October 12, 2008 § 3 Comments
I thought my life would become simpler once I received vows. How wrong could I have been! Seems my life has actually become busier than ever.
In addition to trying to keep up with Dharma studies, I help a local Tibetan lama with his center in Boulder, acting as Director and web designer. Then there’s also the thing of capture/alter/releasing of the feral cats in the neighborhood. It’s become a group effort with some people in the apartment building in which I live. We’ve gotten quite a few cats placed in no-kill shelters for adoption. And there’s the flock of felines that for one reason or another now live with me. Oh, and on top of that, my educational schedule sped up by about 5 years when I got accepted into a nursing program earlier this year.
Yet somehow all of it is a part of the work that has become my practice in awareness. Here in the West, we have yet to establish a support system for the Western ordained. But please don’t think I’m complaining. Not in the least. Western ordained living in the West usually find themselves very busy indeed. It’s a long way from tranquility in a Himalayan monastery (but then that a life not to be romanticized either).
Western ordained must be willing to be pioneers, to be the first person on the block to walk out with a shaved head and a shantab. A funny bit: a monk once told me that a monk without his zen (upper robe) is just a man in a skirt. So, be sure to wear your zen, as it kind of explains the rest of the outfit! (So, maybe you had to be there.) Back to being serious….
We usually work at a job, pay rent, deal with car insurance, cook our own meals, go to the grocery store, scoop litter boxes, shovel the side walk. Oh, and work to maintain our vows and offer encouragement to fellow seekers on the Path.
It’s not what I expected. It’s even better! I can’t imagine a more beautiful way of life. I stumble, I fall, and oh yeah I procrastinate. But you get up, dust off your knees, and resolve to brace your fall next time with your hands while praying you don’t fracture something important (like a bone). And you keep smiling.