Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Monk's Life

I was asked recently about my daily schedule during a retreat, but I couldn't bring myself to respond at the time. Here's a comparison between my retreat schedule and my schedule on an ordinary day:

Retreat
4 AM Wake
430 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
630 Morning Chanting & Beverage
7 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
9 Meal
10 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
1230 PM Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
3 meet with students (even on retreat!)
4 Beverage & Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
6 Evening Chanting
7 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
930 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
1130 Sleep

Note: this is the schedule for the first eight days, but I never made it - in reality, the first and last sessions were 1 or 1 1/2 hours. The last two days should be without sleep, but I missed the mark last time, sleeping a few hours over the two days.

Daily Life
430 AM Wake
5 Walking+Sitting (1.5 hrs)
630 Morning Chanting & Beverage
7 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
9 Meal
10 Translate Pali to Thai (2hrs)
12 PM Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
2 Read Nak Dham Toh (1 hr)
3 Meet with students
4 Beverage & Memorising Pali Grammar (1 hr)
5 Pali Class (1.5 hrs)
630 Evening Chanting
7 Walking+Sitting (2hrs)
9 Memorising Pali Grammar (1 hr)
1030 Sleep

There, that's my life. I'm happy with it :) I know what Jesse and Josh would say, but the thing I've found about being boring is that your life suddenly becomes, paradoxically, exponentially interesting. The same is true when your world shrinks - suddenly six feet by two feet is huge; for meditators, the six senses become windows and the world is reduced to what is real. But if you're not meditating, You can survey the whole Earth from a golden throne and still look to moon for more. Because the more interesting you strive to become, the more boring and lifeless everything around you seems.

But back to the schedule - walking first, then sitting (then Pali grammar).