Buddhist Monk Returns to Life After Four Years In Retreat

June 20, 2009

Author: Melanie Reid

Source: The Times Online


There are things you expect a Buddhist monk to say when he emerges, blinking, after four years of selfimposed retreat from the world. And there are things you don’t.

“It was a bit like Big Brother without the cameras,” said Gelong Thubten. “What did I miss? I missed my Mum and ice cream.”

What he found to replace them, it seems, was a profound inner happiness and an almost tangible aura of stillness and calm.

In June 2005 Gelong Thubten, 37, from the Home Counties, was voluntarily incarcerated in a remote part of Scotland, cut off from radio, television and telephone communication. Apart from letters once a month, he and his 14 fellow monks were divorced from the outside world.

He has spent the time following an intense and disciplined schedule of meditation and prayer, shutting out the material world and focusing on the inner mind. For 19 hours a day, seven days a week, he has been practising life inside his own head. During five months of the second year, the monks observed a vow of silence.