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7. Management, Maintenance, Exercise

      As a monk, you must learn to care for your personal effects, as well as temple property. You must understand the principles of efficiency, good organization, and caring for things so that they last. All the items in a temple belong to Lord Buddha, from the sraw mats, down น) the needles and brooms; all these items have been donated to Lord Buddha out of good faith and respect. As a monk, you are merely steward to these things on His behalf. Monks use these things because they are the heirs to the tradi­tions and teachings of Lord Buddha, when people donate items to the temple, they do so after making a wish and a resolution. Therefore, when a monk uses any of these items, he does so upon the good faith and respect of common people. If you show disregard for these items, then you are showing disregard for Lord Buddha and people's faith in Buddhism.

      Monks are not the sole people responsible for taking care of the temple. Laymen also play an important part in caring for and maintaining temple property. Long ago at the Dhammakaya Temple, the floor mats were not as neatly trimmed with cloth as they are now. In those days, people would come to listen to the abbot's sermons, but during the sermon, they would pick at the edges of mat. That is why nowadays, we put cloth trimming on them, to ensure that the mats have a longer life. Thus, you can begin to see how everyone must share in caring for temple property, if you help, then you are helping to make merit lor yourself as well, if you do not, then you may lose that opportunity for merit.

      There is a story from the time of Lord Buddha, about a King named Fayasi, who had a face discolored by a dark birthmark. in his previous life, he had been a generous temple goer who would often make merit. He especially loved his talent for cook­ing. However, in his work as a cook, he cared only for meal he was preparing, and not about the cleanliness and the mainte­nance of the temple kitchen. Thus the smoke from his cooking would dirty the kitchen. Due to his generous merit making, he was reborn in his next life as a King. However, because of his negligence in taking care of the temple kitchen, he was born with a dark discolored lace.

      As laymen, there are not many principles to abide by, but as a monk, there are many more rules by which one must conduct one's life. As a monk, if you break these rules, then the conse­quences are even more severe than for laypeople.

      Not only should you care for your possessions—you must care for your body and health as well. You must maintain your good health and strength. Do not allow your health to deterio­rate, because to do so means that you will may not be able to fully commit yourself to meditation and the study of the Dhamma. Not only monks, but laymen as well, should take care of their health. Most of us, once we come to the temple, try hard to make merit, while paying little attention to our health. Some might have a problem with ulcers. Even when we tell them to go and seek medicine to heal it, some will ignore this because they want to use the Dhamma to cure it. They expect that meditation will cure the ulcer. Meditation does have the potential to cure illness if you have the ability to focus all of your mental energy towards curing yourself, however, most people do not have this ability. You may be able to do this, however in the meantime, your ulcer may grow worse and could eventually kill you before you suc­ceed in your meditation. This does not mean that you should become obsessed with personal health, or that you place it above your faith in religion as a sign of personal vanity. You should protect your faith, your mind and your body. Even the present author must find time to exercise and take care of his health— Some days, doing yoga, but not to the point where one can do acrobatics like in Chinese movies. Physical exertion for monks should not be at the level that some laymen desire. After your meditation, especially after several hours, you should get up and walk around, or sweep the temple grounds. The present author likes to travel to the mountains in order to meditate. After medi­tating, it is possible to hike around the hills for an hour or so.

      When one sits still for a long period, as is required by meditation, one's internal organs are constricted, and this can cause digestive problems. Therefore, one must train oneself to move around after meditation to restore one's circulation.

The Benefits of Management, Maintenance, and Exercise

1.  Encourages you to be a person who is prudent and economical

2.  Encourages you to be active. A person who is healthy and strong, and who does not easily succumb to illness and ailments.

 

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