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What are general Thai lay peoples views on ex-monks? Is it seen as negative to have been a monk, but then having returned the ordination/vows. According to the Vinaya, it’s fine to return vows, and retake, up to five times in one lifetime, but social attitudes are not always based on scriptural or clerical authority. In Himalayan Buddhist society giving up monasticism is looked down on and can bring collective shame on a family, whilst at the same time Tibetan women see ex-monks as potentially good husbands who are less likely to be drunk and abusive.

 I’m talking about ex-monks as in those who have taken higher or “real” ordinations, not temple boys.

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Almost all Thai men will ordain at one point in their lives. When a relative dies, when they are of a particular age, etc. This is a temporary ordination, lasting from a single day (for a funeral) to a few years. The longer you ordain, the more you are seen as having good qualities. But you're not looked down on for not staying in the Sangha, just revered if you do. If you are disrobed, obviously there's some stigma to that. But I've never come upon any kind of misgivings or side eyes or gossip about anyone leaving the monkhood after having spent time, even significant time, in it.

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