The natural world is full of all kinds of sounds and rhythms. There are melodious tunes as well as annoying sounds. Inappropriate words are often the source of afflictions which is why in Buddhism we are asked to “speak less and recite the Buddha’s name more”. Do not lie, do not speak negatively, do not say hurtful words, do not speak threatening words. When interacting with others, “right speech” is spiritual practice. To praise others is a kind of generosity.

– Venerable Fazhao

anonymous asked:

Sam, I feel stuck. There is no draw for me to pursue worldly success and power, but having read about what life in a monastery is actually like, there is no desire to go that direction either. I feel a deep desire to find a mate and start a family, but find that I value my practice and spiritual endeavors over most everything else.

It is a mistake to think that one must withdraw into a monastic cloister to practice the Way. The way of compassion, loving kindness and generosity will open doors and provide peace regardless of one’s occupation.  More and more people in both East and West are coming to understand that Buddhist practice divorced of superstition will not only provide peace to the practitioner but to all who encounter the practitioner. Forget enlightenment, forget nibbana, forget rebirth and just be. What will happen shall happen and you shall be at peace now and now is all any of us have.

๑ Samsaran ๑

Glendalough Graveyard - Glendalough, Wicklow National Reserve Park at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Leinster, Ireland. Glendalough (Irish: Gleann Dá Loch, meaning “Glen of Two Lakes”) is a glacial valley located in County Wicklow, Ireland, renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, a hermit priest, and destroyed in 1398 by English troops.

By and large, the lineage of rinpoches survived intact for eight centuries, until the Chinese Red Army invaded Tibet, in 1950. It was easier to maintain this system when the “precious ones” were locked inside monasteries ringed by mountains, far from worldly distractions. But in exile, this tradition is fast unraveling. The younger rinpoches are exposed to all of the twenty-first century’s dazzling temptations. 

The irony is that while Tibetan Buddhism is gaining more adherents around the world, an increasing number of rinpoches are abandoning their monastic vows. Some are having a hard time finding their own path through the complexities of modern society and feel unable, or unqualified, to pass on much in the way of advice. Neither their early training in the monastery nor, supposedly, the good karma of their past lives as teachers is able to shield them entirely from the afflictions that the rest of us experience—desire, rage, attachment, envy, and egotism. The pull of samsara, the flow of worldly existence, can be overwhelming.

Schema monks or nuns are those who have taken on the angelic habit and are known to be literally so holy, they are considered to be living together with the angels.
..This is extremely rare. A schemamonk is a rare step taken in monastic life and is seldom approved by the abbot or bishop. The schema goes beyond carrying the Cross of Christ. Like our Lord Jesus Christ, he must be willing to surrender his life to totally save people’s souls. He must in fact be willing to be nailed to the cross he has been carrying. The schemamonk is in essence an elder among the monastic community. He is a monk who has aspired to a spiritual level that transcends worldly desires. It is a life of constant prayer. He is a walking icon of our Lord Jesus Christ. A schemamonk is sought after by religious of all ranks, monastic and lay people for spiritual advice and comfort, as well as other spiritual and religious matters. The schemamonk will again take a new name in Christ to show he has totally given up his worldly life

Bohemia, early 13th century.

“As the commonly used title of this manuscript suggests, the Codex Gigas, dating from the first third of the thirteenth century, is a book of remarkable proportions. At 90 cm in height and 50 in width, weighing 75 kilograms, it is the largest known manuscript book in the world. It is believed to be the work of one monk belonging to the Benedictine Monastery of Podlažice in eastern Bohemia. To its unusual dimensions, the costs of its preparation and also the full-page coloured drawing of the Devil on f. 289r. it owes its alternative name – The Devil’s Bible. In addition to biblical texts, the work Flavia and Isidora and several further minor works it contains a penitential, a calendar and also one of the copies of Cosmas’s Chronicle (1119-1125), the oldest historiographical work relating to the Czech Lands. Certain other parts of the Codex, in particular the Orders of St. Benedict, have not survived.

The book was not intended for everyday reading; in fact, its dimensions in combination with the relatively small hand render this impossible. Besides this, the majority of the texts it contains are written in a form which was archaic even at the time of the Codex’s creation. The Codex Gigas is a symbolic representation of a library depicting the macrocosm in the eyes of a representative of traditional Benedictine scholarship and culture.”

New tumblelog: "Analecta Monastica"

Dear friends and followers:

In addition to Mere Catholic Miscellany, which I have been maintaining for some time now (since 2008), I recently started a new tumblelog specifically devoted to Christian monasticism in its various forms, both Western and Eastern.

Mostly, I intend Analecta Monastica to be a personal study tool (in June, I was clothed in the monastic habit and became a novice in the Benedictine Order).  But I am very happy to share my little online monastic scrapbook with other Christian tumbloggers.