Changing places

At one time a student of mine was asking about my time as a monk in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. He listened to my words and when I had finished speaking he said, 'Ah yes, but the monks life is a special life.'
I answered, 'Not when you're a monk.When you are a monk that life is your ordinary life.’

This division between one kind of life style and another is very dangerous (spiritually) and misses the point completely that enlightenment is beyond religion and all those incorporated ideas, and that it is possible in any moment, whether sitting, standing, walking or lying down.
In the toilets in Japanese Zen monasterys behind the door is a small Buddha statue. This is to symbolise that enlightenment is possible in every action.
Love and awareness are available everywhere and at all times, so the true teaching is - 'Don't miss the moment by waiting for the next one!'
During my time as a monk I met the same mental conditions as I had when I was a layman, desire, aversion, interest, boredom and all the rest. During the periods of boredom I would wish to be back in my other life, to talk with friends, play my guitar, listen to music, etc. For a short time that life seemed very attractive. Of course, I had done the same thing in reverse when I was a layman, thinking about how wonderful it would be to be in robes.
Without wisdom the mind is never in peace and it looks outward comparing what it has with what it perceives others have, and how it can be happy by giving up what it has for something more attractive.
But the truth we need to understand is that however your life is right now, these are the perfect conditions for enlightenment. There is nothing to get and nothing to do. Surender into the reality of each moment and let the comparing mind fall away. Everything is fine, just as it is.

May all beings be happy.

www.puredhamma.org

Author's Bio: 

Michael Kewley is the former Buddhist monk, Paññadipa, and now an internationally acclaimed Master of Dhamma, presenting courses and meditation retreats throughout the world.
A disciple of the late Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma, he teaches solely on the instruction of his own Master, to share the Dhamma, in the spirit of the Buddha, so that all beings might benefit.
Full biography of Michael Kewley can be found at: www.puredhamma.org