Skip to main content

Non Celibate Married Monks Wake Up! (early)



We have a flock of farm apprentice applicants visiting and one said, "It's not like there are real monks here...I mean, you're not celibate y'all just wear robes for sitting and ceremonies."

Well, in the above picture it's real early in the morning and this real married couple (technically not monks, but wear robes and live above a 60+ real person temple) is making real pancakes and is also real tired. 

I wonder what people think us non celibate monks are doing in our bedrooms that some celibate monk isn't doing with their own damn hand or with a nightly emission; I wonder what they think house holding married couples are doing; I wonder if they know how exhausting a single person's bedroom can be, how rife with pain.

Excitement...adventure, I know, we shouldn't crave these things. Mostly Lulu and I are too tired anyway. 

I'll be honest, I want a gold star. I envy the single monks here. Sometimes Lulu and I argue (gasp!) into the night and when that 4 am wake up bell comes around, off we go to sit and chant for the first two and half hours of the day. This year, we stayed to support the temple for Thanksgiving and New Years and I worked over 24 hours straight and no one actually noticed, pulling their own hard shift. And at the end of a day of community life, our refuge and room is a shared space; she may want to knit and I might want to do yoga, or she wants to do yoga and I want to fling calligraphy ink. We take a lot of deep breaths. We laugh a lot. 

After living here for a year, we've never been closer. There is no where to hide, so you stop hiding.

Of course, loneliness takes its toll, too. I'm not saying our way is the hard way, but it is a life full of practice opportunities (or as we sometimes say, A.F.P.O- another fucking practice opportunity). Right before I got married, my celibate teacher said, "Austin, whatever you choose, you choose your own suffering!"

My request: Don't be fooled by our forms. Why argue about who's finger points best at the moon? 




Comments

  1. Relationship practice. Hardest practice I've ever done. I see myself reflected truly in the eyes of the person I love and I don't always love what I see but you do and that helps me. It's amazing how I can hide from myself but I can't hide from you. Maybe it's just that I don't want to hide from you. But for a single person or celibate monk it seems like more of an option to run and hide in your room or cave or wherever these "real" monks hang out.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To Become A Zen Monk (or die trying)

"Now, if you have decided to become a monk because you think that life in this world is too hard and bitter for you and you would prefer to rather live off other people's donations while drinking your tea - if you want to become a monk just to make a living, then the following is not for you." -Kosho Uchiyama
So you want to be a Zen monk or priest? Unsui, which means clouds and water? Good on ya. Me too. 
Having googled that very aspiration for the first time in 2003, I was convinced it was impossible. I'll admit I am as thick headed as they come. I was also resistant to meet some figure in a robe. I heard my father's voice when I begged him to get my fortune read in Jackson Square, New Orleans, "I'm not paying some fat asshole in a bathrobe to tell you lies." Instead, for the first four years of my Zen practice, I committed as little as possible to my local sangha, left when they started chanting, and never talked to the teacher. I was so unapproacha…

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…