I Want To Be A Monk (Flash Fiction Part 2)

Image by Judith Scharnowski from Pixabay

This is the second half of the story. The first half can be found here.

“To live with your mother?” Aryin stares at her husband with a bitterness that’s more bitter than the herb medicine she has brewed for her weight loss and indigestion. “Remember last time your mother and I lived together. That was ten years ago and she almost killed me.”

“Oh, dear, that’s an accident. She didn’t mean to do that. You said you had already forgiven her.” Her husband says. “You know, being a monk has been my spiritual aspiration for many years. And I’d like to experience it, to get away from the same old administrative duty and meaningless social events.”

“How about my aspiration to be a president’s wife? Have you ever considered my aspiration?” Aryin screamed, but to no avail. Her husband is determined to be a monk.

His mentioning of his mother somehow gives her an idea that she can plead her case with his mother. Although she doesn’t have a good relationship with her mother-in-law, she can’t help thinking that the old lady may not want her son to be a monk.

So the next day she paid a visit to the old lady, only to find that the old lady is very supportive of her son’s decision. So supportive that she is willing to endure the misfortune that her daughter-in-law may have to move in with her. “You are welcome to stay with me.” She says that with a whimsical smile, knowing for sure that her daughter-in-law dislikes her too much to make such a move.

Not getting her mother-in-law’s support, Aryin goes to see the elders of the temple.

“Your venerable guru, please have some sympathy for me and my family. Miz is a family man and he’s not your monk material.” She pleads.

The temple elder answers with a beautiful speech filled with benevolence and compassion, but the answer is no.

Aryin says that she may be homeless if Miz becomes a monk. And the elder says, “you are welcome to be one of our nuns. You will have the chance to study Sanskrit and live a life away from human follies and vanities. You can be an apprentice nun first before becoming a real nun.”

Aryin can’t believe her ears. He’s basically recruiting her.

“I am willing to donate several months of Miz salary to your temple if you can turn Miz away.” Aryin says.

“We don’t take bribes.” The elder says. “I became a monk ten years ago because I was tired of all the corruptions going on in the world.”

Aryin comes back home and doesn’t know what to do next, other than resigning to her fate. She calls her female friends, but none of them can offer her any good ideas. The problem is for years she has made female friends that her husband approves of, and what he approves of are usually women who dedicate, body and mind, to their husbands with no innovative idea of their own.

Unwilling to give up her fight, Aryin tries a new tactic. She talks about the hardship a monk would face–no good food, no private room, no private bathroom, no possibility of having some fashion sense, no freedom to decide on his own schedule etc. Miz listens and is a little alarmed. Obviously he hasn’t thought about all the details of the daily arrangement.

“My venerable guru, what kind of living condition is there in your temple?” Miz asks the temple elder the next time they meet.

“Don’t worry. I promise you that the best accommodation is waiting for you. You are our VIP monk. You have a private office, a private boarding room with a private bathroom. Exactly the same accommodation as I have. Very comfortable. And if you have any special requests, we will be happy to satisfy.” The elder says.

“I feel quite flattered. I only want to be a monk, to read scripts and meditate on life. And I know that I am just an apprentice monk at first. Such a warm welcome and a high level accommodation is quite… I don’t know how to describe my gratitude.” Miz says.

“Oh, well, you are very special to us. And of course being a special person, you are going to help us with our effort to increase our influence.” The elder says.

“What can I do?” Miz asks.

“Well, you are going to attend meetings, conferences, ceremonies. Talk with potential donors. Host fundraising events. You are not going to have a life of those regular monks.” The elder says.

“Basically you are asking me to go begging for money, just like what I have been doing in the university.” Miz says.

“Exactly. You’ve got five years of experience doing that. I am sure you are going to do well for us.” The elder says and smiles at him approvingly.

“Actually I am tired of doing that. I just want to be regular monk.” Miz says.

“Oh, Miz, don’t be so selfish. This is a new temple. We need to market ourselves; attract patrons; seek funding. A temple has to survive financially. We all have to pitch in. We can’t allow you to be so selfish to only take care of your own spirituality. If you want to be a regular monk, you will be living in the temple dorm with 20 persons per room…”

The elder continues with his enumeration of all the discomfort and Miz can’t listen anymore. He quits the temple as fast as he can.

It’s a great relief to Aryin that Miz finally comes to his senses. She can sleep well now at least for the foreseeable future. She hopes that Miz’s next whim will not come too soon.

20 thoughts on “I Want To Be A Monk (Flash Fiction Part 2)

  1. Yes – there’s no escape from all the messy human stuff, even in a monastery. I guess that’s why there have always been hermits and recluses.

    The mother-in-law / daughter-in-law relationship interests me. The joke in British popular culture always used to be that men hated their mothers-in-law. In *real* life it’s nearly always wives in conflict with mothers-in-law!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. Even a monastery. One has to have a practical approach even in the purely spiritual place.

      Yes, mother-in-laws are really really bad. i mean in the old days when women have to live with their mother-in-laws, it was terrible. Now it can be a choice–I mean sometimes when one wants the mother-in-law to come to take care of the grandson.

      Like

  2. This almost sounds like a case of not being able to escape one’s karma. If it is Miz’s karma to attend events and court donors as a university president, he will also do so as a VIP monk. I somewhat feel sorry for him, but it is good for Aryin. Hopefully MIz can reconcile his desires with his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, so true. It is karma, isn’t it? Poor Miz. He should be able to chase his own dream, not being hampered by all the worldly obligations and his wife’s aspiration. However it is hard to escape it if one wants the comfort and amenities of one’s old life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha! I guess the rat race is everywhere. Materialism has simply drained the minds and hearts of any spiritual fervor. People will suffer all their lives but won’t give up their greed for it and soul searching also comes with a price tag. It’s sad… Only the brave few can unearth a deeper meaning. Great story. Lots of wisdom. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. Thank you for the explanation. I tried to portray this ironical concept, but I didn’t describe it very well. I tried to say even spiritual places like a temple have to be materialistic to a degree. However, this aspect is not portrayed too well, eventually being obscured by Miz and his wife’s story. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

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