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A Day in the Life of a Buddhist Monk – Say hello to Manapo. He’s a Buddhist Monk, and TrueTube followed him around with a camera to find out what he does all day.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:


Component 1: The study of religions - beliefs, teaching and practices: Buddhism - Human destiny - A ‘perfected person’ (Arhat) and Bodhisattva ideals, Buddhahood and the Pure Land. Buddhahood and the Pure Land - Buddhahood and its relation to Pure Land Buddhism. Meditation, the different aims, significance and methods of meditation - The visualisation of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.


Area of Study 1 – Buddhism - Section 3: Living the Buddhist Life - Meditation: the nature, purpose and significance of meditation in Buddhism; the different types of meditation: samatha (concentration), metta bhavana (loving kindness) and vipassana (insight); meditative practices, including mindfulness breathing and zazen, divergent understanding of the nature and importance of visualisation of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, including Amitāyus Meditation Sutra; how the different practices are used by Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists and the benefits from their use. Chanting: the nature, purpose and role of chanting in Buddhism as a devotional practice and to gain mental concentration, including Dhammapada 1–2, confidence and joy; the divergent understandings of the importance of chanting in Buddhist life today with reference to Theravada Buddhism, including Tiratana: Dhammapada 190, and Mahayana Buddhism, including Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Mantra recitation: divergent understandings of the nature, purpose, role and importance of mantra recitation with reference to Theravada Buddhism, including Namo Buddhaya (‘Homage to the Buddha’), and Mahayana Buddhism; the nature and purpose of using sacred syllables, devotional articles, offerings and mala beads and why they are used in different schools of Buddhism.


Component Group 1 -Buddhism-Beliefs and teachings & Practices - Buddha and Enlightenment • The life of Buddha •• The early life of Buddha •• The Four Sights •• Defeat of Mara •• Enlightenment •• Nibbana • Issues related to the life of Buddha, including the importance of Buddha for Buddhists in the modern world • Common and divergent emphases placed on the life of Buddha by different Buddhist groups •Different interpretations and emphases given to sources of wisdom and authority by different Buddhist groups


2.2 Unit 2 PART A - Christianity - Core beliefs, teachings and practices Beliefs –Practices - Special Places  Significance of a place of worship (Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 18:20)  Purpose of pilgrimage, places, activities, experiences in Wales and elsewhere e.g. Holy Land, St. David’s, Bardsey Island, St. Non's Well


Component 3 (Route A) - Option 1: Buddhism - Practices -Buddhist places of worship in Britain and elsewhere ➢ The importance of features and functions of temples and viharas; statues, shrines, stupa and meditation area. Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist temples in Britain compared to those in countries where Buddhism is widely practised. ➢ Offerings: food, light, flowers, incense, offerings of food to monks (dana)

A Day in the Life of a Buddhist Monk

Manapo  My name is Manapo, Manapo Bhikkhu, and I am a Buddhist monk.

Manapo  A bhikkhu is a fully ordained Buddhist monk. The word literally means one who depends on alms, not these kinds of arms, but alms as in gifts of food. A typical day will begin at 5:30, so a bell, big bell will be rung at 5:30, and then hopefully everybody gets up, and then at 6 a.m., there is what we call morning puja, and that is an hour of chanting followed by meditation.

Manapo  (monks carrying out puja)

Manapo  Buddhist meditation is a combination of samatha and vipassana. Samatha means calming, stilling the mind, making it peaceful and most importantly, clear. Vipassana means insight and this is the goal of Buddhism, so we are developing a concentrated mind that is able to see things clearly and then let go.

Manapo  Then at 7:30, we have chores and these go on for an hour. An important part of the monastic discipline is looking after the place in which you live. You would usually find monasteries to be very clean and well kept places. Then at about 8:30, I will have a period of personal time.

Manapo  Enlightenment is when we fully understand the Four Noble Truths. The first noble truth is that this ordinary life of ours involves suffering. The second noble truth is that our suffering is caused by our craving and our desires. The third noble truth is that this suffering can be ended by letting go of craving. And the fourth noble truth is the Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha's teachings which lead to the ending of suffering.

Manapo  Then at 11, we eat our one meal of the day and we have to eat that before 12, and that is a ceremony. So, we monks have to formally receive the food so we don't just go and help ourselves. It's all given to us. I've been a Buddhist monk for almost 17 years and I haven't had any money during that time, not even a penny. So that means that we are completely dependent upon the generosity of others. As a monk, being dependent on what people give to me, I am grateful for whatever food is offered. However, I choose to be a vegetarian. A central teaching in Buddhism is, is compassion, wishing all living beings to be free of suffering. In the process of producing meat, there is obviously an enormous amount of suffering in the animal world, and so we want to help animals by stopping eating meat.

Manapo  As a Buddhist monk, I don't have many possessions. There are eight basic requisites which we are supposed to have, which includes three robes, there is the alms bowl, there is a water filter, a razor, a belt, and the needle and thread. Buddhist monks robes are usually yellow or orange or brown, and in ancient India, yellow was the colour of renunciation. The word renunciation means to leave behind, so when we wear this, this yellow robe, it's the same colour as a leaf that's about to fall from a tree. It signifies that we have left behind the so-called ordinary life, the rat race. So we leave behind our money, our wealth, our family and an and relationships. We also leave behind our hair and our normal clothes. I shave my head for the same reason that I wear the robe, so it's another symbol of renunciation. Hair is often closely connected with vanity. People spend an awful lot of time on their hair and their appearance by shaving off our hair. We're saying that physical appearance and beauty are not important when it comes to the pursuit of of real happiness.

Manapo  On the day that I became a novice monk, I was given the name Manapo. Manapo is a Pali word, so Pali is the, the language of the ancient Buddhist texts. It means, the likeable one, so whether my teacher found me likeable or whether it's something I need to work on, I'm not quite sure.

Manapo  During the late afternoon. We have time to ourselves and it will be similar to the morning period, so walking meditation, sitting meditation, perhaps some private study, reading of Buddhist texts. Walking meditation is very similar to sitting meditation in that we focus on just one thing. So we we have a number of paths, a number of walking paths around the monastery, and they're just straight paths, and we walk back and forth and as we walk, we focus very carefully on the soles of our feet touching the ground.

Manapo  As a bhikkhu, I am not married, I don't have a girlfriend or a partner, and I am not allowed to get married.

Manapo  So at 8 p.m. we have evening puja, which is more or less the same as morning puja, but the chanting is a little bit different.

Manapo  (monks chanting)

Manapo  After evening puja, we have personal time again, and then I go to bed, usually between 11 and 12. So as a monk, I don't get as much sleep as most people. I do get more than what the Buddha actually recommended, he recommended four hours. And the reason why we don't need to sleep as much is because meditation practice, in part fulfils the function of of sleeping and dreaming, because it can be a very restful activity. The thing I find most rewarding about being a bhikkhu is that it gives my life a purpose. One of the most difficult things I've found about life before, was the sense that it had no purpose. I realised that I'd been born, I was going to live a bit and then I was going to die. What's the point in that? But as a monk, I've given my life a purpose, and that purpose is to reach enlightenment, which means to free my mind from all greed, hatred and delusion. I might be some way off, but at least I have a purpose.

A Day in the Life of a Buddhist Monk

Video length - 08.46
Published date - Sep 2017
Keystage(s) - 3
Downloadable resources

Charlie and Blue Learn about Enlightenment – Zippity-zip, let’s go on a trip! Charlie and her favourite soft toy (and best friend) Blue visit a Buddhist Centre to find out what it means to be enlightened, and how Buddhists try to live more peaceful lives.

Charlie and Blue Learn about Enlightenment

Video length - 5.50
Published date - May 2016
Keystage(s) - 1
Downloadable resources