What does it mean to become a Celtic Buddhist Monastic?
Celtic Buddhist monasticism is about dedicating one's life to the spiritual quest through meditation, liturgy, communion with nature, service to others and seeing the self, (which is nothing more than humility) within and with the support of the community of monastics, and informed by visitors and sangha.
Besides taking the 16 Mahayana Buddhist precepts, Celtic Buddhist monks, at the time of full ordination, take 4 monastic vows, dedicated to the benefit of all beings.
The first vow is to recognize the sacredness and interdependence of all life, and to vow to not kill or take life, no matter how insignificant that form of life may seem.
The second vow is to cut through and relinquish all attachments and clinging. This refers not just to wealth and material possessions but to emotional states, comfort "needs" and habitual patterns.
The third vow is a vow of celibacy, which is not a turning away from intimacy, but rather a finding of a greater intimacy and working with states of aloneness and longing.
The fourth vow is the vow to commit oneself to the welfare of all beings, to abstain from eating meat, and to strive to recognize and experience the intelligence and wisdom of all the kingdoms, especially the plant kingdom.
The purpose of these vows is not to restrict, but rather to liberate us, to help us benefit all beings and to give us the tools we need for this journey that we desire to take.
Until such time as we have a enough monastics to run an in-house business, monks will live communally but help with expenses by having outside part-time employment. Monastics will all participate in the daily schedule and in communal meals and be expected to abide by all monastery rules. However, all monastics are respected as individuals with individual karma and paths. And all fully ordained monastics will be allowed a voice in monastery decisions.
Celtic Buddhist monasticism is not gender biased, and it is hoped that more women will choose to become monastics within this lineage. Women have for too long been denied access to or restricted within religious communities. This new lineage is a chance for women to create a monastic experience that is unique.