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Life of young Tibetan monks study for around five years to become lamas. Monks join monasteries when they are a young as five or six years old. To gain admission they must be approved by a lama and later pass an entrance exam. Monks are expected to develop through meditation, research and training in logic.
Children are often recruited when they are very young to be monks. The practice has been criticized. A spokesman for the Dalai Lama told National Geographic, “We find that some of the best scholars began as children though I acknowledge that children don’t really know their own minds at that age.”
New arrivals and junior monks especially perform chores like doing the laundry, sweeping floors and fetching water. Young monks are often running around with pots of tea in their hands, delivering them to senior monks. To earn merit on Buddha’s birthday some monks walk around and around their monasteries the entire day, carrying heavy wooden-bound prayer books. Many classrooms in monastery colleges are outfit with buckets. If a monk can't remember a text he was supposed to recite he has to wear a bucket of water around his neck until he gets it right.
Monasteries have a hard time getting new recruits. In Nepal, few Sherpas become monks these days, and of those who try two thirds eventually quit. One monk told National Geographic, “No one wants to become a monk when they’ve already danced with girls.” "Some fall in love with girls," one trainee said, "Others can't take the responsibility." One man who was a monk for 16 years left for "chang and a good woman."