Why should one become a monk?

Some people think that one chooses to become a monk in order to escape from the pressures of daily life. But in fact, the purpose of becoming a monk is to escape the three realms of existence caused by our own afflictions, which are imprisoning us.

Some people think that monks do not have the opportunity to take care of their parents anymore after ordainment - this is a misconception. The purpose of becoming a monk is to give up what one treasures, their family. It does not hold the same meaning as abandoning one’s parents. They leave their troubles and secular family, to join a pure and otherworldly environment for the practice of Buddha’s teachings. Once ordained, they take a vow to help all sentient beings, dedicate the rest of their lives to serve the society and treat all beings as their family, especially their parents of this life - who are their main targets of liberation. After they get ordained, they still have to care for their parents if the parents have no other dependents; and if one is not filial to one’s parents while at home, one should not become a monk.

Monks have a greater responsibility than the ordinary man. Once ordained, they have to keep their mind to it and perservere for not only this life, but also wish so for their future lives; they also hold more responsibilities and have to withstand more sufferings than the common man - all for the purpose of withholding the “Buddha’s Family Business”. And that, is the duty of a monk.

Three Realms: Desire Realm, Form Realm, Formlessness Realm. They are the three realms that sentient beings travel between life after life.

Master Sheng Yen, “Smiling with flowers”


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