Life as a Buddhist Monk
“Now it is a dream comes true,” I told myself loudly. All my life, I have been an atheist and since my parents also did not see any sense of belonging or understanding any other religious practices I also felt that was the direction. However, I met a friend who is a Buddhist and from my interaction with him, I thought I should get to understand more about this religion before making any advanced decision. The whole visit to me was an exploration of the mystery behind Buddhism which ultimately influenced my perception of the religion to the point that I desired to join and know more of Buddhism. Before I share my inspiration of Buddhism and the conversion life at the monastery, let me sum up what the overall picture of the Buddhist religion is all about.
These rules also help to create a peaceful environment for the entire Buddhist community while also avoiding corruption indulgent. All the monks must not only adhere to these rules alone, but to many other principles and rules. In the journey of transformation, persons can quit anytime as they try to join the monastery if they decide that it is impossible to make it their life devotion. However, when the final vows have been said it becomes very difficult for anyone to get out. As usual, getting acquainted with and adjusting to a new way of life is challenging in the initial phases, just as the things were not any easier for George when he was sent on animals rescue mission with director Lorri Bauston (Monfette).
The meditation went on for two hours after which a breakfast of chana dal and rice was served to us. We then went back for meditation until 11:00AM when we were released for the second and final day’s meal. When I arrived in the monastery, I knew I had to go through tough times that I was not used to. My main worry initially was the issue of limited meals mostly once and at most twice a day. This is the ascetic rule known as dhutanga, which is among the 13 rules that the practicing monk has to adhere to while in the process of transformation. The monastery was running out of some necessary items that at times forced the teachers (Ajahns) to send us into the village to seek assistance for items like food.
This was the beginning week I had stayed in the monastery and I was among the monks who were sent out. This was a rough day for me since I was not used to the life of begging for assistance due to our ‘well-off’ status back at home, though I moved with the ‘tides’. At the start of this transformation process everything seemed virtually impossible, though after the second week my mind started to settle and slow down. I was now able to visualize my thoughts and even the desires and subconscious feelings that produced the thoughts. Additionally, there was no access to communication devices such as personal phones or computers for the period are stayed in the kuti. This made my life so lonely that I had to be forcefully engaged into meditation and self-study of the detailed information about Buddhism.
In this environment, we had a scheduled routine of waking up at 4:00AM and retiring to bed by 11:00PM. Additionally, once a week the monks had to stay awake for the entire night while meditating and undertaking self-study. This means that I only stayed awake on a single night (Thursday) since I only stayed for a week in the Kuti. However, I found out later that I had to work out my mind to comprehend how this logic works instead of trying to suppress it into submission. Despite this additional works being undertaken only for three days in that week, I felt it was really instilling discipline in me and doing well for my body too. This is a perfect way that helped many of us as monks not to think about sexual practices, because self-reflection and meditation on the topic would rather propel our minds into that direction.
The last week was here and this collided with the Buddhists’ festivals that entail joyful occasions. This was the month of May, and on this week it was the full moon’s night that brings together all the Buddhists worldwide to the celebration of Vesak for the birth, education and demise of the Buddha. My journey to understand a new way of transformation from an atheist to a Buddhist monk was actualized from the first day I met by Buddhist friend who magnified the essence of understanding the religion and going through the journey of being a monk. The research was an ‘eye-opener’ on the practical techniques that form part of a religion, which uncover the hidden functioning of the mind.
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