Anagārika question


What do people who go 8 precepts do all day, because you can’t meditate all day long? And it doesn’t take that long to clean up after breakfast.


My guess:

Working at various stuff around, sleeping, reading, listening to Dhamma talks, socializing, eating/drinking tonics and maybe yoga and chanting.

That’s the main ones I can think of.

If he eats a lot, then there is the sleep. Or/ and he can drink coffee while chatting with others. He can also work if he doesn’t want to meditate, if there is works to do.

P.S: I don’t encourage that except doing the necessary works

Not sure if reading is allowed… socializing may not be encouraged… all in all impossible? Or more like being dead

Don’t worry.

Look at the various unskillful delights the Buddha talked about, like sleep for example. That’s the normal “routine”, except when you have things to do.

Now if the monks are kinds of big brothers and put cameras in your kuti, yes maybe not …

But really I encourage an anagarika to meditate instead of doing that :wink:

If you are forbidden many things, the mind will try to find pleasure elsewhere.

If you are forbidden reading, then maybe listening to Dhamma talks. If not, then maybe writing your thoughts on paper. If not, then maybe chatting with your fellow anagarikas. If not, then maybe sleeping.

Or you can delight in developing meditation.

Either that or you literally go crazy

One could say they’re the same thing. :crazy_face:

Be calm my friend, a monastery is not a gulag.

Anyway, on our deathbed, when the body will be sick, we won’t have anything to rely on except the mind. So better to train now.

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Well, on the other hand the path cannot be completed without this kind of living. One thing’s for sure, if you are really fed up with the suffering, the path is a fast train to your destination.

I was not thinking about a monastary. There it will be okay. You can still manage Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Youtube feed or hand him his felt pen. I was more thinking of the likes of me trying it at home (I don’t currently work).

But as far as I see, not even reading a novel, listening to the news or doing the crosswords would be allowed. Right now I am sick with a sore throat. I would go bonkers. If a guy really can take this much comfort out of meditation, then he should have been off to the monastary long ago … while for the rest of us, I feel this is playing russian roulette with our mental health.

Browse this forum, of course! :nerd_face:

But it is quite possible to meditate (sitting and walking) and studying Dhamma all day for someone who is motivated.

At the monastery, my experience is you do attend all the talks, day-longs, sutta studies, etc. so you’re usually quite motivated by being constantly surrounded by the Dhamma and monastics.

So, for non work things, there’s attending whatever talks and dhamma study that are happening at the monastery.

For work things, there is a lot of driving monastics places. They might be giving a teaching somewhere else, which you attend, and then drive back. Monastics also need to see the doctor, the dentist, pick up a prescription, etc.

If there’s an event, there’s putting out chairs, putting out canopies, setting up tables, etc. and then putting it all back again when the event is over.

Edit: also, cooking when people donate groceries instead of the meal.


Sounds fun ! But do you agree that you couldn’t do it permanently at home?

Anki with pāḷi keeps me occupied with too much time. I should cut it down… So many decks… I also made an anki pāḷi chanting deck.

Anki is pretty gamified and have lots of add ons to gamify it further.

Don’t worry, whatever it is, life in monastery is not boring. Actually boring is good sometimes.

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For me personally, I found practicing at home very limited when I realized I wanted to do more than cope skillfully with lay life. Some people seem to be able to make a lot out of their lay practice, but I have not been able to keep all 8 precepts outside the monastery for more than a month or two.

Ah, another lay monastic like me, I suppose. :slight_smile:

I would, right now, become a monastic if not for taking care of family members with health issues. I basically live like a monastic (5 precepts), really not with self-imposed restrictions (sometimes I watch TV with family for communal time, for example, I rarely ever watch anything for entertainment for myself).

I’ve realised a while ago that, anything I sought from entertainment (drama, life lessons, immersion), the suttas cover it all. If you want fantastic stories, there’s stories with devas and brahmas. If you want ethical lessons, there’s no shortage of them. There’s weird Jataka lessons. There’s poetry.

If my mind gets dulled with Pāli suttas all the time, then I spice it up, look up some Dōgen, browse a few Mahayana stories to steer me back to reality.

This is an important distinction, one I’ve come to realise more and more. People want to chat about current events, talking about purchases, about politics, about economy, all that normie stuff, and I’m not just uninformed but completely incapable of sustaining attention to such conversations. They’re just moot to me.

I translate suttas at home, perhaps I wouldn’t even bother in a monastic setting but it allows me to provide material and a story when people ask me what I do all day.

With that said, I don’t think viewing the path as a prescription, instead of a description, is a healthy thing for a lay person. If you approach the holy life as a “I should do this” instead of knowing you should do this, then it’s just recipe for disaster, another form of craving, another form of ego-making.

The healthiest thing to do as a lay monastic is to keep enjoying the life, news and media and all that to the extend they draw you in, while keeping in mind the teachings, always being mindful. Asking yourself “Was this really a good way to spend my time?” after watching a movie, eating an especially well-made food, all that stuff.

I can see how a person would want nothing to do with any media, stories, entertainment. Sometimes I hardly even want to read the suttas if I can just meditate. I think those rules are important, not as a restriction even, but if you think not reading a novel or watching movies is a torture, boring, then you’re really not ready for a monastic life either. And that’s really fine. Monastic life should be reserved for people who just have no interest left whatsoever in lay life to the level of it being a burden and an obstacle to their understanding and immersion.

It’s like swearing off lying. Like, I wouldn’t take the precept if I didn’t know, for sure, that lying is always bad to me, period. It’s like me telling myself “Damn it man, never again.” Rest of the 8 precepts should be viewed like that. Unless you know and understand why entertainment is bad for you, unless you’re sick of it and like “Damn, never again”, then taking 8 precepts only means you’re going to break it. Better to watch entertainment and understand why they are bad for you, rather than trying to operate on faith alone, if your faith isn’t that strong to understand why entertainment is bad for you.


Interesting point … thanks

Spiritual Life is Real Life, it’s Holy Life. That is the Buddhist Way. But furthering attachment to Samsara is like beating an empty husk of grain. It takes Right View to understand that. So take up the Noble Eightfold Path of following the Buddha! :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes my issues are with entertainment and not eating after 12.

I can see why they would make sense, but they leave me miserable when trying. So that I am worse off than before.

Sometimes this makes me think that Nibbana is an illusion and we can only advance on the path so far.

Isn’t it that our minds and bodies will always compensate for the “living things” they are denied?

Look at the monks. Yes they keep all their precepts, but they have a huuuge agenda of travelling to Burma, and writing 8 pages of blogs a day, and giving dhamma talks, and having interfaith dialogues … certainly Nibbana would look different.

You can visit Na Uyana monastery, the monks there live in forest, and not really into teaching mode.

When I first became a monk, I thought it’s normal to have teaching as part of monk’s life, having been exposed to teaching monks. But actually, it’s a distorted outlook that lay people have on monks. There’s so many more monks who don’t teach. Maybe due to lack of motivation to teach as they didn’t go through a long period of being an active lay Buddhist engaging with monks, or don’t have enough knowledge to teach, or aspire to teach only after enlightenment, or just plain focusing on practise, or teach junior monks how to behave rather than the Dhamma.

It’s only natural that lay people only see the teaching monks, and thus have unbalanced view of the monastics.

It’s much easier to do these inside monasteries. Even for uposatha days, it’s more like encouraging lay people to stay that day in the monastery to meditate.


Thank you Venerable for words of encouragement.

Maybe this horse(jade) is not out of the race yet.

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