Devotion and service are a time-honoured training of the heart in the spiritual life, not purely reserved for samanas but available to all.
|Seen in this light, the Winter Retreat is actually part of the Sangha's offering to the world. Whe the activities die down and conversation ceases, there is a chance for the mind to see very clearly into its own nature: compassionate service is based very accurately on the foundation of relinquishmet of self. The two are necessary alternate faces of the same coin. This deepening insight into anatta is the proper way to establish the Dhamma and Sangha. Then the motivation is not based on missionary zeal but rather on a willingness to add whatever little one can to this Way out of Suffering.|
Despite the suffering of the world in general, one certainly sees the best side of human ature in a monastery. Apart from the efforts of fellow samanas, one derives a lot of inspiration from the commitment of the lay people who come to look after the Sangha during such retreats. The lay people, for their part, are very grateful for the opportunity to help the Sangha, and they comment on its benefits. Devotion and service are a time-honoured training of the heart in the spiritual life, not purely reserved for samanas but available to all. It is so joyous and peaceful to be able to give oneself to the Triple Gem. That is where we find our true advancements: in turning back from conceit and views, and from the demands of the me and mine.