What Clueless Me Learned From Monks? (5 Priceless Lessons)

Back in 2018, I visited the Tibet of India, McLeodganj. I was astonished as well as deeply attracted to the monks. I’d never seen or met a monk in my life. And yet I envied the calmness that I observed in them.

All I thought that they were the spiritual beings and of my no concern. But I didn’t know the other side of the story. I learned some priceless lessons for life simply by indulging myself in them. What they do, why they do, or even why they exist the way they exist. And believe me…

We can learn a lot from monks.

The story goes like this, it was my first solo trip to McLeodganj and I literally visited to rejuvenate my mind. Perhaps it was one of those moments in life when you incline towards finding yourself – the bigger, deeper, and higher calling or purpose of you.

When I saw monks, the thing that intrigued me most was how they’re so calm and peaceful like flowing water of a river. So joyous and seems to be happy in their skin.

I compared myself with them. Here, in my mind, there’s a rainstorm going on, and what I see before my eyes were such a serene example of calmness. I deeply pondered what’s their secret. I’ve been driven to their way of life. I learned about the Dalai Lama and secretly admired him.

Gautam Buddha inspired me even more, and a thirst for knowing more about him bit me enough to drag to McLeodganj – Little Lhasa.

A monks group at Namgyal Monastery, McLeodganj
A monks group at Namgyal Monastery in McLeodganj, India

Because this was my solo trip, I decided to make it even more so. I booked a private room, in a nice and cheap hotel called Hotel Ladies Venture. Fortunately, a range of perfect snow-clap mountains was visible through my window.

Evenings usually went wandering over the McLeodganj square. When I wandered, I used to see monks – wearing a long maroon-red robe with a shaved head. Gently smiling and talking with their fellow monks and other people.

Calm like a deep ocean and a dawn’s aura.

Due to them, I came to realize the power of meditation, and my interest in spiritualism was born. Here are 5 priceless lessons that clueless me learned from them:

1. Self Knowledge of Monks

Hold on for a minute and tell me this: Who are you?

Not your name, not your profession, not your education and neither your success nor failures. Without any humanly labels, really, who are you?

Widely speaking, not many of us truly know who we actually are, what are our weaknesses, and what our strengths are.

This can’t be well explained without Cooley’s quote which says:

“I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.”


We live in a perception of ourselves summed with the perception of others by ourselves. Monks practice self-actualization, consciousness, awakening mind, and self-realization.

They say when you truly find yourself, you find God. Maybe they are right. Perhaps that’s what they were not unhappy unlike as I was when I first saw them.

2. Service To Others

Monks practice servicing others, which could be other monks in the monastery or people of the outside world.

They are selfless. Devoted to helping others in achieving their real self by actually making them know themselves.

Their mindset can be thought with this quote:

“Plant tree under whose shade you do not plan to sit.”

Today self-love is such a confusing topic that people have forgotten to be compassionate and empathetic. Somehow I know we are wired to help each other, as people need people.

3. Meditation

Even 10-15 minutes of meditation can do wonders for your mind. This thing can be well perceived by knowing or observing the monks. Meditation is the exercise of our mind, and just like for good physical health we do physical exercises, in the same way for a better healthier mind, meditation is the key.

Meditation is yet another buzzword. But it’s actually not what it seems to be. Meditation is knowing the present and being conscious, whether you do that by observing a breath or a star in the sky – it doesn’t matter.

Monks meditate almost for several hours a day. Can you imagine? I was damned!


4. Self-Discipline

If one good advice I had to give to the world I’d say this: practice self-discipline, it’s a must. And it can only be achieved when you’ll truly know yourself, from the deepened roots of your soul, from the darkest corners of your heart.

Monks live their life in accordance with discipline. Waking up at around 4 in the morning, meditating daily, reciting prayers, and doing good to others — all are deeds by disciplined hearts. Lack of self-discipline is a big cuss that brings procrastination.

Recommended Book: Atomic Habits by James Clear

5. Happiness is Not Found

For a long time, I had looked for happiness. Sometimes in this person, sometimes in those things, and sometimes in self-help books. Where was my happiness, and why can’t I find it?

I saw monks, people, kids – all cheered up, clapping, talking with each other. But maybe I was looking at the wrong side.

Happiness isn’t lost or some thing which we have to discover. It’s already in there, and we just need to become aware. Monks spiritual practices makes them aware about all this.

If you think it yourself, you’ll find it. We are here briefly and certainly, you can’t get 365x24x7 happiness, but you can certainly know how to create them most of the time. Buddha says that we make our world with our thoughts.

At last, I think it all comes to this: knowing yourself, self-actualization, consciousness, and an awakened mind. Monks spend years in practicing these aspects. But in the end, it’s all worth.

Therefore, this all, hugely depicts that answers to our greatest questions lie within ourselves. We must find them.

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Vipin is a techie, traveler, and entrepreneur. He has done engineering in computer science and is an Apple Fan Boy. He is behind all the tech and content management of this website. Often, he shares his entrepreneurial learnings and thoughts on his Twitter.

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  1. Mcloadgaunge is an awesome place to be and the pics make me revisit and oh yes the monks from Sikkim to Himachal they are a hub of inspiration.