In Buddhism, ordaining as a monk or nun is a significant decision that entails a lifelong commitment to following the path of the Buddha. While traditionally most monks and nuns enter the monastic life as adults, there are some cases where children are ordained as Buddhist monks. This practice is prevalent in many Buddhist countries, particularly in Sri Lanka, Thailand and other Southeast Asia. Here, we will explore some of the reasons why kids are ordained as Buddhist monks.
One of the primary reasons why children are ordained as Buddhist monks is the belief that it provides them with a unique opportunity to receive an education and develop spiritually. In many Buddhist countries, monasteries serve as centres of education, and young monks are provided with access to learning opportunities that they may not have had otherwise. They can learn about Buddhist teachings and principles and develop spiritual practices that can benefit them throughout their lives.
Another reason why children are ordained as Buddhist monks is to escape poverty or difficult family situations. In some cases, parents may send their children to the monastery to ensure that they receive adequate food, clothing, and shelter. This practice is particularly common in poor rural areas where parents may struggle to provide for their children. The monastery can provide a safe and stable environment for the child, and the child can learn valuable life skills and Buddhist teachings.
Furthermore, some parents may choose to ordain their children as monks to help them accumulate merit. In Buddhism, merit is the accumulation of positive actions, thoughts, and intentions, which can lead to good karma and future benefits. By ordaining their children as monks, parents believe that they are helping their children accumulate merit and improve their chances of a favorable rebirth.
Moreover, ordaining as a monk can be seen as a way of paying respect to the Buddha and the Buddhist tradition. In some cases, families may have a long history of ordaining monks, and it is seen as an honor to continue this tradition. By ordaining their children as monks, families can show their dedication to Buddhism and demonstrate their commitment to the Buddhist way of life.
However, it is important to note that the practice of ordaining kids as Buddhist monks is not without controversy. Some critics argue that it is a form of child exploitation or abuse, as young children may not fully understand the implications of ordaining and may be subjected to strict and austere monastic life. Moreover, some children may be forced into ordination against their will, which is not in line with Buddhist principles.
Becoming a Buddhist monk is a significant decision that entails a lifelong commitment to following the path of the Buddha. While traditionally most monks and nuns enter the monastic life as adults, there are some cases where kids are ordained as Buddhist monks. The reasons for this practice are varied and can include providing children with education and spiritual development opportunities, escaping poverty or difficult family situations, accumulating merit, and paying respect to the Buddha and the Buddhist tradition. However, it is essential to ensure that the ordination process is conducted ethically and with the child’s well-being in mind.