Friday, December 21, 2007

Buddhafield celebrates an ordination

On Wednesday a special Buddhafield women’s retreat culminated with the public ordination of Jackie Willson, who became Vishvadakini, meaning Universal Dakini.

Maitreyi conducted the ceremony, and Kalyanasri acted as Vishvadakini’s private preceptor. She gave a very beautiful explanation of the name, which we are happy to reproduce in full.

‘Vishva’ means “pervades, all, every, entire or universal”. And ‘dakini’ has many levels of meaning: it can mean messenger, protectress, inspirer. It can mean a helper, or ally - a sky traveller: the sky dancer, one who protects and serves the truth. Therefore a dakini is a spiritual friend to others, someone who stimulates others to practise the Dharma, who attracts/fascinates others to practise. Or even a trickster: one who pokes us when needed.

And I think Vishvadakini is a trusted spiritual companion who is sincere, open and has an aspiration to be free from all disguises: trustworthy. She is skilled in communication, inspiring one to practise - hence she’s a trusted spiritual friend in her friendships. A dakini too can be the embodiment of our upsurging energies from our depths. She represents our own passionate energies that we can integrate and use for the benefit of the Dharma and Sangha.

Vishvadakini embodied this passion in the early days of Buddhafield, doing her circus course, in looking after her little son Keir and now in her yoga training. But there is a teaching in this too: trying to transform her sometimes rather ‘driven’ energy into more centred energy whilst keeping it free and spontaneous, and to remind her to keep faith in her knowledge that the Dharma is big enough and deep enough to contain all of her in the present, open, moment, as well as to inform all her actions. To remind her that she needs nothing else.

To do that one needs wisdom. So the dakini can be the supreme embodiment of the highest wisdom: the Enlightenment principle: a Buddha in female form. So she can also be a shock therapist: one who shows us Reality, directly. The dakini symbolises freedom. Freedom from everything that binds her to samsara: she tramples on ignorance and conquers all unskilfullness, all ego-clinging.

I wanted to emphasise the Universal aspect of her name, the ‘vishva‘, as well as the dakini. Vishvadakini has had to call on all her resources to face very difficult circumstances in the last few years: finding out she had a long-term illness just after she’d completed her circus training and started getting her trapeze act together; finding out there were very likely difficulties when she was pregnant; and then, of course, calling on all her dakini energies to wholeheartedly and lovingly care for little Keir since his birth nearly 3 years ago - and his story is still unfolding. And more difficult news has come recently. So there have been many times Vishvadakini has had to dig deep to take in more truths, more reality into her life.

Even though her life is totally dedicated to Keir’s care, her motivation is more global. She is a wise lady: who always seems to be able to come back to a wider perspective (as a sky dancer can) even though often totally exhausted and depleted in energy through lack of sleep and hardly any space to herself. And that is quite something. She is an inspiring woman, with a big heart. She does respond to ‘all’. She is a good and loyal friend, she cares deeply for the environment and all life; she is very ethical, she has an innate intelligence and wisdom. So Jackie becomes Vishvadakini: Universal Dakini (spelt with a dot under the ‘d’, long ‘a’s and last ‘i’).

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

The Buddhafield 2008 retreats programme is now available.

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