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Need advice regarding how to live my life.

Hello friends,

I am humbly asking for your help in a matter I haven’t been able to figure out for years. I will try to keep my post as short as possible.

How and where should I live and practice Buddhism? I can’t seem to find a way...

I am highly introverted. I am not sure how introversion fits into Anatta, but in my stage of spiritual journey I am still very much introverted. Being around other people is extremely exhausting. For the past 3 years I have lived completely alone. I don’t leave my home for work – I stay indoors pretty much the entire time. During the colder part of the year I sometimes leave the apartment only once – to get food. During the warmer part I take occasional walks early in the morning. On an average day I don’t talk to anybody over the phone. I may change some e-mails or other forms of written messages, but that’s all the interaction I have with people. I just meditate and try to keep quiet. I try to be mindful – even while I’m exercising or cooking. I do read, watch some inspirational movies and listen to (mostly spiritual) music (usually in the evening for a few hours).

The problem is that I am rapidly running out of money. I don’t live in America or any other wealthy country. Salaries in my country are very low, yet the cost of living (mainly food, clothes, etc) is much greater than in the States or western Europe. For the past 3 years I have lived from the money I inherited. I always thought about using it for entrepreneurship, but never really made it anywhere (mostly because I thought it would interfere with my spiritual journey). And now I have maybe 3-4 months worth of it left.

Get a job? First of all, not only am I highly introverted, but I am also very shy. Whenever I am in the center of attention, I am close to turning red. And there are very few jobs in my country where somebody with these characteristics could work. For some reason, my blushing seems to nearly disappear in the countries that have warmer climates. And secondly, whenever I have been close to getting a job, I have had this extremely powerful inner gut feeling screaming against it. It’s as of somebody inside of me is yelling NO!! I had this feeling all throughout my school years – they were the most difficult years of my life. I disliked them so very much. Many years ago there were occasions I got drunk because of how bad this feeling was. Now I just try to listen to it and do what it says. Should I?

What am I to do? I am not dumb or uneducated. Quite the contrary, but that’s besides the point. My entrepreneurship years failed because I concentrated on my practice. I felt that starting my own companies would cut into that. I would be getting tons of phone calls and I’d always have to plan something. A busy mind is not what I would have wished for my meditations. I still feel the same way, but should I just be involved in the business world and accept that my spiritual path is slowed down because of that?

A monastery? I went to Thailand this summer to stay in an highly respected forest monastery. I stayed there for a few weeks. I didn’t like it for one reason. There was way too much communication and interaction between the monks and monastery workers. We spent many hours per day doing chores – most of them meant communicating with others (dividing up activities, organizing things, etc). And whenever we weren’t working, we were meditating or chanting together. That happened 3 times per day for approximately 1.5 - 2 hours per session. I am not that good of an meditator yet to be able to meditate with 70 monks in the room (literally side-by-side). Somebody is always moving, coughing or making sound. I though monasteries were all about silence, emptiness and solitude. Kind of like the life I have had for the past 3 years. But it was the exact opposite. During the weekends hundreds and hundreds of people came to make offers. It was like a festival, and I had to participate by doing chores, helping in the kitchen, etc. From an introvert's point of view, it was hell!

I know sangha should be the way, but what should I do if my inner voice is yelling against it? And all that interaction is just killing my energy (that’s what it does for introverts)? When I left the monastery, I stayed inside my hotel room alone for days. Maybe if I’m more advanced in meditation and my spiritual journey, I may be able to take it. But for now, I feel that I am doing more progress in my apartment than I did at the monastery. Perhaps there are better monasteries, but where? It’s difficult to find them via the Internet.

What am I to do? In most days, I don’t think about this. I’ve done it a lot in the past and nothing had changed. I spend most of my days living in the present. Here and now. I don’t pay attention to this Fear – I live in faith that things will work out. But then there are moments I realize that years have gone by and nothing has changed. Should I really just keep going until I’ve paid the last money I have for rent? And just hope that something comes up once I go to buy some food or my next rent is due? If nothing works out, then even flying to Thailand would not be option, as I would not have any money for it. A plane ticket to Thailand costs nearly 2 month salary for an average person in my country.

I feel bad for asking, but perhaps some of you have been in this situation and tell me which way is the door. I feel so stuck that I’ve even (unwillingly) had thoughts about suicide. I won’t do it of course, but if I do end up in the streets 3-4 months from now, I may as well freeze to death, as I live in the very-very up north. :)

Thank you, and with metta!
Lahke
«1

Comments

  • Don't know what anyone can say, but that you should do what you have to do to survive. There's a difference between being shy and having a crippling anxiety when dealing with people, and only you and someone trained to work with the mind can tell the difference. You keep saying introverted, but I'm not sure that's what you mean. I am introverted and that means I don't make friends easily and don't have the desire or skills to socialize on a personal level. That doesn't mean I can't work with a group or deal with people on a non-personal level. Many people are like that.



    MaryAnnestill_learningEnriqueSpain
  • YishaiYishai Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Lahke, I hope you are able to find the compassion and loving kindness in your heart for all people regardless of your fears, desires, and situation.

    You will not find a monastic life that sends you off by yourself.

    You can only face yourself, your problems, and all the nasty stuff when you force yourself into a situation that you are not comfortable with. When you sat down in a monastery and did chores, sat in a restless silence, and dealt with all the other monks/nuns, you were forced to confront all of your bad parts. The conditioned mind started kicking and screaming. That is what meditation does, it makes you confront yourself. Meditation is not about silence, solitude, and soul searching. When you go to the cushion, you are going to deal with all your fears, anxieties, and issues.

    You can already see that your hand is going to be forced to do something. If you truly live in the present moment, you address the problems as they arise, and you do not put it off.

    Find some help for your anxiety. That would be a wise use of money.

    I hope my words get you closer to an answer.

    MaryAnneKundoJeffreycvalue
  • Further delving into meditation and self-imposed solitude (spiritually motivated, or not) is not going to put money in your pockets nor food in your belly. I certainly don't have any easy answers to your dilemma.
    This sort of debilitating 'shyness' and introvert behavior really does need to be dealt with on a professional level with a trained counselor of some sort. I'm sure none of us here can simply tell you in a post how to turn things around for yourself- I'm sure you've probably said and tried anything we could come up with here anyway...

    But with that all said;
    Prioritize and then take things one step at a time. First things first-- shelter and food; Do you have any family or close friends you can turn to - for a time? Maybe with the little bit of inheritance you have left you can secure a place to stay with family for a while, and then see about getting counseling at that point. Maybe with the immediate pressure of shelter and food off your mind you can venture out to finding a job. If you cannot get counseling until you have a job, then I'm afraid you will have to force yourself to do just that.... take a job, any job, no matter what it pays, and ease yourself back into the social fabric of your surroundings. It's very very hard to survive anywhere, in any country, if you can't connect with at least the people immediately around you. Like I said, you seem to be in a very difficult situation, and there are no easy answers or advice that is going to fling open the door to THE solution.
    vinlyncvalue
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    It seems to me, Lahke, that you may be using your "spiritual journey" as an excuse to feed your introversion and shyness.

    Think of some of the great spiritual leaders in history. If they had remained alone, they wouldn't have been leaders.

    It's very hard to give practical advice since you don't say what country you are living in and how available professional help is.
    MaryAnne
  • I still feel the same way, but should I just be involved in the business world and accept that my spiritual path is slowed down because of that?
    Yes!
    I know that one of my teachers at some point yelled at a fellow student: “Get a life!”

    Try to make a living; there’s nothing wrong with that. Redefine your spiritual path in such a way that it includes your life and what living your life requires here and now.

    But like others have said; we don’t really know you, or the exact situation that you are in. So this is just my hunch; not the final truth.
  • Did you want to be an immured anchorite?
    http://wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/the-way-of-the-white-clouds/d/doc51713.html

    Maybe you could write to some monasteries that have some bricks lying around and someone could sponsor your food.

    However . . .
    . . . you know what . . . I think you know what.

    What would you advise yourself to do?
  • Do you want to stay at a monastery?
    If you do, I can help you. You dont have to be a monk
    but you have to keep 8 precepts.

    If you wish to get a job, you have 2 options.
    1. you can work from home.
    2. you have to deal your extreme shyness.

    There is no right or wrong options.
    but being a serious buddhist, I will encourage you
    to live in a monastery.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Jll, unless you know something we don't -- like what country the OP lives in -- saying he can work from home is quite a stretch.
  • @jll
    Saying he should go live in a monastery is escapism... won't do a darn thing to acknowledge and address his (seemingly extreme and/or worsening) social anxieties.
    Kundostill_learning
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I agree, MaryAnne, better to first work on the social anxieties, and later, perhaps, look into a monastic life. To go to a monastery now is actually doing it for the wrong reason.
  • Monastic life kind of forces you to be sociable with your fellow monastics. I am not condoning that as a course of action though.
  • jlljll Veteran
    escapism comes in many guises.
    for some, it is working 9 to 5, getting married
    and having kids.

    if staying at a monastery is escapism, then Buddha
    was the biggest escapist of all. so am I.



    since you are a buddhist, i believe you know that
    MaryAnne said:

    @jll
    Saying he should go live in a monastery is escapism... won't do a darn thing to acknowledge and address his (seemingly extreme and/or worsening) social anxieties.

    Jeffrey
  • GuiGui Veteran
    The only thing you have to do is take responsibility.
    KundolobsterMaryAnne
  • vinlyn said:

    I agree, MaryAnne, better to first work on the social anxieties, and later, perhaps, look into a monastic life. To go to a monastery now is actually doing it for the wrong reason.

    Let me return to the OP - Original Poster.
    Like many young people, including myself, being shy and introverted has a natural social arising. Life experience allows for mechanisms to overcome, avoid or cope. We are social or solitary to varying degrees or at different times.
    Coming to a Buddhist forum or 'spiritual' group to deal with issues of shyness and social anxiety is one part of a solution. Life path and spiritual path are entwined . . .
    The courage to move from confession to assessment and realisation of what is required belongs to the capacity of the OP.

    Someone once said as a Noble Truth: Life is hard . . . face hardship, ease the experience . . .
    I dedicate my morning practice to the efforts of the OP and those overcoming extremes.

    :wave:
    Kundo
  • Wow, I had no idea I would get that many answers. Thank you all so much! I’ll address some of the questions/points that were raised.

    I guess we should replace the word shy with a social anxiety (although I am shy too). I am from an eastern European country, and people here don’t have social anxieties. I mean they do, but these things are not talked about publicly. I’ve tried seeking help in the past, but never found a therapist who seemed to be able to help me (so I gave up).

    I have literally spent hours and hours trying to understand it, but I still don’t get it. Maybe it’s because people here are not really friendly with 'strangers'. There's a lot of anger, jealousy, etc in my country. We have a lot of Russian influence, and I think some of you may have seen the Russian traffic videos on YouTube. Maybe I am subconsciously afraid of being judged or mentally attacked by others. I don’t know. As I told in my original post, my anxiety diminishes significantly once I visit other countries (America, Thailand, Spain, etc). People are friendlier there and the weather is warmer (the colder the weather, the more likely I am to suffer from it). I had nearly no issues with it at the Buddhist monastery in Thailand.

    Speaking of introversion, it’s not that I don’t make friends easily. I get along with everybody. I am relatively good at socializing with people. Not that much in a group, but on one-to-one basis. But the thing is that it is very exhausting for me. According to Dr. Laurie Helgoe (author of Introvert Power), introverts need to be alone to recharge their batteries and ''get their affairs straight''. Socializing and talking with people discharges them and eventually they just freeze (after 2 weeks at the monastery, I could not think straight - I was literally shutting down). It’s not that I couldn’t work with a group – it’s that every fiber inside of me is opposing this. I just don’t want to. This is my gut feeling or inner voice is also telling me. I feel the best when I am alone and don’t have any plans for the day. I know this sounds very rude (although I assure you that I don’t mean to be), but I just don’t care to know about other people’s lives that much. I find most of the talk irrelevant and not useful. So your cat was sick last night, you got a new smartphone, or you’re going to see that movie tonight. I participate in these talks with my close friends only because they wish to talk about these things. I don’t – I dream about being alone in my home. This is introversion for me.

    The average net salary in my country is about 600 Euros per month. Many people in smaller cities only earn a net salary of 300-400 per month. The temperature gets as low as minus 20-30 during the coldest month of the winter. Heating bills alone are 200 Euros per month for my small apartment. Average people are working really hard here and still find it difficult to survive. Even if I could find a job where I don’t have to talk to people for living, I may have to work 11-12 hour days to make the ends meet. Most of my friends do it. Most of them are overweight because they have no time nor energy to exercise. I don’t think they could find a few hours per day to meditate. This has been my dilemma too. This is why I began looking for monasteries too. I could stay with my parents temporarily, but it's a small place and I would have more chances being alone at the monastery. They have many pets and my dad snores a lot. I have taken the precepts and still keep some of them (one being that I do not lie), so I assure you that this is no joke. I have a Misophonia too. It's a real thing (google it). It means I cannot stand repetitive noises (eating, sniffing, chewing gum, typing on a keyboard, etc) done by others. It just upsets me beyond belief. I feel quite embarrassed to even admit to this. I may seem like a complete wreck to you guys. I apologize!

    I always loved the movies that took place in some old Chinese or Japanese temple high up in the mountains. Or in a valley away from it all. The Last Samurai is one of the examples – I just loved the small Japanese village where Tom Cruise stayed at. I’ve dreamed about living in such a place for years. I could just meditate alone and be silent. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I began seeking monasteries because I wanted to escape. I just felt that being actively involved in entrepreneurship was something I didn’t want to do. It would have kept my mind busy and racing. A lot of friends turn to me for help, as they seem to value my opinions, ideas and thoughts. So I’ve had these nights every now and then where I find it difficult to go to sleep, as my mind is still thinking thoughts. Staying at a monastery; however, would likely mean that my mind is constantly quiet and empty. Since I now know silence and emptiness, I really wouldn't like to go back to my old life of thoughts and mental noise.

    Why do many Tibetan monks meditate alone in caves? If being active in a real world is a must to be enlightened? Was Ram Dass wrong when he said ‘’the quieter you become, the more you can hear’’? What about sensory deprivation? For some reason, many books talk about being quite and not being involved in un-necessary things/discussions. Isn't it socially acceptable to be polite and participate the office parties, coffee talks, etc? As far as I know, those who don't talk to anybody, they don't make it very long. Jobs seem to be like games, and if you don't play them, you'll lose.

    I say this all with love, but the thing that I found the most difficult at the Thai monastery was the fact that there were very few experienced monks. A large majority (I’d say at least 90%) were temporary monks. Some ordained for a month, others for 3 months. Simply because this was the tradition in Thailand. So I heard many monks discussing politics (there were many foreigners there too), movies or just chatting about nothing important. It happened while doing chores and although I tried to not participate, I could still hear it all. My mind registered it all. If I were more advanced, it wouldn’t probably do anything for me. I could just notice it and fall back into rising-falling or some mantra. But something inside of me said that I’d have better chances of getting there in my apartment than inside the monastery. There were no monks over 55 at the monastery. There must be a reason for it – did they all went back to their old lives?!

    And another think that I found myself questioning was the fact that they seemed to be more worried about how they looked like, rather than what they did. If Buddhism is the tea and being a monk is a cup, then most of them seemed to be busy being cups. So much time was spent on ceremonies and looking authentic. But maybe it was just me and I couldn't see the value in them.

    I know there are probably many questions I didn’t answer, but.. I guess it doesn’t really matter. I humbly apologize if some of it seems like an excuse. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I just try to listen the inner voice (the gut feeling). Shouldn’t I?!

    Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. All your answer have made me realize that there isn’t actually anything anybody else can do. I guess I must carry on and see what happens. This is by no means depression or anything similar speaking, but I don’t care much for the life. It’s not that I wish to die, but I am not thrilled about living either. I wouldn’t honestly mind freezing to death, but I just wouldn’t want to do this for my family. I could even cry by thinking about my dog, who would be waiting to see me, but disappointing because I never showed up again. She really loves it when I play with her. :)

    Thank you all. I love you! :)
  • jlljll Veteran
    The Buddha said the way to worldly gains
    and the way to spiritual enlightenment are 2 separate paths.
    We live in a world where most people are more interested
    worldy success than spiritual development.
    Solitude and silence is not appreciated.
    yet it is the very conditions necessary for spiritual growth.

    IMO, you are quite lucky bcos you are more comfortable
    being alone than many other people.

    Again, if you need some advice on where to find
    a monastery or meditation centre, I can help you.

    Money is not an issue, although you will have to
    find the means to travel there. cheers.

    really appreciate your honesty, all the best.
  • Hi jll,

    Oh, I meant to address your kind question separately, but I guess I got carried away and forgot all about it.

    Yes, I would very thankful if you could suggests monasteries. I am confident that there are monasteries I would feel at peace, but they are difficult to find via the Internet. I did a test run on this Thai monastery, and the entire trip took 1500 euros from my pocket. Unfortunately, I don't have the means to make many of these. While in Thailand, I got a feeling that I should/could go to Japan. I've tried finding places in Japan, but it has turned out to be quite difficult. All the temples in Kyoto charge a lot of money (for me), and the ones in smaller towns or forests were all in Japanese (or they didn't have websites at all).

    You are more than welcome to send me a private message (if you don't feel like making suggestions here). Thank you kind person! :)
  • jll said:

    escapism comes in many guises.
    for some, it is working 9 to 5, getting married
    and having kids.

    if staying at a monastery is escapism, then Buddha
    was the biggest escapist of all. so am I.



    since you are a buddhist, i believe you know that

    MaryAnne said:

    @jll
    Saying he should go live in a monastery is escapism... won't do a darn thing to acknowledge and address his (seemingly extreme and/or worsening) social anxieties.

    It's all about motivations.
    If someone joins a monastery because they owe $10,000 in gambling debts and need to 'disappear' for a while....
    if someone joins a monastery because they hate working regular jobs, and would rather sit around meditating or walking about all day with no real responsibilities, (doesn't matter if that is the reality of monastery life or not, jll)...
    if someone joins a monastery to get away from a bad marriage, controlling family, or any other societal pressures or dilemmas ...

    Do you really think it's all just the same as someone joining a monastery for the reasons of spiritual enhancement, spiritual healing and study? No difference?

    As a Buddhist I think you should have known there's a difference.
    By the way, I am in no way a Buddhist scholar, but I don't believe Siddhartha /Buddha ever joined monastery... and if he did, I'm sure it was because he was searching to find something, not looking to escape something.

  • @Lahke

    I did look up " Misophonia". I had an idea what it was before, but now I know a little bit more about it. I don't know if you would find much relief from this condition in a monastery, at all.
    Think about it.... it's about repetition of sounds; especially from people and in surroundings you are familiar with.
    In a monastery, you will see the same faces, at the same time, in the same surroundings day after day after day. You will eat at the same time, at the same table, probably sitting across from the same few monks each time. You will hear them eat, swallow, cough, scratch, sneeze, etc, time and time again. (BTW, some monks snore too, I'm afraid!)

    Every morning a monk may sweep the floors; same sound over and over again as he does his chores. They wash bowls and pots. They sweep leaves and outdoor areas... there is more [sound] repetition in a monastery than in any other 'regular' environment, I would think, only because everything else is quiet, and without distractions of random noise, those repetitious noises are more distinct. Then there's the chanting and or meditating. Sometimes they use bells or gongs... sometimes they hum.

    Now perhaps a monastery might let you join and then allow you complete solitude, long term, without any interaction at all? I don't know.... maybe one will. But I find that highly unlikely. And you want to know why? Because I think they may realize that would be the motivation of 'escaping' - and as far as I've been told, or read, that's not a reason to join a monastery.

    YMMV
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    (BTW, some monks snore too, I'm afraid!)
    @MaryAnne -- You're not telling me their farts stink, I trust. :)
    MaryAnne
  • jlljll Veteran
    ok, first of the last bit "since you are a buddhist, i believe you know that"
    was not suppose tobe there. I deleted it but it was saved as draft. when i reposted i didnt notice it was still there. never mind.

    the point I am trying to make is staying at a monastery as a form
    of escape is much better than other forms of escape eg
    sex, gambling, porn, computer games, TV, drugs etc.

    also, I dont think escapism is a bad thing. I quit my university course
    after 1 year, my friends thought I should finish it.
    I have stopped working bcos I got tired of dealing with my boss and colleagues.
    I also moved from a big city touted as an excellent place to work and live
    to stay in a polluted small city with poor infrastructure.
    I believe in escapism and I am quite happy with my life.

    btw, I am planning my biggest escape ie to live in a monastery.

    MaryAnne said:

    jll said:

    escapism comes in many guises.
    for some, it is working 9 to 5, getting married
    and having kids.

    if staying at a monastery is escapism, then Buddha
    was the biggest escapist of all. so am I.



    since you are a buddhist, i believe you know that

    MaryAnne said:

    @jll
    Saying he should go live in a monastery is escapism... won't do a darn thing to acknowledge and address his (seemingly extreme and/or worsening) social anxieties.

    It's all about motivations.
    If someone joins a monastery because they owe $10,000 in gambling debts and need to 'disappear' for a while....
    if someone joins a monastery because they hate working regular jobs, and would rather sit around meditating or walking about all day with no real responsibilities, (doesn't matter if that is the reality of monastery life or not, jll)...
    if someone joins a monastery to get away from a bad marriage, controlling family, or any other societal pressures or dilemmas ...

    Do you really think it's all just the same as someone joining a monastery for the reasons of spiritual enhancement, spiritual healing and study? No difference?

    As a Buddhist I think you should have known there's a difference.
    By the way, I am in no way a Buddhist scholar, but I don't believe Siddhartha /Buddha ever joined monastery... and if he did, I'm sure it was because he was searching to find something, not looking to escape something.

  • I think we are getting off the track a bit here. I never said I was thinking about ordaining at the monastery to ''escape the real world.'' Although this sentence has been repeated many times here, it was never originally said by me. :)

    If you read my initial post, I wrote: ''A busy mind is not what I would have wished for my meditations. I still feel the same way, but should I just be involved in the business world and accept that my spiritual path is slowed down because of that?'' I meant that I should be working really hard to make ends meet in my country, so it would most likely take me back in my meditation and practice. At this point, I have an empty mind for the better part of the day. Because of this I can see more and more how my awareness and thoughts/feelings are separating. If I look at my hands or the mirror reflection, whatever I see feels foreign to me. Just as I would be looking at your hands. But that's besides the point.

    Since I'm running low on money, I thought I had two options - be an entrepreneur again (which means a very busy mind - busier than a 9-to-5 job would give me) or go to the monastery to do what I'm doing now (meditating and cultivating kindness, awareness, etc). That's it. Not escaping. :)

    Btw, my Misophonia is not that bad. I can tolerate it if things happen in a large room. If many people are eating, it's fine. But when things happen inside a small room with just 1-2 people, that gets me. Especially when I have no place to escape (as it would be with my parents). Monks sleep in kutis alone, which are small wooden buildings.

    Thanks guys! :)
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Mary Anne here.

    I am sure with monks all over the world that there are many motivations for living in a monastery. But personally, I don't have much respect for monks who do it as a better escape than "sex, gambling, porn, computer games, TV, drugs etc." Those who live in monasteries for reasons like that ought to learn how to deal with everyday life...not run away from it.

    If, on my opinion, a Buddhist temple was simply a place where people could simply escape from life -- which, BTW, is the opposite of what Siddhartha was doing -- I'd probably never walk into a Buddhist temple again.
    Kundo
  • @lahke
    Whatever the reason it is blessing in,disguise if your select the path of meditation

    From your writing it could be said you have done meditation before even though you do not remember it

    One more thing I would like to add
    Once Ajahn Bram said 'monk has monk's suffering and lay people has lay people's suffering'
    KundoLahke
  • @Yishai
    Wow, I really understand you. That doesn't happen a lot.

    I feel the same way about ''wishing nothing more but to help others.'' Although I hope to solve my financial problem (probably the most), I do help others when I can. There are many ways of helping, such as being kind, donating your time or money, wishing them well (Metta meditation - the thing I do every day around 30 minutes), etc. For instance, I help my friends a lot with their businesses. They seem to value my opinions and ideas, so they always reach out for me if they need help with something. Even when I'm tired, I always try my best to help them. Or whenever I see those who could use some food, drinks or cash for necessities, I am not shy of donating some. I may not have much left, but others may not have anything to begin with. I probably donated around 100 Euros in Thailand for those who seemed to need it. I eat very simple vegetarian meals in my country, so this 100 Euros was my food budget for the entire month. I realized this just now, as I usually just forget about these things.

    About the ''hands don't look mine'' was suppose to be the right way. I asked the Abbot of the Thai monastery about it, and he said it was the right way, but I needed some more Samadhi to understand what it means. A few months have passed, and I am a few steps closer to it. I think it is the mind-body machine and awareness separating. I am getting tremendously closer to understanding Nisargadatta Maharaj's book I Am That. I am having many-many glimpses every day of what he meant by ''there is only life, there is nobody who lives a life.'' When he said ''I appear to hear and see and talk and act, but to me it just happens, as to you digestion or perspiration happens.'' I sort of get it now.
  • @MaryAnne

    As I already mentioned, I never said I wished to go to the monastery in order to escape from something. But even if there are some small parts of things I would be escaping from, isn't this what we all do? What you do? I ask this with the best of intentions and kindness.

    Man was born in the jungle with nothing. Having strong houses with central heating and electricity is not natural. Having to buy food from the grocery store is not natural. Connecting with millions of people via e-mail, Facebook or NewBuddhist.com website is not natural. If anything, aren't you escaping from what IS natural? Staying in a jungle and surviving next to wild animals? Growing and storing your own food? Connecting to only those who are around you (i.e. a lot more solitude and loneliness)?

    Could you survive and thrive without all these luxuries? Or would you feel fear, loneliness and hunger? Are you escaping from these things?

    With metta! :)
  • ZeroZero Veteran
    Lahke said:


    Man was born in the jungle with nothing.

    Having strong houses with central heating and electricity is not natural. Having to buy food from the grocery store is not natural. Connecting with millions of people via e-mail, Facebook or NewBuddhist.com website is not natural.

    That is an assumption.

    If humans have created houses and harnessed electricity then why is this not natural? It is a natural part of our development and interaction with the environment?
    Otherwise, which arbitrary standard decides what is 'natural' or not - for example, where does technology or our development become unnatural? Is it unnatural to make fire by rubbing wood together as opposed to a lighter? To live in a hollow tree or a house fashioned from wood?
    I think there is confusion here between what is 'natural' and what may or may not be subjectively 'desirable'.
    YishaiKundocvalue
  • Be it as it may, it could be seen as means for escaping what was. The entire human race was escaping from loneliness, jungle, hunger, etc. Couldn't you say that?

    If a person desired security (inside the house), isn't he technically escaping from dangers (i.e. sleeping at the jungle)?

    All I wanted to say was that throwing around the word ''escaping'' can be a double-edged sword. :)
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited October 2013
    Lahke said:

    @MaryAnne

    As I already mentioned, I never said I wished to go to the monastery in order to escape from something. But even if there are some small parts of things I would be escaping from, isn't this what we all do? What you do? I ask this with the best of intentions and kindness.

    Man was born in the jungle with nothing. Having strong houses with central heating and electricity is not natural. Having to buy food from the grocery store is not natural. Connecting with millions of people via e-mail, Facebook or NewBuddhist.com website is not natural. If anything, aren't you escaping from what IS natural? Staying in a jungle and surviving next to wild animals? Growing and storing your own food? Connecting to only those who are around you (i.e. a lot more solitude and loneliness)?

    Could you survive and thrive without all these luxuries? Or would you feel fear, loneliness and hunger? Are you escaping from these things?

    With metta! :)

    I think here you're justifying escapism.

    Yes, man came from the jungle (sort of). And you seem to be saying that modern life is not "natural".

    Okay, so what are you gonna do if you go back to the monastery? Walk to Thailand? After all, flying's not natural. When you get seriously ill, are you going to fore-go going to a hospital because hospitals are not natural? When you were in Thailand did you drink from a stream because bottle water isn't natural?

    Life and how man lives it has naturally, over time, evolved.

    Modern conveniences are not escaping from escaping anything. They're just convenient and safer ways to live. But of course, many things can be used as an escape, if that's the way one's mind is working.

    Edit -- I see Zero was thinking along these same lines.
    Kundo
  • Oh, for goodness sake, leave him alone, willya?
    Maybe you should preach to the Dalai Lama and all the other thousands of monks about how their way of life is wrong because it doesn't match up to yours. I've never seen such arrogance.


  • @Lahke -- Look, I'm not out to argue with you.
    You asked a forum of strangers their advice after telling your story /dilemma. I read your OP closely and carefully. You stated problems you have with (absolutely normal) circumstances of every day life... you don't like working with people, you don't like engaging people, have no interest in others or what they do, and by your own words say you desire nothing but to be alone, and disconnected from the world around you.

    Then you mention a medical condition that makes "normal" interactions and time spend around other people even more difficult. You can't stand living with your own parents because of their pets and your dad's snoring...
    When I pointed out that joining a monastery might not help much with your auditory issues; you said:
    "Btw, my Misophonia is not that bad. I can tolerate it if things happen in a large room. If many people are eating, it's fine. But when things happen inside a small room with just 1-2 people, that gets me. Especially when I have no place to escape (as it would be with my parents). Monks sleep in kutis alone, which are small wooden buildings."

    So how do you know every monastery has single wooden buildings for each monk? How do you know which ones have large, spacious eating areas and which have small cozy dining areas where the monks eat? I've seen many pictures of different monasteries and retreats where people sleep dormitory style, 2, 3 or 4 to a small room, and eat 6-8 at a table in a small dining area... and you think it's ok (and will be ok with the monks) to run off to a private room every time you start to feel anxious or uncomfortable- instead of trying to work through those issues? Well, ok... but from where I sit, that's escaping.

    Anyway, like I said, not for me to argue about it. You do what you need to do to feel comfortable. But please don't act like I got the idea you're looking to "escape" out of thin air... because I didn't. I got that idea from reading your words as well as 'between the lines' of your words.

    Peace, and Best of Luck.
    Vastmind
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    @MaryAnne -- Would you mind very much if I adopted you as my grandmother? :)
  • poptart said:

    Oh, for goodness sake, leave him alone, willya?
    Maybe you should preach to the Dalai Lama and all the other thousands of monks about how their way of life is wrong because it doesn't match up to yours. I've never seen such arrogance.

    Sooo..... warning someone against romanticizing & choosing life in a Buddhist monastery - as a way to escape daily common circumstances they don't want to cope with; and saying that might not be the best way to make that decision, is arrogance? I don't see it that way.

    I find it much more arrogant to strongly advise someone into running off to a Buddhist monastery in order to avoid dealing with personal/emotional/mental issues as the way to go.... but I guess we can agree to disagree on that as well.

  • genkaku said:

    @MaryAnne -- Would you mind very much if I adopted you as my grandmother? :)

    Hmmmm, the idea is intriguing. ;-) But I do believe there's only a few years between us in chronological age one way or the other?

    Might look kinda odd bringing friends over for home-made cookies and cappuccinos and saying "This is my Granny- MaryAnne..." no? LOL
    Vastmind
  • MaryAnne said:

    poptart said:

    Oh, for goodness sake, leave him alone, willya?
    Maybe you should preach to the Dalai Lama and all the other thousands of monks about how their way of life is wrong because it doesn't match up to yours. I've never seen such arrogance.

    Sooo..... warning someone against romanticizing & choosing life in a Buddhist monastery - as a way to escape daily common circumstances they don't want to cope with; and saying that might not be the best way to make that decision, is arrogance? I don't see it that way.



    Apparently not.

    You gave your advice, there's no need to keep hammering on about it and if the OP chooses to do something you don't like then that's up to him. I don't see anyone "romanticising", as you put it. Maybe it's something he needs to do, for whatever reason.
  • GuiGui Veteran
    I've definitely noticed a divisive and almost authoritarian tone to many comments lately.
    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    poptart said:



    You gave your advice, there's no need to keep hammering on about it and if the OP chooses to do something you don't like then that's up to him. I don't see anyone "romanticising", as you put it. Maybe it's something he needs to do, for whatever reason.

    You gave your advice to Mary Anne, there's no need to keep hammering on about it and if Mary Anne chooses to do something you don't like then that's up to her.

    Oops.
    Kundo
  • Please keep the discussion constructive and on-topic. :/
    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Each post in this thread has had a purpose. Of course, not every one has the same purpose, but all views are constructive, and in their own way on topic.
    Kundo

  • Someone Asked for advice.
    I gave mine, others gave their's.
    OP came back with further comments/replies to me, I responded. Some criticized the advice given, I explained myself further. I was not rude or trying to be 'authoritative'; only exchanging comments with OP/people.

    Didn't realize I went over my allotted number of posts per thread.... I'll move on

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    MaryAnne said:


    Someone Asked for advice.
    I gave mine, others gave their's.
    OP came back with further comments/replies to me, I responded. Some criticized the advice given, I explained myself further. I was not rude or trying to be 'authoritative'; only exchanging comments with OP/people.

    Didn't realize I went over my allotted number of posts per thread.... I'll move on

    @poptart - someone struck a nerve with you didn't they?

    The way I see it - and before any of you jump down my throat correct me, the OP put the question out there, on a public forum, to have people give their opinions. From my POV, he/she then went on to defend/clarify his/her reason and some people agreed and some didn't. This happens ALL THE TIME on here. What makes this thread so special? Maybe it's holding a mirror up to us about things we don't like about ourselves?.....
    vinlynEvenThirdlobsterMaryAnne
  • It sounds like some people think that the original poster should change and some people are giving advice harnessing the original poster's quirk of not liking close quarters with people and using that for dharma practice.

    I think maybe that's just the way he/she is. If necessary to make ends meet sure I would say that you have to engage in society some way. But that doesn't mean the original poster cannot or should not have social isolation. Maybe that's what works for him/her? It's true that there were yogis who live in cavses. My teacher's teacher did chod for awhile where he lived on charnel grounds and meditated on impermanence.

    I also recognize that everyone who posted on the thread was trying to help.
  • I understand that you are all trying to help, but now I somewhat regret asking the question in the first place. As a famous singing poet once said, ''either I'm too sensitive or else I'm gettin' soft.'' I feel bad for not being able to explain myself properly (because a lot of things were taken out of context or magnified). I feel bad that my attempts to clarify some of the things have been seen as my trying to argue. I never wish to argue. This is why I rarely discuss matters or ideas with my friends or family these days. I understands there are different points of view (and that there is no absolute truth to anything), but it's just that everyone's Egos are always (subconsciously) trying to justify their own decisions, actions or way of life. Some of you here may not have chosen to live secluded life, so subconsciously you may be justifying it. It is absolutely okay to do so, as I don't think one way of life is better or more correct than the other. We are all correct and we are all wrong.

    Yes, MaryAnne, not all monasteries have separate kutis for the monks. I know monasteries in Europe and America where monks sleep inside one building. I was simply comparing the Thai forest monasteries (that I heard of or visited) with living at my parents' home. If those were my only choices, I would find more peace and silence at the Thai monasteries. That's all I meant.

    I never brought up the idea of escaping. If you read my OP closely, then what would I have to escape from? Do I suffer from a social anxiety? Sure! But that only really affects my ability to have a job where I must do presentations, deal with clients (i.e. be a teller at the bank), etc. I have done entrepreneurial jobs, and that way I am close to fine. Yes, I have my bad moments, but I am much better because I can avoid those situations that I may not be able to handle. I can prefer to discuss some matters over the phone (instead of an meeting at some office) - there are plenty of eccentric people out there. Howard Hughes had serious anxieties. Working for someone else and having a 9-to-5 job would not give me such control over how I interact with people and so on. So my social anxiety only affects that part of life. If you read the OP, then I only talked about it in a few sentences. That's it. If you read that paragraph, then I put way more emphasis on the inner gut feeling. The one that really objects the idea of having a job or doing certain business projects. How come nobody commented on that? Should I completely avoid my inner voice? The same voice that made me feel bad when I was rude to somebody? The same voice/gut feeling that made me feel horrible when I lied? Secretly ate my brother's candy as a kid? Thought about having sex with that somewhat drunk lady as a teenager? If acting on my gut feeling was a right thing to do in regards of being rude, lying, taking what's not mine or thinking about sex, then I only assumed I should listen to it in all matters (including when it comes to taking a job). Am I incorrect?

    Coming back to escaping again, then yes, yes, yes, I get your points about what's natural. English is not my first language, so I may use slightly wrong words to express myself. All I wanted to say was that I could argue that everything the mankind has made was as a means to escape something. It's not of course the only reason or purpose, but to some extent it is true. Sure, Facebook is convenient and cheaper way to communicate with each other, but why was it created? It didn't just evolve on its own. Mark Zuckerberg & Co. thought that Facebook could make us happier. Make us more connected. In other words, he thought Facebook would allow us to ''escape'' from not being that connected. That's all I wanted to say. Not using Facebook is just as right or wrong as using it. Some of my friends have never joined Facebook - are they escaping from something? Are they escaping from the fact that having an account would mean that most people could get in touch with them more easily? Some people may not like being that available - are they guilty of escaping? I don't think so.

    So I never said I wanted to escape this life to go to the monastery. I am meditating for hours every day. I am doing metta meditation. I read and study Buddhism. I meditate on the Dhamma. Just yesterday I meditated on the idea of sun never rising or setting. It only looks that way from a certain narrow perspective, but if I were in space, it would never rise or set. This is the type of thing I wish to do all day long. Of course I have my desires and attachments and so forth. Most (if not all) monks have them. I think even some of the greatest teachers still have them - they just don't take them seriously anymore.

    I apologize for writing such a long comment again. I just feel like I should explain things in more detail, so they wouldn't be misunderstood. This is the shortcoming of words and sentences - each one of us have our own definitions and ways of seeing things. I bet each one of us reads a different story here. Including myself, of course! So I also apologize if I have misunderstood you.

    I do value your input a lot, and I'm very thankful that you have taken your precious time to post your comments. I truly appreciate it! There's a lot of good karma for everyone because of this (I hope). :)
    JeffreyEvenThirdcvalue
  • Oh, and a comment on introversion. According to Dr. Laurie Helgoe and Susan Cain, introversion is not a choice. It's not a characteristic one could just change. Introverts and extroverts brain function differently. I can choose to be an extrovert just as much as I can choose to be 10 inches taller.

    Further, who is to say that introversion is wrong and extroversion is right? Since we are more quiet and enjoy solitude more, it is only normal that the outside world is run by extroverts. They like interactions, meetings, presentations and talking. It doesn't mean that one is more correct or wrong than the other. Now does it?! :)
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Lahke said:

    Oh, and a comment on introversion. According to Dr. Laurie Helgoe and Susan Cain, introversion is not a choice. It's not a characteristic one could just change. Introverts and extroverts brain function differently. I can choose to be an extrovert just as much as I can choose to be 10 inches taller.

    Further, who is to say that introversion is wrong and extroversion is right? Since we are more quiet and enjoy solitude more, it is only normal that the outside world is run by extroverts. They like interactions, meetings, presentations and talking. It doesn't mean that one is more correct or wrong than the other. Now does it?! :)

    I really don't agree. I am an introvert, but I became a school principal, often had to speak in public to rather large audiences. I modified my behavior and worked to make it more comfortable for me. Now, was I as outgoing and comfortable in crowds as an extrovert? No. But I definitely worked myself out of behaving as an introvert, even if I still felt somewhat uncomfortable.

    lobsterMaryAnne
  • vinlyn said:


    I really don't agree. I am an introvert, but I became a school principal, often had to speak in public to rather large audiences. I modified my behavior and worked to make it more comfortable for me. Now, was I as outgoing and comfortable in crowds as an extrovert? No. But I definitely worked myself out of behaving as an introvert, even if I still felt somewhat uncomfortable.

    Bully for you. But this thread isn't about you.

    @Lahke, I'm dismayed but not surprised you regret posting here. But remember, opinions are ten a penny and in the end you should do what feels right for you. I hope you can work it out and please (if you can bear it) let us know how it goes.
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