Buddhist Monastic Life and the Vinaya. Daily life -2-

buddhist_monk4(starts in the preceeding post. Link)

Daily life

A typical monk’s day in a Geluk monastery, for instance, is made up of many hours of group prayers in the main meditation hall, then some hours of class, many hours of memorizing texts, then many many hours of debate in the monastery courtyard. They begin their day around 5-6am and while the evening debates officially end around 9pm when they really get into it some will continue debating late into the night.

It is customary for monks to first complete their education (become a Geshe) that may last 25 years, and then go for a year or two in tantric college before then going into solitary meditation retreat for a certain number of years depending on the person. Some do 1year, some 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 or 20 or 30. Some spend their middle age after completing their education teaching, then go off into retreat later in their lives and many consider that the best way to die is in retreat.

In other Tibetan traditions (Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu), the period of monastic education is shorter (anywhere between 5 and 12 years generally, but it varies and can be more), but group retreats are much more common. These generally last 3 years 3 months 3 days, and the teacher goes into retreat with a group of students for that duration and together they learn the meditation practices, receive instructions from the lama, and have a strict meditation schedule. It is not uncommon for people to do more than one of these retreats.




Photo credits: From the Internet, feel free to contact me if you own the copyright

First photo is labelled: Monks in Kunlun