How to Become A Buddhist Monk in Lesser Time| Guide –


How to Become A Buddhist Monk in Lesser Time| Guide –

When people hear the word “monk,” they usually have an imaginary image of a person with a shaved head, living in a remote temple making endless chants and sacrifices. Although this was somewhat accurate a long time ago, it is not a reflection of the modern Buddhist monk life.

As the world has changed, also the practices of Buddha monks have likewise evolved. But, they have retained the intention of the practice.

Along with the image of a monk described earlier, many also think of Buddhism as a meditation. Buddhism is about the spiritual development of all beings. To develop spiritually is to understand oneself completely.

As such, Buddha monks have the role of helping laypeople exactly like therapists. If you love the practices of Buddhism, it is about time to learn how to become a Buddha monk or nun.

Who Is A Buddhist Monk?

A monk is a person who voluntarily chooses to dedicate his or her life to religious asceticism in a monastery, either living alone or with other monks.

Monks and nuns in Buddhism are called bhikkhu and bhikkhuni. So, a Buddhist monk is a monk who is responsible for preserving and disseminating Buddha’s teachings as well as guiding Buddhists laypeople.

What Does A Buddhist Monk Do?

Monks and nuns of Buddhism are expected to fulfill a variety of roles in the Buddhist community. Through meditation, a monk is able to condition how the mind works.

First, they preserve the doctrine and discipline of  Buddhism.

Secondly, they are living examples for the laity. Also, monks serve as a field of merit for followers. These followers have the opportunity to earn merits by giving gifts and support to monks.

In return, monks and nuns are to live an austere life focused on the study of Buddhist doctrine, the practice of meditation, and the observance of good moral character.

Lastly, Buddhist monks build capacity in laypeople, by encouraging their growth and spiritual development.

How To Become A Buddhist Monk

Buddhism is a religion that has been in existence for over 200 years.

You will realize that it doesn’t take a whole lot to become a monk. Just read through. The exact steps to become a Buddhist monk is listed below;

  • Step 1: Learn About Buddhism
  • Step 2: Join A Temple/Sangha
  • Step 3: Prepare for the Monastic Life
  • Step 4: Become Ordained as a monk

Now, we will explain them;

1. Learn About Buddhism

You can’t claim to be a Buddhist when you don’t understand the basics of Buddhism. Start by familiarizing yourself with the religion.

First, you have to study the Eightfold Path. It is the way to end all sufferings, containing the right path to livelihood. Next, learn the four Noble Truths which contains the essence of Buddhism.

2. Join A Temple/Sangha

Buddhism is a world religion, so temples exist in so many countries. You may want to become a regular member for years before trying to become a Buddhist monk.

Like other types of religious institutions, some are more traditional, while others have changed with modern times. Find a community that fits with your views and is appealing to you.

While in the sangha, get a spiritual mentor. His mentorship will give you a complete understanding of all it entails to be a monk.

3. Prepare For The Monastic Life

In order to begin the process of entering the monastic life, you must have already become a lay Buddhist by being familiar with Buddhism practices, and also received the Precepts (usually at the Ten Precepts Retreat). 

You will spend time at the abbey 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. This takes practice.

Since you will follow the Vinaya that stipulates that monks don’t work, make sure to have provisions that will last you while in the abbey. Be ready also to take a vow of chastity.

4. Become Ordained as a Monk

The ordination ceremony marks your decision to become a Buddhist and will be performed by an ordained monk. During the ceremony, the monk will transmit you the three jewels and five precepts and also give you a Buddhist name.

After your ordination as a novice, you will be given an instructor which is an ordained monk, he will give you specific instructions for the particular monastery you are joining. Later on, you will become a full-monk.

Lastly, you will take the Bodhisattva vow. A Bodhisattva is a person who devotes his or her life to the Buddhist way.

How To Become A Buddhist Monk In America

Monasteries in the USA welcome monks and nuns from all backgrounds. Typically, people can go for either samanera, which is a novice monk or full-fledged monk called a bhikkhu.

In the United States, temporary ordinations are common. For example, In Minneapolis, eight- and nine-year-olds may become temporary summer-monks to learn the basics of their tradition. Similarly, in Massachusetts, a young man expresses his seriousness about his Buddhist tradition by undertaking the monastic vows of a novice.

Also, in Long Beach or North Hollywood, California, teenage boys may take monastic vows for the summer, live in the temple, and undergo training with the elders of the tradition.

Candidates for the novice ordination will have to stay in the monastery for at least 3 months in order to learn.

Full ordination as a monk (bhikkhu) or nun (bhikkuni) follows after the novice stage.

All other procedures remain the same.

How To Become A Buddhist Monk In India

In India, Buddha monks also undergo the same process of learning about Buddhism, joining a temple or sangha, preparing for life in a monastery then becoming ordained. This is applicable to both nuns and monks.

How To Become A Buddhist Monk In UK

Becoming a Buddha monk or a nun in the UK follows the same steps described above on how to become a monk.

How To Become A Zen Buddhist Monk

The word zen means meditation. Zen Buddhism started in India and has gradually spread to the western world over the years.

A Zen Buddhist Monk is a monk that can get married. Japanese zen monks can marry as well as other monks in other countries can marry. However, the paradox is, monks and nuns who swore to celibacy cannot end up married.

The zen monk or nun tries to be an exemplary practitioner and human with an uncompromising level of care for others.

Here are the steps to take while trying to become a zenn buddhist monk.

Step 1: Begin Practicing Zen Buddhism

Here, you learn the religion, its beliefs and practices

Step 2: Discuss Ordination In your chosen Buddhist Temple

It is imperative to know that every Buddhist temple has slightly different requirements. Check this with the current monks in your chosen temple.

Step 3: Reside in a monastery

Reside for at least one or two years and get the rigorous training required to become a zen Buddhist monk.

Step 4: Get Ordained

Before your ordination as a zen Buddhist monk, you must complete the postulancy, which is a training that lasts one year. After this, you will be ordained as a novice monk.

Step 5: Beyond Novice Ordination

To become a complete zen priest, you will further undergo a five-year commitment for training. Meditation and consultation with teachers are the keys to determining if you will become a full zen Buddhist priest.

How To Become A Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Tibetan Buddhism is the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet.

A Tibetan Buddhist monk is one who is committed to the monastery for life. His ordination is full and can’t leave the monastery till death. Although there are instances where people take vows and later return to lay life, that is not recommended. The vows are taken with the intention to keep them for the rest of one’s life.

In addition, all the steps discussed earlier on how to become a monk stands, just that the monk does not have the option of leaving the monastery according to the Tibetan tradition.

Tibetan Buddhism has four major schools that monks can attend, namely Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug.  Each school is independent and has its own monastic institutions and leaders.

How to Become a Female Monk

Becoming a nun is a worthwhile way to spend your life to benefit others.

To become a female monk called a nun, you have to follow the steps below which are similar to those of a monk.

Step 1: Know the Buddhist Teaching

Before making the decision to take ordination, have a thorough foundation in the teachings of the Buddha, such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lam-rim).

In essence, check for where to study for an understanding of buddha teachings under a qualified teacher.

Traditionally, before requesting ordination, you must have completed several years of study and practice under a teacher.

Step 2: Have a Spiritual Guide

Your teacher teaches the foundation for life in the monastery. He will also decode when you are ready to take the ordination vows. Consequently, he signs permission for you to be ordained.

Step 3: Enter the Buddhist Path

Here, you learn meditation and all other Buddhist practices. You also take the lay vows since many become celibate.

Step 4: Ordination

The vows are taken for life, therefore, it is important to spend time and think through the decision.

Becoming a Buddhist monastic means that you are joining a community – the Sangha.

Traditionally, one stays in a monastic community for at least 5 years after becoming ordained. However, this is not always the case.

Step 5: Support yourself

Normally, the four basic requisites of food, clothing, dwelling, and medicine are provided for those in monks. However, many monks and nuns provide service to their local dharma communities in exchange for their basic needs. So, discuss with your sangha to ensure stability once you are ordained.

How To Study To Become A Monk

Although there is no academic degree required, Monks and nuns in the Plum Village tradition must undergo a three-year novitiate before full ordination as a monk or nun (bhikshu or bhikshuni).

Also, to make it easier, these schools are Buddhist universities you can attend around the world to take courses in Buddhism studies and become a Buddhist monk.

  • Naropa University
  • Dharma Realm Buddhist University
  •  University of the West
  • Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon
  • Ryukoku University
  • Donguuk University
  • Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
  • Nanhua University
  • Wonkwang University
  • Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies
  • Bikhsu University of Sri Lanka

These universities offer programs in Buddhism Studies either as a certificate course or an advanced degree.

How To Become A Monk Quickly

The easiest route to becoming a Buddhist monk is to take the samanera, which is a novice monk ordination. Many countries and states allow this option. Basically, with this, you can become a monk for the summer, for a short period of time until you decide to make it full -bhikkhu or leave the monastery.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Buddhist Monk?

You will spend three to five years before you become a fully ordained monk or nun. However, it takes less than three years to become a novice monk. Specifically, it takes ten years to complete the training. Here, you have the power to teach laypeople who want to become monks or nuns.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Become A Monk?

To be able to become a monk, you must be below 50 years of age. However, if you are under 18, you must have permission from your parents.

In addition, those who have terminal illnesses or severe disabilities can not be accepted as monks.  Monks and nuns in the Plum Village tradition are celibate and make a life-long commitment to the community.

FAQs on How To Become A Buddhist Monk In Lesser TimeWho is a Monk?

Monks and nuns in Buddhism are called bhikkhu and bhikkhuni.

So, a Buddhist monk is a monk who is responsible for preserving and disseminating Buddha’s teachings as well as guiding Buddhists laypeople.

How old do you have to be become a monk?

To be able to become a monk, you must be below 50 years of age. However, if you are under 18, you must have permission from your parents.

How to become a Buddhist monk?

The simple steps which have been expanded in the post on how to become a Buddhist monk follow thus;

1. Learn About Buddhism
2. Prepare for the Monastic Life
3. Become Ordained as a monk

How to become a Buddhist monk online?

Becoming a monk can be done partially online. All you can do is to search for the abbey to attend online. Then,

1. Learn About Buddhism
2. Prepare for the Monastic Life
3. Become Ordained as a monk

What are the types/steps of ordination to become a Buddhist monk?

There are two ordination types which are;
The initial ceremony, in which the candidate becomes a novice (samanera) and later, a second (upasampada) ceremony, in which the candidate becomes a monk (bhikkhu).

You cannot become a monk without first undergoing the samanera. It is after completing the samanera training and education that you can be ordained as a monk.

Also, this training differentiates monks from laypeople because they also become samanera.


In conclusion, these steps we have written are a pure guide on how you can become a monk or nun in the Buddhist religion. Following them will make that wish a reality. Get back to us in the comment box if there are any questions. World Scholarship Forum cares!

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