Monks' Interesting Life

Update: 30/07/2022
At the time of Buddha, Buddha and his disciples, who were saints and human beings, went from village to village every morning. At noon, they went back to their residence where it could be under the tree on the road or a temple (in the rainy season) to have lunch. In the afternoon, they discussed, reflected on themselves, meditated, and practiced mindfulness, walking which would be repeated at night. Life was quite simple but pleasant. It is evident that Bhaddiya felt much happier than before. Even though he was a king, he didn’t feel happy.

Monks' Interesting Life


“Dear Buddha, when I lived with my family, I was a king who lived in a palace and was protected by guards inside and outside the palace as well as inside and outside the citadel. There were even guards inside and outside the country. Dear Buddha, even with that maximum protection, I still lived in fear. Yet, now I lived alone going to the forest, a vacant house I didn’t feel afraid, worried, or frightened. On the contrary, I felt calm, mindful and at peace like the animals in the forest. Dear Buddha, due to these feelings, when I arrived at the forest, I exclaimed “How peaceful, how peaceful!”

(Minor Series, Autobiographical Buddhist Sutras, Sutta 1.20 - Bhaddiyāor) 

There were also cases that didn’t seem to be that peaceful. That was the case of the prince of Ba-kyi (Vajji) who became a monk. The story was told in the Tale of Dhammapada, Miscallaneous, verse 302. While walking in the forest near the city of Bhikkhu-- Xa-ly (Vesāli) one night, the monk felt discomfort after hearing the sound of people amusing, singing and partying. He also wanted to join and thought to himself, "If I hadn't become a monk, I would have been the king of a country by now! Who was less fortunate than me? The monastic life is lonely and unhappy. It is like an abandoned log in the middle of the forest, how miserable it is!"

Two stories, two lives, two different feelings but the same social status.

What about us nowadays? Are we happy or sad in religious life? 

It’s up to us to be happy or sad. Bhiksu Bhaddiyā who is in his middle-age, has spent half of his life time enjoying so he is not keen on the affairs of this world. Yet, Prince of Bat-ky is still young, still passionate and energetic, he likes to indulge himself in pleasures which is quite normal. The most important thing is after the incident, he is willing to practice diligently. 

The life of a layman has plenty of leisure activities such as hanging out with friends, going to the cinema, singing karaoke, drinking alcohol, or going to the amusement parks...etc.

The monastic people also have many "relaxation" activities like chanting, meditating, when they are tired, they can do meditative walking and pray to the Buddha. In addition, they can write poetry, read books, and listen to Dharma. These are personal development activities. On the other hand, we can contribute to the world through charity trips, freeing animals, and organizing retreats for Buddhists. Teaching, preaching and giving lectures on the Dharma helps spread the image of Sramana (Buddhist monks) all over the world mainly to strengthen faith in Bhiksu (a mendicant scholar). This is how Mahayana Buddhism elevates compassion to the same level as Wisdom.

Whatever you do, remember to ring the “temple bell” daily!

“The sound of temple bell or the sound of awakening hearts

Waking up yourself, waking up the world

 Tâm Cung

Translated into English by Thai Nhuoc Don

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