This 30 day ordination program will equip you with a comprehensive foundation for your meditation practice and monastic career. The training will take place at The International Forest Monastery of Chiang Mai (iMonastery), designed as a true refuge for international men seeking peace and tranquility walking the path of Dhamma.


Although 30 days might seem like a long time for those who need to take leave from work, it is only a small taste of the monastic life. Based on our feedback, many participants felt that time flew by rapidly. While some decided to come back later, others chose to stay on for an extended period. With that in mind, we also provide an extended program.

The Monk4Life Project is a two-year program designed to provide long-term monastics with intensive training in meditation, dhamma studies, and teacher or mentor training. The program will take place at the iMonastery Pak Tong Chai, located three hours and thirty minutes drive from Bangkok.

Participants with a planned long-term commitment should inform mentor monks in advance, for consideration for our scholarship program.


It is important to understand that this is a training program for monkhood, and so although meditation is a cornerstone of Buddhism, this program is stricter and different from a meditation retreat. So, to both support your practice and uphold the image of the Sangha, you must maintain humility, patience, openness to feedback, and a willingness to adjust.

Religious and Cultural Customs

There is a common belief that Buddhism is not a religion. This may be the case for those who apply its concepts in their daily life, but it is not so for a monk. When you become a monk, you are representing Thai Theravada Buddhism. This comes with a set of religious and cultural customs that you are expected to show respect for and abide by. This includes: properly bowing to Buddha images and more senior monks, holding hands in prayer position during blessings, taking off shoes before entering sacred spaces, not pointing your feet towards sacred images or other monks, taking good care of your robes, folding and wearing them in an appropriate manner, not touching the head or shoulders of another monk, are some examples.

The training staff will guide you on how to follow these religious and cultural customs. It is not necessary to identify as a Buddhist to become a monk however, you must abide by these outward gestures of respect. Not doing so may result in you being dismissed from the program.


All applicants must be male, in good mental and physical health, and free from infectious diseases. You must be in good financial standing, able to cover all travel, registration, and other associated costs of the program, and have no commitments that might cause interruptions during the program.

To ensure your safety and the safety of the other participants, you will be required to undergo a routine blood test for HIV, urine analysis for the presence of illicit substances, and a clean bill of health via a general health check-up. This must be done in your own country before coming to Thailand (unless you have already been in Thailand for a while). If you are accepted into this program, we will send you a form with the check-up requirements.

You will also be required to present a criminal record report from your home country (or Thailand if living here for a while). Please contact your local police station for details about this process.


Please note that the Monk Life Project will NOT provide any form of financial aid for travel costs or any other costs within the program. Before joining, you must be in a stable financial situation to cover all of the following associated costs independently.

Registration fee: THB22,500 Donation (approximately US$500, depending on the exchange rate).

The registration fee will cover the costs of ordination, food, accommodation, local travel expenses, clothing, basic necessities, basic living costs, and various items that you will be able to use during this 30 day program. Please note that if you decide to stay on as a monk after the end of the 30 day, you can apply for our scholarship program, which means that most of the costs you will be required to cover moving forward will be related to visa applications and extensions. These can range from 2,000 to 8,000 Baht. If you wish to remain a monk after a year, then iMONASTERY will cover your visa extension costs from then.


• Personal sandals – must be open-toed with no heel straps. Brown or Black.
• Toiletries (Razor, soap, toothbrush, etc) We can provide some if necessary.
• Personal medications.
• Digital watch.
• Flashlight.
• Warm clothing (Sweaters, socks, etc) of a Brown/Orange/Tan color. We will provide extra clothing if necessary.


2 White Shirts / 2 White Pants1 Orange/Brown Beanie
Warm Clothing (If necessary)1 Shower Basket
Chanting BookNotebook and Pen
Water BottleStorage Box
TowelBed sheets

To Deposit

To ensure the safety of your belongings and to minimize distractions for participants to derive the most benefit from the program.

• Jewelry and similar accessories.
• Cash, Passport, wallet, ID’s, credit or debit cards.
• Electronic devices such as cellphones, MP3 players, tablets or laptops.

In the event of an emergency we can communicate on your behalf or allow you to use your device momentarily.


A cornerstone of monkhood is living in a way that makes it easy for laypeople to support us. One such way we do this is by not being choosy in the food that we are offered. A portion of the food that we eat every day comes from the morning alms-round, a majority of which contains meat and other ingredients that lie outside of a vegetarian and vegan diet. With that being said our kitchen tries its best to have fresh salad, fruit, porridge, and other dishes that do not contain meat. However, it is not always guaranteed that those options will be abundant. There have been vegetarians and vegans in the past who have been able to adjust themselves to this reality, so it is certainly doable.

Travel Policy for First 5 Years of Monkhood

According to the monastic rules set by the Buddha, monks are considered new for the first 5 years of their ordination and must train under the supervision of their senior monks during this period. New monks are not able to travel without permission and support from the staff. If there is an emergency that requires you to travel in such a way, it will be necessary to coordinate with the staff and see if there is a potential solution where you are chaperoned. We will do our best to find a suitable option for you, however as a last resort, it may be necessary to disrobe to take care of the issue in question before coming back to ordain again.

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