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?