One of the first qualities of a monastic’s mind is humility. Humility has to do with transparency, which is related to self-acceptance.
Venerable Thubten Chodron
Cultivating a “monastic mind” is an essential part of the Dharma education at Sravasti Abbey. A monastic mind is a heart/mind that is humble, receptive, kind, compassionate, inquisitive, sincere, eager to learn, and wise. In other words, we seek to develop monastics who not only know the Buddhist scriptures, but who also meditate on them and develop them in their daily lives. In that way the Dharma becomes alive in the world and is expressed by our body, speech, and mind in our interactions with others.
A collection of Dharma values guide our lives together. We articulate and discuss these in the community. Familiarity with these values and principals are part of cultivating a “monastic mind” and is thus an essential part of the educational program at the Abbey.
At the end of the morning meditation each day, monastics and guests recite this verse to help them cultivate a monastic mind throughout the day:
Having a “monastic mind” benefits our Dharma practice whether we are monastics or lay practitioners.
A monastic mind is one that is humble, imbued with the Buddhist worldview, dedicated to cultivating mindfulness, clear knowing, love, compassion, wisdom, and other good qualities.
Being mindful of the kindness I have received from all sentient beings, I will relate to them with patience, kindness, and compassion.
I will be mindful of my precepts and values and will cultivate clear knowing of my thoughts and feeling, as well as how I speak and act.
I will take care to act and speak at suitable times and in appropriate ways, abandoning idle talk and disruptive movements.
With respect for others and confidence in my good qualities, I will be humble and easy for others to speak to.
In all these activities, I will endeavor to remember impermanence and the emptiness of inherent existence and to act with bodhicitta.
This article is available in German: Monastischer Geist
French Version: Motivation de l’esprit monastique