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by (510 points)
Shouldn't we all be monks & nuns seeking nibbana? Why live a lay(wo)man's life? If not everyone isn't cut out to be a monk or nun what actions can we take in this life to propel us towards monasticism in the next life?

2 Answers

+1 vote
by (2.0k points)
Not all of us are able to be ordained for a multitude of reasons. The most basic of them being sensual desire is still strong within us but there are even more simpler basic reasons like being afflicted with illness or unable to find a suitable sangha in our country.

Actions we can take in this life is as simply as being affiliated with the Dharma, reading, studying and practising Dharma, keeping the precepts and meditating.

There is a fine line that (I think) it would be impossible for a lay person to attain higher levels of jhana in a lay life in modern times where we could get to a point as a lay practitioner where we have reached a peak or a barrier in progress towards liberation. Though we can still try and this affiliation with trying and daily meditation as a cause will propel us into a future result of being in a position where we are able to meditate more frequently (being a monk) and experience the greater stages of jhana.

Practising Sattipatthana in all our moments is clearly a cause for a more fortunate position where we will be mentally inclined and with external circumstances where will be able to practice Satipatthana more.

Affiliation is the key.
by (510 points)
Thank you remyla! Sadhu!
0 votes
by (2.0k points)

Sure, good householder, the wish to live the Holly Life in it's full, even if really having obstacles and reasons not being able (at least for now) builds up further Upanissāya (strong conditions) by norishing thoughts toward renouncing. That's inwardly nourishing. Outwardly nourishments to develop possibilities and increase relations are Veneration, support, giving toward the Sangha and much association. At least it would put into the Sanghas longer lasting in this world.

People one meets, places on dwells, food... those are all matters of former and present Upanissayapaccaya (giving into strong conditions). As the greatest freedom act-ually lies in the present, it's a matter of will to 'simply' go on and there are very less reasons (aside of not willing, 'bond' to defilements) which hinder one from living an ascetic life (such as really required to look after ones parents and other hindrances not quick to overcome).

As for the three 'real' reasons why people not seek to go forth, they can be abound, just by truthfulness: indoxication with youth, with health and life.

For many in modern days world, who know much about the Sublime Buddhas Dhamma, 'to much merits', meaning to less aware of suffering and dangers in the world, leave them feeling secure where they are for now. Increasing visibility of sickness, war, crises... might currently be helpful for some. But as soon as suffering fades away, resting back comes present as well.

Being currently possible the last generation where such as a right conducting Sangha can be traced and ways to renounce are still open, and soon such will be just a fiction at large and monks adopting more and more common and householder ways, is really an urgend additional cause to seek ones door out and get not traped by defilements pulling so fastly back.

Much strength and effort in maintaining and increasing Upanissāya and by going forth fulfill all paramis at once at one time. Mudita

And some thoughts of a lay person of past before gaining the highest, for inspiration (food):

I. Thoughts Before Going Forth

1. When, O when shall I live all alone in mountain caves, unmated with desire, clear seeing as unstable all that comes to be? This wish of mine, when indeed will it be?
2. When shall I, wearing the patchwork robes of color dun, be sage, uncraving, never making mine, with greed, aversion and delusion slain and to the wild woods gone, in bliss abide?
3. When shall I, this body seeing clear — unstable nest of dying and disease oppressed by age and death, dwell free from fear in the woods alone? When indeed will it be?
4. When indeed shall I dwell seizing the sharpened sword of wisdom made? When cut the craving creeper — breeder of fear, bringer of pain and woe, and twining everywhere? When indeed will it be?
5. When lion-like in the victor's stance shall I draw quick the sage's sword of wisdom forged and fiery might quick breaking Mara with his host? When indeed will it be?
6. When myself exerting, shall I be seen in goodly company of those esteeming Dhamma? Those with faculties subdued who see things as they are? Those who are 'Thus'? When indeed will it be?
7. When indeed will weariness not worry me — hunger, thirst and wind, heat, bugs and creeping things, while bent on my own good, the Goal, in Giribbaja's wilds? When indeed will it be?
8. When indeed shall I, self-mindful and composed win to that wisdom known by Him, the Greatest Sage, the Four Truths won within, so very hard to see? When indeed will it be?
9. When shall I, possessed of meditation's calm with wisdom see the forms innumerable, sounds, smells and tastes, touches and dhammas too, as a raging blaze? When will this be for me?
10. When shall I indeed, when with abusive words addressed, not be displeased because of that, and then again when praised be neither pleased because of that? When will this be for me?
11. When shall I indeed weigh as the same: wood, grass and creepers with these craved-for groups, both inner and external forms the dhammas numberless? When will it be for me?
12. When in the season of the black raincloud shall I follow the path within the wood trodden by those that See; robes moistened by new falling rain? When indeed will it be?
13. When in a mountain cave having heard the peacock's cry, that crested twice-born, bird down in the wood, shall I arise and collect together mind for attaining the undying? When indeed will it be?
14. When shall I, the Ganges and the Yamuna, the Sarasvati and the awful ocean mouth of the Balava-abyss, by psychic might untouching go across? When indeed will it be?
15. When shall I, like charging elephant unbound, break up desire for sensual happiness and shunning all the marks of loveliness strive in concentrated states? When indeed will it be?
16. When, as pauper by his debts distressed, by creditors oppressed, a treasure finds, shall I be pleased the Teaching to attain of the Greatest Sage? When indeed will it be?

II. Self-admonishments After Going Forth

17. Long years have I been begged by you 'Enough for you of this living in a house.' by now I have gone forth to homelessness what reason is there, mind, for you not to urge me on?...
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