Tantalus and the Pelican: Exploring Monastic Spirituality by Nicholas Buxton

By Nicholas Buxton

An informative and interesting publication approximately monasticism, its background, perform, and relevance to modern lifestyles, combining own insights with sound scholarship. the 1st a part of the publication makes a speciality of the early days of Christian monasticism and the transmission of this practice to western Europe, focusing on specific topics or figures of curiosity and trying to draw parallels with the present-day. the second one part explores the crucial beneficial properties of monastic lifestyles, resembling silence and humility, drawing on own event in addition to foundational literature. half 3 explores the modern relevance of monasticism, suggesting that the middle Benedictine ideas of balance, conversion, and obedience provide a framework for an alternate method of being which may allow our daily lives to be enriched or even reworked.

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Sample text

Imitating the dog, he followed Phra Chusit around wherever he went. During the six months I spent with the monks in New Zealand, I felt happy and free for the first time since early childhood. Slipping effortlessly into the simple, steady rhythm of monastic life, I realized I had discovered something really worthwhile and fulfilling. At last I felt like I was being true to myself, and doing what I was really meant to be doing. I intuitively understood that the whole of creation was in a state of balanced equilibrium: what is simply is.

Nobody is suggesting that desire is ‘wrong’ as such; rather that simply indulging our every whim will not result in the fulfilment we seek. It is not that enjoyment should not be enjoyed, but that chasing after enjoyment for its own sake inevitably ceases to be enjoyable. Desire is of course natural, good, and apart from anything else, a fundamental necessity; arguably the essential characteristic of Being itself. At its most basic, desire is an expression of the irreducible fact of existence: the will to be that is what is.

But he still wouldn’t tell me, preferring instead to carry on 35 TANTALUS AND THE PELICAN issuing directions until we eventually found our destination – by luck, I would like to think, as much as anything else. Before becoming a monk Phra Chusit had lived in the United States for several years where, among other things, he had worked as a barman at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, the famous Los Angeles nightclub on Sunset Boulevard. Consequently, he not only spoke perfect English, but also had a somewhat incongruous penchant for junk food and Coca-Cola.

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