The Responsibilities Of A Householder

Until recently I thought that there was a continuous gradient between the lifestyles of various householders and a monk. I thought that as you progressed on the path your life would become more and more monastic. I was neglecting the fundamental difference between these two paths. While a monk has given up all material possession and is expected to be dependent upon society for their daily meals, householders have a serious responsibility to plan for the future. Of course we don’t know exactly what the future holds but it’s irresponsible to depend on society to care for us.

Being a householder means taking responsibility for our material well-being. We must find a proper livelihood and work hard to provide for ourselves and the people around us. Initially I thought that trusting dhamma meant that dhamma would take care of me but now I think it means that dhamma will simply help me see the right path. It’s still my responsibility to walk on it.

Once I choose to be either a householder or a monk, I should accept that role and the responsibilities that come with it. Following dhamma isn’t just about slowly becoming more and more like a monk. It’s about living with as much love and compassion as you can given the role you currently play in society. At least this is my current understanding. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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