Few weeks at a Monastery
I would like to share my short experience at a monastery in Tibet for a few weeks. A question popped into my mind a few days ago, when the body gets dirty, we take a shower. When the mind gets dirty, where can we take a shower?
At the Monastery in the Mountain
It was difficult to adjust at the beginning, difficulty water in the toilet, no shower for nearly a month, no friends to chat with, eating potatoes for weeks, and the cold wind of the winter but I would like to call this one of the best gifts I have given to my self in this whole year.
Nagarjuna said: if you want to be at ease, forsake learning. If you want to learn, forsake ease.
Staying at a monastery on the mountain in the winter was not easy if we compare it to living in a city where as long as we have money, anything can be a few clicks away.
Life in the city is busy with full of distractions, these distractions are feeding our minds and what we feed our minds becomes our future so to change our future we have to see what we are feeding our minds. The best way to see ourselves is not in a mirror but by staying alone with ourselves and being aware of our thoughts.
In the business world, everyone goes zigzag to make profits and slowly lets their ego grow. When our ego gets bigger we suffer more so we start to get distracted by wandering our mind with entertainment, hoping to get better but it only works for a few hours and the next day large ego is there again and we play with ourselves and that is the repeat.
We love to talk about Buddhism, especially the high teachings when we are feeding our ego every day. It is very easy to discuss Buddha Dharma when we are having the best meals and giving everything our ego mind (Thought slave) orders us but when we go somewhere in a remote place like a mountain, things change, it's like face-to-face with the ego, just like facing the fear makes you stronger type.
We can't feed everything our ego mind orders us and there we can see how our ego mind makes us the slave of thoughts.
Non-Self or Non-Ego
Great Shantideva said: A person who always thinks about others, even if he is in hell, will feel like he is in heaven. A person who only thinks about himself, even if he is going towards the path to enlightenment, will feel like he is going toward hell.
What is feeding Ego?
Anything that makes us become more selfish, anything that lets us go far from the truth is feeding the Ego.
The best way to see the ego mind is to sit comfortably and just watch our thoughts. I spent a few weeks alone and I have found that it was one of the best times of the whole year since I was fully focused on myself. Most importantly completely focus on my thoughts.
As great Jetsun Milarepa said: One can throw a stick to a Dog many times and the Dog will still go to catch it but one can only throw a stick to a Lion one time and after that Lion turns at the thrower.
These teachings from Great Yogis are useful when you stay alone and you even appreciate your breath which you don't even care about when you are busy in the city. You appreciate the taste of potato without salt. In the city, there are so many ingredients in those potatoes that you even don't know what the taste of potatoes is. We become more appreciated and that is the main key to happiness.
We suffer because we think next is better since we have so many options to choose from in city life and thinking next is the door to suffering but when you are remote place, there are not many Next, you have to adjust and you become more Now instead of Next.
Impermanence of Death
Everything is impermanent and Impermanent is subject to death. As many great masters say: if you really want to practice dharma, you have to practice like today is your last day on earth.
Lying in bed, having some pizza, and watching movies are the habits we acquire in City life and these habits naturally make us lazy. Lazy can't help anyone, not even ourselves.
Staying at the mountain without movies and pizza has given me a chance to change my habits to waking early and sleeping early. Trying vegetarian for weeks and eating less is healthy for both mind and body. At least for a few weeks, I am not hurting anyone since I am alone. Instead of movies, I am getting chances to read books and chances to do more breath meditation so I find this as one of the best gifts I have given to myself for the entire year.
I would like to recommend everyone to find 7-30 days somewhere peaceful for a time to get to know ourselves. Thank you for reading about my few week's experience at a monastery in Tibet. Once again may merit bring world peace and happiness to all beings.