Time and again people ask us, “Why on earth would you want to be monastic? Are you trying to escape from the world, or what?”
Becoming a monk or a nun is a vocation. It’s a calling from Divine Spirit to lead a life of prayer, immersion in the dharma teachings of a spiritual pathway, and an opportunity to live in community. Living in a monastic community means living with people who may, or may not, be your friends, which then creates an opportunity for acceptance and compassion. Monastic community creates a society dedicated to the common purpose of thinking, praying, meditating, working, and living for the benefit of all beings.
True Prayer and meditation is the ability to harness Divine Mind (the One Mind) to declare and know healing, peace, light, harmony, generosity, and compassion for the needs of others. The monastic life requires hours of focused attention to being awake in the moment. When we are awake in the moment it’s possible to choose compassion, kindness, generosity, fearlessness, and hope.
Every day billions of humans on this planet are THINKING! They are thinking into the One Mind of infinite possibilities. And from all that thinking decisions are made. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the majority of humans are putting into the One Mind, and into action. We see it in the news, on Facebook, and in the public marketplace. Anger, hatred, contempt, despair, hopelessness, violence, and domination are the ugly manifestations millions of humans are constantly projecting into One Mind, no wonder the spiritual teachers tell us this world is hell. No wonder so many are suffering.
Yes, there are good people, kind people, and generous people everywhere! But even good people are often filled with anger and despair at the state of the world. Stress and anxiety has been determined to be the number one disease of the 21st century.
Monastics train, daily, hourly, to send thoughts of loving kindness, peace, healing, and compassion into the One Mind generator of action. It is a life dedicated to creating light in the darkness of world mind. Throughout the ages humble souls, dedicated souls, sensitive and generous souls have given up the things of the world (money, possessions, power, prestige, family, and relationships) to devote their lives to prayer, meditation, and service to those in need.
Monks and nuns do not run away from the world. They chose to renounce ordinary life and enter a world of devotion, to become a Bodhisattva in hell. Perhaps we should honor their courage, their sacrifice, their unremitting determination to free all beings from suffering!