As a monastic, I always felt like there was nothing to look forward to. Every week was basically the same as the last one: you work, you meditate, you go to bed and do it again. There's no real juice, if you get what I'm saying. Eventually that can take it's toll.
thank you for sharing your experience.. my only question regarding this is that how is that any different then lay life?
I have a good job, I could find a good woman again and settle down, get married, have kids, work on my photography business.. but what is there to look forward to, old age and death? This is what I always question myself to see if I really want to do this monastic thing.. I think about what my life would be like, a successful photographer, husband, father.. then what?
who knows I could ordain and 10 years later think the total opposite, I am thankful you posted your experience though, it has given me more to think on
In my limited experience, there is a big difference between the "looking forward" of lay life and monastic life. Consider thinking about it on a day-to-day level more than on a year-to-year or even decade-to-decade level.
In monastic life, if you are at a practice-oriented monastery or in solitude practicing formal meditation most of the time (there are monastics who don't meditate much), the only things one can "look forward to" are (if applicable) walking if you are sitting, sitting if you are walking, Dhamma talks, interviews with teachers, breakfast, lunch, evening tea or juice, sleeping, going on alm's round, tomorrow's breakfast, where you are going to do your next retreat, what you are going to do after you disrobe.
In lay life, you can "look forward" to all these things, plus a whole range of other activities or experiences depending on your situation, such as going home, meeting your wife and your children, having dinner with family and friends, next day's work plans, participating in sports, meeting new friends, going on vacation, etc.
Still, if the ultimate goal is Nibbana, I think the point is to see how looking forward to anything is a form of ignorance, restlessness, and suffering. Not that there is inherently anything wrong with looking forward to something, but how can we be sure these things will happen or that we will be alive, etc, etc.... But I have experienced an inkling of what it's like to not have anything to look forward to, and it can be scary, unsettling, and emotionally and psychologically draining at times. It can also be utterly liberating at other times. Just depends on where we are in the practice, I guess.
Thanks for your input all. This is a nice thread.
kmath wrote:So a lot of the practice is just khante.
I tried looking this up to no avail. What does it mean?
I think kmath may have meant "khanti" which means forbearance or patience in Pali. It's one of the paramis, and from what I have heard and read, some people, in and outside of Theravada, may consider khanti the most important and difficult parami to develop.
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.