Should I teach English to monks in India or stay home and study?

May 27, 2024

QUESTION

Dear Robina

You have been in my heart since a conference on happiness in 2007. I listen to you on Facebook, and things are deepening for me as other commitments wind up. I still do what I can for my friends in harsher circumstances, and to educate here.

I’m now over 60 and I have a couple of options in front of me. I’ve done my best to practice and study well since I took refuge with you ages ago.

Do you think it is better to go and teach English to young monks in a monastery in India or stay home and quietly study and practice?

I ask because I find I cannot decide. I have an adequate pension. My capacity for full energy is lessening. I have peace of mind.

I wish you well in all ways, with gratitude. Your experience, frankness, stories plus compassion are inspiring. I observe my faults and mistakes more gently these days.

With deepest love and respect,

W

 

ANSWER

What a delight to hear from you, dearest W!

As His Holiness advises, “Always aspire to do what is most beneficial and, if we can, long term better than short term.”

Of course, the longest long term is enlightenment, right? So ask the question from that perspective and see what comes.

I’d say that because we’re old we should have a sense of urgency not to waste these last years, however many. And that doesn’t have to be a frantic thought.

Certainly being around the holy places is an added benefit. But there are pros for staying at home, too.

To be a Dharma activity it doesn’t follow that the activity itself is explicitly Dharma. In other words, depending on karma and other factors, it might indeed be more beneficial for you to stay at home and study and practice rather than helping others by teaching at a monastery.

In whatever you choose, the key factor that determines the virtue of the action is the motivation; and best, of course, is bodhichitta!

Anyway, what do you think?

Much love,

Robina

 

QUESTION

Dearest Ven. Robina

What do I think?

I think, as always, your guidance was utterly perfect. Thank you.

Yes, I will keep going, with bodhichitta as the focus and practice each precious day. I think I will go to teach in India for a while.

Deepening the practice seems to be the total joyous result of a lifetime of effort.

I am deeply grateful for all I encountered, on this precious journey without a guidebook till now.

With deepest respect, always. Stay well. I so so appreciate your ruthless soft directness. And always have.

May we meet again.

W

 

ANSWER

Good, W! Keep going, one step at a time.

As Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, “Everything exists on the tip of the wish.”

Much love,

Robina

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