Taming the mind

07 Exploring Monastic Life 2021

Part of a series of teachings given during Sravasti Abbey’s annual Exploring Monastic Life program in 2021.

  • The importance of taming our minds in relation to others we live with
  • The mind that wants to be right at all costs
  • How to work with attachment to approval
  • How to deal with disapproval from a family member who dislikes Buddhism

Discussion group questions

  1. Are there different kinds of authorities, such as beneficial and not beneficial authorities? What are the qualities of good authorities and what are the qualities of harmful authorities?
  2. Who in your life has been a good authority figure and who has been a detrimental authority figure? There may be people who have been both. Think of specific individuals.
  3. How do you usually respond and relate to authority figures? Some people instantly shut down and feel like they’re getting bossed around. Other people become quiet and docile. Others ask questions. What are habitual characteristics in your relationship to authority figures, – is there rebelliousness, do you shut down, or do you just listen and obey?
  4. If you have difficulties with certain authority figures, what are they and what lies behind your feeling of discomfort? What is it that you’re really feeling and what do you need? What are you trying to say in your behavior towards those authority figures when you have difficulty with them?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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