I Want To Be A Monk (Flash Fiction)

Image by Judith Scharnowski from Pixabay

Flash Fiction #127

“I want to be a monk.” Miz announced in the dinner party his wife Aryin held. He had threatened to become a monk several times before, but never had the conviction to carry it out.

Aryin was furious. Why did he choose such a moment to reiterate this? Didn’t he know Aryin wanted his support, particularly for this annual event?

It’s an important dinner party for her and she had prepared for it down to the last detail. After all, she’s the wife of the president of a university. Her dignified existence required such a well organized party to be thrown annually. Aryin didn’t ask much from her husband, except to be there, to smile, and to behave himself, but Miz couldn’t even meet such a minimum requirement…

Aryin didn’t think her husband was seriously thinking of becoming a Buddhist monk, but still telling people about it in her party, the most important yearly event for her, seems to be frivolous, inconsiderate. Even worse, it’s such a betrayal.

Miz had been the university president for five years and his work really depressed him. Every day, he was mired in meetings and parties for fundraising or other purposes. He disliked his job. He’s a scholar and wanted to work on his scholarly projects. Before becoming the president, he was a happy professor, who just did his teaching, research, meditation, and yoga. He loved those days of simple existence. However that’s not enough for his wife who had all the ambitious designs for him.

If his wife had not insisted in him taking this job as the president, he would not have done so. The job had its prestige, but the nature of the job was not to his liking at all. He found that he was either begging money from institutions, government agencies, wealthy alumni or attending boring social events that he had no interest in. In the meantime, his own scholarly ability is shelfed and squandered, growing increasingly rusty and disused. He felt that he was living his life just for her, to satisfy her desire to be a university president’s wife.

After the party, he said again to his wife, “I want to be a monk. I feel that my job depresses me and I want to take a break from it. You know the new Buddhist temple is going to be open soon and I have already talked to the elders there. They said they would love to have somebody like me. You know I can even try for one year. If I don’t like my life as a monk, I can quit. In the meantime, I can give up the president’s position, take a one-year sabbatical from the university. It seems it all works out very well.”

Aryin looked at Miz, wishing she could hit him with a glass, a plate, a chair or her high heel shoes, just to knock some common sense into him. “It all works out very well for you, doesn’t it? Have you ever considered me? Have you ever considered your family? We’ll have to move out of the University President’s house. I need to pack up everything. One day I am the president’s wife, and the next day I am homeless. Where am I going to live when you stay in your monastery? You are a wonderful scholar, but I’ve always felt that it is the craziness of your mind that have made you a good scholar. The insanity really runs in your family, doesn’t it? Your grandfather became a monk when he was sixty, wasn’t he? But you are not sixty yet. You are too young to be as incurably mad as your grandpa. And other people would laugh at me. Have you ever considered that? A monk’s wife? Do you want to wear an epithet like that wherever you go?”

“I am sorry I am going to bring inconvenience to your life.” Miz said. “Well, you can live with my mother if you like.”

(The second half of this story is here.)

26 thoughts on “I Want To Be A Monk (Flash Fiction)

    1. I once watched a documentary about a woman in Thailand who’s a teacher. And she aspires to be a nun and then she becomes a nun just for the experience. I think that’s such a wonderful thing that one can really think about something and do it. Several years later, she just come back to be a teacher again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am interested to see if he follows through. Although becoming a monk would be a noble endeavour Aryin is right because he would be abandoning his family. It would really disrupt their life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This happens not so infrequently in regions where Buddhism is widespread. I guess Buddha is considered by people as a psychologist or a sanctuary. Whenever one is disappointed in their marriage or profession, they will go there to seek solace.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sorry to hear that. I was surrounded by chaos growing up so I thought Buddhism would help me find inner peace. That’s why I was so devoted during my younger years.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you. I hope Miz and his wife can reach some agreement. I am the reconcile type and I don’t like to be too drastic or too dramatic, although sometimes the advancement of the plot force one into a cruel and horrid ending.


  2. Actually this also reminds me of the film “Clockwise” starring John Cleese as a headmaster – except that the Cleese character is ambitious, unlike Miz. But he misses a train and ends up in a monastery by chance after a series of mishaps. In his despair he briefly resigns himself to the life there – but of course “real” life soon intrudes and he has to carry on striving. In a sense Miz is probably a better candidate to be a monk because he realises the emptiness of his life in the midst of worldly success – whereas Cleese would probably have carried on as he was if it hadn’t been for this major setback.

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    1. I heard of this movie but I’ve never watched it. Haha, Cleese can be an interesting monk in a monastery if he behaves like the owner of the Faulty Tower. I mean he will really make scenes in the quite religious place.

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  3. Interesting. I didn’t realise the system was so flexible – that a married person could become a Buddhist monk for a year. I wonder if the Christian monk set-up is equally flexible. I suspect not. I guess it depends which order you apply to.

    I wonder if he would be able to visit his wife – or she him. I remember once visiting a friend who was a Christian monk. We had tea in a small room. It was quite cosy.

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    1. Yes, in countries like Thailand and other countries, (though each region has its own style and custom), it is very common to go in and out of a temple several times throughout one’s life. It doesn’t matter what one’s marital status is. I think that’s a really good system. I watched a documentary about a woman who’s a teacher. When her children grew up, she felt that her life became empty. So she became a nun for several years. The duty of a nun is to go “begging” for food every day. It really doesn’t matter to her at all that she’s a teacher for one day and a “beggar” the next. And people just respect her all the same. I wish all society and all people can be flexible, tolerant, understanding like that.

      Liked by 1 person

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