Day in the Life of a Temple Sister

Ven. Miao Tan says of her experience there, “It’s like a military life. Life is very strict. I came with only a small suitcase, only the bare necessities.” Photo: Trista di Genova
Trista di Genova, The Wild East

During a recent visit to the Foguang Shan Buddhist Monastery in southern Taiwan, the Ven. Miao Tan shared her story of entering the monastery. After “having doubts about life”, she came from Singapore to live and practice Buddhism, and learn “the value of life.” After becoming disillusioned with working in the hotel industry, she started asking herself questions, like: “Why am I here?” and “Do I really want to work this way?” She attended a gathering with guest speakers from Taiwan, and decided to enter the monastery to learn about Buddhism.

This is how the Ven. Miao Tan describes a typical day for her at the monastery:

8:30 – 11:30 work — in public relations, in her case. Ven. Miao Tan says that 12 groups of Mainland Chinese visitors now tour the monastery every day. “They used to ask crazy questions,” she said, everything from “Do you have a relationship?” to “How much do you get paid?” (In China religious ‘officials’ are remunerated).
12-1pm: Lunch break, then rest and read. That day she ate with us the vegetarian buffet at the monastery’s restaurant, which certainly had the best and most creatively prepared vegetarian food I’ve ever had.
1pm – 5:40pm: work in an office, ‘guestmaster’ meeting with guests, translation work
5:40pm: close office
6pm: dinner
6:30-7:30pm: free time
7:30 – 9:30 pm: self-cultivation, which could be three things: 1) calligraphy, copying sutras 2)recitation or self-directed study; or 3) meditation.
10pm: lights off for everybody, ‘so as not to disturb others’

Ven. Miao Tan says of her experience there, “It’s like a military life. Life is very strict. I came with only a small suitcase, only the bare necessities.” She spoke of her struggle to adjust to such an ascetic existence at first, with questions like: “Why do I have to put soap and brush in my basin, in this way?” She wondered — What does this have to do with suffering? So she posted this question on a bulletin board, which is monitored by teachers, and was given the response, “If you cannot manage even this small area, how can you live your life?”

Today the Ven. Miao Tan enjoys this simple life. She’s contented with her new life, finding it “full of meaning, and feeling for others.” Once when participating in relief work in Taiwan, she wondered why it was that some people were never satisfied with the assistance they received, but others, say those at the top of a hill who were relatively unscathed by a natural disaster, could be more concerned that others received help before them.

Empathizing is the key to peace between each of us, and key to peace in this world, she concluded.

One thought on “Day in the Life of a Temple Sister

  • April 16, 2012 at 12:44 am

    有关马來西亜,吉隆坡,甲洞帝沙再也 (暹寺) 三宝寺 Samnak Sambodhi Buddhist Association No.19-21 Jalan 38 Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 所发生的纠纷, 经过阅读了,Venerable Phra Piya Thammo 和尚及叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook) 的双方书信之后, 再经实地旁听了觧,做为中间人,我要客观实事的说:

    1.当一个和尚、初出道 (小学生),在修行, 若有缺点, 那是难免.他马华公会鹅唛區会主地席叶金福律师(Yip Kum Fook),却心眼看不顺,就电招警万到耒佛教之圣地要扣畄和尚耒耻唇出家人, 这是绝对不许可, 除非是殺人放火之大罪悪.

    2.他身为马华公会鹅唛區会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook),却反其道而行, 在佛寺不依佛法而軽视佛教的精神, 以傲慢的手段,帶领一般黑社会的人耒挑衅和尚打架, 这也是不该有、更不是佛教修行者的行为.

    3.佛教的圣地, 其主要的目地, 是让眾生修佛道, 不是政治争執的地方. 他马华公会鹅唛区会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook), 却利用佛教之圣地当政治活动的场所。如此果敢冒犯佛陀的教誨,更是大大的罪悪。

    囯有囯章,彿有佛法,家有家规. 如果出家人有何不对之处, 他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook), 为何不向主持和尚投?让出家人自依和尚的條规处理、却强权一味要显示他是马华公会鹅唛区会及三宝寺理事会主席, 无法无天的应用霸道手段践踏佛教之圣地.为什么。。。。。为什么.

    至今, 他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook),不当不歉愧,还要狡辩, 这又证明了他说一套, 做的又是另一套, 囗是心非, 所谓的两舌, 相当阴险. 身为律师, 受高深教育, 却应用如此悪毒, 横蛮无礼的作风污辱和尚, 相等于是耻辱佛教伩仰者。他叶金福律师(Yip Kum Fook)不向主持和尚投诉, 却自承英雄,电招外耒者.请问,身为將近20年的三宝寺主持和尚兼顾问,也是第一位 自筹建寺的大功臣,在大马南傳泒中,是闻名遐邇的高僧.其脸要放在那裡?同样的,要是台湾星雲大师的佛寺沙彌犯錯, 理事会没有礼貌自作主张,电招警方要扣畄其沙彌.我敢请问!星雲大师的自尊是怎样的感受?他叶金福律师(Yip Kum Fook)是后耒者,担任理会主席也不久, 竟敢应用如此,目无尊長的方式对待住持,间接的就是告大家,强迫住持和尚必远離,雀巢鸠要佔。这种用心不良, 有老千之谋, 的确令人不敢恭维。

    縱观以上几项重点,我不是盲目的護持三宝, 而是要坦白的说;他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook) 身受高深教育, 为律师者,本应通情达理才是,但遗憾的是, 却令人惊觉, 他厡耒就是彿书裡所讲的狡猾且残忍的此颣人。他叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook),利用他的专业知識, 懂得包裝自己的道德守則,以宗教为幌子手,到处募款,商业经营, 政治活动为重, 并没依循佛教宗教守则行事, 也没对人道作出任何貢献, 只不过借宗教之名捞取权和私利而己。

    在此, 我奉劝, 他马华公会鹅唛区会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook), 好自为之, 免因果報应.


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