After a few months in the monastery where I naturally had the chance to live very close to myself, I am struggling a bit with my health. Sleep is a luxury while my productivity is high - I'm almost constantly busy. Like the monks and nuns here, I only eat a limited amount; one meal a day can be quite good enough, but it has to be just right - just a little too much and you will lose out too. In recent weeks it has started to cool down here too: it is cold, really cold. Most buildings here have no heating, so you can feel the cold as well.
With this lifestyle you will certainly get closer to yourself; there is no emotion or thought that you do not look very directly in the eye. In the meantime, however, I also became weaker and that while in Buddhism asceticism never aims to harm the body in any way. Some of the monks therefore encouraged me to pay attention to my health; to take enough rest, to eat a balanced diet, to stay warm, to visit the Chinese doctor who visits every week and to keep exercising. I am learning so much news about what health is.
In a text that I recently translated, the Buddha speaks about physical strength. A number of people have been busy moving a rock for some time. It does not work. The Buddha comes to their aid and hupsakee the rock is out of place. "Tell me, what strength do you have?" They ask. The Buddha answers that he has four powers: the power of perseverance in the good, the power of patience, the power of generosity, and the power of taking care of your parents - those four really make you strong!
This light play on words from the Buddha reminds me that while physical health is important, it is not in itself the purpose of my monastery stay. I have something more important about my life
to devote (translating texts for example). A beneficial basis as a person and an inspired heart, that brings real decisiveness.