The Monastery

Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, You cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.” —Plato

What does it take to commit your life to the spiritual journey? Learn insights from those who breathe, walk, and embody the teachings of Buddhism. Here, you’ll find reflections from monks and nuns, as they share perspectives from the path.

On July 13, 2014, Venerable Ajahn Sumedho visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to meet with the CTTB monastics and give a Dharma talk [The talk was webcasted live and is available for viewing at this link.]. Ajahn Sumedho has been a Bhikshu for 47 years and has played a pivotal role in nurturing [...]

Connecting to my Family Roots

The Monastery   |   Bhikshu Jin Chuan  |   October 7, 2013, 3:33 pm

父母呼,應勿緩,父母命,行勿懶。 父母教,須敬聽,父母責,須順承。 When my parents call me, answer immediately. When they give instructions, carry them out, don’t drag my feet. When they give advice, listen respectfully. When they scold me, accept it with gratitude. – Standard for Students [Note: translation is a bit different than the one provided by the link —I think filiality looks [...]

How to be a Good Son?

The Monastery   |   Bhikshu Jin Chuan  |   April 8, 2013, 5:00 pm

To be honest, I never thought about what it meant to be a "good son" until I became interested in Buddhism and the monastic life.  It was an unexpected teaching that really sank in when I became a sophomore in college. [...]

Repaying the Kindness of my Parents?

The Monastery   |   Bhikshu Jin Chuan  |   November 13, 2012, 7:10 pm

So there I was attending retreats and Dharma talks at a Buddhist monastery, learning from Buddhist monastics, and reading spiritual works that strongly emphasized the teachings on “filiality.” It was a teaching I agreed with: yes, I should repay the kindness of my parents–but whenever I went home and actually spent time with my mother, I had the impression I was making her miserable. [...]

On Decisions: Monastic Life, Focus, and Obama

The Monastery  |  The Scene   |   Jason Tseng  |   September 20, 2012, 4:00 pm

Jason Kottke had a short informative post about Michael Lewis’ profile on President Obama, titled Obama’s Way, in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. (Lewis shadowed the President for 6 months, observing how he lives and works.) Kottke had two interesting excerpts. [...]

Looking for Freedom, Part II

The Mind  |  The Monastery   |   Fedde De Vries  |   April 26, 2012, 7:13 pm

Work is not something people generally love. But by now, I have become quite a workaholic, especially when working for a monastic community. Working is also a form of dana, a way to keep something precious, the Sangha, alive in our world – a world that really needed it. However, the love for work all too easily becomes a blind and constant need to be productive. In a monastic setting this can result in situations of which one only later realizes the significance and the humor. [...]

Looking for Freedom, Part I

The Mind  |  The Monastery   |   Fedde De Vries  |   April 19, 2012, 4:30 pm

Freedom – we all want that; we want it dearly. To the point that, in this modern age, our Dutch Constitution (where I’m from) secures many myriad forms of freedom. With that in mind, one cannot be surprised that using our free time is one of the major forms of exercising that freedom.   For me, it was my summer vacation – to continue to look for more freedom. [...]

Learning to Listen

The Monastery   |   Fedde De Vries  |   April 5, 2012, 4:15 pm

We all know how much it can mean to us when someone takes the time to listen. Simply being able to tell your story gives a space and a kind of freedom – it creates trust. If there is one figure in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition that embodies this listening, it is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara. [...]