The Monastic Rule

Updated: 12 August 2005 (minor edits)

(This is the entire rule, formatted, as I wrote it. I will eventually break this up a bit and scatter it into the appropriate places on the website. But, for now, here's the whole thing, in one fell swoop. - Hxaosanto)

Table Of Contents

Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank everyone who has ever lived who has taken a stand and gone against the mainstream, from the first person to mess around with fire to the most recent Iraqi war protestors. I'd also like to thank everyone who has believed that humanity can improve and who look continually forward.

Preface

This is actually only part of the book “Embrace the Chaos”. I haven’t written the rest of the book yet, although I have an outline and a few notes so far. This part of the book was immediately relevant to me, so it was created first.

Introduction

I can hear people now: "What the hell is this? Why are you trying to impose order on chaos? Don't you know we're supposed to be free-form and do whatever we want?" Sure. I'm being free-form, too! See, watch me create a monastic rule! WHEE!!!

This isn't for everyone. Here in America, even monastics of mainstream religions such as Roman Catholic Christianity and Buddhism are considered a bit weird, maybe a little psychologically "off their rocker". That's OK, because mainstream American ideals and beliefs are not healthy and the fact that they look down upon those who decide to dedicate their lives to something besides money and possessions proves this fact.

I wrote this book out of a personal need. To make a long story short, my life has changed drastically in the past few years, more drastically than most others. Death, divorce, separation, confusion, depression, suicidal thoughts - these have all been present in my life and mind. I came to a turning point, a point where I could choose a path and a dream and follow it. Little did I know that path might be a self-initiated monasticism in the desert.

I have decided to reduce my life to its barest minimum. In the past, I've made conscious decisions to reduce consumption and live more sustainably, but this is a decision to reduce EVERYTHING. Yet, it is a decision to balance out my being. It is a decision to exercise my mind, body, and spirit equally. It is a decision to try to find out what this universe is all about.

Sounds crazy, huh? Yeah, you're right - it's nuts. Toss this book and go watch a sitcom.

...

(psst. Are they gone yet?)

Good. Not crazy, you say? Read on, and I hope that it proves useful for you and me both.

Why Be A Chaos Monk?

Why would anyone voluntarily regiment their life so as to exercise, grow, learn, and be amazed? "Why WOULDN'T they?” is the better question. In American society, we concentrate almost 100% of our efforts on physical needs and wants - we feed, fight, and fuck. A few people concentrate on intellectual needs and wants, which are a subset of the overall mental needs of a human being. Some people reduce both their physical and mental aspects and concentrate on their spiritual needs and wants (usually to their, and society's, detriment). But very, very few people try to balance all of these various requirements. That balance is part of this path.

What would you gain from being a more balanced human being? Plenty. Better physical fitness, increased mental acuity, improved memory, balanced emotions, respect for the universe, and a sense of calm. I know I sound like some New-Agey crystal worshipper, but I'm not. I'm just someone who's trying to strike a balance in all realms of my life.

"Well, how does livin' in the desert, freezin' and bakin', qualify as 'balanced'?" I'm glad you asked. It's a sustainable lifestyle. Sure, at first it will be extremely difficult, and at times dangerous. But at some point, I'll have a decent dwelling, a garden, and fresh drinking water, and I'll be living in an extremely healthy environment. And what did it take to get me to that point? Physical fitness. In the process of balancing, I've built myself a home on a patch of dirt, somewhere I can continue to be healthy.

"Fine, but chaos ain't 'balanced'." Yes it is. And no it isn't. At the same time.

Many religions preach such a balance in life, although they are mainly in the east. Taoism seems to have the strongest views on "balance", using it to form almost its entire belief-system. Buddhism emphasizes balance, renouncing extreme asceticism and other extreme acts. Western religions, on the other hand, are extremely unbalanced. Judaism proclaims a jealous God. Christianity and Islam follow that trend, with their own spins. None of the western religions (except Sufi Islam) have any sort of physical exercises built into them, instead considering physical existence "lower" and "dirty".

This balance isn't even the "goal", if there is such a thing. The balance I'm speaking of will allow you to further your understanding of the universe. In addition, more understanding allows more insight and control. I'm not a "Type A" control freak, but it's nice to be able to see things before they hit and nudge things when needed. This is where magick comes into the picture.

Magick is the process of understanding the universe well enough to see things that others don't see, and to do things that others can't do, and to fully live. Once balanced, you will have improved senses - not only the 5 physical ones, but other ones that we don't understand. You might see things that you couldn't see before. You'll also develop an intuitive feel for how to nudge things in certain directions. You'll be able to cause "Change to occur in conformity with Will", as old Uncle Al once said.

Do I seem a bit overzealous or serious about this whole matter? Yes, I probably do. And that is because I am serious about it. I am serious about growing. I am serious about learning. And I am serious about living. Some people think that makes me a bore; so be it.

This book is broken up into six sections, each of them dealing with a different facet of this sort of monasticism. "Ideals" lists the vague, abstract notions involved with the monasticism. "Personal Guidelines" describes how a monk should act and live. "Eremiticism" is a ten-dollar word for "the act of living alone, of being a hermit"; this section tells you how to act if you live by yourself or are the only monastic in your dwelling. "Cenobitism" is another ten-dollar word meaning "the act of living with others for the same purpose such as in a monastery"; these are used when you are in a community of monks, no matter how many live there (with a minimum of 2, of course). "Temple" explains various facets of temple-building and outfitting. And "Ritual" describes various standards for rituals. All of the six sections are considered as a whole; they affect each other and, except for the 2 exclusive ones ("Eremiticism" and "Cenobitism"), they have to be taken together. OK, enough spewing. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact me. If you decide to become a monastic, tell me about it; I'd love to hear about your experiences and practices - monastics should stick together and support each other. If you want to bitch, go join the fellow who left during the Introduction.

IA! IA! GESUNDHEIT FTHAGN!

Frato Hxaoso

Ideals

The "Ideals" section explains why someone might want to become a Chaos Monk and what they might expect to gain from such an effort. It also contains various viewpoints that should be shared by a monk during the time of the renunciation.

Personal Guidelines

The “Personal Guidelines” section contains basic rules for personal behaviour during the renunciation period - foods, patterns, schedules, actions, clothing, etc. These affect every monk, no matter what their situation. They are the basis of the rest of the sections. These guidelines are meant to cause changes to happen within you. Get ready, because they will.

Eremiticism

Eremiticism is the act of living as a hermit. It also covers situations where the monk lives among other people but is the only monk in said situation. If you don’t live in a monastery or with other chaos monks, this section applies to you.

Cenobitism

Cenobitism is the act of living with other monks in a group setting. This could be a formal monastery, a “roommate” situation with other monks, or any relationship in which monks are interacting with one another.

Temple

This section deals with temples, altars, ritual spaces, and the Temple Master. A monastery should have a dedicated temple room, or preferably a separate temple building. A hermit should have a temple space or personal altar. These areas are used for meditation and rituals.

Ritual

This section deals with rituals, ritual performances, ritual tools, and the Ritual Master. It covers both group and personal rituals and applies as needed to the monk.

Conclusion, or "What Do I Do Now?"

How the hell am I supposed to know?

That's the point: I don't know what you should do. Only you know that. Only you know what is best for you. If it's to follow some or all of this rule, so be it. If it's to parade around with oranges on your head, so be that. Maybe some sort of combination is in order. Or neither. Chaos reigns.

Embrace the Chaos!


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