Does everyone need to become a monk or nun?

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In these interviews, recorded by a team from studybuddhism.com, Venerable Thubten Chodron answers questions about her life and what it means to be a Buddhist in the 21st century.

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron – Does Everyone Need to Become a Monk or Nun?

It’s not necessary, but I think it’s very beneficial.

Like I said, it depends on the person, and for some people, monastic life suits them very well, and that’s great,

For the people who it doesn’t suit very well, and who really thrive more in lay life, then they should be a good lay practitioner. I don’t think we should have “shoulds” and “supposed tos” in this thing, it’s very much an individual thing.

It’s not necessary, but I think for the people who have that kind of tendency, then it’s very, very beneficial. Also, because it’s not just beneficial for yourself, because practicing the Dharma isn’t just about “my practice, my liberation,” it’s about preserving the Dharma for future generations.

I think in many ways, being a monastic and living in a community, it’s more obvious or maybe it’s easier to see how you’re preserving the Dharma for the future, because you’re not an individual, there’s a whole community there. So you may die, but the community will go on.

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