Sijo Po, Little Forest Shaolin Priest
Why are Shaolin Priests necessary in the 21st century?
A 21st Century Priest
Are priests still necessary in the 21st century?
Yes. Priests are needed more than ever. They exist as guides for personal spiritual development. They do not act as agents of an organized religion, stuffing values down one's throat.
The priestly class is a relic of history. The idea of a priest is outdated and the notion of being one is laced with controversy. It is from a time when one major religion dominated a particular geography, and when people did not have the proper information, or right, to choose the religion or the values associated with the belief system put before them. Afterwards, even when people had choice, and information, the choice of spiritual paths was restricted to organized religions. Therefore, many people turned away from spirituality, because they turned away from religion. Unfortunately, something needed to take the place of spirituality, and what replaced it was artificial and unsustainable social norms.
Even today, in an increasingly fast paced, informational overloaded, high stress life, people loose perspective on the meaning of life.
People search for happiness in career promotion, partying binges, and trying to emulate artificial and unsustainable social norms. Most people end up unhappy, burned out, and depressed.
The reason for this outcome is denying the spiritual needs of humans.
Every human needs some kind of spiritual outlet. This is not to imply that every human needs religion. Religion is an organized and systematic spiritual and social process. But many people prefer an individual approach to their views and their lives. Therefore, what many people need is a way to get in contact with their own spirituality, but in their own unique way. What people need are guides to spirituality.
Little Forest Shaolin priests are spiritual guides:
-we act as spiritual anchors in a fast paced world;
-we act as beacons shining light where there is nihilistic darkness;
-we act as mountains when inner mental, emotional and spiritual strength is needed.
Defining a New Purpose
What is a 21st century priest?
A priest in the 21st century is a spiritual guide first and foremost. A priest guides the spiritual development of anyone wanting it. The priest acts as a role model for balancing the desire to progressive in spiritual awareness and living in the real world. As our teachings suggest, it is the harmony of two philosophies:
Zen Mahayana Buddhism: Searching for alternative ways to perceive the path to enlightenment. Finding enlightenment in oneself.
Taoism: Living in the world, being connected to it. Surrounding yourself with all the vices and temptations of the material world, but never being corrupted or tempted by them. Living in cities.
What do people need from priests in the 21st century?
People need priests who can guide them when they need guidance and direction. Most importantly priests are life teachers, who teach others who want to learn. Some of the key things that people want to learn are:
Learning to lower stress with a minimal amount of free time.
Learning to slow down.
Taking moments of spirituality.
Learning to work more efficiently. Law of diminishing returns.
Learning to maximize health with minimal effort.
Learning to be happier with what one has, not what one desires.
Learning to take time for God/spirituality, but not in an organized religious setting.
Learning to build confidence in oneself.
Being A Shaolin Priest
What does it mean to "Be" a Little Forest Shaolin Buddhist Priest?
Being a priest of the Sacred Shrine takes getting used to. There are no strict rules to keep us on the path, no explicit doctrine to conform our thoughts, and no vengeful deity to punish us when we go astray. It is our own will and the support of others which moves us along the path and towards our goal of spiritual enlightenment, happiness, inner peace and harmony. A priest needs to be hard on themselves instead of relying on systems and rules to be hard on them. But self discipline is only one aspect of being a priest of the Sacred Shrine.
Certain specific personal characteristics make a good priest. These characteristics can be found on our crest: patience, discipline, endurance, perseverance, and transformation.
The priest applies one self to specific tasks, which are also found on our crest: meditation, education, do what you can, purpose, happiness and spiritual enlightenment.
Why should someone become a Little Forest Shaolin priest?
You have feelings that you were always meant of something more in life.
You are a genuinely good person.
You want to devote your life to making a difference, one person at a time.
You want to walk a path that is enriched, fulfilling and rewarding.
Which character traits are needed to be a priest?
Integrity, honesty, courage, selflessness, righteousness, patience, discipline, perseverance, transformation
How our priest differs from social convention?
A priest of the Sacred Shrine is not a "typical" priest that one would normally imagine a priest to be in society.
Many of the "restrictions" believed to be placed on priests simply do not exist. We can eat meat, we can drink alcohol, we can take a partner, we can have material wealth, we can believe in another religion, we can have a day job or another career. The importance is placed on balancing spiritual enlightenment with living everyday lives in society.
Which skill sets are needed to be a priest?
A blend of classical and modern skill sets.
Classical: meditation, teaching, philosophy/theology, Kung Fu
Modern: counseling, project management, business and administration
How does someone become a priest of Little Forest?