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Does everyone need to become a monk or nun?

Does everyone need to become a monk or nun?

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.

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.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.