Saturday, December 4, 2010

in brief

Yes, yes, yes. I’m alive, well, happy, Bhikkhuni, back to Thailand and on retreat agin.
Sorry for not writing earlier.
Now I’ll try to catch up in brief to the latest news. Which is not easy because the time was so full and rich that every hour was worth to be mentioned in (this unimportant) blog.
I remember mentioning Willis pancakes in one of the last posts I wrote.
Well, after that I got back to America, San Francisco. A friend of the Dhammadharini picked me up at the airport and took me straight to the forest where I had spent one day and night in April.
A large area of natural grown redwood forest on a hillside given to the Bhikkhuni Sangha by the wonderful person Jill, who her self lives on another part of the land. I found a spot to stay which was - in my opinion - the most beautiful spot. Meditation there was so great and easy …
Conditions were kind of rough. The facilities extremely basic but the spirit wonderful. On my second day I received Samaneri ordination and could finally make use of the robes Sirikarn gave me and I was carrying around since months. It was a simple but beautiful ceremony.
From the beginning on I felt rather bad, physically, after sitting and walking meditation for so long my muscles had degenerated. Every step one made was either up or down the hill, it took two weeks to build up some muscles again. And I had again stomach problems, different than in Thailand, but quite present pain, gases and diarrhea. I did mention sometimes that I feel like a wrack and needed a lot more sleep then usually but only in the end, I could go to see the doctor to and took some antibiotics to get rid of intestinal bacteria.
The prospect of being ordained as Bhikkhuni and the good meditation on the land made me forget the pains and hardships and I was very happy all the time. The ordination took place on the 29th of August and was an auspicious, marvelous, beautiful event. It felt so right, so right to finally take the ordination. The end of an inacceptable situation, which makes life much more complicated but gives it sense somehow. It was Americas first dual- ordination with all four parts of the fourfold assembly present. Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, lay men, lay women. Maybe I find a link to some pictures and to an article in the huffington post, if so I’ll publish it here. s
Bhante Gunaratana, who was the elder who gave us our first ovada after the ceremony said to me “And now do never disrobe again.” Yes, may I never disrobe! Still so much joy and gratefulness arises often when I become aware of being Bhikkhuni. It feels right.
After the ordination I had two weeks for personal retreat. Great time! Without the pain and diarrhea I would probably have levitated above the hillside out of joy. With the pains and so I at least had a very happy time sitting on my cushion.
It was good to come to know that women groups are not necessarily dominated by hormone driven disasters, hysteric attacks, endless chatter – which can turn 3 month in torture. No, this group, and after our ordination, this Sangha was harmonious, friendly, open and supportive. I was not the only one with health problems but nobody complained. There was too much work to do, no end to see and everybody wished to have more time for meditation – but that was just not possible.
Back in Thailand I was very well cared by Sirikarn who picked me up at the airport and cared for me for some days. With her help I could get from one place to another without breaking any rules …
I arrived at my former monastery on the Kathina day. The welcoming was very warm. Many, many people Mae Chiis, monks, lay people, rejoiced that I had become ordained. Ajahn gave me some time for rest, two day to be exact, then I started a retreat. It took about one month.
Now we tried to get a one year visa for me, no problem as Mae Chii to get one, but as Bhikkhuni I don’t get it because Bhikkhunis do not exist according to Thai law. They suggested I could disrobe … funny. What I can get are 3 months visas, as it seems, so I’ll try my luck with this and consider to travel to Sri Lanka and Australia.

Monday, August 30, 2010

ordination ...

the wish to ordained as Bhikkhuni has ceased into a peaceful smile.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


the time I spend in Germany is flying by. Tomorrow I will head back to North California and spend my vassa, the rains retreat in a redwood forest Sonoma coast together with Bhikkhunis, Samaneris and lay women.

If you ever want to do a retreat in Germany, practicing mostly on your own, I would recommend the Anenja Vihara. (just write the name in google and you get to their web page in German or English)It is a small monastery for women in one of the most beautiful places of Germany. I met two Samaneris and two Bhikkhunis there, all very nice, friendly women keeping up strict monastic life. A little bit aside of the mainhouse is a caravan for men, so, dudes you are not excluded from this lovely spot. I hope to get there again one day and will meet the head of the vihara, who was on Tudong for some weeks when I came.

For now I just hope that I will be able to enter the USA without problems and will not be caught in customs for many hours as it happened last time. I have documents that show that I'm invited, that I have my roots somewhere else in, not in America and a ticket to leave the country on time, at the end of October to Thailand. A Thaiwoman whom I met last time will pick me up at the airport and bring me to the Vihara of the Bhikkhunis who together with friends prepared the forest site since months to become a suitable vassa retreat place. I followed their efforts online and feel ashamed that I was not there to help. But I have an incontrovertible excuse, US visa restrictions.

I will be offline with very few exceptions. In case of emergency please write to, messages will be forwarded. But of course I do hope nobody will need to send an emergency-message.

May you who reads this and all beings be happy and peaceful every moment. Love is there when you have it in your heart.

P.S.: As a farewell lunch my mother's friend Willi prepared the world's best apple and blueberry pancake today. Yesterday he made another of my favorite dishes, Reibekuchen ... Danke Willi!

Friday, July 16, 2010

western diseas

Another phenomena of people living in households is to need to be the one who is right.
Yes, I was like that and I apologize if any victim of my former need to be right is reading this. What a hell. We are all getting older. End really comes into sight, we should make sure that we do good for others and to be with people who wants to do good for us as well.
But no! The contrary is the case.
Instead of creating an ambiance of peace and harmony where one cares for the pains and hardships of the others, for the well being of all, care is just focused on the fault of the others and on being right.
There is no sense in wanting to be right, having the last word, dominating the other, in biting and biting back. The seed of hatred is set with every word that is spoken by wanting to be right. That’s pure suffering.
Maybe it comes along with the pain …
When I started to write this blog I was the same, I remember post telling about monks behavior and there was the wanting to be right involved. It changed by the time - yet it's not gone it still arises in me but I can observe it and let it more and more often.
Now I write about people in my environment and feel I do it out of compassion. Is that so, Phalanyani? Even in this compassion that sometimes is unbearable strong there is a touch of "I know better". It upsets me a bit to see people act and speak hurting themselves and others. And sadness has it’s roots in anger or different said: it is arising because I have a disposition for anger and the wanting to be right eg. want the people to understand that developing peace and love is just more fun. Hence, I’m still creating unwholesome … If I were radiating peace and love people around me could see what fun that is.
So, excuse me everybody, there is work to do.

Meeting the past

Now, again at my mother’s house I stay in the room that was my room for long. It is a little bit like a kuti, a small kuti though. It has a bed, a shelf and a heater. It is separated from the rest of the house through a small patio and originally was a storage for tools and stuff but I was very happy to have a room on my own and not to share with my sister. It’s not a perfect nun’s quarter but it is allowable because it is separate. As all things from childhood the room, too, looks smaller now than it did then.
To my big surprise the town has developed to its better. When the family moved here about 43 years ago the settlement was build on farmland in the middle of nowhere on the edge of a small village, some forest, some farms and a highway. The trees of the settlement are grown now some forest is still left. Not that I really like it – but it gained charm with the years.
It is very interesting meeting people, most are very friendly to me, although some stare. My mother’s spouse picked me up and brings me if I have something to do (like applying for a visa) he often cooks (very good), likes my dog and shares his food with it. By the way: It’s not my dog anymore, it clearly states that it want to be my mother’s dog.
I recognize some of the neighbors by hearing their voices but if I would meet them somewhere I would not know them. It quite a while since I came here last time … Only one, I will always recognize. She got older, has feeble health but she is as warm hearted and loving as she always was. Meeting her again after many, many years I wanted to tell her how much she means to me, how she changed my life, directed it into the good direction, how important she was etc. With a short, harsh “I know” she interrupted me and smiled in a way that almost made me cry. LOVE.
All people around me have strong pain, physical they say. It is really astonishing, everybody I meet here speaks of pain. Is it a new German phenomena??? I can’t help because my “accept it”, “breath into it”, ”just observe it and take it as what it is, a feeling” are not very popular. I’m very sorry and would love to be able to give relief from pain but can’t and don’t believe in healing powers other than the power of one’s own mind. But it is interesting to see how different people are dealing with their pain.
From lamenting, silent bearing, taking pills or drown the pain in alcohol every strategy is present. How lucky am I to have no pain (or just very little). There is no escape from it. All these strategies don’t work well, all just temporary solutions. How would I wish to tell all these people to focus on the pain to see through it and make peace with it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

lifes surprises

After 2 years in Thailand I come to know that the relation between women and men are much easier here in Europe. It is a relief, to be honest.
I met my brother and family, friends, old neighbors had my feet in the ocean and a birthday retreat with a friend whom I know since long. We worked for the same company and she starts to discover Buddhism. What a joy to help her with this task.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm still on the journey, meeting friends and family, seeing places that I used to love and miss.
15 days ago I met my dog, I was concerned before that whatever might happen. In the end it turned out that it send clear signals that it likes my mother and wants to stay with her. For her it is very good as well to have it because she needs to walk.
A great detachment and disillusion took place. And a joy. Not that I love anybody or anything less than before, in contrary almost.
It is this compassion and love that makes the detachment so joyful.

It might happen that I can receive Bhikkhuni ordination in August. The option of ordaining in July is canceled so far, or better said postponed to next spring. August is another option. Not confirmed. But it is an option and I will go back to California for the vassa, where a ordination ceremony will take place in August. May I be one of those who receive ordination there and then.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm leaving on a jetplane, don't know when I'll be back again

tomorrow in the afternoon I will leave america.
It feels good. Although I loved to meet my family, was happy to make new friends and get to know some very nice nuns, it's time to go. I would prefer to go somewhere into solitude, a retreat would be good. But it's not on the list yet.
Next step Duesseldorf. Seeing my mom and "my" dog again after two years. I will not arrive in a easy, pleasant situation there, thus I know already, but - it could be worse, i guess. Mom is happy to have me back and although she is not in good conditions she sounded strong when I talked to her this morning.
The farewell from Ajaan was short. He didn't look at me and didn't say much, two words if I hadn't asked for a blessing.
Anyway, he may have his reasons which I don't understand. May he not have any problem with me or anything / anybody else, may he remember me as a loyal friend and succeed in his strive to get a meditation center. It seems that I can't help him and then I wont.
I'll go my way and do deeply hope that the postponement of the ordination will somehow be canceled and that there will be an ordination for me before this vassa.

hehehe :o)))))
perception ... :o) it really works in a funny way and men's perceptions are genuinely working different than women's. :o)
A man had thought I'm in love with him. Even if this man would match in age and anything else, which is not the case and even if he would be attractive, which he is not (ok,ok, that's relative, subject to personal tastes and views) - I'm a nun and happy menopausing.
We were talking about it the other day with some women (the menopause, not the man)... sexual interest has just gone and that's perfect, well at least for the nun, for others it causes some problems once in a while.
I have come to the conclusion that some men have just too much self esteem and are overvaluing their potential of attraction to women.
None the less, I love you guys, 'unerotic', unconditioned, as the beings that you are. :o)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a blessing

here is suppose to be a link don't know if it works it shall lead to a blessing

first try to publish 'taking refuge'

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

recorded blessing

today I found out how to record with my computer. Wanted to send a blessing and the going for refuge to the triple gem for the soon coming Vesakh day (28.5. this year) ... now I just have to figure out how to add an mp3 file to the blog :o)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

postponed ...

As I said in the comments the seed is planted but one does not know when toreaping the fruit …
Yesterday I went with the woman I’m staying with to the Bhikkhunis here in Los Angeles to say good bye and to talk about ordination in July.
I don’t want to claim that I have the supernatural power of seeing into the future but since quite a while I had the impression that ordination will not be in July – and right! It will not be in July. It might be at any time from July this year until end of vassa next year. I will receive notice some months in advance. December was mentioned …
I was cool yesterday but it was hard to keep. We went to meet Ajaan after seeing the Bhikkhunis and I would have started crying if I had talked about it. It’s not that I’m upset all times, but quite a lot of upset moments are coming up.
Then I can really wait until next year after the vassa, until Ajaan can take part.
In the end it’s important to give up desire and to become free from suffering. I wasted half a year running after something, the ordination, I will receive it, just not when I want it. Often when my mind was unquiet searching for a place to ordain, thinking about the unfairness of the treatment of women when it comes to ordination etc. etc. I knew deep down that I’m wasting time by concentrating on something that does not lead to freedom from suffering, so on something off topic.
I will continue keeping the 311 rules even when not ordained. It’s more important to be at peace and to work on the final goal, enlightenment than having the title Bhikkhuni. *sigh* It’s easier written then done. Patience, Phalanyani.
See if he will receive his meditation center finally and if then I’ll be invited to be there. It seems quite sure that I will not come back to America for the vassa, unless there is a meditation center, which now is most uncertain. To go for the vassa and then leave again is just too expensive.
(I do, of course, consider in a hidden nook of mind to go for the secret ordination and then just stay in the forest in Thailand somewhere, but there are some obstacles, like putting those monks who do it to go to jail for an ordination that will probably not be accepted by anyone, obtaining a Thai visa once mine expires …)
Thanks, guys, for mental support, the agony goes on but I will try not to be in agony any more.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

same old question agin

Still I am at the lay peoples house and the best is, they are as happy to have me as visitor as i'm to be their guest. She told me that she was afraid and worried before I came, how it will be to host a nun. Yesterday she asked if I could extend my stay ...
The best is, she has a lot of questions about meditation and I can give her answers. The man i hardly meet, and I never spoke with him.
Day before yesterday I finished sewing the bhikkhuni vest so that I have now one entire st of robes complete. After finishing sewing I started to learn pali, second lesson today, it's easier that Thai.
I can meditate a lot but my concentration is not strong these days. Lots of thoughts are swirling through the mind.
Yesterday I met Ajaan, again I asked about Bhikkhuni ordination. He lately changed his mind and tells me I cannot stay with him as my teacher after ordination. asked if I can stay with him if I wait until he can do the ordination and then ordain with him, he said: "that's possible"? asked if I could until then continue to keep the Bhikkhuni rules he said: "if you do not claim to be a Bhikkhuni" asked if I could come back when ordained as Bhikkhuni with someone else he answered: after 5 years." "After two years, then, it's two years for Bhikkhunis to stay with their preceptor" I said.
The situation is difficult, there is presently no place for me, there is just no room, and if or when the situation will change is most uncertain.
So I was thinking last night what to do ... Give up every further try to receive ordination and hope that in one and a half year, when Ajaan is ready to ordain, that he until then didn't change his mind and still is willing to give me ordination and that the situation with the meditation center will be better and there will be room for me to stay.
Or just go for ordination whenever with whomever it will be given and forget about Ajaan.

Not an easy question.
I'm open for input.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I'm back in L.A. The climate is much more convenient, warm at night, sooo good.
Not that I want to complain about the shed in my sisters garden. It's lovely. Just the climate was not that one would enjoy a breeze through the cracks or a little shower of fresh rain water upon the pillow. It shouldn't have been windy or rainy at this time of the year and I hope for those who will stay in the shed, now that I'm gone, that it will be a bit warmer.
Here I stay in the house of some lay people, a Thai couple. They've put two extra doors to separate "my" part from the rest of the house, to make the room situation more proper. So nice of them. Now I have two rooms, a sleeping- and a meditation room full of Buddha and monk statues and a huge bathroom. What a luxurious live. It's quiet and as I found out today very good for meditation. I feel grateful and fortunate.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

the story of the little one

long time back, humankind was not jet developed, a small creature lived in a place that is now known as Europe, in a cave in mountains that many millenniums later would be called the Alps.
The creature was, without her having knowledge of it, a female being, a young one. She was hairy but not as hairy as an ape. She was able to walk on two legs but sometimes it was comfortable to support walking with the long arms, when they were not used to carry or do something.
Although she didn’t know to count days or years and couldn’t tell her age (or was aware that something like ageing existed), she knew that there was someone living before her. Two creatures who cared for her, fed her, then showed how to find food herself, how to find shelter. Both creatures were taller than she herself but she was getting taller, as well. There were other creatures around, similar to her and to the taller ones, all living in a big cave. Some of the taller ones went away regularly to get other creatures, different ones, who were there for eating and for keeping warm. Some creatures, those tiny ones, were funny to watch, some creeping, some wiggling, some moving through the air. In the end it was all about finding out which of all these creatures were easy to catch and good to eat.
By the time she had noticed a changes, sometimes it was cold, dark and ugly and everything was covered with white, for a long time, or it was muddy and it was very difficult to find enough food. Then it got warmer and more pleasant very slowly, green sprouts and roots and moving food in abundance, then it got dry and warm and water was sometimes little and then all green disappeared. Most times it was cold, although she could not tell it was.
And there was another change she noticed, a quick change between light and darkness, warmer and colder, the dark was full of weird sounds although most tall creatures seem to be sleeping. The bright light sounds were friendlier, more familiar than those of the dark. Sometimes she watched the light dots above her but had no idea what it was or what or why the dark was.
When watching the moving things move, or the green things grow out of themselves or the light spots above her or when others came after some time with new food, she had feelings although she had now words for it. She couldn’t share with the others what was going on, not only because there were no words but as well because the others were busy getting food.
There was something inside her, moving, always, sometimes faster, sometimes slow, sometimes it seemed to jump out of her, in occasions. She had seen this in the others as well, there was always something moving, like they were full of this moving creatures they were eating. She was wandering what was inside of her. Was it the same like those beings that they caught and ate?
She had learned that there were dangers, that was when everybody’s insides were moving quickly but they hid and kept quiet. She understood that she, too, is food for others. She also had learned that some of the taller ones stared smelling stronger and losing the red liquid, at that time others of the taller ones were more aggressive and always around the bleeding ones attacking those who wanted to come closer. She had none of it, not the bleeding nor the being around aggressively - and was very happy about it.
Once it happened that 3 of the tall ones didn’t come back with food, among them was one of her caretakers. Others went to find food.
They had to eat a lot of green in the meantime. Suddenly, after eating, some of the others, tall ones and small ones, could not get up anymore, they were winding and whimpering, bad smelling liquid came out of their bodies and then they didn’t move anymore.
Only three bleeding tall ones and some short ones were left, when unknown walking-on-to-legs-creatures came into the cave. She, the little one, was in the back of the cave, not seen, hidden by a rock. She heard screaming, growling, beating, she smelled the red liquid and a smell that she knew from fear. She had fear, immensely. After a while all sounds ceased and she dared to look over the rock. She was alone …
After some getting bright and darks the smell in the cave was unbearable - the ones who had eaten the green didn’t get up or moved, they had changed color and looked like left-over-food when it was not eatable anymore - and she had not eaten for some time, so she left the cave. While she was looking for some green to eat, always looking out for unknown ones and carefully choosing only the green that she knew, she saw one of the tall ones she knew coming back from far.
No one else was coming back, but he had at least some food with him. The creature he brought had a back shield. She took it, cleaned it and managed to fasten it on her back. She felt strong and protected with it.
They left the cave and moved higher up on the mountain where they found another cave, good protected and not easy to find, right behind a cliff above a deep abyss. Here it was more cold and less food but enough for them to survive.
It was a perfect place to live, once other creatures came close to the cave and when they were on the cliff above the abyss, her caretaker just pushed them down the abyss and they never came back and he expressed his victory and triumph with roaring sounds wild gestures. That happened quite sometimes.
One day the tall one came to her, with a look and a smell she knew from the aggressive tall ones when they rub over the other tall ones that were bleeding. He came over her and suddenly she felt incredible pain. She screamed and wanted to get away, he forced her down and stared rubbing. She felt pain and fear and hatred. She was bleeding between the legs. Now she would be like those who were bleeding sometimes. She didn’t like that.
It was a cold white time, and he was about to go and get some food, without hesitation she came after him and pushed him over the cliff. She didn’t want him to rub over her again and she knew that he wouldn’t not come back anymore, once over the cliff. She felt strong, victory, triumph!
Only at getting dark outside she noticed that she was alone now. And becoming hungry, she noticed she had no more food. With next daylight she went out but could not find any green at all. She felt a fear creeping up within her stronger than she ever felt before. It was cold alone, and hunger weakened the body. Next day she walked further but found no green food. At night she couldn’t sleep of fear and hunger and she tried to get deeper in her back shield that had become smaller somehow. She tried to eat the cold white. It helped just very little and she was shivering of cold. She decided to go down and find the others in the old cave, they must be back.
She found the cave and approached carefully. It smelled different than when they had left. No sounds! - but they must have come back, the cave was not abandoned. She tried to find some green food, slowly without making noise and then headed back to the cave. When she heard sound from afar she ran into the cave without hesitation and hid behind the rock as she did earlier in danger. The face as much into the corner, crouched, with the back shield to the open, though, not visible until someone would come into this corner of the cave. She heard her heart beating loud in her ears and tried not to breathe although she seemed to need more breath than usually. She heard the sounds of the others coming closer, the sounds were not familiar. Someone else took over the cave.
She remained unmoved in the corner for hours, just listening to the unknown sounds and to her heartbeat. Fear, fear. No way out! Trapped! She wanted to see who had come to live in “her” cave but didn’t dare. A single sound or movement could reveal her presence.
She was hungry, thirsty and weak, highly concentrated not to move and to control her breath. The entire day and night. First it was pain all over not to move, now she couldn’t feel her body anymore.
Her inner made noises, she couldn’t control that. Then she heard someone coming closer, then she felt something cold or hot, not possible to distinguish, then it felt hot all over or cold, a light flashed inside her and then perception stopped.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

carmel again

back at my sisters, it's warmer now, think I will not get a cold on the kidneys again while sleeping in the shed and the itch-pimple-desease that the Bhikkhuni and I caught when we were in the forest is gone. Strange that I got sick so often here in the US. Anyway health is back and I have 3 and a half weeks left to stay in America.
Short before leaving the Bhikkhunis I was told that I have their support for my Bhikkhuni ordination. I was very touched, HAPPY!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


It feels as if it would be time for the next intensive retreat. But the situation is just not favorable for it. After reading a lot Dhamma, living with the sisters, staying at my sister's, going to the forest etc.etc. I would like to retire from samsara. What have I lost here? Is there any importance to leave the room or the meditation cushion as long as one is not yet enlightened? No, not really.
But I'm on the go. Tomorrow my brother in law will pick me up and I will again stay for some days with my sister and her family.
After that? It was planned I'll be back in L.A. beginning of May to help prepare and then attend the Ajaans birthday which is on ninth of May. But presently I'm not sure at all, if I go back there. I came to help establish a meditation center which unfortunately will not be done so fast. Instead I met an Ajaan who didn't seem to welcome or need me and a secretary who didn't want me and convinced some of those who treated me equal to a monk not to do so anymore. hmmm.
No, not angry, I see that it is not the moment yet to have that center, I saw it's potential arising and ceasing and understand the causes. no reason for anger. But going to where I'm not welcome ...? Of course, a lot of money was spent to get me there, to meet the Ajaan. Stay in a situation that makes unwholesome thoughts and anger arise in a person? Disliking, disliking, disl ... but I should stay with my preceptor, if I or others like it or not. It's my obligation.
Last night i spent one hour turning on my mat, thinking the cause back and forth until I finally remembered that I'm a strong meditator and should not have my mind go astray in wild thoughts about past and future happenings or places I want or not want to be, but just wait and see what will happen. All I know is that I will not fight for any position as for example to be a secretary instead of the secretary nor will I break any of the rules to appear more aimable and helpful. I can't do a chore for laypeople and if a lay asks me to serve the monks and clean, i can't do that. Anyway, after watching two risings and fallings of the abdomen I fell deeply asleep.
In the end, I have to go to L.A. because I will leave from there to Germany on 31. of May. I still could go to see the nun in South Carolina but I have no sponsor for that anymore, she had to recall her offer.

Ajaan, mentioned now 3 times he could give me ordination when the time comes, (in 1 1/2 years), I should more deeply consider if this could be an option.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a remainder

Don't wait until everything is perfect to be happy, but accept imperfections, shortcomings and hardships. Happiness is to be found beyond that, within the persent, not in perfect conditions.

It seems that some of us who went to the forest last weekend come back with a cold. Does that make the forest less beautiful? or the joy of being there less experienced? No, certainly not. It is the time for resting now ...

I didn't mention, that I share the meditation room here with another woman, means, I share the sleeping place with another person and even throughout the day we spend a lot of time both in the same room. Not a single sighn of panic arose, when it occured to me that I will have to share room nor am I bothered in any way by sharing it, My sleep is deep and calm. Not long ago I would have had panic, anger, aversion against a person who has no aversion towards me, I would most probably have just left the place finding an excuse eventually. But I'm just fine.
Not that I am a friend of room sharing now but I notice happily that I really did overcome this neurosis, with a lot of gratitude for the Buddha and his Dhamma. Meditation changes ...

Monday, April 26, 2010


since some days i stay in north california with a Bhikkhuni and a Samaneri. Short a while after my arrival a laywoman who wants to ordain one day came here. We spend some harmonic days together in the town residence. For the weekend we went further north to the redwood forest. wonderful land, redwood trees in the montains at the coast. there is a future Bhikkhuni training center, some people have cabins or caravans hidden in the forest. We were invited to stay in the cabin of one of the Bhikkhuni's friends. It was a beautiful cabin on a beautiful spot. a little cold, though but we had warm sleepingbags.
The next day we went to visit to another place, where some people who want to ordain want to donate their place. a marvellous place in a valley a little further away from the coast. They have a very good ready to use center, with rooms for guests, meditation hall, etc, etc.. but those who will receive this center as a donation will have to have strong supporters o/and managers have to organize a lot of retreats ...
Well, it was a good place to dream about having a meditation center in the forest.
see if I'm fortunate enough to get there again.

Friday, April 23, 2010

going on

well, yes, ok, grace and the others I'll continue writing ...
although there is not much to say these days. I am staying with a Bhikkhuni, a Samaneri and a laywoman. The place is small but nice, people are nice, can meditate moderate but very peaceful.
evtl. we go to stay in a forest for some days tomorrow.

am reading the Kevatta sutta on like it very much. just give "Kevatta sutta" in googel, if you are interested in reading.

Monday, April 19, 2010

still at my sisters.
face is sunburned from the last walks at the beach and reading outside.
was chatting and skyping with friends the last days.
had some kidney problems, am taking antibiotics and drink lots of teas or hot water, it's already ok again but have to finish the treatment. It's really heavy and influencing my mind. For some hours after taking the medicine I'm drowsy and dull.
I didn't meditate much these days.

Tomorrow I'll go and see a Bhikkhuni with whom I'm in e-mail contact since last summer.

Last couple of day's I received e-mails of concerned friends. Thank you for your concern and your caring thoughts. Here is actually not much to worry about. I'm fine, thinking more than necessary, too much, though. Not only sadness or thoughts of disrobing arose, as well peace, being happy to be a nun and so on ...
mind is unstable, thoughts are coming and going, I watch them and write the most significant down, not thinking that any of you friends may worry. I probably should not write all this, knowing that some of you worry, but since this is still my diary, ...
But obviously what I write sounds, when you read it, much more serious then it is in reality.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

at my sister's

a shed in the Garden, equipped with a futon bed. Brother in law made it himself with some friends. It has chinks and holes everywhere and the wind is blowing trough but it's nice and with 3 blankets it's warm enough. Was the presidential suit now it’s the nun’s refuge.
My sister and brother in law are really cute and try their best to help me keep my rules. Not that they were really interested in Buddhism or rules for nuns, but they offer food - without them kneeling down, without a blessing in Pali, but with all their love and my good wishes for them. Interestingly my brother in law is the foremost in offering.
My dear sister "warned" some of the neighbors that I might come around with my alms bowl. But as I'm not thinking of settling here I don't do so.
They live in 5 minutes driving distance from some beaches so we went for a walk on a beach yesterday and today through town to another one. People here are open and do not stare at me as they do in L.A., some smiled friendly and one said namaste and nodded. We were looking for fitting shoes and found some perfect nuns shoes on sales - 90 Dollar, they remained in the shop. My sister does not allow flip flops and wants a good quality shoe that fits in size for the nun.
The first time since 1 year and 9 months without Thai people and monastery around. I'm keeping rules while trying to get to know my family which I haven’t met for over 10 years, which in case of the kids makes an immense difference, the nice was just born when I saw her last, now she is a young lady. No ambition of taking part in "worldly" life arises, I observe it, observe interrelation, interaction feel much love but no desire to live sch a life myself.
Although I'm considering to just disrobe instead of becoming Bhikkhuni. I'm soooo tired of this monastery circus. Sooo tiered of being measured and scaled, being put in the Mae Chii box, pressed in the female role. I was not suffering of being female for many years, now I do. In samsara one is expecting to face jealous companions, envious "friends", backbiting, lying, hearing rumors about oneself etc. and I became a nun to get away from this. (I didn’t mention that I heard rumors that I own a car and were driving out of the monastery with it every day, and that I told the monks the could call me Pi Maha, whatever that is, something whith what I wanted me to put over the monks.)
Now suffering is arising because I'm still defiled and attached, but that's how it is, how “I” am.
There are two options, two ways of giving up: to try to get rid of it, to escape from it by following the wanting for sense pleasures or to become an Arahant and get over it. I try to change it by meditating a lot, but it seems as if my paramis are not strong and balanced enough to get over a certain point, I come to see my shortcomings, my faults and mistakes, the worlds unsatisfactoryness and uncontrollability see and experience suffering up to a point where I have the impression “I can not endure this anymore”. Sometime tears are falling but mostly I’m smiling somehowand don’t feel really unhappy, just that I can’t endure this all any longer. And then I escape into stupid thoughts, fill the brilliant open wide with mundane affairs.
The attachment to wanting is deeply rooted in this mind, so subtle (and gross, as well of course). It drives me mad that I can't get over it.
Of course there are moments of wonderful bliss of a kind that I did not know before, but the defilements and attachments are not to oversee. Sensitivity and compassion are there in a huge amount (and I always had both more then I wanted) but there is no defense or counterbalance. Today I saw a bird with an injured leg, so it could hop just on one and my stomach was cramping because I felt the bird’s pain.
“Close the sense doors”, was I told. One of the best advices ever, no doubt. “Develop paramis” said someone else. Inevitable on the path to enlightenment, for sure. Only I still do not know how to manage both. When I try to close sense doors, the mind turn numb, cold and unattached, there is no parami. When there are the paramis, the sense doors are wide open and I’m extremely vulnerable and suffer from the world’s suffering. That may be so because I could not develop enough patience and wisdom and that may be so because I’m not mindful enough on the present moment.
If I really would disrobe now, I would be a mental and emotional wrack for long, torn back and forth between arroganz and fear on one side and (misled) love, (rigid) moral shame and (overreacting) compassion on the other – both as result of half-knowledge. There is no other way, Phalanyani, go to your cushion, and then eyes shut and go through.

being female

at the new place, in this quiet environment politics were going on.
The secretary, when we were still at the Temple, dropped at one of the first days a comment by the way how much work she has and that the former woman that the Ajaan brought helped in the kitchen, and that now she had to do the work in the kitchen all alone.. It was said in a way that I understood clearly that she ment: "go to the kitchen and help".
for some reasons I didn't do so. As I eat almsfood myself, it doesn't seem proper to me to prepare any food, also I cannot serve monks and I'm not supposed to do chores for householders, according to the rules.
For her it was quite clear, "she is just a Mae Chii and Mae Chii's are supposed to work in the kitchen". When we went on alms round it was very hard for her to bow or kneel down giving food to me. She had the same problem that I have with certain monks when it comes to prostrate to them, it's like having swallowed a broomstick, the back doesn't want to bend.
She brought up the discussion, why I cannot serve myself with drinks, the Ajaan's attendant asked me later, because I keep the 311 Bhikkhuni rules and even if i were a Mae Chii, I were not allowed to take what is not given, that's why."
The attendant was superupset and worried and confirmed that he is standing there, backing me up.
When we moved to the new house I brought my luggage to a room downstairs, no window, not to lock, but anyway, I thought, it's just for some day's, so what. Then a nice old lady, which seemed to like me from the beginning, told me to take the perfect room, which I mentioned earlier. The perfect nuns room. I felt so sorry to take it because I thought it will come to trouble if I stay in there, but there was no way to talk with somebody to change it.
Two day's later the secretary saw me in this room and I heard her asking the attendant in Thai: "why does she stay in this room?". A day later there must have been a disscussion among the people again. The attendant bowed and prostrated when he gave me something to drink. "You don't need to do that", I said. Yes, but I respect you, he answered extra loud.
The next day a lot of people came to visit. It was the birthday of one of the women. After I received my alms food some people prostrated 3 times at my feet, the secretary stared at it in anger and tried to pull me away on my arm. instead of following her right away I stretched my arm out and waited until they finished prostrating, otherwise I would have been very impolite. I came out and wanted to clean my bowl and things I used, someone took it and said,"I'll take care of it." A woman came running to me and yelled: "Oh, when you did the blessing, I was so moved, you convinced me, I want to be like you, I want to be Mae Chii". After a second of hesitation she flung her arms around my neck. I asked her: "So, when will you ordain?" "Not yet, but I will, she was close to tears.
Then we went to see Ajaan. After a while she decided it was time to finish the visit and told everybody to prostrate. I didn't join in. Then one girl, whom I met only once before, folded her hands before her chest and said: "Krap Mae Chii", Prostrate to the nun". Some more then the half of the women did, the others didn't. I found it exaggerated and was happy that I said earlier that people don't have to prostrate to me.
Some people seemed to need to talk to Ajaan, so i decided not to stay and ask my questions, prostrated and went off.
Next day, which was my last but one day at the house before I went to my sister's, the nice old Lady told a woman not to kneel down when I give my blessing, she looked irritated, and the Lady explained in Thai that I'm not a monk. Same happened the last day, she told the attendant not to kneel. He brought a try with food to my room and prostrated and if it would have been possible he would have crept under the carpet, concerned and sorry as he was. "It's ok, I'm fine", I said. He could not look at me when he walked out.
Ajaan mentioned that I will have to stay in another place than the perfect nuns room in the quiet place, it might be needed for meditators. (Someone told me before that, the secretary will come and stay in that room beginning of May, so I was prepared to hear I can't stay.) But another solution is found and I could do all the visits that I wanted to do which would be just fine, I could go to Germany earlier or back to Thailand or whatever, I don't care so much to be honest. I hope to stay at a place where i will be accepted.
What knocked me off for quite some hours was that he suddenly said that I should stay with those people who ordain me if I go to get full ordination with someone. That's back to the beginning. I have to consider ...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

hans in luck, Grimm brothers

please enjoy the most favored fairy tale of my childhood:

Some men are born to good luck: all they do or try to do comes right– all that falls to them is so much gain–all their geese are swans–all their cards are trumps–toss them which way you will, they will always, like poor puss, alight upon their legs, and only move on so much the faster. The world may very likely not always think of them as they think of themselves, but what care they for the world? what can it know about the matter?

One of these lucky beings was neighbour Hans. Seven long years he had worked hard for his master. At last he said, ’Master, my time is up; I must go home and see my poor mother once more: so pray pay me my wages and let me go.’ And the master said, ’You have been a faithful and good servant, Hans, so your pay shall be handsome.’ Then he gave him a lump of silver as big as his head.

Hans took out his pocket-handkerchief, put the piece of silver into it, threw it over his shoulder, and jogged off on his road homewards. As he went lazily on, dragging one foot after another, a man came in sight, trotting gaily along on a capital horse. ’Ah!’ said Hans aloud, ’what a fine thing it is to ride on horseback! There he sits as easy and happy as if he was at home, in the chair by his fireside; he trips against no stones, saves shoe-leather, and gets on he hardly knows how.’ Hans did not speak so softly but the horseman heard it all, and said, ’Well, friend, why do you go on foot then?’ ’Ah!’ said he, ’I have this load to carry: to be sure it is silver, but it is so heavy that I can’t hold up my head, and you must know it hurts my shoulder sadly.’ ’What do you say of making an exchange?’ said the horseman. ’I will give you my horse, and you shall give me the silver; which will save you a great deal of trouble in carrying such a heavy load about with you.’ ’With all my heart,’ said Hans: ’but as you are so kind to me, I must tell you one thing–you will have a weary task to draw that silver about with you.’ However, the horseman got off, took the silver, helped Hans up, gave him the bridle into one hand and the whip into the other, and said, ’When you want to go very fast, smack your lips loudly together, and cry “Jip!"’

Hans was delighted as he sat on the horse, drew himself up, squared his elbows, turned out his toes, cracked his whip, and rode merrily off, one minute whistling a merry tune, and another singing,

’No care and no sorrow,
A fig for the morrow!
We’ll laugh and be merry,
Sing neigh down derry!’

After a time he thought he should like to go a little faster, so he smacked his lips and cried ’Jip!’ Away went the horse full gallop; and before Hans knew what he was about, he was thrown off, and lay on his back by the road-side. His horse would have ran off, if a shepherd who was coming by, driving a cow, had not stopped it. Hans soon came to himself, and got upon his legs again, sadly vexed, and said to the shepherd, ’This riding is no joke, when a man has the luck to get upon a beast like this that stumbles and flings him off as if it would break his neck. However, I’m off now once for all: I like your cow now a great deal better than this smart beast that played me this trick, and has spoiled my best coat, you see, in this puddle; which, by the by, smells not very like a nosegay. One can walk along at one’s leisure behind that cow–keep good company, and have milk, butter, and cheese, every day, into the bargain. What would I give to have such a prize!’ ’Well,’ said the shepherd, ’if you are so fond of her, I will change my cow for your horse; I like to do good to my neighbours, even though I lose by it myself.’ ’Done!’ said Hans, merrily. ’What a noble heart that good man has!’ thought he. Then the shepherd jumped upon the horse, wished Hans and the cow good morning, and away he rode.

Hans brushed his coat, wiped his face and hands, rested a while, and then drove off his cow quietly, and thought his bargain a very lucky one. ’If I have only a piece of bread (and I certainly shall always be able to get that), I can, whenever I like, eat my butter and cheese with it; and when I am thirsty I can milk my cow and drink the milk: and what can I wish for more?’ When he came to an inn, he halted, ate up all his bread, and gave away his last penny for a glass of beer. When he had rested himself he set off again, driving his cow towards his mother’s village. But the heat grew greater as soon as noon came on, till at last, as he found himself on a wide heath that would take him more than an hour to cross, he began to be so hot and parched that his tongue clave to the roof of his mouth. ’I can find a cure for this,’ thought he; ’now I will milk my cow and quench my thirst’: so he tied her to the stump of a tree, and held his leathern cap to milk into; but not a drop was to be had. Who would have thought that this cow, which was to bring him milk and butter and cheese, was all that time utterly dry? Hans had not thought of looking to that.

While he was trying his luck in milking, and managing the matter very clumsily, the uneasy beast began to think him very troublesome; and at last gave him such a kick on the head as knocked him down; and there he lay a long while senseless. Luckily a butcher soon came by, driving a pig in a wheelbarrow. ’What is the matter with you, my man?’ said the butcher, as he helped him up. Hans told him what had happened, how he was dry, and wanted to milk his cow, but found the cow was dry too. Then the butcher gave him a flask of ale, saying, ’There, drink and refresh yourself; your cow will give you no milk: don’t you see she is an old beast, good for nothing but the slaughter-house?’ ’Alas, alas!’ said Hans, ’who would have thought it? What a shame to take my horse, and give me only a dry cow! If I kill her, what will she be good for? I hate cow-beef; it is not tender enough for me. If it were a pig now –like that fat gentleman you are driving along at his ease–one could do something with it; it would at any rate make sausages.’ ’Well,’ said the butcher, ’I don’t like to say no, when one is asked to do a kind, neighbourly thing. To please you I will change, and give you my fine fat pig for the cow.’ ’Heaven reward you for your kindness and self-denial!’ said Hans, as he gave the butcher the cow; and taking the pig off the wheel-barrow, drove it away, holding it by the string that was tied to its leg.

So on he jogged, and all seemed now to go right with him: he had met with some misfortunes, to be sure; but he was now well repaid for all. How could it be otherwise with such a travelling companion as he had at last got?

The next man he met was a countryman carrying a fine white goose. The countryman stopped to ask what was o’clock; this led to further chat; and Hans told him all his luck, how he had so many good bargains, and how all the world went gay and smiling with him. The countryman than began to tell his tale, and said he was going to take the goose to a christening. ’Feel,’ said he, ’how heavy it is, and yet it is only eight weeks old. Whoever roasts and eats it will find plenty of fat upon it, it has lived so well!’ ’You’re right,’ said Hans, as he weighed it in his hand; ’but if you talk of fat, my pig is no trifle.’ Meantime the countryman began to look grave, and shook his head. ’Hark ye!’ said he, ’my worthy friend, you seem a good sort of fellow, so I can’t help doing you a kind turn. Your pig may get you into a scrape. In the village I just came from, the squire has had a pig stolen out of his sty. I was dreadfully afraid when I saw you that you had got the squire’s pig. If you have, and they catch you, it will be a bad job for you. The least they will do will be to throw you into the horse-pond. Can you swim?’

Poor Hans was sadly frightened. ’Good man,’ cried he, ’pray get me out of this scrape. I know nothing of where the pig was either bred or born; but he may have been the squire’s for aught I can tell: you know this country better than I do, take my pig and give me the goose.’ ’I ought to have something into the bargain,’ said the countryman; ’give a fat goose for a pig, indeed! ’Tis not everyone would do so much for you as that. However, I will not be hard upon you, as you are in trouble.’ Then he took the string in his hand, and drove off the pig by a side path; while Hans went on the way homewards free from care. ’After all,’ thought he, ’that chap is pretty well taken in. I don’t care whose pig it is, but wherever it came from it has been a very good friend to me. I have much the best of the bargain. First there will be a capital roast; then the fat will find me in goose-grease for six months; and then there are all the beautiful white feathers. I will put them into my pillow, and then I am sure I shall sleep soundly without rocking. How happy my mother will be! Talk of a pig, indeed! Give me a fine fat goose.’

As he came to the next village, he saw a scissor-grinder with his wheel, working and singing,

’O’er hill and o’er dale
So happy I roam,
Work light and live well,
All the world is my home;
Then who so blythe, so merry as I?’

Hans stood looking on for a while, and at last said, ’You must be well off, master grinder! you seem so happy at your work.’ ’Yes,’ said the other, ’mine is a golden trade; a good grinder never puts his hand into his pocket without finding money in it–but where did you get that beautiful goose?’ ’I did not buy it, I gave a pig for it.’ ’And where did you get the pig?’ ’I gave a cow for it.’ ’And the cow?’ ’I gave a horse for it.’ ’And the horse?’ ’I gave a lump of silver as big as my head for it.’ ’And the silver?’ ’Oh! I worked hard for that seven long years.’ ’You have thriven well in the world hitherto,’ said the grinder, ’now if you could find money in your pocket whenever you put your hand in it, your fortune would be made.’ ’Very true: but how is that to be managed?’ ’How? Why, you must turn grinder like myself,’ said the other; ’you only want a grindstone; the rest will come of itself. Here is one that is but little the worse for wear: I would not ask more than the value of your goose for it–will you buy?’ ’How can you ask?’ said Hans; ’I should be the happiest man in the world, if I could have money whenever I put my hand in my pocket: what could I want more? there’s the goose.’ ’Now,’ said the grinder, as he gave him a common rough stone that lay by his side, ’this is a most capital stone; do but work it well enough, and you can make an old nail cut with it.’

Hans took the stone, and went his way with a light heart: his eyes sparkled for joy, and he said to himself, ’Surely I must have been born in a lucky hour; everything I could want or wish for comes of itself. People are so kind; they seem really to think I do them a favour in letting them make me rich, and giving me good bargains.’

Meantime he began to be tired, and hungry too, for he had given away his last penny in his joy at getting the cow.

At last he could go no farther, for the stone tired him sadly: and he dragged himself to the side of a river, that he might take a drink of water, and rest a while. So he laid the stone carefully by his side on the bank: but, as he stooped down to drink, he forgot it, pushed it a little, and down it rolled, plump into the stream.

For a while he watched it sinking in the deep clear water; then sprang up and danced for joy, and again fell upon his knees and thanked Heaven, with tears in his eyes, for its kindness in taking away his only plague, the ugly heavy stone.

’How happy am I!’ cried he; ’nobody was ever so lucky as I.’ Then up he got with a light heart, free from all his troubles, and walked on till he reached his mother’s house, and told her how very easy the road to good luck was.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ehi Bhikkhuni

short before i left Thailand something important happened which i didn't wrote down so far. but it is one of the most important things in this life, eventually, so it should be journaled here.
A person that i respect, Bhikkhuni since long, was sitting in front of me, watched straight into my eyes while we were talking about Buddhism, monks, nuns, my aspiration to be Bhikkhuni. Almost by the way but very pointed she suddenly said: "Ehi Bhikkhuni". I nodded, she closed and opened her eyelids.
This, for me, was enough to feel ordained to feel committed. I thought of wearing my Bhikkhuni robes from then on, which i already had at that time, but decided not to do so and keep wearing the old mae chii clothes out of respect for those nuns and monks who might find this an invalid ordination and might feel offended and might feel the need to fight against. I can wait to wear the proper robes until the formal act is done, may that be possible in july.

no matter what!

a few days ago i noticed in walking meditation that the right foot is placed in an different angle than the left one and that this makes walking kind of imbalanced, although it seems i walk and sit quite upright, this is not the case. So I tried to mindfully correct the difference and walk with more equal steps. As a result new pain arouse. I know by now that when in sitting or walking changes in the common position are made it takes 3 - 5 days of strong pain, then the pain ceases and the body accepts the change.
Since yesterday the phase of strong pain is over. Some memories of the childhood flooded the mind with the last sharp stroke of pain and I was almost carried away by self pity for a while.
The knowledge that past is just past, past, past and only memory and thinking, thinking - this iis the powerful medicine the Buddha gave us to heal our minds. this together with the peacefulness of this place, the absence of construction sites and Thaipop music, the friendliness of the people makes every little now a vacation.
I'm happy to know that I can get into deep meditation when somebody breaks down walls next to me or next to a Karaoke party but it's so relaxing not to have these hardships. When I feel like ants are creeping all over me i know its imaginary because here are no ants in the room.
Working on equanimity is much easier ... Although I still do not get into real equanimous mind states. i start to understand the thai Ajahn's "more effort" - it is needed with all patience and compassion for myself - to get away the sticky twines of the net of defilements.
One of the reasons why I started to put more effort into meditating surely was that i saw that old people get back to their youth and childhood in their minds. NOT THAT AGAIN! But i already kind of meditated as a child, as my teddy bear's nose and smell as kasina, hours and hours and days and weeks. or mirror meditation, until i saw my self disappear and many many pictures of animals that i was passed in front of me in the mirror until there was nothing more, blank. my 1rst teacher wrote about me 'Daniela dreams too much' but i was not dreaming i tried to stop the rage, the rush. i sneaked out at night to run and run or ride bicicle.
Then i heard that the Buddha said there is a way out of suffering (our catholic religion teacher said so, she tried to make us think that this is absurd and people that don't want to kill insects dangerous for all civilized counties) and i swore: 'i'll find it! no matter what!'.
So, here I am trying to fulfill a little girl's vow. no matter what!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just when I wanted to start a new determination we moved out of Wat Thai, a few days earlier then expected. We were supposed to leave on the 5th anyway because a lot of people were expected for Songkran, the Thai new year.
The change is - wow- is for the good, one might say.
We are staying here in a wonderful environment, with lots of green, quiet, a place called what sound like Tarzan. I have no idea where exactly we are, since we arrived I hardly left my room. The big house is a perfect small meditation center. It has a perfectly suitable room for a nun and is occupied by a very happy nun :o).
It has a kuti for the monk and teacher, looots of room for meditation inside and outside, only for western meditators it will not be as perfect, because sleeping rooms have to be shared. But it is marvelous. The only negative point for it now is that it will probably not be the last destination on the journey to a the meditation center. It is impermanent, yes,yes. But anyway the present moment is now and now we are here.
I have two more nights here then I go and see my sister. There a kuti in the garden is waiting for me, hehe.

One month america now. Time passes quickly. When I was not reading suttas or writing something in internet, I was meditating.
In the beginning some fears arouse, nobody likes me, I'll be sent away, old demons, even a small panic attac arouse and I could watch them silently, unmoved and they went away after very short. Mind often was like numb.
One evening during a Dhammatalk held by a Thai monk (few people there and they were chatting with each other or talking on phon, not like when Ajaan talk and everybody sits upright and listens carefully), I sat in mediation because I didn't understand a word what the monk was saying, suddenly I had pictures in mind, opening the heart and a deeeeep endless dark space opened and an unseen hand grabbed out of the depth part of my "self", held them in front of me to watch them and threw them out with effort, like in a comic strip when Donald is repairing a motor and pulls out pieces and throws them over his shoulder. A dismounting of the self started. A weird experience, really.
I was excited and scared both at the same time and my heart was beating wild for the whole night and the next day. Then Ego arouse and took over, I was not strong enough to continue the dismantling of self. First I could not notice anything anymore, blocked, when the mind had been like numb before it was now just not accessible anymore. No entrance for one who wants to dismantle self, eheh. "I" avoided to meditate as good as "I" could while i tried to not to lose the last experiances andi forced myself to sit and walk.
That's days ago.
Slowly, slowly i approach some kind of equanimity, knowing it's only possible because everything is perfect, apart from the cold which i try to take as an object of practice. One situation, when Ajaan didn't want to talk to me when I had a question in his and his attendants favor, showed me that equanimity is feeble, it took me some minutes to fight frustration down. I was about to give away the wonderful room I was given and wanted to know if it wouldn't be better if the attendant stays in it, but they didn't even want to listen to my heroic and selfless offer, and self felt misunderstood as a result.
Now I stay in this room, happy, peaceful and do my best to honor that i may stay here by using it for as much meditation as possible.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thoughts about "The Buddha", the film

Yesterday I watched 'The Buddha' videos on PBS. Please check The Buddha, Compassion and tell me if I'm too fuzzy when I find this particular part contra productive for the right presentation to a great audience and the understanding of what Buddhism should be and how monastics should behave. At 04:00 around the Buddha is quoted: "I can give the teaching in brief or I can teach in detail, it is those who understand are hard to find" while a Bhikkhu (improperly dressed for being in public) is cutting down a living branch of a tree. Right after the sentence and the sequence is finished a Bhikkhuni is pulling out grass and digging soil. (I do not mention the 10 precept nuns here because they don’t actually break rules, it’s just my personal opinion it is not good if they do dig and cut plants)
Showing how monastics are breaking their Patimokkha rules during this quote made me think instantly: “Yes, not even monks and nuns do understand. What a shame.”
Was that the intended message of this sequence? Not that these actions without the quote would be any better …
Rules are broken, I know - but I really doubt if it is helpful for Buddhism and those who try to establish Buddhism in the west and try to keep the rules, to show how they are broken in a movie about Buddhism that claims to transport the original message of the Buddha supported by famous people like Richard Geer and the Dalai Lama.
Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis especially from Theravada traditions are not supposed to cut, pull out or break grass or branches or any living plant, are not allowed to dig soil, should wear our robes properly when in public.
How many people will see this movie?
How can we get through to them to let them know: “Yes. There are monks and nuns and many people who do not understand the teaching of the Lord Buddha and hence rules are broken but - with your understanding, knowledge and support as lay peron and our honest, humble and diligent effort as monastics we could try to make them understand.”?
P.S.: Maybe I should add - The film is very nice and worth seeing and I’m sorry that I will not be able to watch it on the 7th.

Monday, March 29, 2010

all alone

today I went on pindabt alone. Ajaan and the assistant had an invitation and the 2 little monks didn't show up. Someone tried to convince me not to go, I could eat at the temple, he said, its dangerous alone.
These Thais ... being alone or doing something alone is scaring them. I have enough fears left, some popped up these days, but walking through the Streets of L.A. with an almsbowl is not among them. So I went and received one of the best salads I ever had in life, two veggie meals, a burger, some water, juices and some deserts.
On the way someone yelled something out of a truck, just in a moment when I was not mindful but watching aside at a beautiful rose. He did that earlier, so I was collared in unmindfulness but not too shocked. Two men, a Mexican and an American greeted after staring at me while I was approaching. The first with a nod after he noticed that I saw him without looking straight at him, and the latter with a kind of respectful sounding "good morning, mam".
After overcoming their first irritation that I come all alone the people of the restaurant brought me a tea. Usually we arrive with 3 monks, one nun, 2 attendants and a bunch of laypeople who come to offer food. I unpacked what I received before on the street and mixed it in my bowl, then a waitress brought some really good fried rice with vegetables. They wanted to sneak away because they weren't sure if I can give a blessing, when I said in Thai that I will give the blessing now they all rushed back and kneeled down. One cook I've never seen there before was so pleased, she ran into the kitchen and came back with a pack of blue berries.
After the meal one came and wanted to wash my bowl which I accepted and one wanted to drive me back, which I did not accept, they have their work. It was nice walking back, one woman saw me coming from far and looked at me, I smiled at her, she stuttered: "oh, you, oh you ... what, you ..." and then burst out: "you don't have shoes." She was very excited, and laughed, "no, I don't wear shoes" shortly I thought of giving her an discourse of what it means to go on alms round, but she was not really receptive. Next time.
Half way back someone I know from the temple came and took me back.

another temple

Last post was written some days ago, many things happened since then.
We went to another Thai Temple in L.A. area on satureday. A laywomen arranged the trip with ajaan for me, she told me to bring my bowl.
I was not quite sure if I would be able to make use of my alms bowl there. The Temple was very nice, a peaceful atmosphere a nice warm spring breeze. We went to greet the abbot. Later I learned that it was the abbot’s birthday … He had no voice, allergie but they talked a bit a he spyed over to where I was sitting and at one point asked something in Thai, while my brain was working to figure out what was said and to find an adequate answer, a layman said, “she doesn’t speak Thai” I confirmed in Thai, that I don’t speak and was soon out of focus.
The laywomen spoke with the Mae Chiis to make sure that I will have a place to sit and receive food. They even have some Mae Chiis at that Temple. I was guided inside the hall where the monk’s seats were prepared on a platform and the Mae Chii’s seats on the floor and asked to put my bowl there. I sat down and meditated while 4 monks were receiving offerings from incoming people. One must have been the abbot according to the rasping sound of the voice. Someone came and gave a little bowl of rice, I opened my alms bowl and the person put the rice in it with a strange glance on her face. I continued meditating.
Two Mae Chiis came and sat beside me, I greeted, they smiled. When I closed my eyes again the Mae Chii next to me began to speek: “ You need a bowl of rice to offer it to the monks” “ No, I don’t offer, I receive.” All words whispered but with a slight panic in her voice she asked: You don’t offer???” “No, I receive, I have an almsbowl” and pointed at it, “I cannot offer and receive at the same time, that’s not proper. I go pindabat.” Her eyes spoke of anger, condemnation but she remained silent and I slowly closed my eyes, yet noticing a man approaching with some rice and her almost unnoticeable headshaking, the man went off. I knew the abbot had watched us.
Monks came in and took place on the platform in order of seniority. One monk brought me a little bowlstand, a tiny table to place the bowl on. The hall had filled with people in the meantime. A laypreacher was commenting the ongoings in the room. There’s no ceremony without such a laypreacher and they always repeat what just was said or tell what is going on. This one said today a Mae Chii is going on almsround, Oh!
The monks got up and started to put their robes in order, the abbot invited me to join in to the line with a gesture of his hand. One monk, the last in the row before me had trouble putting his robes, the abbot said “hurry up”, I arranged my robe (or better said: robe sized blanket, it has no pattern) with two quick movements as if I were an old routine monk, while the poor monk still was fighting with the huge piece of cloth. I was waiting behind the poor one who had now full attention and was asked to spped up for a second time. When I passed the Mae Chii who had been angry of my behavior, she smiled with honest respect and joy. People were lined up outside the hall and we passed them, they could put their little contribution of rice in our bowls, I heard a lot of ‘sadhu’s’ and felt completely accepted and kind of honored.
Back in the hall the people brought many many plates full of excellent food. The 2 laywomen who had come with us were in front of me offering me the food and gave it to the next nun. Then we chanted a blessing and started to eat. TV was turned on with a Karaoke Ceremony and all laypeople chanted while we were scooping.
Later I met Richard who cannot ordain as monk, because he is not through with women. The result of Phalanyani's reflection: I'm not through with men, either - but through with sexual desire as it seems, so I can be a nun. :o) ‘Being Through’ with the object of desire is not the way, but being through with sensual desire might work out.
May we never be 'through' with anybody, no matter what gender, may we be full of love and compassion for every being.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


>> “There are these ten things that a person gone-forth should reflect on often. Which ten?”
'I have become casteless': a person gone forth should often reflect on this.
'My life is dependent on others'...
'My behavior should be different [from that of householders]'...
'Can I fault myself with regard to my virtue?'...
'Can my knowledgeable fellows in the holy life, on close examination, fault me with regard to my virtue?'...
'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear & appealing to me'...
'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'...
'What am I becoming as the days & nights fly past?'...
'Do I delight in an empty dwelling?'...
'Have I attained a superior human attainment, a truly noble distinction of knowledge & vision, such that -- when my fellows in the holy life question me in the last days of my life -- I won't feel abashed?': a person gone forth should often reflect on this.
These are the ten things that a person gone-forth should reflect on often.

The conditions here could almost be called perfect. The Ajaan has enough support, devoted Thai people with faith, ready to help him in every situation.
As monastics we live in dependence from laypeople who, out of faith, are willing to support us. In Thailand I was well enough supported from the monastery.
Here I have a room and more than enough to eat and twice I was asked if I need anything. Nothing to complain about, really not .
The Ajaan has his business, running the course, planning the center and has enough people to help him. Which gives me time to reflect on arising feelings of being useless, not helpful, not wanted, feeble and vulnerable, … depending. If Ajaan would not be here, I would probably not be able to go on alms round and I doubt that I would get anything to eat.
It is, in a way, good that he lets me on my own, or does not treat me different from the others, otherwise they would, as happened before, become jealous. They would support me because of him, without ever finding out by themselves if they have faith enough in me to support me. Three of the women at least have that faith.
I do not to get involved with the monks. All I do is smile friendly and greet with palms together. One seeks the conversation and calls me friend, one greets back with palms together and the two young monks who go on alms round with us show some hidden signs of respect when we meet. By and large it is better not to have more contact with them.
So where is the problem, why does fear and insecurity arise?
Last night I dreamt of “my dog”. It had come with me and other people into a big building with many levels like a labyrinth, we were seeking the exit. We finally found one. Out I noticed that the dog wasn’t with me so I run back half the way we came, when I heard it howling and screaming, when it saw me it came running and with me it freaked out of joy and peed of fear. I woke up sweating.
The prospect to ordain soon frightens. Do I feel uncomfortable being dependent from monks and laypeople in a country where giving donation to a reclusive is uncommon? YES! How much more will I feel so when ordained as Bhikkhuni? Now it’s a game to keep the 311 rules and when I fail I can say “oh, doesn’t matter so much, I’m only Mae Chii”. But when I’m ordained it does matter and the circumstances will not be different from now, they will be as life is, uncertain, subject to impermanence.
The Ajahn in Thailand asked me once “are you ready to die”. No, I am not.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The 8 Garudhammas

Yesterday I spoke with the head of the meditation center, trying to find out if I can stay at Wat Thai when ordained as Bhikkhuni. He's not talking much to me, one might have the impression that I'm not welcome. But somehow I feel this is not the case.
It seems possible to stay and it seems to make no difference if I ordain now with someone else or in one and a half year with him. As he is my preceptor I feel I should consult him in this question and I would wait if that for any reason would be better. I'm fuzzy about that, as I said earlier (did I?), I would like to have a preceptor who keeps more rules and better than I do, he does.
The longest answer to one of the questions I had was: "But you have to keep the rules, even the garudhammas". I was not sharp and quick enough to ask if he kept all rules from the very beginning perfectly (he once told me he grew into it.)
I don't know if I can keep them all always 100%, sometimes keeping a small rule might cause death and breaking it would save live. I can't guarantee that I would choose death then, I'm not an Arahant. None of the monks and nuns I know would (not sure about my preceptor.
There are some stories about Arahants: one died, bound with grass by some bandits, he burnt in a fire because he didn't want to hurt the grass. Another was robbed, all robes were taken he lied on the floor naked, bound with grass, too. When the king passed the way he was in deadly danger just by being naked within sight of the king, but he refused to hurt the grass by just jumping out of the way. I would jump off, I guess. Is that a reason not to ordain? (That monk did not only survive but became the kings counselor, to finish the story.)
No one, except my preceptor, is NOT touching money, in contrary, I was advised by Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis not to be too fuzzy with this rule.
The list of broken rules is as long as the patimokkha is, so I will not continue here.
This can be said, as a Mae Chii I keep more patimokkha rules than as those who should keep them. (This was said by a Bhikkhuni, not me)
As for the 8 Garudhammas:
They are, if taken as kind of sanctionary system to keep women dependent and obedeiant, against the law of the USA, Canada and Europe because they are discriminating women. Monks living in a western country who oppress nuns to keep these rules must be aware of the fact that they act against the law. Other would it be if these rules were ment by the monks to help the nuns, then they were legal. In Australia the monks took themselves 8 Garudhammas which I try to find and copy into the blog later.
There is no proof that the Garudhammas were laid down by the Buddha himself, latest researches show that they are a later addition, as I heard. The whole story of Mahapajapati seems to be rewritten or changed later. Having unshakable faith in the Lord Buddha’s teaching I fully trust that this is not his teaching. The Buddha has foreseen the Quantum- and the Chaos theory, why should he have been so completely wrong in dating the downfall of his teaching after 1000 or 500 years, he stated it otherwise in other occasions.
Others say the 8 Garudhammas only were meant for Mahapajapati, the first Bhikkhuni and Buddha’s fostermother. She was ordained by accepting them. The 500 women that came with her to ask the Buddha for ordination received a normal ordination by monks, as a Story of the Dhammapada shows. Makes sense.
Buddha said rules can be changed or been given up after his death, so why not ... no, let’s take it as given, they are there, let’s imagine the Garudhammas were valid: if monks want that they are kept, hey, why not! Try to see them with the eyes of the fully enlightened one, monks, with all love, compassion and wisdom possible.
1. To greet the monks. I am friendly, I do not only great monks, I great all people and I like it.
After being among Thai monks I know, without this Garudhamma Bhikkhunis would certainly have to prostrate with 5 points to the ground at meeting a Bhikkhu, as the Mae Chiis and lay people have to do. Asian women would not be able to withstand such a monk’s order. Nowadays Bhikkhus are more bothered then pleased when they are greeted always, they said, they don't like it. And: Monks who are not respectable must not be greeted, I know very few respectable monks.
2.Yes, spend the rains, where a monk is near, ... today's world is small, to get the info because of which this rule is stated would be possible via internet, but this rule is part of the patimokkha, anyway, so nothing extra.
3. Asking the monks for the uposatha day and for exhortation (ovada, vada means = pleasant speach) it is rather likely that the monks would forget their appointment or would not like come for to meet the Bhikkhunis if the latter would not remind them to do so.
4. The next one is as well a patimokkha rule, to invite the monks for the pavarana, yep, I took part in one, a nice ceremony with good food and lots of donations - no further comment.
5. This is difficult because nobody can translate manattna, so we don't know what is to be observed, one of the speculation is: if these rules are not kept there will be a penalty for 2 weeks. But who knows ...
6. To train the 6 rules for 2 years and ask both sanghas for ordination, yes, yes, I'm almost done. This makes sense because a Bhikkhuni has to stay with her preceptor 2 more years after ordaining. Monks stay with their preceptor 5 years.
7. Not insult or revile a monk … yes, that’s hard to accept ;o)
8. Not critizise (or in other translations admonish) a monk ... men hardly can take critics, that’s a fact, even more so if a woman does it. My grandma said: “If you have a problem with your husband and you need to change his behavior, never ever talk to your husband about it, tread him friendly and loving and talk with his firend or his mother, ask them to talk with him, only then chances are, that the situation will change. A wise woman.
There are stoties that a Bhikkhuni thought a Bhikkhu and he was grateful because he became enlightend through the Bhikkhuni's help, they were friends, so teaching in a compassionate way Bhikkhus is not forbidden.
If what one says is taken as critic or as support is often more an interpretation depending on the perception of the receiver of the message. As former actress I know that critics are to be given to improve one's actions. If a monk does not want that, ok. And cirticism in another way than helpful and loving is not allowed for both, Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, as it would be wrong speach. The Buddha clearly said in the vinaya how a Bhikkhus should critizise one another same holds true for Bhikkhunis. Admonishing is a sensible act always not only among monastics.
Here they are, one version of many:
1. However old a bhikkhuni may be, she must pay respect even to a newly ordained monk and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
2. A bhikkhuni must not stay in a nunnery to observe the Buddhist Lent where there is no bhikkhu nearby and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
3. A bhikkhuni must invite a bhikkhu every fortnight to fix the date of Sabbath and the day to listen to the exhortation (Ovada) of the monks and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
4. A bhikkhuni must perform the ceremony of Confession and taking advice both in the bhikkhu Sangha and the bhikkhuni Sangha and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
5. A bhikkhuni must observe the manattna discipline first from a bhikkhu and then from a bhikkhuni and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
6. A bhikkhuni, after training in six pacittiya rules of the bhikkhuni patimokkha, should seek upasampada from both bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sanghas and should learn and practice this dhamma throughout her life.
7. A bhikhhuni must not admonish a bhikkhu and should learn and practice this dhamma throughout her life
8. Since having become a nun, she should be receptive to learning and should learn and practise this dhamma throughout her life.
And here another one:
1. A nun who has been ordained even for a hundred years must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day.
• clarification: The Vinaya recounts the story of six monks who lifted up their robes to show their thighs to the nuns. When the Buddha learned about this, he made an exception to that rule and told the nuns not to pay respect to these monks. A nun, then, does not have to bow to every monk, but only to a monk who is worthy of respect.
• Pajapati's later request: "I would ask one thing of the Blessed One, Ananda. It would be good if the Blessed One would allow making salutations, standing up in the presence of another, paying reverence and the proper performance of duties, to take place equally between both bhikkhus and bhikkhunis according to seniority."
2. A nun must not spend the rains in a residence where there are no monks. [See Bhikkhuni Pac.56: Vin.IV. 313 ]
3. Every half month a nun should desire two things from the Order of Monks : the asking as to the date of the Observance [ uposatha ] day, and the coming for the exhortation (bhikkhunovada). (See Bhikkhuni Pac.59: Vin.IV. 315)
4. After the rains a nun must 'invite' [ pavarana ] before both Orders in respect of three matters, namely what was seen, what was heard, what was suspected. (See Bhikkhuni Pac. 57: Vin. IV.314)
5. A nun, offending against an important rule, must undergo manatta discipline for half a month before both Orders.
6. When, as a probationer, she has trained in the six rules (cha dhamma) for two years, she should seek higher ordination from both Orders.
• note contradiction: One of the gurudhamma mentions sikkhamanas, probationary nuns who train for two years in preparation to become bhikkhunis. It says that after a probationary nun has trained with a bhikkhuni for two years, that bhikkhuni preceptor has the responsibility to fully ordain her. However, when the Buddha ordained Mahapajapati, there were no probationary nuns. He ordained her directly as a bhikkhuni. So how do we explain that within the eight important rules, one of them states that before becoming a bhikkhuni, a woman must be a probationary nun?
7. A Monk must not be abused or reviled in any way by a nun.
8. From today, admonition of monks by nuns is forbidden. (Book of the Discipline, V.354-55)
• note Buddhist Laywomen can: This is in contrast to the rules for Buddhist Laywomen who can single handedly accuse a bad monk; which would make no sense since the Ordained, monastic bhikkhunis (nuns) are clearly meant to have more respect than lay people.


days are going by, fast.
The bump offered me brand new shoes today, they are a little large but very nice. So I have to wear shoes now. He gave me stomach medicine, too. someone had told him that I had stomach problems the other day. They are gone and forgotten since long ...
the fun of the day happens in the morning, on alms round, the rest is like meditating and learning Dhamma everywhere else in the world. Except that here are no construction sites in the temple and no Thaipop music behind walls. It,s much less noisy in the city of Los Angeles close to a 4 way drive tahn in a small Thai village. As a result I hear the tinnitus more often and louder. but it doesn't bother me anymore, it's the sound of silence. (It first appeared during my first vipassana retreat 2007 when some drunken Thai villagers fired a bengal firework next to the kuti I was meditating in.) but back to the fun: on alms round the monks do get a little bit more of everything, more food more cake, generally more sweets. Twice in the past week I could observe how a slight greed and feeling of unfairness arouse in my mind for a second. Imagine that, I'm carrying a bowl full with food to feed 2 or 3 people more and a bag full with drinks and sweets and then the thought arises: "booah, the monk got a yogurt, and a cake, ..." What a shame!
I thought of my brother and me as children, we observed carefully what the other one got and it's kind of borne right to me to get the same as the brother and to feel injustice whenever it was different. Time to grow up Phalañanī.
Life is not fair without a caring mother around. It is like that and we only have one option to choose, if we want to find peace at heart, freedom from suffering - and that is: acceptance.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


today it feels like being here, now. I'm back to health and strength, find sleep at night and can meditate and read suttas at day. How wonderful. It's really starge, when mind and body are so way apart, mind somewhere over the pacific and body in an unknown place.
Yesterday some facebook friends became real, they came to visit at Wat Thai and we spent an houre talking and visiting the monastery, which i didn't do before. It's a nice temple.
I enjoy the daily Dhammatalk and group meditation in the evening. A course is running presently. Everyday I meet new, lovely people, all Thai. People seek to talk to me, but ask respectfully 2 or 3 questions and then leave me alone. No construction sites around!
There is nothing to complain about, although it's not free from suffering - only it does not appear right now within me. In others it does - may they get over it.

The two young monks who join for pindabat didn't know how to put on their outer robes ... :o)
Monks since 5 months one and the other since some weeks, they stared at me to find out how the robe is to be put on. I couldn't show them, because there were people around, but I opend mine to adjust it a little bit to show them, how it is done. This morning they came and proudly presented their results of trying to put on an outer robe. If I was a monk in charge to observe the dress code, I've must sent them back to their rooms, but as I'm just the mae chii, i gave them an encouraging smile. Nice boys what a luck for them that they found meditation.

I front of the house where I stay an old man lives in a car. He was soldier in the us army, could live better than this, but prefers to live here. From the beginning on he always greeted me very friendly. Today I went out to give him a jogurt. He started talking first in Thai, then in english and, oh wonder, i had understood what he had said in Thai. He was meditation for long and when he saw me he knew >I'm able to 'get it' (the final goal, liberation from suffering) in this live. I am the first person he has ever seen that might be able to 'get it'.< Pouuh. "You can! in this life, no one of the others here can, you can! Do more walking meditation, do it outside, not inside your room, do it naturally, then you will get it, you are like one of this flying lights on Loy Kratong (a hot air balloon with a lit fire). But don't walk barefoot anymore, I give you shoes." "Oh no, I don't need shoes", said I. "You need", said he. "We're at 2010 not at 0001, not at the Buddhas time, you need shoes and I want to give them to you, you do walking meditation outside with the shoes i give you and you'll get it, that's my merit, that's my meditation." I tried to escape, a bump wants to buy shoes for me. What can I do? He doesn't seem to be an alcoholic or mad, though, his eyes were sparkling, clear. Handicapped he is and his mind not in peace, but not mad. Everything he said, he repeated 3 up to 5 times. "those who think they are small, are big and those who think they are big are small. I want you to break through." "I'll try." "No, don't try, do it, you can." Then i went inside.
I felt caught when he spoke about the walking meditation, how could he know that I'm skipping it sometime because I don't like it?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


almsround in Los Angeles.
How wonderful that I can go on real alms round here in Los Angeles. First the Ajaan, then his attendant and in some distance me. Yesterday a young monk joined and today a second young monk with attendant. So we are 6 people marching in a row through the streets of North Hollywood. Some people offer food right at the monastery, others drive by and stop on our way and some more people meet in a Thai restaurant, where we finally eat out of our bowls. The young monks do not yet know how to wear their robes properly and only one knows the blessing chant.
People got a hint that I eat vegetarian and now we receive mainly vegetarian food.
Thai's are funny. Either they like you or ignore you. The women offering food at the temple already love me. One at the first sight started to cry when she saw me. "You are so beautiful, I'm so happy to see you, I never thought it was possible that a woman can do that. i tried to go with them on alms round but I can't, I'm so happy to see you." We never met before. She hugged me long. Next day she came running and screaming "Nimon, Nimon!" Wich is the invitation to receive an offering. After pindabat I met another of the women from the morning. She stopped me and said: "You know, your voice is so different, a voice like yours I never heard it before, non of the monks here can do the chanting like you do, you touch my heart, please, if you do evening chanting record it and give it to me I want to hear you voice it helps me to calm down". Then she talked about her life a bit until her husband came to pick her up.
I'm not sure what to do. I'm not allowed to make people love my voice to receive more almsfood. It is not my intention to do so, but if I record something for her, it might seem that I try to pull her on my side. If I don't she might be upset and it might seem that I'm not willing to cooperate. For now I told her that I have no device to record.

Yesterday after lunch I was taken to a huge chinese Kwan Im Temple here in Los Angeles aera. Why do I have the impression it's just a moneymaking business?

post scriptum

I have received an serious and probably acceptable response to my wish to ordain as Bhikkhuni and might be able to do so before the vassa. yep! Some conditions are to be checked but at least someone who is respected in the Sangha will accept my Mae Chii ship as equal to the required 2 year training. That's a good news! Ha.
To be honest I don't care any more if I'm Bhikkhuni or not. :o) If I can be this year, good, if not may it be so, I may ordain in one and a half year then - the suffering for it has ended. I've seen too many abuse of this precious state of existence and I will not be better than any of those who abuse it. So, keep the ball low, Phalañani.
I’m not shivering of cold anymore. Probably I was really sick. Good that I decided not to travel on to the desert and to north California. It’s a wonderful spring day, like spring in Mallorca. Mallorquin springs are marvelous. Although I haven’t seen the American part of my family since more then 10 years and even if I really wish to personally get to know some Bhikkhunis in the bay area, it’s time to stay where I am, rest and meditate. I learn to accept the limitations of an elderly body.
One thing I noticed during my trip: somehow, unknown, unnoticed I’ve lost the panic when it come to share a place to sleep. I shared room with 2 Bhikkhunis for several nights and in Hua Hin I slept in a sala with about 5 or 6 other people. Formerly I had a serious problem with that. Seriously serious. I just paniced, no discussion and the only solution could have been to either not sleep or leave. But I slept now, and at the moment of acknowledging the fact that room hast to be shared no panic arose. Impressive. This is a proof that meditation really works and one can overcome neuroses.
Not that I like sharing room now, if ever possible I will not do so and I will not do with a layperson, I guess.
Here I have a room for my own in a house that I share with laypeople, people who come to meditate. That’s not proper, not good (the house sharing, that they come to meditate is perfect, of course) . I have personally absolutely no problem with it, even to stay in a house with a man, if I weren’t a nun I would not even think that sharing a house with a man could be somewhat difficult. But I am a nun, and I understand why Buddha layed down this rule. Solution, I can lock the door and do get up before sunrise anyway and can go out before sunrise every 3 nights. Loopholes …

Last night I couldn't sleep for a while, jetlag ... I started thinking:
here I am, in this small room with two high and luxorious beds, laying on the floor between them, there I was hungry starving in the airplane and didn't touch the wonderful vegetarian food in front of me. I was repeatedly told to wear shoes in america and I did (flipflops and socks), when i was sick, but it doesn't feel right. Am I a silly nun? a fanatic? a sincere follower? do I have a tendency for selftorture or is it just because I try to follow the Buddhas path?

Monday, March 15, 2010

up to date

after staying in Hua Hin in a tibeten meditation center, after visiting Venerable Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, who was brilliant, and after finally going back to Bangkok to stay one more night in my friend Sirikarn's house, I went to the airport and got my flight to Los Angeles. It was ok, except maybe that it was 3 hours longer than expected, that they concealed the fact that we have 2 stop instead of only 1 and that I could not eat the delicious vegetarian food that they had for me because it never was the right time. So I had a lot of juices, some butter and stomach problems anyway.
When I arrived customs was full of friendly and smiling officers, except the one where I had the luck to come to. (You can't choose) I was wearing shoes to not to be too offensive and tried to look as normal as possible with my ball head, without eyebrows and wrapped in weird brown blankets.
I was asked to show my return ticket.
I had none. I tried to explain that I don't want to return to Thailand, that I wish to see my mum in Germany instead and hope to find a cheap flight on internet once I'm settled in the monastery.
No way, without return ticket I was not allowed to enter America and was brought to customs, where I was informed that I either can purchase a ticket out of the country after my official 90 days stay or I will be sent back right away.
A young woman from Malaysia air, the airline which brought me here, came to do get the ticket for me. The airline one arrives with is responsible that one leaves again. So I had to trust her. phone didn't work, no money in the pockets, a credit card that doesn't work as we found out later, no chance to inform my friends who organized that I will be picked up.
I told that woman what I need is the cheapes flight to germany and said I have a credit card, she said: "I'll be back with the ticket in 30 minutes". And off she went. 4 hours later she appeared to tell me that she could get a flight for 3500 bugs.
4 hours seeing people questioned, deported, desperate arguing.
After 3 hours waiting i saw my friends from far, a saffron robe on the other end of the hall surrounded by happy Thai people. No way for me to call, yell, wave, or catch their attention. I tried to ask people around if I could make a call. No signal, and not allowed anyway.
The seats were more comfortable than those in the airplane so I could sit easy and meditate or for some time just vegitate dul. It's all impermanent. The Armenian man was in despair and almost freaked out he didn't want to go back to Armenia, even if he was a known burglar and not welcome in America, he repeated " no, NO, nooo,nonononono.But no chance fro him. The rich fat guy in expensive sportswear who was accused of murder and swore it was false accusation was called into a backroom. The Latino and his son had to go back to where they came from because his wife who was waiting outside had not enough money for their return ticket, they came like me without it. One passport had not 6 months of validity left. I don't know what happened to the Russian girl she came too often to America with a tourist visa, if she wanted to stay, what she was working and where, she was brought to the backroom. The old Chinese Lady in a wheelchair had brought an expired passport. The Japanese Business man lost his face and yelled at the officer, which probably made his stay at customs even longer. and so on.
America the Land of unlimited possibilities.
Well, after 4 hours I had not jet a flight but could give the attending woman my friends phone number and asked her to inform them, they must have arrived home by now ... wondering where I am. We decided to get any flight out of America of her airline which was refundable, I would show the ticket to the friendly officer, and next day cancel the flight. Good idea, I entrusted her the credit card. "I'll be back in 10 minutes". " Yes, yes" more sleeping then awake, but shivering of cold and not able to sleep I prepared mentally to spend a few more hours here.
After three quarters or so, she was already back, the credit card didn't work. Hmmm, what's next? "Did you call my friends?" "No." "Please, do." Off she was. I prepared mentally to spend my night there. Surprisingly fast, after only 15 minutes she came back, smiling and waving a sheet of paper. A flight confirmation. "We show this to the officer now, then you can get out of here, later your friends come, pick you up and sign the bill at the malaysian air counter."
Without Carbon tablets (damn diarrhea) and without friends all could have been much worse.

Now I'm at Wat Thai since 3 days, today the diarreah seems to get better. We go on alms round, food is plenty and very good, today for the first time i was kind of hungry. People are very nice and welcoming. I did some excursions to see Venerable Karuna Dharma, Bhante Piyananda, a Kuan Im Temple, washed all my cloth in warm water in a washing machine and rest and meditate. My trip to the desert and to north California is canceled in favor of resting and arriving and the weather is getting warmer. It's like a Mallorquian spring. Wonderful.