The first thing to relate about this experience is the joy. This has been a time filled with many days of joy and it is to be shared. Many people and events came together just for the ceremony itself, not to mention the path leading to this day. So before I describe bits of my personal reflections about becoming a Buddhist nun first I wish to make many sincere thanks.
Venerable Chodron has consistently helped from my first verbalized inklings throughout the whole of this process. And even the ceremony itself, which was very meaningful to experience, was due to her efforts so that it could occur in the English language. Venerables Tien-chang, Chan lu, and Tzushin all traveled from afar to conduct the proper proceedings, training, translation, and ceremonies. Previously Venerable Jendy had made many efforts to help us arrange for the requisite nuns and the translation of the ceremonies. Venerable Tien-chang spent weeks before arriving here translating the first draft of Chinese to English for the three ceremonies: Setting the Boundary, Sramanerika and Siksamana ordinations.
So now when I hear the word “re-joice” I think of this: “Re-member the Joy”. This has been a very special time for all of us associated with Sravasti Abbey: well wishes have been pouring in from all corners and it is literally due to all of the many many friends of Sravasti Abbey that this ordination came into being. Thank you all for making this possible! This is literally true.
It’s funny that I haven’t really spent much time thinking about ordination per se. Some years ago I developed interest in ordaining and the thought/motivations always felt so mixed. By mixed I mean a mix of wholesome and unwholesome motivations. It wasn’t clear to me at all but the feeling was always a “sticky” feeling: unclear. This type of confusion really was a common experience for me in many areas of my life. Luckily with regards to ordination I had very sound advice from my Dharma teachers which I followed.
Venerable Chodron from the very beginning advised that if one is interested in ordination one should focus on renunciation. So this has really been where my focus has been over the last few years. I rarely thought about ordination in terms of thinking about the robes or hair or change of name. I personally shun those moment of glitzy jazzy energy which for me is my internal signal of some type of deluded projection or fantasy regarding whatever the object happens to be that moment. I spent my inner quiet time focusing on the LamRim meditations that lead to renunciation. And I will continue to do this.
From the very beginning of having moved to Sravasti Abbey what has consistently helped is to realize how precious an opportunity it is to live here and be able to practice with this community, to have Venerable Chodron guiding and teaching us here, and to have Dharma teachers in this life. In my moments of clarity I am so thankful for having three spiritual teachers. Without their guidance my Dharma practice would be lame at best. And the Dharma is what makes sense to me and leads me out of confusion. Ordination is simply the sensible thing given our samsaric situation!