Sunday, November 15, 2009

Letting go of letting go: a report from Sudakini and Vajralila


11 months ago Sudakini and Vajralila, two women Order Members from the FWBO’s Norwich Buddhist Centre, sold all their possessions and went forth into the homeless life. Their travels have taken them across the UK, to India, back, and over to America - from where they’ve posted a last report on their blog ‘The Cosmic Adventure’ .

We reproduce below some excerpts, focusing on the reflections that have arisen for them as they contemplate leaving the homeless life (despite their love of it) and returning to a more ‘conventional’ existence. For the full story, check their blog…

They write -

Letting go of letting go!
“We are in the end phase of the homeless life as we have known it for the last year now.

“… So now the trip is nearly over and we look back and think: how did we have the courage to take such a risk in selling everything and thinking the money we got (only 12,000 pounds in total) could take us very far. We never could have imagined we would have such a generous response that has enabled us to do what we have done "and yet..."(as Khajit would say). We saw a card the other day that said: "Take the leap and the net will come" ... maybe that says it all: a leap of faith.

“… So, as it has been such a rich time and Bhante seemed so interested in what we are doing, pleased with us even, we thought maybe we can continue this way of life in the UK. But it soon became clear that this was not to be. There would be no way of creating Dana in the UK and so we are having to think...what now? It has highlighted how there is no system or structure in the WBO to help practitioners try the homeless life, even for slots of time.

“… How does one deeply go forth, continuing to be a renunciant in the world? We are faced with the practice of letting go of being homeless wanderers, experimenting with a modern western version of the outer renunciant, and now considering what work and living situation will next best support practice... moving back to a life where the inner renunciant becomes more of the practice. Amongst other things, we have a wish to start FWBO activities where there aren't currently any, and Cornwall is a possibility. We also want to develop a livelihood doing workshops for women”

“… An area of contemplation here is how useful is it to call ourselves "teachers". We have heard the term used quite often here in the States to describe people offering classes in meditation and Buddhism... also the phrase "teachings" used quite a lot... there are a number of experienced and senior practitioners of Buddhism here, within a variety of traditions, who are leading retreats and offering courses and classes. But we have both felt uncomfortable with calling ourselves "teachers" in the Buddhist context, feeling it's a bit grandiose when applied to ourselves, and that "sharing practice" is a better term for describing our experience of leading events at Buddhist centres... but then again, if one has things to teach isn't it a fact that to share this with others is teaching! Semantics or stepping into what one does with authenticity?

Contact them (if you wish to) via the Comments feature on this site.

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2 Comments:

Blogger jenny said...

How wonderful and how brave. If Cornwall doesn't work out we could do with an FWBO centre around Thirsk, North Yorkshire (beautiful countryside!) We have to travel to Leeds currently.

21/11/09  
Anonymous Barbara Atherton said...

I am so glad you have done this, and goodness me, I would sit at your feet to learn from your experience.

Oh yes .... North Yorkshire is so short of TriRatna (WBO) opportunities.

I only get to be in touch at the annual Northern Buddhafield Family Retreat. Living in East Yorkshire, at least I can get to the Madyhamaka Tibetan Centre, but it's not the same! Leeds is just that bit too far.

Barbara Atherton

5/2/11  

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