Monday, June 07, 2010

There do exist monks who depend for their livelihood on people who are pretty poor themselves.

As I mentioned here.  The monks here:

evidently give back to the community the idea of mindfulness, of the ability to dwell in but not be attached to whatever comes into awareness, but to mindfully live one's life.

That said, though, the economic issues involved in taking such a path still cannot be ignored.  It is manifestly obvious that for most people, this path cannot really be an option because of the need to apply expedient means to the people in one's life right now.   There are such people who can do this though, although in watching the video clip above (taken from Paul Gerhards' blog)  it is clear that the guy who had 6 kids and a wife was included to bring up this issue; it begs the question: How did he get there?  One might hope there was a reason and a way in which the wife and kids were taken care of one way or the other, or that they were sufficiently grown.    Regardless, even in the idyllic but difficult ideal of the forest monks, such messy questions still exist.

Clearly in Thailand these monks have a symbiotic role with the lay community, and benefit people far removed from their locality, even me.   They do it because at least some of them  see it as obviously necessary for them to do it, not because they're pretending to be cultural innovators; it's just what is done.  What applies to where you are now?  I'd say that most Western and middle class readers of my blog would say the thing to do is not to abandon your family and all your possessions and go off into the forest.  Even the Buddha had a better safety net than that, in that he never completely cut off the possibility of all future contact with his family according to legend; he later did contact his family according to legend.  We who must live our lives for others and for ourselves must do so now, where we are, regardless of whoever posits whatever other alternative way of existence as an ideal.  They might be able to help, but ultimately it's not up to them as to what cultural innovations you may or may not be required to make to be unstuck in your own place and time.

No comments: