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.