Life lessons from Brisbane’s cleaning monk

Published by MAXSolutions on February 09, 2020
Buddhist Monk and Tibetan Refugee, Tashi Dhondup

Ordained as a monk by the Dalai Lama, Tibetan refugee Tashi Dhondup’s life could inspire an epic novel.

MAX Placement Consultant Nicole Champness has now become part of his story, helping him to land a job as a cleaner.

She sat down with Mr Dhondup to find out what life is like as a cleaning monk and what motivates him.

To be a good monk, he says, “you need to dedicate yourself to meditation, prayer, religious study, being a good person, prostration [the act of lying stretched out on the ground in a reverential position], sharing Buddhist philosophy with anyone who is interested and taking care of all sentient beings.” 

Because of the demands of the role, it is very unusual for monks to work.

“It is not forbidden for monks to work, particularly if you are doing it to help someone else,” Mr Dhondup said.

“Typically, your time is devoted to religious practice and your needs are met by the monastery and donations of food and clothing.”

But as he wanted to find work to contribute to the society in which he lives, and to help take care of his family back in Tibet, the team at MAX Fortitude Valley helped him land a job with a cleaning company.

He cleans 3rd Space, a drop-in centre where homeless people find practical support, friendship and dignity – a role that fulfills his desire to give back to the local community. 

Tashi Dhondup cleaning at work

Thanks to his new role, Mr Dhondup has been able to pay his family’s medical bills, enabling them to access immediate treatment and ongoing medical care. 

“In the past I was with other employment providers for many years without getting help or work,” Mr Dhondup said.

“I am very happy with MAX and Nicole, and glad for the support I have received to find a job.

“I am very grateful, and I appreciate the cultural understanding and support I have received at MAX.”


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