Daily case studies of living in the three internal houses
My personal experiences and observations in the monastery may illustrate the principle of three houses and Home State better:
Sense gratification (Pleasure seeker)
I sat in a meditative pose, while enjoying samosas and Jalebis in my mind.
I was famished and had already been awake since 3.00 am, with three more hours to go before breakfast. As I silently fingered my prayer beads, I turned to my monk friend, who was also in charge of the kitchen, and casually asked what would be served for breakfast. He was clearly annoyed and responded with a straight face, “Hot samosas and jalebis.” Not realizing he was being sarcastic, I internally celebrated and reassured myself that enduring the next three hours of meditation in the temple would be worth it for the delicious feast to come.
As I sat with my fellow monks for our morning meditation, thoughts of delicious Indian snacks danced in my mind. I imagined myself biting into a crispy samosa filled with exotic flavors and spreading some tomato chutney on top. Jalebi, a crispy and sweet treat from my childhood, was also on my mind.
Despite my indulgent daydreams, I remained dedicated to my meditation practice, sitting with my eyes closed and focusing on my breath. However, I couldn’t resist the smile that kept creeping onto my face as I thought about the tasty treats waiting for me.
After the meditation session ended, a senior community member approached me and expressed his admiration for my dedication and focus during the chanting. He praised me for being an inspiration to others and thanked me for my commitment to spiritual practice.
Although I appreciated his kind words, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I realized that my mind had been consumed with thoughts of food rather than spiritual enlightenment. I didn’t have the heart to disappoint him by sharing my true thoughts, so I graciously accepted his praise and left the scene.
While my body was present in the temple, my mind had been transported to the world of sensory pleasures. Despite this small diversion, I remained committed to my spiritual path and felt grateful for the simple joys of life, such as the anticipation of a delicious meal.
Struggle (Problem solver)
One of my monk friends, who is loved by all but has a shy nature, was asked to participate in one of our monastery’s annual drama performances. Each year, the community eagerly anticipates the drama festival, which includes four to five professional performances, as well as a play put on by our monastery. Despite his initial reluctance, my friend eventually agreed to a cameo role as a soldier who delivers just two lines in the hour-long production: “Who is Yamuna? The king has sent a palanquin for you.”
During rehearsals, we quickly realized why our friend was hesitant to act. He was nervous and struggled with his dialogue, but he persisted in practicing until he finally got it right on the final rehearsal.
To be continued…