I am not sure about other religions, but in Buddhism I have seen little children who are not even 10 years who call themselves as Monks. In Sri-Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and in other Buddhist countries you notice this child monk phenomena.
Ordination of little children into priesthood is rather cruel, wouldn’t you say so? In placing myself in their shoes, I can see the experience as a horrible one. Lets walk it: Say I am a 10-year old, and on one fine day, my dad says, “Son, I am sending you to the nearby Buddhist temple so you can learn the great books of Gautama Siddhartha and be a monk from a very young age.”
Certainly, been a 10-year old, I will not know what that would imply, a life long commitment to celibacy, a priest for life, ample limitations due to code of conducts, no married life, no family life, etc. Of course, no masturbation, no teen sex, no sex during adulthood, and bunch of other limitations.
However, in placing myself in the shoes of the parents, I see pride and respect in seen that my son is a monk, though a child monk, but soon he will be a Rev-Monk respected by villagers and relatives alike, and my son is not a financial burden to me now, as I don’t have to raise him, the temple does it for me. The temple cares of his food, shelter, education, and his general well-being, but for that he will be a priest for life, a solider dedicated to spreading and protecting Buddhism. As a parent, I take great pride in seen my son as a monk, though he is a child monk now, but he brings great respect (and money) to my family.
In Sri-Lanka at least I have seen this child-monks form the base of Buddhist power in society. Buddhist monks hold significant influential power in society and politics and that comes with their large numbers. So more child-monks mean more future security, the priestly power will continue with the base covered. It is no more the noble path the Great Gautam sought 2500 years ago, rather, child-monk phenomena is a way to hold onto influential power and prestige by swelling the recruitment base by turning children into monks. Obviously it must be that grown up citizens don’t show up at the temples wanting to be priests, perhaps very rarely, but its unheard of.
The overall well-being of the child is never considered. To justify that temple provides the child with all needs in ample is a cruel argument. Its like saying, I will treat my child servant very nicely and respectfully but still the child must be my servant.
Face it, you Buddha loving Buddhist peoples of this world, Gautama Siddharta himself was a married man when he decided to renounce his worldly life, he was a not a child whose dad decided his monastic fate.
Now some argue that child-monks are so because the kid shows unusual interest and likeness for Buddha and Buddhism, therefore the child is meant to be a buddhist monk. Still, as a parent directing my son’s entire childhood into monastic life is a brutal decision done in utter selfishness. Perhaps its all due to money.
This child-monk phenomena is Child Abuse, absolutely.
Care to learn more: Join Us, lets bring a new world where children can enjoy their childhood and have fun. Let’s give children the best education ever, so they can decided for themselves their future careers. I am sure if the desire to be a monk continues into adulthood, upon growing up, the kid can always enter a monastic life. And that’s perfectly fine, as its not child-labor, actually he is following Buddha himself.
Stop the abusive practice of child ordination ! Stop this child abuse. Equal Money System will end this bullshit forevermore.