might be so with those who teach or write books. But what about the monks
and nuns who do nothing but meditate. What good are they to the community?
- You might compare
the hermit monk to the research scientist. Society supports the research
scientist as he sits in his laboratory conducting experiments because it
hopes that he will eventually discover or invent something that will be
for the general good. Likewise the Buddhist community supports the meditating
monk (and his needs are very meagre) because it hopes that he will attain
wisdom and insights that will be for the general good. But even before this
happens or even if it doesn't, the meditating monk can still benefit others.
In some modern societies it is 'The Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous', with
its extravagance, its conspicuous consumption and its self-indulgence which
is held up as the ideal to follow, or at least to envy. The example that
the meditating monk sets reminds us that one doesn't have to be rich to
be content. It shows us that the gentle and simple lifestyle has its advantages