Can you imagine, letting go of everything in your life?
Monks do this when they become Monks, they let go of everything including their Family.
The thought of this is almost mind boggling to me. And imagine right now as you read this, letting go of all physical possessions and all relationships you have in this World. What would you have left?
I would bet that the thought of this brings on an instant sense of loneliness in you. No connections, no attachments, no home, no Family or loved ones. It’s just you.
I sometimes wonder why anyone would choose the monastic life, and how a person could accept this aloneness and absence of possessions.
But I also have come to see the beauty in the monastic life, and how this absence of attachment allows complete equanimity towards all beings. I have also witnessed the peace and tranquility that monastics exude, with acceptance and loving kindness towards all beings and all situations.
Every single Buddhist Monk and Nun that I have ever met seems to have such joy, peace, compassion and gentleness. Yet, every single one has chosen to let go of everything!
How can this be? Don’t they want to have love connections that they can depend on and turn to? Don’t they want to own a nice house, car, TV and stereo?
I see that they don’t, because possession is not love, and attachment is the cause of suffering.
Monks and Nuns have seen that there is a path away from suffering, and this joy radiates from within them. Following this path is cause for happiness, not despair. Their love is not contained or constricted by expectations or demands on anyone. It flows effusively and openly with no thought of any reward or reciprocation.
And physical possessions mean little, as they have learned the impermanence of all things.
I think some examples might be: “I have a TV, great I’ll watch it” or, “I don’t have a TV, great I can read!”. If they had no books, I’m sure they would say “Great, I can meditate!”.
I think that seeing how monastics are able to be filled with joy in letting go of everything, they serve as an example to all of us. How our view of letting go can be one of happiness and not of loneliness or desperation.
In the Eightfold Path, I would consider this part of Right View. And we always have the opportunity for Right View in every situation that arises. Even our feelings of fear, regret and remorse can be released when one is able to clearly see that there is no benefit in clinging, desire or attachment.
I hope this gives you something to think about, and as always I wish that you may be free of suffering.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.