View Full Version : Half-time monk

04-27-2017, 02:10 PM
There is a reason why some people go live at a temple and become a monk, or a wandering sadhu: it is extremly difficult to live in such a state of being and mind in the rat race of corporate society.

Even if whatever job one has is an extremly ethical and loving job, it is still counting cents and keeping track of time and paying the Man.

One has three options as far as I see it (if one wants to BE fully free in mind and made of compassion/love):

1. just become a cog in the machine
2. reject it all and go live in a monastery
3. _______________

I am going for number 3. I am still trying to work it out, but it is no easy matter. For instance if an employe comes late to work for the third time this week he is costing money, lowering moral and is basically a problem. As a boss you can't really go: "I love you man, don't worry about it." That would be naive.

The logical thing to say is: "If you are late you're are fired!"*

Again here are the two standard options, but I am not interested in this dualistic mentality. There must be a way where you can incorporate all aspects in a sort of harmony.

I have not given any answers in this thread. And I am not looking for advice (because it is for me to figure out, because the sollution has to fit me).

However I would like to see if there are any views or ideas regarding these matters, because inspiration is always handy to have.


*[I] The late employee is a simplified example of rat race issues that has to be dealt with, it could be anything... but basically it comes down to mundane tasks that you have to do in order to not have everything fall apart... and joining a monestary is not an option.

05-29-2017, 02:54 PM
I believe that the tough part of living in such a society is sticking to your morals and proper attitude. I, for example, have a record of being a grant liar. I used to say A LOT of lies back when i was a child and it stuck with me. I was also very afraid of what people may think if i object to anything they say or if i express my opinion. In the few last years however, i have reworked my moral code to include no lies and honesty and no irony. I have to admit its quite challenging, which makes it worth the trouble. I can feel my psyche "improving" by following these terms and am slowly working towards implementing more restrictions to challenge and elevate my being. One that i have picked up lately is no needless commenting or whining. Being a monk to me, means that you remain self-aware most of the time and are fully consious of your actions. Achieving that in modern society is quite the feat, but i truly believe its worth the effort.

05-29-2017, 11:29 PM
I think, without any personal experience, that living the life of a hermit/monk should be a lot easier than trying to live a virtuous life within a society. I seem to remember reading/hearing the same sentiment in a book or a talk many years ago. At work, I try to remind myself of a line from your one-time favorite "Indian God" Krishna:

You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

For me it's easier said than done, as it's hard to restrain the competitive spirit or the drive to be successful... I am a work in progress :)

BTW, 'virtuous' in this context is whatever you think is the right way to live.

06-07-2017, 01:39 PM
Thanks for those replies. I concur with what has been said, and I would like to add some more...

Since I created this thread, and for years before and up till this present moment, I've been thinking about this topic. I am deeply interested in the esoteric and spiritual, but I always want to see it applied. I am not interested in reading about a certain path unless the path can be walked. Whatever philosophy or spiritual practice there might be, it has to be applicable, or else it is just shallow entertainment (for me).

I actually think, having been conscious of this conundrum for a while now, that the more "you do it" the "easier" it gets. If a person is a loving, compassionate, awake and enlightened then how can one be in that state when sitting in an office selling life insurance? Well, as far as I see it, even the Buddha had to go take a shit. I am certain the Buddha was "awake" when taking a shit, as he was "awake" when meditating under a tree.

Another aspect with the so-called RAT RACE is that I think the biggest mistake most people do is to take it seriously. If you partake in the RAT RACE with the same attitude as you would partake in a board game with friends, then everything becomes much easier. You still want to win the board game, but if you loose it does not really matter. It was just a fun activity with your friends. I see the RAT RACE as the same thing. And when you look at it from this perspective, it becomes extremely easy to play as well.

The reason most people fail in the RAT RACE is because they take it seriously. But if problems are viewed as funny then there is no problem. At least this is what works for me.

Here is one example of a journalist taking the RAT RACE seriously:


Anyway got to go back to playing... it's my turn to roll the dice...


06-07-2017, 04:13 PM
There's many ways of being a monk. I think we have a tendency to think in a weird model of monk that looks a bit like Ignatius of Loyola in his phase of retirement.

Hmmm... some years ago I had a couple whose father was a full time monk... a Buddhist monk, but he did not live outside of society, he had a family and was mostly a normal father and husband... he had a few different jobs which were related in most cases to being a monk (shamanic healer, gardener of exotic vegetables which are almost unknown here but popular in the Asian community, artist with paintings related to his religious visions). He was not "half time" monk, but "full time" monk, but lived in a flat and not in the peak of mount Everest.

Then again, he had been trained to be a monk and travelled often to Asia to study some things with other monks.
There is no rat race... unless you get into a rat race.

Other than that, maybe you are thinking backwards... it's not a lifestyle that becomes a philosophy, but a philosophy that ends up becoming a lifestyle.

The coach isn't a monk, he's just reasonable.... the out of frame journalist is a lunatic. Maybe the answer he deserved is simply: "O.K... you are a terminal fool, so just don't ask questions". No need to be a father as to get that it makes sense that a player won't be playing because he is having a kid, it's even common sense.

06-07-2017, 08:25 PM
The coach isn't a monk...

Never said he was... I said: Here is one example of a journalist taking the RAT RACE seriously.

There is no rat race...

Rat Race is a term I use that means: having a job, debts, bills, children/family or any other commitment or responsability.

Very few people living in the Western World have none of these, most have all of the above. I am sure even you, zoas23, have bills... need for income or a relationship...

Everyone is in the Rat Race, even if they pretend they are not. Even homeless people are in it. Maybe 1 or 2 people in the whole world are not in the rat race, IMO, the rest are. Even someone living in the forest, living on the land... even that person is in some sort of rat race.

That is what it means to me, perhaps a different term could be used... but that is the one I prefer.

When you are in the Rat Race you will always struggle with any Spiritual Path... a homeless person does have less obligations, so it is easier for such a person to achieve enlightenment... but homeless people have other issues such as keeping warm and finding food. Although when I was homeless (by choice) for a few months many years ago I loved it... it is all about outlook I guess.

I don't think, for me, any sort of philosophy is the foundation of how I live my life. Philosophy = love of wisdom. That is too small for me.

Wisdom is Love. End of story. IMO.


06-07-2017, 09:55 PM
LOL.... things got mixed up. Forget about the rat race.

I simply meant that we often have an "Ingatius of Loyala" idea of what a monk is... which is, in my opinion, one of the most stupid ways of being a monk.

And there's thousands of ways. So I brought the experience of an actual monk... mostly as a counterpoint of an extremely idealized ideal which simply means: "I want to achieve something that I do not want to achieve" (like living in a monastery, but not living in a monastery).

But if being a monk is what you want, then maybe you can talk to monks who do not live in monasteries and ask them how they live.

A different way of saying it: a friend I know since she's 16 decided that the most important thing in her life was to find a PERFECT husband and have a family. She is an intelligent person, she's interesting, she's not a top model, but she's very nice... but her idealized standard is so high that she is 45 years old now... and she never even had a boyfriend or a relationship that lasted more than 10 days. The "rat race" was not her problem.

Same thing goes for "the monk"... is it a financial problem??? Probably not. Is it having a relationship the problem? I know you a bit and you know me a bit... and we both know that we both adore to have a relationship (and in your case a lovely daughter). Is that a problem? I don't think so.

What defines a monk according to you?

Some very recent events, the death of a friend this week, made me remember a phrase that Andro uses all the time: "Everything that you need is in your backyard" (in the case of this person, he had X sickness and an X medicine for it... but he was always postponing using it because he assumed that the healing had to be so incredibly special and he had to be so "purified" before using it that he ended up dying when he always had the solution for his problem).

07-17-2017, 08:05 PM
You ask what a monk is to me. Well I used used the term as a metaphor for something that is the opposite of a rat race man in a suit. The reason for this thread, is that I feel compassion is key to anything I do.

However compassion is not suitable in the marketplace in which I earn a living (even if my job is also about compassion, raising funds for charities... and I kind of work 30+ hours a week for free doing that). It is still stuff like return of investment, employees, fire/hire and all that, that have to be dealt with.

It is not about either do A or either do B. Either you are a man in a suit or you are a hippie. I don't think it should be so black and white. Either a corporate CEO or a monk. Why not, somehow, be a corporate CEO monk? This is what my thoughts were when making this thread. Is it even possible?

And if not possible, who says and why is it not?

The answer, in the end, is for me to figure out (which is true for everyone), but I think it was a valid query i.e. this thread.