What is a Monk's Daily Schedule?
A monk has the same type of day everyday. This makes each day feel the like the same as others to make the monks feel the enlightenment.
At 5am, one monk wakes up. When he does, he hits a gong to signal the beginning of the day and the others to wake up. As the monks wake up, they wash their faces as a process to wash all the bad spirits off and to make sure they have a good day. After 30 minutes, all the monks have finished doing this and will have started their morning prayers.
After their prayer, the monks will go walk bearfoot around the neighborhoods and the people who live in the neighborhoods will offer them food. After about 2 hours of doing so, the monks will return to their temples at about 8am. In most temples, the food is cooked by the monks or the people who are giving them offerings.
At 12pm, the Monks can either chose to eat a light lunch since this will be the last meal of the day until the sun rises, or they can choose not to eat. After this, the monks can only drink hot drinks.
At 1pm, the classes for buddhist monks begin. Although some monks study outside of the temple, most do not since their parents are afraid of negative influences from peers in normal schools. However, since the temples are strict, these things do not happen.
At 6pm, a two hour session of prayer and meditation takes place to rest the mind. At 8pm, the monks do homework and sleep at 9pm.
What is a Monk's Job?
The monks do not have a big series of jobs, however, they do complete each job with care and respect to the god.
One job that the monks do everyday is to clean the temples. The reason they clean the tables is to welcome the gods and to make the temple a peaceful place to be. Also, since Buddha also experienced the negatives of dirtiness during his enlightenment journey, the monks respect this and clean the temples everyday. They clean the temples by dusting off the dust from the roof, floors and rooms. Also, they poor cold water on top of the statue's of the gods to refresh and to wake them up for the day. As they do this, monks ring the gong periodically to signal the begging and end of each activity.
The monks also pray to the gods. Although that this is the image of a job of a monk, the main job is maintaining the temples as it plays a significant role in the religion to welcome buddha. The monks pray to the gods by meditating. Since this is how Buddha reached enlightenment, this is very important for the monks to do.
How Does a Monk Become a Monk?
In order to become a Monk, they are required to know and understand the religion front and back from lessons, prayers and meditation.
First, the monks need to familiarize with the Buddhist teachings. The monks begin their life as a monk by understanding the basics about Buddhism. They do this by checking out books from the library, doing research on line, and taking classes from an instructor or parents if they are a monk. The Buddha does not force anyone to believe. However, if one wants to be a monk, one should know the basic fundamentals of this religion.
They also study the Eightfold Path and the noble truths and goes to a Buddhist temple to study and worship god.
Spend time meditating. Becoming a Buddhist monk requires daily meditation and a conscious effort to change how the mind works. When you live in an abbey, much of your day will be spent in meditation. This takes practice.
Buddhism also focusses on meditation so if one would like to be a monk, they are required to be able to meditate. Even for hours at a time. Buddhism has different kinds of meditation including meditation that focuses on breathing, meditation that focuses on transformation and meditation on the Lamrim. Mediation can also include different postures.
When becoming a monk, one will have to prepare to give up worldly possessions such as electronic devices, expensive clothes or shoes which are luxury items are not allowed. This is because monks live as mendicants. This means that they posses only what is required and is essential to living. The temples will give the monks clothing, sundries, and other items you need to stay comfortable.
The Noble Truths
In Buddhism, the precepts that are the essence of the Buddha's teaching are that is suffering and from that cause of suffering, it can cause desire that can relieve suffering. This connects to the eight fold path. The noble truths was based upon the sufferings that Buddha experienced and connects to the eight fold path.
The Eight Folded Path
There are eight points that buddhists and monks have to practice. These are the eight points:
1) Right View: Our actions have consequences and death is not the end and karma causes our death to change. Also, since if you have bad karma, death will also be a punishment.
2) Right Resolve: Required to give up home and adopt the life of the religion. This is the main challenge that the monks have to face. Also, in order to follow this path, there has to be determination and inner peace.
3) Right Speech: Can not lie, or give a rude speech that insults a indivisuall. This is what makes the buddhist monks have very kind values.
Right Conduct: Cannot kill or injure also, one is not allowed to steal.
Right Livelihood: Required to beg to feed and only posses what is essential to for life.
Right Effort: One has to stand up against thoughts.
Right Mindfulness: Never be absent minded and always be conscious of what one is doing.
Right samadhi: Practicing four stages of meditation for the change of the mind.
The Hair of a Monk
Right now, the shaving of a monk's hair does not have a very deep reason. However, it is mostly done as a ritual. There are some reasons that monks do this although it is actually a ritual that the monks go through.
One of the first things Buddha did to reach enlightenment was to shave off his hair and beard this could be the main reason that the monks do it now too.
First, the monks think that shaving our head symbolises cutting off confusion, hostility, and attachment. This is because when Buddha was trying to find enlightenment, this is what he did to make sure that he loses his confusion and attachment to greed.
Second, shaving hair allows the monks to focus on more important things than fixing hair every day. The Buddhists believe that the monks should only do things that are essential to life and not have any luxuries or waists of time.
Third, this can relate to hygienic reasons. As how the monks clean the temple for the welcoming of god, the monks also shave off their hair to make sure that it does not get dirty.
The History Behind the Orange Robes
The buddhist monks wear brightly colored robes. These robes date back centuries when it was first worn. At that time, the only available dye was in orange. To keep that tradition, the modern monks also wear robes similar to the ones in the past. Also, they wear the robes to the same reason they shave their hair off: to symbolize simplicity and detachment of materialism which is a very strong value that the monks and Hinddhus believe in.