BlackBird wrote:You'll just have to play ball on the rites and rituals. It doesn't matter what you think on the inside, outwardly you must conform.
No disrespect of any kind, but that sounds like a horrible situation to be in. I was once caught in a job situation I didn't like and went home to a living situation I didn't like. It sounds like that and worse.
It's only horrible if you have a strong attachment to wanting things your own way. It's sink or swim really, those who can't foster the brahma viharas don't usually last the distance, they might hang on in for years, but they're generally the angry and unhappy ones.
Even with this valuable lesson learned of turning lemons into lemonade, I would not knowingly and voluntarily enter into a situation that I knew would be "lemons". It just took away too many of my internal resources to make the best of the things, resources that could have gone to positive things.
It's not that there's always lemons. It's just that if you spend enough time in monasteries you will come across them at some stage. They come and go. You learn to deal with it. We spend a great deal of time in our lives being upset when things don't go our way. Living in a monastery, you learn to see that life doesn't play by your rules and you realize that by building up this web of conditions that must be met so you can be happy, all you get is frustration and anger.
I read in "The Broken Buddha" that monks who are genuinely interested in the dhamma or who will at least support other monks who are, are few and far between. Were you lucky enough to get support from such monks in coming to the realizations and changes that helped you adapt?
As I said in a post in another thread to you, don't get the mistaken impression from The Broken Buddha that all monks are bad. Venerable Dhammika has had a pretty bad run as far as being a witness to scandal. I wouldn't say I'm lucky, if I were lucky I would probably be in robes right now. I met plenty of good monks though, there were much more good ones than bad eggs, but then I was very selective about where I stayed. Birds of a feather flock together, and in both Asia and the West good monks tend to congregate in good monasteries.
I don't agree with his depiction of meditation monasteries in Sri Lanka either, there was nothing dour or long-faced about the monks I met in the forest.