Buddhist and non Buddhist people have a lot of ups and downs in their lifes, doubts, fears, anxiety, regrets etc... we understand that as impermanence.

Do monks experience similar things of aftet joining the Sangha their lifes are pretty much "peaceful and flat"?

  • Good question, I'm very curious to the answers. Is this not a bit subjective though? Sep 16 '14 at 17:19

Take a look at Ajahn Lee's autobiography, page 16 and onward.

His practice slackens, he grows disillusioned with being a monk, and he begins an obsessive debate within himself about whether to disrobe or not:

But looking at the state of my meditation, I could see that my practice had grown slack. I was becoming more and more interested in worldly matters. ...

One day I went up to a hollow space at the top of the chedi and sat in meditation. The theme of my meditation was, 'Should I stay or should I disrobe?' Something inside me said, 'I'd rather disrobe.'

... 'The people in the Great Metropolis aren't deva-sons or deva-daughters or anything. They're people and I'm a person, so why can't I make myself be like them?'

I questioned myself back and forth like this for several days running until I finally decided to call a halt. If I was going to disrobe, I'd have to make preparations. Other people, before disrobing, got prepared by having clothes made and so forth, but I was going to do it differently. I was going to leave the monkhood in my mind first to see what it would be like.

So late in the quiet of a moonlit night, I climbed up to sit inside the chedi and asked myself, 'If I disrobe, what will I do?' I came up with the following story.

If I disrobe, I'll have to apply for a job as a clerk in the Phen Phaag Snuff and Stomach Medicine Company. I had a friend who had disrobed and gotten a job there, earning 20 baht a month, so it made sense for me to apply for a job there too. I'd set my mind on being honest and hard-working so that my employer would be satisfied with my work. I was determined that wherever I lived, I'd have to act in such a way that the people I lived with would think highly of me.

As it turned out, the drug company finally hired me at 20 baht a month, the same salary as my friend. I made up my mind to budget my salary so as to have money left over at the end of each month, so I rented a room in the flats owned by Phraya Phakdi in the PratuuNam (Watergate) section of town. The rent was four baht a month. Water, electricity, clothing, and food would add up to another eleven baht, leaving me with an extra five baht at the end of each month. ...

I won't paste it all, as this goes on and on for several pages in insane detail as he imagined what might happen if he disrobed. I think the amount of detail is indicative of how much he wanted to disrobe right then and return to lay life.

But he concludes:

Finally I decided to call a halt. My wife wasn't what I had hoped for, my earnings weren't what I had hoped for, my children weren't what I had hoped for, so I left my wife, was reordained and returned to the contemplative life.

  • Priceless answer, +1
    – konrad01
    Sep 16 '14 at 18:42
  • Wish you could share the entire part of the story. This is brilliant. Thank you Sep 17 '14 at 2:12

Monks are humans too. They experience the same ups and downs in terms of how meditation practice goes. Also any emotional upheavals. But conditions are more suitable for serious practice.

Since abandoned worldly affairs the chances of stress from these sources (responsibility, obligations, need to earn or work) are not there.

Since you don't own much stress from ownership of property doesn't happen.

Since your influence on the world (power, positions) has been abandoned stress from these areas don't arrise.

Since you have abandoned class, cast, clan, relatives, friends, family, etc. any distractions from these sources are eliminated.


Could we not just ask ourselves, "do we have ups and downs in our lives. If so, then is this not a sign that Buddhism does not strip you of humanhood, but teaches you to assume a more mindful perspective.

a more extensive study can be found here http://viewonbuddhism.org/depression.html


Of course! You don't liberate yourself from suffering just by ordaining.

Whether or not they have big ups and downs depends on conditions and what you mean by ups and downs. Some monks get really down when they aren't enlightened, and really up when they experience peace.

The only one who is free from ups and downs is one who is free from dukkha. :)


Evryperson can take things to be a part of their life or they can just ignore it. It depends how attached a person is to a certain object,person. More a person meditate,less atached they get and hence there is less waries.

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