Day 02 – Notes Written During My Stay at the Monastery

– Notes written during my stay at the Newbury Buddhist Monastery, Victoria, Australia –

Day 02

2nd July 2015

Why do I want to end suffering?

  • Recently I’ve really thought about duality of nature.

Light Vs Dark

Happy Vs Sad

Full Vs Empty

Satisfied Vs Unsatisfied

In fact, every word I can think of has an antonym.

  • There are few schools of thought

Nibbana Vs Reincarnate

Heaven Vs Hell

This life is the only life

  • Irrespective of above, the only truth we know is that we’re now living, and one day we will die.

  • Between “Now” and “Death”, we can engage in multiple things, we can live our life however we choose.
  • There are no “right” or “wrong” choices about “how to live life”; but I realized that there are consequences.
  • I have no control over my past, or my future.

Past; cannot go back in time.

Future: I can influence, think about, plan, but there is no guarantee.

  • The only thing I have control over is “Now”, “This Moment”.

How do I want to live or choose to live “Now”?

  • That brings up the question;

How did I choose to live the “moments” in the past?

  • I have done sports to make me happy.
  • I have got drunk
  • I have got high on drugs
  • I have had sex with random strangers
  • I have worked
  • I have loved (relationships)
  • …. The list goes on
  • Each of these choices had a consequence.

Sports made me fit.

  • usually has a sore body soon afterwards.

Drunk was fun. But;

  • Arguments / Fights
  • Hangover
  • Great sex? (Questionable)
  • Headache
  • Cannot get much done next day.

Drugs

  • Fear (of others knowing)
  • Great sex? (Depends on who with)
  • Potential poisoning (Back yard)
  • Next day low, depression, dissatisfaction (back to reality of the world)

Sex with a random stranger

  • Release of tention and sexual appetite
  • Dissatisfaction as it’s not the same as sex with a lover.

Work

  • Money
  • Social status
  • Social service? (Depends on the job)
  • Dissatisfied (Work stress, especially if not a social service, and ego clashes)

Love

  • Feeling of belonging
  • Wanted
  • Arguments
  • Dissatisfied & Satisfied

  • Majority of choices had “happiness” or “satisfaction” at that given moment; but later had “unhappiness” or “dissatisfaction”
  • I felt that most choices of living Life I had made in the past lead to some form of “pain” or “suffering”
  • Then I thought what thoughts and feelings make me happy or satisfied when in the receiving end.
  • Kindness
  • Giving
  • Love with no conditions
  • Peace
  • Forgiving
  • Looked After
  • Help
  • Educate

  • Then I realized that I’m quite content when I give those as well.
  • The only thing that comes in the way:

Past (Thoughts about)

Future (Thoughts about)

Identity / Ego Importance (I.e. Beliefs)

  • Then I need to practice being present in each moment

What ever I do, be fully engaged in it.

It’s not easy as I tend to think about other things while doing something

Meditate – Excercise your mind to be present

  • I can continue to be satisfied:

If I’m present in each given Moment

If I follow my natural instinct instead of beliefs, past worries, or future worries.

  • Beliefs based on our own experience of past
  • Prejudices (Norm, Someone said so, not our own experience)
  • Pride (I’m better, we’re better)

If I treat others the way I want to be treated.

If I let go of the attachment to “I”, “My”,”Mine”, “Me”, “Our”,”We”,”Ours”…

  • I can understand this in my head, but words limit me.
  • I can write a few pages to illustrate with examples.
  • I can choose to end suffering for that moment.

How can the Monks and Monastery help me?

  • I can practice, learn, master, meditation.
  • I can learn about Dhamma (law of nature) from reading books, sermons, discussions with monks, observing monks and lay people.
  • I can then reflect on my own life and understand how I fit into nature and how I can continue my journey on “ending suffering”
  • I can see whether I want to be monastic or lay person.

After “Day 01” at the monastery, what are my thoughts?

  • I feel quite unsure about all the rules that are in place for all the Monastics.***

I understand why they are in place, but I feel discipline should come from within.

I feel one should “know” and “understand” the path.

However it’s like the “chicken” or the “egg” story. It doesn’t matter what comes first. Newcomers need guidelines, even existing monks would need guidelines.

I guess Buddha was one, so it was easy. Sangha is many, so needs systems and processes.

*** E.g:
  • Not taking anything that is not offered(Although gifted to the monastery, and previous day offered)
  • Needing someone to offer what’s already there (What if someone goes to the forest to meditate)
  • Institute Processes

  • I quite enjoyed seeing a monk as a normal person, engages in developing property (Monastery facilities) for future monks and lay people who like to learn (like me).
  • This feels like real social service
  • One can find a balance in “helping myself” and “helping others”
  • Also enjoyed the discussion I had with Bhanthe Cunda, while working on the building.
  • I feel weird, but good to be physically equal to a monk, both wearing overalls.
  • A few hours of my life I will never forget.

  • I feel quite a bit of arguments for being a monk as well as against being a monk. Similarly, I have similar thoughts about being a “lay person” or continuing to be a “lay person”
  • Irrespective, I feel a fundamental shift in my personality has already occurred.
  • Even if I go back to the real world and continue my life as an”lay person”, it will be a different life to before.
  • I will have a minimalistic life
  • I will practice at least five precepts religiously***
  • I will be conscious and responsible.

*** Just because the religion says so, I have my doubts and questions about the Precepts that needs to be clarified..

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