MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Monk Manifesto

with 4 comments

Monk: from the Greek monachos meaning single or solitary, a monk in the world does not live apart but immersed in the everyday with a single-hearted and undivided presence, always  striving for greater wholeness and integrity.

Manifesto: from the Latin for clear, means a public declaration of principles and intentions.

Monk Manifesto: A public expression of your commitment to live a compassionate, contemplative, and creative life.

1. I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.

2. I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.

3. I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.

4. I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.

5. I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.

6. I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.

7. I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.

© Christine Valters Paintner

Written by MattAndJojang

March 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

4 Responses

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  1. Very interesting, Matt. The vows are so very simple and can be applied to anyone. Thank you for sharing.


    March 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

  2. I’m not really fond of manifestos. But I have to admit that I really like this one. After reading the manifesto, Jojang said that the manifesto reflected who I really am. 🙂

    Yes, Red, we really don’t need to live in a monastery to experience the benefits of monastic spirituality. The spirit of the monastic life and its practices can be easily applied and adapted by any body. For many years I’ve been trying to do that and it has really helped me in my relationship with God, and in living a more compassionate life.

    ~ Matt


    March 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

  3. Words are interesting – poor “manifesto” has been co-opted by so many political movements (e.g., the Communist Manifesto) we’ve forgotten its original, simpler meaning: “a public declaration explaining past actions and announcing the motive for forthcoming ones”.

    This manifesto does a very good job of making that meaning clear, saying “I have made a decision to do this” in order to, in the future, “accomplish that”.

    There is so much wisdom here. I especially noted #7 – ongoing conversion. I can’t remember which order emphasizes it, or where I read it, but at least one monastic tradition emphasizes “poverty, chastity and conversion of manners”.

    Just think how different our world would be if we could start with a little conversion of manners! There are a whole lot of ill-mannered people walking around these days!


    March 30, 2012 at 7:59 am

  4. Words, indeed, have so much power – for good but also for ill (as you’ve pointed out very clearly, when you mentioned the Communist Manifesto). The Scriptures confirm this: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21).

    You’re right, the heart of the matter is #7. It really won’t matter much if we forget that the goal of any form of spirituality (including monastic spirituality) is “ongoing conversion and transformation.” That’s why the Benedictine monastic tradition emphasizes so much “conversion of manners.”

    To heed the challenge to commit ourselves to changing our lives is not easy. But it is a challenge worth taking, not only by Christians, but by any person of good will.

    ~ Matt


    March 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

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