potential devotees. Some will allow you to stay for a few days at a time.

During these visits, you will learn about the monastery’s daily routine and what is expected of monks. This is to allow you to have a feel of the life of a monk and determine if it suits you.

Become A Novice.

After you have visited a monastery and decided that you’d like to devote yourself to this life, you can become a novice and move into the sanctuary.

This practice sometimes called “observership,” is your first step toward becoming a Christian monk. As a novice, you will be exposed to every aspect of monkhood.

Also, as part of this practice, the monks will observe you to decide if your personality is suitable for monastic life.

Depending on the order, there may be more than one level of novice hood. This can take up to one year.

While still a novice, you are advised not to dispose of everything you own, like your house(s) or car(s). This is because some people decide not to go on after experiencing what it feels like to be a monk.

Become A Postulate.

After you have passed your novice hood, you may be asked to become a postulant or intended monk. At this stage, you may be given more duties at the monastery.

This part of the training provides a more profound experience by which you will decide if this vocation is proper for you and allows you to prove yourself to the monks.

Take Temporary Vows.

 As a postulate, you will be asked to take “temporary vows,” committing you to the lifestyle and beliefs of monastic life for as long as you remain within the monastery.

These vows will vary depending on the specific order. However, they will almost certainly involve a deep devotion to God, a celibate disposition, and the rejection of material belongings.

Make Your Final Commitment To Monastic Life.

 After your time as a postulate, you will eventually be invited to join the monastery for good. You will be ordained as a Christian monk and take permanent monastic vows.

Becoming A Buddhist Monk

Buddhism is a religion over 2,000 years old. It offers a method of overcoming the suffering that is inherent in being. Buddhist monks take it upon themselves to live entirely devoted to this goal.

It doesn’t take a whole lot to become a monk. You will need to have a basic understanding of Buddhism (which, if you intend to ordain, you will likely have). Otherwise, a sincere intent to practice Buddhist teachings is all you need.

Learn Buddhist Teachings.

Before you can approach a teacher to become a monk, you must be quite learned in the Buddhist tradition, well-read in Buddhist teachings, and well-versed in Buddhist thought. Begin your journey to monkhood by devoting yourself to the study of Buddhism.

Join a temple, or sangha, that practices Buddhism. The Buddhist religion is worldwide, and temples exist in almost every country.

Practicing Buddhism as a layperson will give you valuable insight into what it’s like to be part of a Buddhist community, which is central to becoming a monk.

You’ll want to become a regular part of the community for months or even years before you take the next step to become a monk.

Find A Spiritual Guide Or Mentor.

Learning from a mentor is a crucial step in becoming a monk. One-on-one instruction allows you to delve deeper into Buddhist teachings and understand what will be expected of you as a monk.

Begin working with someone who can teach you everything you need to know. To find a mentor, ask people in your Buddhist community for recommendations.

Often, a temple will invite Buddhist leaders to come and speak to the group, giving you a chance to make contact with potential mentors.

Preparing For Monastic Life

Spend time meditating. Becoming a Buddhist monk requires daily meditation and a conscious effort to change how the mind works. When you live in an abbey, much of your day will be spent in meditation.

To this effect, you are advised to start meditating for five minutes a few times a day, and when you have gotten comfortable, increase the time. This will help you master the art of meditation, which is what you’d be doing as a monk.

Prepare To Support Yourself For Two To Three Years.

Becoming a Buddhist monk requires you to forfeit whatever regular job you have. So you are advised to plan to support yourself during the first few years.

Monks practice the Vinaya, a code of conduct that does not allow them to work daily jobs.

While some temples may provide for you from what they earn, rendering services to the public, some may not. This is why you are expected to have enough to support yourself.

Prepare To Give Up Your Worldly Possessions.

 Monks live as mendicants, possessing only what is required for an effortless quality of life, nothing more.

You’ll be provided clothing, sundries, and other items to stay comfortable daily. However, electronic devices, expensive clothes or shoes, and anything considered a luxury item is prohibited.

Monks cannot possess items that could inspire emotions like greed, envy, or possessiveness.

Realize That Your Buddhist Community Will Become Your New Family.

Once you join a monastery, your life will be devoted to your Buddhist community. Your days will be spent in service of others, and your focus will be on those who need your help.

You will have little contact with your family and will be encouraged to think of your Buddhist community as your new family. Before pursuing ordination, you may want to discuss this with your family and let them know what will come.

Some monasteries don’t accept candidates who are married or have other strong relationship ties. Single people are more able to devote themselves to the teachings of Buddhism since they don’t have outside forces pulling their attention away.

Be Ready To Take A Vow Of Chastity.

Monks do not engage in sexual behavior of any kind. This is why some temples do not allow their nuns to interact with the male monks unless it’s related to everyday business in the temple.

It is wise to practice chastity before becoming ordained to determine whether you’re suited to a chaste life. The idea is that the energy you’d usually put into sex is directed to matters more significant than the self.

Decide What Kind Of Commitment You Want To Make.

 In some traditions, ordination is meant to be a lifelong commitment. However, there are other traditions in which it’s lovely to pursue ordination for a limited number of months or years.

In Tibet, for example, many men complete two or three-month ordinations to develop their spiritual identities before eventually marrying or pursuing careers.

Make sure the monastery you’re interested in joining offers the level of commitment you want. If you’re not sure, it’s possible to do a two or three-month ordination, then pursue a longer-term ordination later.

Start Training At An Abbey.

If you’re convinced to want to become a monk, you’ll be ordained at a specific abbey. It will be necessary to meet the requirements outlined by the abbey to be ordained there.

In some cases, an offer to become ordained must be extended by an elder who has decided you’re an excellent candidate to become a monk.

Participate In An Ordination Ceremony.

The ceremony will mark your decision to become a Buddhist and can only be performed by an ordained monk. During this ceremony, the monk will transmit the three Jewels and the Five Precepts to you.

You will also receive your Buddhist name. If you’re following Shin Buddhism, you’ll have an affirmation ceremony, rather than an ordination ceremony. The affirmation ceremony serves the same purpose as ordination.

Follow The Instructions Of Your Teacher.

If you partook in an ordination ceremony, your teacher would usually be the ordained monk who led the ceremony. You will receive instructions specific to the monastery you are joining.

Take The Bodhisattva Vows.

A Bodhisattva is a person who devotes his or her life to the Buddhist way. The vows focus on doing compassionate deeds, striving to benefit every human being, and seeking enlightenment.

The vows serve as a way for you to embody your highest aspirations. They commit you to a life of selfless service, and you will recite them regularly.

FAQs on How to Become a Monk

Do monks accept gifts?

Not necessarily. Monks do not believe in the most conventional ways of life. However, monks can accept gifts in the form of food items for services rendered.

Are there monks in the USA?

Yes, there are monks in the USA. Both Catholic and Buddhist monks.

Can I learn how to become a monk online?

There are lots of tutorials online that can help you learn. You can also join a meditation class.

What do I have to give up to become a monk

Material goods and all worldly possessions.

Can I become a monk if I have been previously married?

Yes, you can. You will need to, however, get a certificate of annulment from the previous marriage and also complete all obligations you owe to your children if any.


The above steps cover the basic information that anyone who seeks to know how to become a monk needs. So, good luck on your journey to a life of meditation and spiritual enlightenment.


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