Have few duties
Here's an interesting excerpt from a Tricycle interview with Bhante Gunaratana...
"The monastic path is better, not in a political sense or as a power structure, but better for spiritual growth. Monasticism nourishes, supports a frame of mind for practice. You cannot have a cake and eat it at the same time. If you want to live in a non-monastic community, it cannot be called monastic, and you cannot expect to do the practice in the best way. Life today has so many commitments, and people get into very difficult situations, emotionally and otherwise. Everyone has so many things to do. You have to have a space to grow, to improve your spiritual practice. That is why the Buddha said, "Have few duties." When you have few duties, you have time to practice, you are not all the time tense, uptight, rigid and nervous, worrying and destroying your health."
I guess my interest in promoting this thread is not so much about monasticism vs. laity, but about Buddha's comment about "Have few duties."
Was it Henry David Thoreau who said, "Simplify, simplify, simplify" ?
Not so much that a Buddhist discipline makes us less "fit" for the complexities of life. But in practice, meaning practice-realization of all "ordinary" things in life, have you found that some things are best left alone/behind, as they are rather superfluous. I don't know that anything is "less" necessary than anything else, but sometimes there are tools we just don't need in that heavy sack we carry. It's like hauling around a canoe anticipating we need it for some future lake or river we'll encounter.
If you are trying to convince yourself, "I am just sooo busy, I don't have time to sit zazen. I would really like to, but it just isnt working out." Well, maybe it's time to check into the contents of the big sack you're hauling around. And maybe you don't throw out the tool as much as develop a practice that modifies "how" you work with the tool....how you are part of the tool....the doing....the being.
I read something in a recent Treeleaf thread about practicing kinhin while shopping in the department store. How true!
I was taking care of my 3-month-old granddaughter this morning and at a point, found myself in kinhin while I held her, working through her fussy, pre-slumber activities and then her deep sleep. How full-of-wonder all aspects of it can be.