THE MONASTIC ORDER
The monastery is an informal Order.
Our focus is on learning about and sharing a better way of living within ourselves and with each other and the world.
Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.
— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
THE ROLE OF THE METAPHORICAL MONASTIC
“To be calm and relaxed, maintaining one point — on behalf of ourselves and all that we affect.”
A seeker in The Little Creek Monastery aspires to live and express the spirit of mushin, is willing to stand up for the place inside themselves that is calm and still, and endeavors to allow the eternal to effortlessly flow through them and into the world.
The monastery encourages kindness, inclusiveness, forgiveness, responsibility, compassion and concern.
Our monastery doesn’t get a lot of visitors. We’re pretty much located along the remote back roads of the Internet. There are no nearby super highways or cloverleafs. Most of the time we’re a pretty quiet group. Some of us are loners, either by choice or through social isolation.
You don’t really need any term of address in the monastery… just be you. The monastery, however, has optional terms of address — which can be fun or serious, depending on which direction your smile is facing. So, in a sense, ‘titles’ in the monastery are about what feels right to you, and mostly about saying, “This is something I enjoy.”
We are basically ordered in two parts: The Monastic Congregation and our Orders. Traditionally, members of a congregation were not required to take vows. Same here.
Self-Conferred Titles, for Members of The Monastic Congregation
- Member — self-conferred. No title selected, no title needed.
- Monk/Nun — self-conferred. Their personal home or residence, van or car, or maybe business may be referred to as a cell or even a monastery, sangha or dojo.
- Scribe — self-conferred. Diligently works to write or assist in increasing the monastery’s body of work. May provide organizational support.
- Brother/Sister — to go in front of your first name; self-conferred.
- Friar — traditionally, similar to a monk but living in a normal (non-monastic) setting. Traditionally practiced a somewhat less ascetic life. Arguably analogous to the concept behind the New Monasticism. Self-conferred.
- Hermit — self-acclaimed. A person who is temporarily or permanently in a reclusive or withdrawn state. Their home, residence or camper may be called a hermitage. Typically a hermit practices some form of asceticism, even if it is no more than isolated walks in the woods or elsewhere.
- Anchoress/Anchorite — similar to a hermit, but in some ways more intense. Historically, the anchoress was closed into a small room for life. The room was generally connected to the main church via a narrow opening or slit cut in the wall. The door was sometimes sealed shut. People would come up to a small outside window, which allowed sunlight in, to get advice. The Anchoress is a person who observes some form of ascetic life.
With regard to asceticism, the monastery does not advise members. Your decision for personal discipline, strictness or rigor is yours. For some it might be nothing more than avoiding plastic water bottles. It’s your choice.
Titles Requiring Vows
Komusō — Monk or Nun of Nothingness. This term clearly identifies the monk/nun as a member of The Order of Nothingness. Considered a lifelong commitment. Required to take The Six Vows of the Order as a self-initiation.
- Abbot — the head of the Order. Vows required.
- Prior — the founder/leader of a monastery or second in rank under the Abbot. There can be various Priors/Prioresses, who may be in charge of certain aspects of the Order. Vows required.
- Prioress — the founder/leader of a convent or second in rank under the Abbot or the founding Mother. Vows required.
The monastery’s social positions are strong and emphatic.
While there is a great deal of humor used here, including through our fictional characters, the monastery has real-life members. Some are priests, others consider themselves to simply be devout, each in their own way. To a person, they all shun attention and tend to be both anonymous and in some cases truly reclusive. And to a person, they are deeply concerned over the tendency of far too many people to surrender both their basic humanity and their fundamental consideration for their fellow human beings.
“Acquire inner peace and a thousand persons around you will find peace.” — St. Seraphim of Sarov, Russian Hermit
Most of our essays are serious in tone. The reason for all the seriousness is the clear direction the United States and much of the world is taking with respect to the deeply out-of-balance concentration of wealth and power, and the undeniable glorification of harshness, greed and divisiveness. Additionally, ecological threats to humanity are mind-numbing and of life-threatening concern.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has publicly promised that the agency would become “much more vicious” and aggressive. He said in one speech that the administration “is prepared to engage in activities that are different from what America has been doing these past few years.” — Source
We speak to these issues in our Homilies, and try to do what we can to find solutions. Solutions will not occur through arguing and ratcheting up even more blame and louder division. It will only occur when vast numbers of people realize they are being raped, pillaged and marauded all for the sake of more greed, more wealth, more consumerism, and more ruthless war machines. We hold out hope that vast numbers of people will have their “Aha” moment of realizing that we are not each other’s enemies.
Saying “enough is enough” will have little chance of success without mass unity. For unity to be successful on a massive scale, the message must be simple, clear and undeniably true.
A big part of the monastery’s solution-based recommendations draw on time-proven principles and practical ideals that have emerged from zen, taoism, religious teachings, philosophers, mystics, and Jiu Jitsu, including the insights of martial arts masters over many centuries. The monastery does not believe in yielding to what some might call the dark side, nor in the exalting of negativity, manipulation and greed.
Our recommendations are based on what’s been repeatedly proven to work in life and death scenarios.