The Life Of A Global Renaissance Today

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But to usher in a global renaissance today, we need to de-construct the mores of world militarism. We need schools for self-restraint and gentleness, boot camps for the battle of self-conquest. We need monasticism and its disciplines to become accessible to the masses, to help them in the form of secular educational curricula, disciplines of behavior, mind, and intellect, the three adishikshani. Monastic discipline involves walking through town while holding one’s body in a certain posture, with one’s eyes focused on the ground about an axle-length ahead of one’s body. One speaks in a certain way, one refrains from certain behaviors, one sits in a certain way. Monasticism involves a rich behavioral code, with, for example, eighteen…show more content…
You have created an institution such as that, which grows exponentially from Buddha’s time to Ashoka’s time, when Ashoka simply refers to the group as the sangha. Even people argued that maybe he did not mean the Buddhists per se, maybe he meant by sangha a more general group of ascetics— maybe he simply meant the Shramanists— but, really, it does not matter. The point is, this institution became established and widespread, and this resulted in nine hundred of the twelve hundred major rock-cut monuments. We are talking about a very powerful social force in Indian history, a social and intellectual force. I will close with a personal story. I was a Buddhist monk for some years, and I did indeed learn to wash dishes more carefully and slurp less, even though I had a New York-style upbringing before that. Then I ceased to be a Buddhist monk. I resigned as a Buddhist monk, and I adopted a theory, like a sociological theory that most American Buddhists today have, that we do not need monks, that it is an old-fashioned institution, useless, while everybody instead should be more “non-dual,” more socially engaged as a householder. I thought that this new theory was a great breakthrough, a profound insight (though it was really rationalizing my own inability to remain a monk). However, eventually, by learning more as
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