“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ordination Pedigree

So, Ummm,,, was thinking about the infinite universe, like sitting by a window watching the view when a rock hit the window. It was a message from Venerable Sudhamma who is registering folks for the Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering. The form had a place for what was highest ordination and who was ordaining master which I had filled out but I listed the full ordination master in the box under the date of novice ordination. So I corrected the form to include both  novice ordination master and full ordination master.

Now the thing is, Sensei ordained me when the Bhikkhunis ordaining Venerable Dipa rejected us.

This is old news to most anyone reading this and even for me it sounds like the proverbial beating a dead horse. But since ordaining as a novice have heard so much controversy and discussion around various members of the Sangha today here in the states regarding the dates they were ordained and who ordained them and whether it was acceptable or not, whether the reporting of their experience is accurate or not, whether there might be some claims that are less than complete, really reflecting the difficulty many westerners have had becoming ordained.

For us this is like discussing the pedigree of a dog who enjoys agility challenges, it is immaterial. I remain student of Sensei since she is focused on the practice not the lineage. No doubt about it - that is the heart of the matter. When frustrated with one another we will often say we are utterly incompatible but highly complementary. I tend to like structure and form but that is not as productive and I can see that, so her practice provides instruction for me that is very beneficial.

Venerable has a lengthy court case that details the reasons she undertook to ordain me herself and why this is acceptable and appropriate for the time and place, very Atticus Finch/Gregory Peck-ish. She had to develop this to help me cope with the isolation and seclusion we live in. By reiterating it to me periodically she softens the liver qi constraint that occurs in me when contact is made between those with legalistic inclinations and ourselves. The proverb about living in a glass house comes to mind. Our practice is to let go, repeatedly. Bring it up, let it go, fall down, get up - until all the chaff is blown away and only the purified emotions remain. To those who have supported us and continue to bear with these efforts I thank you and apologize for the staleness.

Thing is - as the onion peels each layer feels fresh to the one inside. This layer is a projection of what those who rejected us will respond like when they find out that Sensei ordained me herself. It is just a projection, which is a story - and see what stories do? Devastating, no good at all.
This is the practice, recognition and then substitution, substitute something better to think about. Another appropriate technique from Sensei’s teaching of the Dhamma would be to take on the suffering of anyone else feeling the same way, since I feel this way I might as well suffer for others feeling the same way so they don’t have to. Another way is to embody an avatar of compassion or wisdom, this is a marvelous practice. There are many others - see her workbook.  

Once upon a time Sensei was told that Buddhism is not a self help practice, but indeed how else could transformation take place?  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “ As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

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