Perhaps these monks look like they’re not doing much; slow and serene, making their alms-round.
But, they are true creatures of endurance, just like you and I.
These monks have made a vow to follow the path until the very end of the road: until reaching Nibbana.
How many of us from western cultures, without the inbuilt “institution” of the monastery happen to make this vow and keep it? We don’t necessarily have the structures in place to be able to keep us on the path to liberation, because of a multitude of distractions and influences regarding our values: competition, showing off (or ego-mode), disregard for silence and stillness, seeing “me” and my moods, my goals, my opinions, and my emotions as more important than another’s.
It’s not like we don’t have positive qualities, though! It’s just that most of them outwardly don’t align to the true goals of spirituality.
If you were born like me, you want to go fast. You want everything to go smoothly. You take challenges on the chin. You build up inner resilience to them. You see the perfection in the imperfection that is the body, the emotional storage plant. You see the perfection in the perfection that is truly the world outside: everybody building and arranging something, whether a house or a field or a community, painting, musical arrangement, family, or business, or store.
When you want to go fast, though, and let off some steam, you might try running or other endurance sports.
Ask a Shaolin monk if he’s lazy! We all need to rest and we all need to move.
It is this push-and-pull of endurance running that relates to the spiritual life.
I have run over 8,000 kilometers in the past five years, since taking running seriously and integrating it into my life and routine. That is 1/5th the circumference of the equator — so I’m really not doing too bad!
In our episode, I go over exactly how endurance running relates to our spirituality as Buddhists and I share my experiences and tips for new and seasoned runners who have the same temperament!
Enjoy, and if you have a question about running, please email email@example.com.