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.