Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

Discussion on Dharma and related subjects in English language.
Santeri
Viestit: 954
Liittynyt: 10 Helmi 2013 05:19
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Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja Santeri » 17 Maalis 2014 01:18

Quite a few people have been asking me why did I disrobe and other such questions. Honestly I don’t have the time and energy to answer everyone in person. And English is not my native language. For those of you who don’t know I was a Buddhist monk for four years and then I returned to lay life.

I understand why people are interested in my story and I try to explain myself the best I can. We made the documentary ”My Brother, Buddhist Monk” with my sister and many of you have seen it. I eventually decided to leave the monkhood even though in the film I declared I would never do that. That’s why people are asking these questions. You will be glad to hear that we are making a sequel. It starts from when I returned home. I think it will be better than the previous movie. The film will attempt to explain what has happened to me after I decided to leave the monastery.

A question people often ask me is whether I gave up Buddhism all together or just the monasticism. I have to say that I’m not quite sure what to answer. Definitely my view of Buddhism and the Dharma has changed a lot in recent years. I’m open to different interpretations of Buddhism. It’s quite interesting to reflect on what has changed… there are parts of the teachings that just seem right and other parts that I’m not so sure about. It would be easy if I could say that everything in Buddhism is wrong and it’s just like any other religious cult. Or it would be easy if I could say that everything in Buddhism is true, the Buddha was Enlightened, there are angels in heaven and the Sacred Tooth Relic in Sri Lanka is the actual canine tooth of Shakyamuni Buddha.

But the uncomfortable fact is that there is a good and a bad side to Buddhism. It’s hardly a perfect religion, at least not the outside manifestation of it. But it’s not a total mess either.

The most interesting question for me is whether the fundamental teachings of Buddhism are true or not. For example the teachings on Emptiness, the Law of Karma and the Four Noble Truths. Unfortunately I have no answer to this question either. At least they are by far the best attempt to explain the world around us that I have come across.

http://wp.me/p3EWZw-8l
:violent2:

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Johann
Viestit: 45
Liittynyt: 13 Helmi 2013 02:11
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja Johann » 19 Maalis 2014 03:42

Thanks for the generosity of sharing this!

Not easy and not sure. Not to speak of ensnarement of Mara, approaching on one or the other of the six sense bases and he knows how to feed doubts.

Some days ago I translated a very important lesson, I like to share with all of you:

Ajahn Chah kirjoitti:There was once a western monk, a student of mine. Whenever he saw Thai monks and novices disrobing he would say, "Oh, what a shame! Why do they do that? Why do so many of the Thai monks and novices disrobe?" He was shocked. He would get saddened at the disrobing of the Thai monks and novices, because he had only just come into contact with Buddhism. He was inspired, he was resolute. Going forth as a monk was the only thing to do, he thought he'd never disrobe. Whoever disrobed was a fool. He'd see the Thais taking on the robes at the beginning of the Rains Retreat as monks and novices and then disrobing at the end of it..."Oh, how sad! I feel so sorry for those Thai monks and novices. How could they do such a thing?" ....

"Not Sure!" — The Standard of the Noble Ones


Maybe some to reflect as well, having hear the talk of Ajahn Chah:

"Monks, when a monk knows as they really are both the arising and the destruction of states productive of suffering, then indeed the sense-pleasures are truly seen by him. When he sees the sense-pleasures, the desire and love for sense-pleasures, the infatuation and feverish longing for sense-pleasures that is inherent in them, all this does not obsess him. His life and practice[224] are so informed with wisdom[225] that, living thus, he is not assailed by longing and depression,[226] which are evil and unskilled states.

...

"When, monks, a monk lives and practices like this, it occasionally happens that, through a lapse of mindfulness, evil and unskilled states arise, memories and thoughts[227] pertaining to the fetters. His mindfulness is aroused only slowly,[228] but then he soon abandons that state, drives it out, abolishes it, puts an end to it. Just as if, monks, a man were to let fall two or three drops of water into an iron pot that had been heated all day, those few drops would soon be wiped out and vanish — in the same way it occasionally happens to a monk living and practicing like this... but he soon puts an end to it.

"Thus, monks, if a monk's life and practice are so informed with wisdom that, living thus, he is not assailed by longing and depression, which are evil states, then, monks, if a king's ministers, friends, favorites, kinsmen or blood-relations should come and offer him wealth, saying: 'Come, good master! Why let these yellow robes torment you? Why go around with shaven head and bowl? Come on, return to the lower life, enjoy possessions and do works of merit!' — monks, for a monk so living and practicing to reject the training and revert to the lower life would just be impossible."

— SN 35.203

Things Productive of Suffering



[At Saavatthii a certain monk said to the Ven. Saariputta:]

"Friend, Saariputta, my companion has renounced the training and reverted to the lower life."[185]

"This is what happens, friend, with one whose sense-doors are unguarded, who is immoderate in eating and not given to wakefulness [like that monk]. As long as he lives it will be impossible for him to maintain the holy life in all its fullness and purity. But if a monk guards his sense-doors, is moderate in eating and given to watchfulness, then it will be possible for him, as long as he lives, to maintain the holy life in all its fullness and purity.

"And how, friend, does one guard the sense-doors? In this a monk seeing an object with the eye, does not seize hold of either its general appearance or its details. Because anyone dwelling with the eye-faculty uncontrolled could be overwhelmed by cupidity and dejection, evil and unwholesome states of mind, therefore he practices to control the eye-faculty, guards it and gains control over it. So one guards the sense-doors.

[Similarly with ear, nose, tongue, body (touch), mind]

"And how, friend, is one moderate in eating? In this a monk takes his food properly considering,[186] not for sport, for intoxication, for adornment or beautification, but purely for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it unharmed, as an aid to the practice of the holy life, thinking: 'I shall put an end to the old feeling,[187] and not produce any new feeling.[188] Thus I shall keep going, incur no fault, and live at ease.' That, friend, is how one is moderate in eating.

"And how, friend, is one given to watchfulness? In this a monk walks up and down by day and then sits,[189] thus cleansing his mind from obstructive states.[190] [Similarly for the first watch[191] of the night.] In the middle watch of the night, lying on his right side, he adopts the lion posture,[192] resting one foot on the other, mindful and clearly aware, with his thoughts fixed on rising. In the last watch of the night he rises, walks up and down, and then sits, thus cleansing his mind from obstructive states. That, friend, is how one is given to watchfulness.

"Therefore, this is how you should train yourselves: 'We will guard the doors of our senses, be moderate in eating and given to watchfulness.'

"This, friend, is the way for you to train yourself."

— SN 35.120
Saariputta (SN 35.120)


And the most important outwardly condition, a things people take to easy, there is no way to gain right view, if you have contact with people of right view and do not maintain association with admirable friends. One has to leave may behind.

"With regard to external factors, I don't envision any other single factor like friendship with admirable people as doing so much for a monk in training, who has not attained the heart's goal but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage. A monk who is a friend with admirable people abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful."

Admirable friendship


So when you hang around with enemies in disguise of friends, its naturally that they will pull you into the deeps of Samsara, again and again.

Just for refection, for deep refection.

Dear Santeri, don't forget "Its not sure!" Sometimes we need a longer inrun and reach the proper level on our second or third try.

It would be sad if all end up just in singing gospels. I know its soooo romantic... and one can dwell in self-pity singing such for eons.

Having the change to leave slave hood in this very life, do it. You can not take all with you. Don't worry, they will be there in the same way, dreaming the same dreams again and again and will not do an effort. They would even not see you, if you offer them the keys.

jee
Viestit: 146
Liittynyt: 13 Maalis 2014 21:43
Viesti:

Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja jee » 20 Maalis 2014 21:02

Well we'll have to wait for the documentary. I really enjoyed "mah bro, bud monk" and in it you seemed so sure about this life and your future. Today you seem bit confused and looks like you are still seeking for something. Which is good.

My late evening and early morning prayer is to listen uncle Arnold. This never gets old. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH0nP4NzS9M

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Johann
Viestit: 45
Liittynyt: 13 Helmi 2013 02:11
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja Johann » 21 Maalis 2014 16:00

Lee, I don't think that you have an idea of what the holy life is about and the Dhamma. And to be or not to be is even not a question.

Maybe you are able to figure it out when reflecting a little and you can be sure that is still not the pick of life's reality:

Kuva

It is for sure better to listen to the Buddha as to my Styrian greater brother.

Yodhajiva Sutta: The Warrior (2)

Returning to the lower life means (if there are no special reasons) that one is intoxicated with youth, wealth, health and life. What ever you might think that you be, is really not sure as long as this is a question.

A human life is seldom and meeting the teachings even more. If one has the change to make suffering an end, it would be wise to lay the conditioned aims a side and simply work to better the conditions, and not for a lousy short lasting aim.

...
Viestit: 1143
Liittynyt: 09 Helmi 2013 12:25
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja ... » 21 Maalis 2014 16:56

Arnold is numero UNO. Period.

jee
Viestit: 146
Liittynyt: 13 Maalis 2014 21:43
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja jee » 21 Maalis 2014 19:13

Johann kirjoitti:Lee, I don't think that you have an idea of what the holy life is about and the Dhamma.
I couldn't see blog post was about holy life as a monk but returning back to society as a normal citizen, even if for a short period of time but still. Then there's also other things to think about than Dhamma. For example bureaucracy, how to rent an apartment and how to get food on the table. Also no one should forget to watch Arnold's movies on the TV here and then, like Commando. ;)

Maybe you are able to figure it out when reflecting a little and you can be sure that is still not the pick of life's reality
{picture}
Yeah this is true but if he gets old and clumsy, it still doesn't make Arnold's points wrong. Maybe those are not valid in a buddhist monastery but in 2010s society, where there are certain things you have to do even if you don't like, and for that Arnol's views are great.

:happy1:

Anyone can always live as a recluse in a cave if (s)he likes. In the end maybe it's right way to live, the true holy path no one else understands.

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Johann
Viestit: 45
Liittynyt: 13 Helmi 2013 02:11
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja Johann » 22 Maalis 2014 03:43

jee kirjoitti:Anyone can always live as a recluse in a cave if (s)he likes.

I don't think so *smile* Try it. I fear 99,5% could not even live without handy and electricity not to speak of not gaining food like this or that...
jee kirjoitti:In the end maybe it's right way to live, the true holy path no one else understands.

It's hard to develop so much compassion with one self and others and stop hurting one self and others and even get no admission aside of liberation. To get save of Mara is not no picnic and that is why this battle has a dimension far above hero and enemies of the day.

So that is why you, even you are not capable for your self, should honor and respect such sages who are willing to do this battle. Support them, encourage them if they are down. Like a mother (here self not the wisest) would encourage the child to go to school and learn. If people come with there cheap excuses to justify and even advertise there low ways, put them even higher as the path, they do not only cut themselves of but their "friends" (food) as well.

One needs to kick one self before one is really able to have that compassion (not affection) to give freedom and relief. As for Arny, he also thought that he is able to change Samsara and soon had to figure out that there is only taking part on corruption or being "killed". You may have as much past merits one could have, even the Buddha didn't give such a thought and pushed Mara away as he one day approached him, telling him he would be the man to change the world and rule it.

Learn to be a real friend and give your beloved freedom and only needed support.

:clock: Time is running.

jee
Viestit: 146
Liittynyt: 13 Maalis 2014 21:43
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja jee » 22 Maalis 2014 11:28

I like your style even if I disagree with you. :angel5:

jee
Viestit: 146
Liittynyt: 13 Maalis 2014 21:43
Viesti:

Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja jee » 22 Maalis 2014 12:10

Johann kirjoitti:To get save of Mara is not no picnic and that is why this battle has a dimension far above
Well there are women who are really beautiful and can fullfill all your dreams. Not just a vision of it. All that doesn't prevent you from having spiritual life if you are careful.

One thing I can't understand. Why one have to go to monastery and have a really boring life, If one can achieve all those same things while living family life in a modern society?

:brave:

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Johann
Viestit: 45
Liittynyt: 13 Helmi 2013 02:11
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Re: Being an Ex-Buddhist Monk

ViestiKirjoittaja Johann » 24 Maalis 2014 10:57

jee kirjoitti:I like your style even if I disagree with you. :angel5:


That is maybe because you seek for identification and mating targets rather that for wisdom. :)

jee kirjoitti:
Johann kirjoitti:To get save of Mara is not no picnic and that is why this battle has a dimension far above
Well there are women who are really beautiful and can fullfill all your dreams. Not just a vision of it. All that doesn't prevent you from having spiritual life if you are careful.

One thing I can't understand. Why one have to go to monastery and have a really boring life, If one can achieve all those same things while living family life in a modern society?

:brave:


Magandiya Sutta: To Magandiya
[Magandiya offers his daughter to the Buddha, who replies:]
On seeing [the daughters of Mara]
— Discontent, Craving, & Passion —
there wasn't even the desire for sex.
So what would I want with this,
filled with urine & excrement?
I wouldn't want to touch it
even with my foot.

Magandiya:
If you don't want
this gem of a woman, coveted
by many kings,
then for what sort of viewpoint,
precept, practice, life,
attainment of [further] becoming
do you argue?

... Sn 4.9


It's a hard stuff and easy to misunderstood.

And here some of "modern" teachers:

A still forest pool,Ven. Ajahn Chah kirjoitti:Practice for the Householder

You have often asked about the path of the householder. Household life is both hard and easy hard to do, easy to understand. It is as if you were to come complaining to me with a red-hot coal in your hand, and I were to tell you to simply drop it. "No, I won't," you say. "I want it to be cold." Either you must drop it, or you must learn to be very patient.

"How can I drop it?" you ask. Can you just drop your family? Drop it in your heart. Let go of your inner attachment. You are like a bird that has laid eggs; you have a responsibility to sit with and hatch them. Otherwise, they will become rotten.

You may want the members of your family to appreciate you, to understand why you act in certain ways, yet they may not. Their attitude may be intolerant, closed-minded. If the father is a thief and the son disapproves, is he a bad child? Explain things as well as you can, make an honest effort, then let go. If you have a pain and go to the doctor, but he and all his medicines cannot cure it, what can you do but let it go?

If you think in terms of my family, my practice, this kind of self-centered view is just another cause of suffering. Do not think of finding happiness, either living with others or living alone-just live with the Dharma. Buddhism helps to work out problems, but we must practice and develop wisdom first. You do not just throw rice into a potful of water and immediately have boiled rice. You have to build the fire, bring the water to a boil, and let the rice cook long enough. With wisdom, problems can eventually be solved by taking into account the karma of beings. Understanding family life, you can really learn about karma, about cause and effect, and can begin to take care of your action in the future.

Practicing in a group, in a monastery, or at a retreat is not so hard; you are too embarrassed to miss sittings with others. But when you go home, you find it difficult; you say that you are lazy or unable to find time. You give away your personal power, projecting it onto others, onto situations or teachers outside yourself. Just wake up! You create your own world. Do you want to practice or not?

Just as we monks must strive with our precepts and ascetic practices, developing the discipline that leads to freedom, so you lay people must do likewise. As you practice in your homes, you should endeavour to refine the basic precepts. Strive to put body and speech in order. Make real effort, practice continuously. As for concentrating the mind, do not give up because you have tried it once or twice and are not at peace. Why should it not take a long time? How long have you let your mind wander as it wished without
doing anything to control it? How long have you allowed it to lead you around by the nose? Is it any. wonder that a month or two is not enough to still it?

Of course, the mind is hard to train. When a horse is really stubborn, do not feed it for a while-it will come around. When it starts to follow the right.
course, feed it a little. The beauty of our way of life is that the mind can be trained. With our own right effort, we can come to wisdom.

To live the lay life and practice Dharma, one must be in the world but remain above it. Virtue, beginning with the five basic precepts, is all important, parent to all good things. It is the basis for removing wrong from the mind, removing the cause of distress and agitation. Make virtue really firm. Then practice your formal meditation when the opportunity presents itself. Sometimes the meditation will be good, sometimes not. Do not worry about it, just continue. If doubts arise, just realize that they, like everything else in the mind, are impermanent.

As you continue, concentration will arise. Use it to develop wisdom. See like and dislike arising from sense contact and do not attach to them. Do not be anxious for results or quick progress. An infant first crawls, then learns to walk, then to run. Just be firm in your virtue and keep practicing.


And, even the myths is different. If you have the possibility to live the holy life, a layman live is really no match.

Just to get an literary idea if not seen by oneself yet, if no foreshadow at all or to give faith if some foreshadow are already there:

[url=http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.12.than_en.html]Muni Sutta: The Sage


Danger is born from intimacy,[1]
society gives birth to dust.[2]
Free from intimacy,
free from society:
such is the vision of the sage.

....[/quote]

With that I will leave you small community again. Thanks a lot for all your care and support.

Dear Santeri, stand your ground. You are always welcome and take care of Mara, he appears so fast and you would not easy identify him in your mind.

You are always invited and welcome as told on some places here and there.

Kuva


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