The monastic vocation is primarily a full commitment to the formal training and dharma life practice.
Monastics commit to living in community and serving others in addition to individual or retreat practice. They take many vows to each other and their teachers to help support this commitment.
In the Buddhist tradition as practiced in Vajrayana, monastics are celibate and single. If they are not actively living in a monastery or retreat center, they may own their own house or property, drive cars, have a job and handle money. However, they must be connected with a monastery or Dharma Center.
The monastic vocation is designed to keep life simple and clear, but it has distinct challenges. Monastics pledge to obey and honor their teachers and to be members of a lineage of practitioners. Monastics don’t get to make up their own version of practice and Dharma. Monastics strive to be in harmony with others and to resolve disputes. Monastics aren’t interested in being special, and through wearing robes, strive to be ordinary and humble. Monastics are aware that they are setting an example and that their behavior speaks not just for them, but for their monastery or Dharma Center. Monastics have received a Dharma Name and strive to use it in daily life as much as possible. Through robes, a formal Dharma name and behavior consistent with Buddhadharma, monastics hope to demonstrate that they are leading a new life of Dharma.