I felt uncomfortable the first time I heard a lay-devotee at the temple complaining about some monks… about how they are behaving and how they should be behaving…
It occurred to me then that monks are human beings… as long as enlightenment does not take place in them, they would behave like anyone of us even though they have gone forth and be living with rules and conditions that they must abide by… especially habits that are hard to die.
There were times too that I heard praises of some lay-devotees for some certain lay-devotees who are practising the dhamma as taught by the Buddha. These people did not join the order but whose behaviours are more “noble” than some monks in the temple. Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu!
Reading Sadhguru’s words of wisdom this morning triggers me to write this post.
“Your family has nothing to do with your enlightenment,
nor your monkhood has anything to do with your enlightenment.
By becoming a monk or a family person,
you are just choosing a certain atmosphere to live in.
What is within you will not change.”
From what is read from the suttas, the Buddha introduced the Vinaya rules to address misbehaviours of the monks and as time passed the number of rules increased.
To me, if one has the right view and purpose to walk the path, one can still walk the path as a lay person; for wearing the robe does not mean one is nobler than a follower who takes the Precepts (Silā), knows and understands the Four Noble Truth (Cattāri Ariyasaccāni) and the Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda) and knows and practises the 37 Enlightenment Factors (Bodhipakkhiyā Dhammā).
If the mind is not fixed with faith, belief and determination for liberation, an ordained monk can still disrobe to go back to lay life… and, if a lay person does what should, he will be able to achieve one of the four stages of enlightenment living as a lay devotee.
As said by Sadhguru, it is just an atmosphere to live in… what needs to change is within… not without…