i think time is better spent developing anapanasati and other pereptions, becoming well versed in sutta, vinayas, abhidhammas, texts of other early schools, later commentaries whilst also learning Pali, chanting and being otherwise occupied developing the Path for the benefit of oneself and the many. This isn’t easily done in one lifetime according to my estimates.
Congratulations, Bhante, on your higher ordination and thanks for asking a great question.
Also thanks to Ajahn Brahmali, Bhante Sujato and others for their considered answers.
I too have recently gone forth, at the moment as a novice and am greatful for these answers. It has allowed me to reflect on what are the contributing factors which bring joy to my practice and what detracts from it.
I really love working on grubby physical projects during work period, discussing the sutta brings me clarity and worrying about what a monastic ‘should’ be like and what others think about me is the biggest killer. When I see people writing about idealised shoulds it makes me sad. So I’m trying to take my teacher’s advice to not try so hard and ‘not give an fff…, I mean cluck, what other people think’.
I’m sure some people will take this the wrong way and say this is a lack of hiri-otappa, but this is not at all what I am getting at. I’m just talking about what leads to peace, gentleness and non-ill will. A life time of critical thinking creates a judgemental mind.
Well, that would seem an excellent point at which to apply your teacher’s advice!
Nevertheless, I just wanted to say that at least this particular person (and I suspect many others, too) reads your post as the gleaming gem that it is. It’s such a valuable reflection that I wish more in the community (robed and lay) would heed—my hypothesis is that all would benefit greatly. Thanks so much for sharing.
While I’m at it, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Ajahn Brahmali for his beautiful, uplifting response and also to the OP.