Yes, I have taken the plunge and done it.
I finish work in two weeks, then off to the monastery to begin training/monastic life/the grand experiment/a big mistake/who knows what!
The first few months I'll be wearing normal clothes. Then I'll apply to be an Anagarika, (pure white clothes!?... lots of bleach in with the laundry) which is basically a year-long try-it-out period before I ask to be ordained as a novice monk and get the pretty saffron robes.
Then... who knows. Most western monks return to lay-life after a few years / a few decades... but... I will take it one day at a time, as someone wisely suggested to me.
It's at Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia, and the famous Ajahn Brahm
is the abbot there.
I'm not going there because of him, but rather because it is the biggest Theravadan monastery in Australasia.
There is an excellent community of about 20 monks there, and a good sangha is really important for a newbie to learn from. There are also monks with very different approaches to being monks; some are scholar monks, meditation monks, work monks, teaching monks,etc. There are eccentric men there, and also quite normal level-headed types.
So there is tremendous potential for learning different aspects of the life from different style monks.
It's also quite a progressive monastery, with the consequence that this monastery has been expelled from the Wat Pah Pong association of monasteries, for ordaining women as nuns. The monastery and Ajahn Brahm is still a firm member of the Forest Sangha however. A fair price to pay, I say, for dragging a chauvinistic sect into the 21st century... or for returning the sangha to the way it was a thousand and more years ago – a double sangha of both monks and nuns. Anyway, it's awesome.
I'm not jumping into this blind, by the way, this isn't some sudden idea I've had.
I have stayed as a guest for 6 months at a monastery in New Zealand, have lived at a meditation centre for 6 months or so, and have done a good amount of meditation, so I know roughly what I might expect. I've been working to pay off my debts ( can't ordain if you owe money) for the past year, and now I'm all set.
From now on it's going to be one long psychedelic roller-coaster of wild meditations, mystical adventures, and, um, other cool stuff.
Either that, or a life of getting up appallingly early, wearing ridiculously impractical clothes, having no dinner and no sex, and being bored a lot.
Or something in between.
Much excitement! So if you don't see much of me around here in future, that's why.
I'm not going for another three weeks yet though.