I was raised as a Catholic boy in England's West Country, congenitally unable to conform to my teachers' expectations that I believe without question. I grew into an angry and confused teenager and, at the age of twenty-two, abandoned my honours degree and hitchhiked alone to Asia. It was a dramatic trip, to say the least, and I count myself lucky to have survived and to have met the Tibetans.
I was ordained as a Buddhist monk in the Gelukpa tradition in 1974, trained in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Switzerland and began teaching in 1982. I left shortly afterwards, gave up my place in the Buddhist mainstream and stopped calling myself a Buddhist. However, I continued to put what I learned into practice, nourished my respect for the historical Buddha and remained on the lookout for people of like mind. I’ve wholeheartedly distanced myself from the religious practice of Buddhism; to put it another way, I’m far more interested in the Buddha than in Buddhism. I teach mindful reflection as a way of facing up to the grimy realities of life and not as a path of trancendental escape. As appealing as that might be, I find reality more pressing.
When I returned the robes to my preceptor Geshe Rabten, he told me, “Once a monk, always a monk,” and he wasn’t kidding. True, I was giving up the privileged lifestyle, but whatever had been embedded in me was still there. Since then I’ve practiced without any of the formal trappings and outside of all traditions, hence the title of my blog The Naked Monk.
My primary interests are teaching and writing. My personal website is schettini.com and my professional one Quiet Mind Seminars. I’m a happily married businessman with two step-daughters, my share of stress, and the conviction that certainty is an illusion.