Research Paper By Mihaly Kozak
(Life Coach, HUNGARY)
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a Gaudiya vaisnava organization and its core beliefs are based on Hindu scriptures. (Klostermaier, 1998) Hungarian Society for Krishna Consciousness (HSKCON) is the Hungarian branch organization of ISKCON. Krishna believers, devotees, were present in Hungary in the early 1970s and the church was registered after the change of regime in 1989. (Kamarás:1998) The institute depends on volunteer manpower which consist monks and nuns (called temple devotees) and congregation.
Reasons for joining and leaving temple life
Sivarama Swami wrote that temples were established to teach devotional service to Krishna. Devotees move to temples to get overall devotional education, following a regulated spiritual practice, develop service attitude in the association of the devotees and become a missionary to spread Krishna consciousness. When devotees have a desire to intensively following this life they move to temples. Living in a temple is suggested to every devotee for at least a part of their lives, let is be a few days, a few weeks or a few years. (Sivarama:1993)
When devotees feel that temple life is not satisfying for them anymore, or desires arose inside them which cannot be accommodated in temple they may chose to live a civil life.
Support system for the transition
There are two types of supports for those who want to move out from the temple.
1. Institutional change
In the beginning becoming a temple devotee meant a lifetime commitment. The church was facing that most of these devotees moved out from the temple after a few years so they created a new membership structure which facilitate and ‘authorize’ this type of transition. The new system is defining different statuses of the church members and describe the movements between the different statuses. It helps the process of transition by offering the options for the individuals.
According to the the new system devotees do not become monks or nuns for a life but they join for certain period of time for education. After they finished their modules and want to continue their studies they have to reapply again. In this system moving out is not an option but a natural course of life. Temples are becoming more of educational centers where devotees go for study and they automatically leave after they finished their education. (Tasi:2001)
2. Advisory help
The other support is an advisory help system from seniors, spiritual masters and friends. It is very important to build up good relationships, friendship with other devotees so they can be a valuable resource of support and inspiration when needed in life. (Bhaktivedanta, 1975) These people know the personality and psychology of the devotee and they may advise if this is a temporary difficulty or one’s best interest to make a change in their statuses.
The author’s opinion life coaching could be an important addition to this list as a professional help for the devotees in this transition.
Process and principles of transitional coaching
Transitions vs changes
The words transition and change often used interchangeably. William Bridges compares the meaning of the two words. Change is external, situational, event based, defined by outcome and it can occur quickly. In the meantime transition is an internal, psychological, experience based, defined by process and always takes time.
It shows how substantial is the difference between the two of them. Change is a onetime occurrence and happens without the the people transitioning. While transition is an ongoing process of dealing with the changes, where people gradually accept the details of the new situation and the changes that come with it.
According to this definition moving out from the temple is a change. Getting to this point and building up a new life and following the whole process is a transition.
Bridges defines three phases of a transition: The ending, the neutral zone and the new beginning. Transitional coaching does not start with a beginning but with an ending.