I have followed the Dharma for the last ten+ years, and have been married for thirty. l have reached a stage where my progression is noticeably obstructed by the Layman's world. I've talked to my spouse(non Buddhist), but she is upset and doesn't want her world to change. What advice would you give to both of them?
There are several options for you.
- Keep the marriage life and visit a monastery for meditation for couple of weeks every six months.
- Give up the marriage and get ordained. But before you do that, make sure your family has a steady income to survive.
- Keep the marriage and meditate whenever your wife does not need you.
- Keep the marriage and just be mindful of everything you do in lay life.
What changes do you need to make? What roadblocks do you believe you can't overcome in your current situation?
Enlightenment can be attained no matter what your circumstances are in life are. Living using monastic princaples can assist in removing distractions that can be enticing, but if your practice is strong, you can walk the path no matter where you are in life.
There seems to be some sort of misconception that you must ordain to become enlightened or must live according to specific guidelines. The key to walking the path is cultivating morality, concentration, and wisdom. Use the five aggregates to help balance you along the path. Follow the Buddha's teachings in morality as best as you can. Cultivate concentration and wisdom through meditation. No matter your living conditions, you will still be observing and analyzing the same experience.
I encourage you to ask yourself while meditating, what makes up my desires to make changes in my life? The beautiful thing is, you already (and always will) have everything you need to attain new wisdom!
In addition to Sankha's answer, I suggest that you could share the Dhamma with your spouse.
According to Itivuttaka 100:
"There are these two kinds of gifts: a gift of material things & a gift of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a gift of the Dhamma.
"There are these two kinds of sharing: sharing of material things & sharing of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: sharing of the Dhamma.
"There are these two kinds of assistance: assistance with material things & assistance with the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: help with the Dhamma.
"There are these two kinds of mass-donations: a mass-donation of material things & a mass-donation of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a mass-donation of the Dhamma."
I think you should stay with your wife. Only you can really decide. You must think about reality. You made a promise to this woman and she made a promise to you. Also, though, many people get divorced, you must decide if wanting to go deeper into "pure" practice, is your only motive, well... Please read the Vimalakirti Sutra http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Reln260/Vimalakirti.htm I suggest you read this Sutra, over and over. I read a section every night, before I do a Tantric Sadhana of Manjusri and Saraswati, Father, Mother practice. Also, Here is a great link The Suttas of spoken to Mahanama https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.025.kuma.html Here is one more. the Buddha spoke over 5 times to this cousin of his, Mahanama. Please find the other 3 when you have time. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.013.than.html My last idea is, go slow, let the whole situation unfold. Don't try to make something happen. Let an unfoldment occur. I personally think you should do more weekend retreats and also give your wife a reward for putting up with living without you, while you are gone. Peace, my friend. You can do it. Well. I personally think, in this day and age, most people will not be happy in a Monastic life, forever. Finally, If it's not one thing, it's another. That's what people used to say when I lived in Philly. If you want more suggestions, message me anytime.
I just got one more idea. Instead of you going on retreats, take your wife and children camping. Start out slow. Go somewhere that is peaceful, like a mountain lake., with other people nearby. No wilderness camping. Or go to a beach resort: Get in touch with nature with your family.