Tuesday, February 26, 2008

a joyful day for la sangha latina

with great joy i would like to report that my dear friend flora, who came with me to india hoping to bring together the conditions to ordain, last week was able to receive her monastic vows from his holiness the dalai lama. flora now bears the name tenzin nangpal, and is a novice nun (getsulma or sramanerika) in the monastic order founded by buddha 2,500 years ago.

i have watched flora grow from the day she began attending the summer courses in buddhist philosophy in madison, wisconsin, where i was living, and have visited her dharma center in xalapa, mexico several times as well. the step from lay practitioner of buddhism to ordained member of the sangha is a huge one, and flora had been preparing herself internally and externally for several years. for the time being, she will remain in india to begin receiving her foundational training and to commence the work of inner retooling that is involved in this transition and in this way of life. (for an account - in spanish - of her experience as she prepared, read her blog)

in the photo here, flora - that is to say venerable tenzin nangpel - is pictured with the other non-tibetans ordained with her, and sits just at the right hand of his holiness the dalai lama.

flora now joins a tiny number of other latin americans who have taken ordination vows in the tibetan buddhist tradition. a cause for general rejoicing. indeed, it is a joyful day when someone is able to make this commitment - joyful for her, joyful for her community in mexico and joyful for others who might also be inspired to fully dedicate their live to their spiritual development in service to others. it is also extremely joyful to me to be able to welcome flora as a sister in the vows.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

welcoming a new year

hopefully these greetings are better later than never. a few weeks ago we celebrated the tibetan new year here in sarnath. after morning prayers at the tibetan temple, i welcomed the new year in the company of three tibetan nuns from south india and with ven jampa tsedroen. we visited the holy sites that are so close at hand here, connecting through acts of imagination with the buddha who gave his first teachings in this small and still sleepy village and the monastic community that occupied the sprawling structures that lie now in ruins.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

quivering at the sound

haven't found the time to post in a while: apart from the slowness of the internet connection since some transoceanic cables snapped a while back, i have been working hard to complete a paper for an upcoming conference in princeton (yes i fly all the way back just to give a 20-minute paper!) while celebrating the tibetan new year and also trying to take advantage of the time i have left here in sarnath to move through more of the narratives.