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Sangha mind – how do we monastics do it?

How do we sangha (ordained in vinaya monastics) do it? How do we face and overcome our obstacles? Well, the answer is as simple as your basic training while still a novice.

The core of the training is learning to do everything differently that you did as a layperson. Dressing, eating, standing, sitting, talking…all the basics are relearned.

Why? not becuase you did it wrong all your life but because you do it more mindfully when you are a monastic. There are benefits to doing this, it frees you to focus on tasks at hand without thinking about clothes or your life as layperson distracted with makeup, perfumes or cologne, wife, hubby, kids, or job.

Also it forms the foundation for your monastic life. When you trained during your ordination did you not listen to the teachings of the acaryani or acarya? They were filled with ideas on handling your monastic life.

Sangha mind is a way of living your monastic life so that you become – the bhikshu or the bhikshuni who bears, supports themselves entirely free of their habitual responses to the same obstacles faced in their laylife or repeated situations or people due to karmic links.

The freedom of choice to respond the same old way or a deliberate response to not and create a new response is the idea of stable mind that I call Sangha mind.

Like being on a stage in your most private moment and all your elder teachers are there to watch you respond. Do you sink back into habits? Do you overcome the habit? Do you create something new and beneficial? Do you create harm? If your response is habitual as the life you led before lay life then you fail to uphold the respect of your elders and yourself but least you use this as a moment to beat up yourself…don’t…you learn where you are in this habit. Then your resolve is to eliminate the habit. Then with time you actually do that. It’s not immediate, it’s not easy, it’s not fluffy feel good type of stuff. But once done your peaceful, satisfied and stable.

Is not the private life as public as a stage?

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Author:

I am a Bhikshuni ordained in Mahayana Chinese Buddhist tradition. I'm currently translating Vinaya sutras from the Chinese Mahayana Tripitaka.