Friday, February 20, 2009


I worked hard for some time to let people know about my blogg, and then disappeared!

I didn't e-mail during December as we were busy with exams and in the end I left for my holidays a bit early, doing my final memorisation exam two days early.
I decided to go home to get my new visa as things are getting more and more difficult in the visa department in India and several of my friends have had serious difficulties, so I decided to play it safe. The only decent price for a flight was between Christmas and NYE and arrived at 11pmish on NYE. Luckily my parents are over NYE parties and didn't mind collecting me at the late hour. Also the plane had only 12 passengers and we were giving peppermint cornettos. So in the end it was one of the more enjoyable NYE for me. (even including when I wasn't a nun!)

So even though I have been on holidays since then and was sure that I would write repeated blog entries, it never happened and now, with only one more day until I go home I feel compelled to write before they shut down my blog.
So tomorrow I will return to India and try and catch up on all the memorisation I should have done while I was here, but didn't. I thought to visit some friends at the wong in Derhadun, but my books call and there is less than two weeks before classes start up and a new, hopefully less insanely busy year begins. And seeing as how I will be again very busy all the time I am sure that I will again become a regular blogger as I seem to be the kind of person who is either very productive or comatose.

So I hope you all have great plans for the new year and that it actually works out that way too!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The afflictions bind all these beings without exception.

You, in order to release them from the afflictions, are eternally bound by compassion.

Should I first make obeisance to you,

or to the great compassion that causes you to dwell for so long in cyclic existence despite knowing its faults?

author unknown

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting community minded

The year is slowly coming to a close and I am so grateful. It’s been a long one. Not that time hasn’t passed by at lightening speed which it always seems like it has by the time you get to November. I remember my mother saying it gets faster and faster as you get older which sounded scary at the time but now actually it is quiet promising. Not that I particularly want to get old but I look forward to retiring from study and that is still nine years away….so bring it on, lightening speed I say.
I am only moaning because our exams are drawing near. It is a toss up between studying hard for my own benefit or being lazy and doing nothing because no one will notice any way. In the junior classes there is no written exam for philosophy, only debate and then only 5mins of it. Last year they even gave us the topic we had to debate on in advance so it was a bit of a no brainer. This year will probably be the same. As for the grammar exam…..well, what can I say I absolutely hate it. For us it is all handwriting and calligraphy and not much actual grammar study. My teacher has finally worked out that, after nearly two years my writing is not improving and asked the kind of obvious question "are you practicing in your room too?" I said something like… "me no speak Tibetan" (it worked.)
Yesterday a good friend of mine headed home to Ladahk to have an operation on her ear. If you ask me she brought it on herself. She has been really unhappy for a long time. Misses home too much and always complains that she is no good in class (which isn’t true) and wants to go back to her old nunnery. If your mind is constantly depressed like that it is not much surprise when you start manifesting it externally. In my last blogg a pasted a letter I wrote to a senior nun friend of mine. This same nun once said something like…if you live in a community but are not guided well, when you have problems, often you either get angry or you get sick. I see that a lot here and also in the Western nunnery I lived in before
Lots of nuns come and go here. Amongst the Western sangha they think it is a problem only the Westerners have but actually it is the same for all monks and nuns. Its not easy living in a community; no matter who you are or where you come from. Here the main reason they leave is illness, lack of interest in study (in which case they return home but remain nuns) or curiosity about the world ‘outside the nunnery’ in which case they leave and disrobe.
Once they leave they won’t come back. It is considered too shameful. Also if they disrobe they will never become a nun again as in the Tibetan tradition they say that a nun only gets one chance, (this is not in accord with the vinaya but what to do). I know a couple of Tibetan ladies who were formally nuns and then disrobed (a layperson’s life looks like more fun kind of scenario) they all deeply regretted it latter. Ironically one of the major obstacles they have which they didn’t expect, was having to work for a living and putting up with being poor. The nuns kind of get so use to people supporting them, although their living standards may not be great, they never stop to think about where the money is coming from and how they are going to get it once they disrobe.
This kind of thing however is unique to the Tibetans. For us westerners we are generally much more materially comfortable as laypeople than monastics and kind of live in the knowledge that if we were to give up the "habit", we would lead a far more materially happy existence, in the short term anyway, (this is for those who are really serious about monasticism and not just playing dress ups on the weekend).
I guess I wanted to say something about communal living and the fantasies people who haven’t done it hold. It is a bad habit to have too many expectations of a community. If one’s expectations are not meet we will waste all our time trying to change everything to be the way we think it should be and that never works. If everyone thinks…. If only they would do it the way I think it should be done then we would all be happy. Of course if everyone is thinking the same thing you are bound to have problems.
The good thing about India is that you learn to either let it go or go stark raving mad. Yes…. the beggars are going to try and grab you and yes…. it will take you 3 hours to do one little thing on the internet it takes 10 mins to do at home and yes…. the seat may be built for three but that is no good reason why the driver shouldn’t insist four of you squeeze in there. Still after all of that you come to learn to ‘laugh it off’. "Look at that Ani Nykil, that man has trained the monkey to steal people’s purses and he just made off with your bag, isn’t India incredible!"
As bad and difficult as communities can get, I think it is better to live in a community for some time as an adult. To help you get over yourself and your preferences, (a well functioning community would be better though).
For example, for me if I eat a vegan diet I feel really health and energized and just yesterday I realized that probably I will never be able to eat like that again in my life. So I may suffer physically from not getting exactly the food I need (or want) but the benefit of living together is much greater. For a monastic, I think living in a community is obligatory, at least for some years. Living on your own is too easy and lets all your bad habits set in. Also you learn so much merely by being in the presence of various types of monastics, even the ones you really don’t like.
Ultimately living alone is often too lonely for a monastic and most of those who do live alone do not remain in robes in the long-term. And isn’t that what it is all about? Holding on, pushing forward, and persevering. If I am a reckless, out of control kind of girl today how can I expect to be a Buddha by the time I am 30? If you can keep it together and just keep chipping away at it, eventually the great rock of ignorance in your mind will be nothing but fine sand, easily blown away- it just takes time. His Holiness often says that if you put the correct causes in place, no matter what, the concordant result will arise. So if you are practicing sincerely and ardently day in day out eventually your practice is bound to bear fruit, you just need time to let it simmer.

If master and disciples achieve a spiritually harmony, their relationship has reached its perfection.
If you recognize the signs and state of your realizations, you perceptive visions have reached their perfection.
The quality of your communal harmony, your awaked experience with its inner warmth and all its signs,
let these my children, serve as your share of the relics.
"The Life of Milarepa"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Meaning of Life

I am starting to worry that people might get the impressed from my blogg that I am mildly depressed. Actually it isn’t so, I have just always been endowed with a very black sense of humor (not such a good trait in a nun!)

I had an idea to collect a list of all the stupid things that the people here have said to me recently, at which I would laugh out loud about it if there was another Westerner around to laugh with me, but now I feel guilty about being so negative and teasing everyone all the time. (so I will save it for another blogg)

When I first started up my blogg nearly three years ago I used to try and write things about Buddhism and the Dharma, those little insights about the nature of life I though might be beneficial to others. I guess I was still in my Buddhist honeymoon phase and still somewhat of a romantic youth. During this current ‘blogg revival’ I haven’t been doing that, I guess I am getting old and grumpy I have just turned 26 but feel 45. I get the feeling no one is reading it anyway so I usually just kind of write jokes for my friends.

Would you like a little insight into the meaning of life? These last three weeks have been extremely difficult for me as there is a big gathering at my nunnery with several hundred people. We have several classes a day and are debating for more than 7 hours a day. I go to bed around 12 and am meant to get up at 5am (but that doesn’t always happen!) The first 8days there was no break and then they sent us to His Holiness’ teaching in McLeod but we all had to get back to the nunnery quickly afterwards as there was evening debate. During that time I came down with a cold that now, three weeks later is just getting worse and worse. So I am really, really tired. There is one more week to go and it is over so everyone is kind of holding on by their knuckles until Sunday when it will all be finished. Last night I went to have a cup of tea with some class mates and our teacher before going to bed (somewhere between 12-1am) and my teacher asked me why I became a nun and came here to India. I told him I had no other choice. He asked the obvious next question… I said that if I went home I would probably go to uni, eventually get a job, probably get married and have kids and in the end it would all have no meaning. After death as peoples memories of me fade all the good times and bad will prove to have been in vain, but here if I work hard I can really achieve something that will have huge benefit for myself and for others in this lifetime and the ones afterwards too. So what other choice do I have?

There is a lady running around at the moment making a little doco for French television about the debate gathering. I watch her float around, sit and drink tea she even came and asked me if I knew a good place in town where she could get a massage. I saw her from the debate ground and thought “that could be me. I could live like that if I chose to. If I gave up my lifestyle right now I could be in that situation…and would it be crap!” So the point of my story is that although I am exhausted, sick and have all my minor decisions made by a series of bells (which just keep ringing and ringing these days). Am ultimately much more content than I was when I was at home doing as I pleased (when I wasn’t slaving away at work).

So there, has your life been changed forever?

If not, don’t worry.

Life on the inside

I thought it may be of interest to write about some boring things I take for granted, you never know what interests people.
I arrived at my current nunnery just over a year and a half ago. Before that I was in another nunnery that was built especially for Western nuns. So altogether it is just over 3 years that I have called India home (but feels like decades, I don’t know if I mean that in a good way or not.)

This nunnery is special because it was built not for Tibetans but for nuns from the ‘Himalayan region’ like North India and Nepal, Bhutan etc. There are some Tibetans here but they are in the minority. The place is also special because it is run by the nuns them selves and it is especially focused on study. For a Westerner it is probably the best they could get. There are only two or three nunneries in India that allow Westerners and when I first arrived I was the first they had ever had (beside a Mongolian some years ago). Since then several Taiwanese and Koreans have come and gone but as yet no other Westerner, although it is probably only a matter of time. Most of the local Tibetan/expat community have never even heard of the nunnery because it is so small (85nuns) and tucked away in a field behind a very poor Indian village no Tibetan has reason to wander into. Many of the neighbors still have no running water and live in mud brick houses next to their livestock. We are about an hours travel by local transport to the main Tibetan community in McLeod Ganj.

I have two classes everyday, except Sunday which is a holiday but when you have to wash everything by hand it doesn’t feel like much of a holiday! I study Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan grammar. We also have about 4 hours of debate a day, if you don’t know what debate in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is, look it up on ‘You Tube’.

I get up around 5am and usually get to bed by 11pm although if I can sneak it in I will go to bed a bit earlier. We get some time in the afternoon to take a nap to catch up on sleep but still for me it is not enough so usually on Sundays, after all the washing is done, I go to sleep for 3 or so hours to try and catch up.

The food is good compared to most nunneries and monasteries around here but it took me a while to get use to it and I still take a multivitamin every day…..thanks Mum!

Breakfast is chapatti with fried onion, tomato and chili. Surely it can’t be good to have chili everyday for breakfast but it is the tastiest meal of the day. With that they give Tibetan butter tea (reflecting the mix of Indian and Tibetan culture typical around here)
Lunch is white rice, dhal and one veg. During the monsoon sometimes there is no veg as it gets expensive. Unfortunately they give whatever is cheapest at the market so cabbage, cauliflower, potato or eggplant is most common.
Dinner is either tingmo (steamed knotted plain Tibetan bread ) or rice and veg (the same vegetables mentioned above) and sometimes fried rice. It is all cooked the same….fry onions and tomatoes add veg and cook. I have taken to Spicy Indian pickle which makes everything taste good but everyone says it will give me an ulcer. Probably they are right!
There is also tea at 3pm which is more like sugary water the colour of faded milk. I often add coffee. Luckily up in McLeod you can get pretty much everything you want and a lot more. The only thing India really lacks is good cheese and decent fresh fruit and vegetables but I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

So that is a view of the place from the outside. As for the inside, I was sifting though some things and saw an e-mail I sent to a senior nun friend of mine earlier in the year. She has been a nun for something like 30 years and unlike most Western nuns, she has spent most of that time in a monastery. I often write her questions but unfortunately her answers can be a bit cryptic, so the e-mail is a few answers from the previous e-mail and some more questions from me. I thought it might give you a bit of a glimps of the inside (mildly edited).

Dear Sister,
I must say that although there is your usual gossip and bitching the nuns at my nunnery are quite harmonious. They take responsibility for everything (ie. Don’t rely on men or foreign women to run everything for them) and take on heavy duties gracefully, (despite their studies and everything else they have to do on top.) It also means that they avoid the sheep mentality that Tibetan nuns are so good at.

There are definitely a few lessons that Western nuns could learn from them, but the Tibetan tradition is very different from the ideal I think most Westerners expect (which is I think derived from their idea of the Christian tradition) and has more in common with the Chinese tradition to a certain degree.

“A monastery is a place for training the mind”, here the main practice is study. Traditionally the nuns only did mantras and ngondro together. Because they don’t have full precepts- (actually they don’t even know what they are,) even their Getsulma (novice) precepts are observed with a pinch of salt. (ie. only if convenient). In the past many nuns only received parma rabjung (ie. Lay people’s vows with permission to wear the robes) and this is still common in the Nyigma and Kagyu tradition. I have friends who have been nuns for 10 years in nunneries in Nepal and India and only when they come here for study do they get the opportunity to take Getsulma ordination. My roommate thinks I am the most boring person in the world, she went though my mp3 player one day when I wasn’t there and complained bitterly that there was nothing but philosophy class and ‘om mani padme hum’.

The purpose of the pratimoksha is to tame the mind through taming our actions but this is not usually the way the nuns are taught the vows.
So how to tame the mind? For me I get to practice cultivating contentedness with the food (ie. White rice and cabbage for dinner) and surely I am cultivating something with the hours of puja or weed pulling.
We have senior nuns who are like mentors, and if the juniors are having problems with study or personal things they can go to their senior nun. I have one too, she helps me with the studies but with personal stuff it is difficult because we are from different worlds.

Still, ultimately this ideal of a small community of women practicing together, all there because they want to work toward enlightenment (ie not because their mother forced them or they didn’t want to get married) is not the reality here.
It seems the Tibetan tradition as a whole is light-years away from what you seen in the vinaya literature.
I recently asked Geshe-la about it. The Gelongmas living in Dharamsala, not only can they not keep the majority of their precepts but even when they break a shangavasessa (second most important category of vows), they can not purify it. (I think generally the monks are in the same boat). My main question to Geshe la was can you received the same benefits as far as mind training is concerned, with things the way they are? How do you feel about that ( as far as keeping the precepts and no sojong etc)?

I hope it is not too personal a question, I am not looking down on the local Gelongmas at all. I have an idea of how I would like to practice, but here it is not possible. Nether the less it must work somehow because the Tibetan tradition turns out some amazing masters, the more I stay here the more I see that we are not so different. Studying is a valid path, I just wish I could do everything at once. (just to prove I am still a young person!)

So you have no e-mail, does this mean you have moved in? Do you have a regular program for locals? What about candidates for nuns? (or is it still too early?)

Is that too many questions?

Hopefully not………

Best regards,

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Olympic mania

This is an blogg I meant to post some weeks ago, I put it on my Mp3 and took it to town to send but unfortunately my bag and all its contents were stolen, so their was a delay.
So far this year all my bloggs have been posted out of order and at different times so I guess you will have to get use to it or stop checking them. Hope you are having more luck than me!!

So it is Olympic time again. Have you been gripped by Olympic fever too? Even here in our little Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in a valley somewhere near Dharamsala, India Olympic fever is slowly taking hold, but you know these nuns will get for just about anything. The mango season is definitely over so I guess they needed something new to occupy their time. I found the mango frenzy much more enjoyable.

The are several mango trees with in the nunnery boundary and some of them are as tall as a three story building. They were throwing rocks, sticks, cushions, sandals and just about anything else they could get their hands on to coax the mangos out of the tree. In the end our teacher out shined us all by procuring a huge piece of bamboo (taller than the tallest tree), so then the question is how many people does it take to collect mangos? Well, one giant Khampa monk to tap the top of the tree, three small nuns to stop the pole from sliding backwards and ending up in the Khampa monks bedroom window and several, rather brave nuns to run under the tree and collect the fall out without receiving a concussion from stray mangos falling from more than 40 meters above them, yes every one had a good time. (I did the Indian thing and stood around and watched)

But now the mango’s have dried up or been infested with bugs and we are left with the Olympic boxing tournament.

I must say I wasn’t anti-olympics until I recently spent some time watching CNN Asia on telly while staying up in McLeod during the teachings and realized that yes, in fact the world is willing to turn a blind eye to the torture and genocide of modern day China.
Several months ago Chinese soldiers swept into Amdo (far Western Tibet) and arrested all the children between the ages of 8 and 25, most of the kids fled to the mountains and hid, some weren’t so lucky and were taken to “holding facilities” in China until the games were safely over. I have friends here who’s relatives are monks in Lhasa, Tibets capital and have been arrested and taken to prison, ‘incase they decide to protest’. Even Han Chinese people have not escaped unscathed, losing their homes with no compensation and various other human rights abuses, but when the 8th of the 8th rolled around, all was forgotten and the world tuned in to watch people with light bulbs strapped to their bodies making birdy shapes, and the commentators harped on about peace and harmony. It was all a bit sickening.

I guess it just confirms what we all probably suspected, that no matter how much the world may have improved as far a human rights charters and what not, in the end as far oppression, torture and exploitation is concerned, as long as there is enough money on offer, the world is willing to look the other way and we all have a part to play in this. For me it also seems to signal the end of Tibet for good, because for as long as the Tibetans continue to suffer, in the end it is in vain as ultimately, (although someone out their may care) China’s got the money and the world wont let its conscious get in the way of a good business deal. I hope you enjoyed the olympics!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

prostration phobia

Alreay so much time has past and I am yet to post my blog. The holidays finished as quickly as they started although I managed to get 4 full days of hiding in my room and not going anywhere which was really nice.
After the holidays we had to read petcha (the Tibetan’s wrote out Buddhist literature on long strips of paper). We were meant to read the 100,000 line perfection of wisdom sutra 3 times and then the whole of the Kangyur and Tengyur but in the end about half the Tengyur was done ‘the quick way’. (ie we just read the first few pages of each petcha… actually I didn’t know that was allowed).
At first the reading was ok because there was a lot of sponsors coming and they were sponsoring meals so it was great… fruit salad with cherries and more than one type of vegetable for lunch but after about day 4 everyone was going a bit cross eyed although for once my back held out, but I must say my knees weren’t very happy about it.
In the end we did 7 full days of reading, which is from 6am till 6pm (with breaks for lunch and tea etc.) and then there was Sakya Dawa Duchen, which is the holiest day in the Buddhist calander (Visak day-birth, death and enlightenment of the Buddha). Actually the whole month of Sakya Dawa is holy but I wont let that stop me from eating dinner so don’t worry! The monsoon arrived about 4 days before Saka Dawa Duchen and it is a real stinker this year. Many people went up to do prostrations around the Ling Khor in Mcleod but I knew it would be 2 feet of mud most of the way so I made small coughing noises and told them I had to stay home. (The ling Khor is the dirt path that encircles the whole of His Holiness’s residence, the Main temple the IBD and Namgyal monastery)
I just can’t get into the prostration thing. Isn’t there a way of making merit that doesn’t include flinging your body across muddy earth where cows and God knows what else have recently defecated? I think I should get double the merit for every prostration as I am quiet big and fat so plying myself of the floor each time takes twice the effort. (for those of you who don’t know what a prostration is, it’s a full bodied bow where your forehead to the top part of your feet have to be flat on the floor, then get up and do it again another 100 or so times.)
After Saka Dawa Duche it was back to the reading but we got the morning off as everyone was too busy comparing wounds after all the prostrations the day before so was an afternoon and evening session and then much to my surprise it was back to classes which all started up about two days ago. We still have a lot of reading of various prayers and stuff to do so that is being done in the evenings instead of night debate which is fine with me as the debate court is grass (ie very wet and muddy) and it gets cold at night. But it is stinking hot and muggy during the day, this morning is the first piece of sunshine so I have put most of the content of my room outside to air out. The monsoon still has another 2 and a half months so it probably won’t do any good.

Would you like another crappy Indian doctor story. I accompanied a nun friend to the new fancy, smancy public hospital which from the outside at least looks like a western hospital. It is a bit of a nightmare journey and it was hot so I wasn’t too happy but it is free and there is a new ‘supermarket’ (the only one with-in 8 hrs drive of here) so I mainly went to check that out.

Anyway the public system is free even for foreigners. She needed a dental x-ray and seeing as I have been afflicted with sever pimples this year and the Tibetan dr thinks it is menstrual (I think it is poor quality food and lack of sleep to be honest) but seeing as it was free I decide to drop by the ‘skin ward’. Can you believe the guy said I have rosaisa. I had pink cheeks at the time but that’s because it was stinking hot you idiot. I checked on the internet and I definitely don’t have rosasia, I have a friend who does have it and our pimple are nothing alike. The doctor said to me when you eat chilli and hot things does your face get hot and itchy. I said no. Then he prescribed all the medicines…. Antibiotic cream, antibiotic sunscreen and wait for it oral antibiotics! Then he said and you’ll notice your face gets hot when you eat chilly and hot things. The scariest thing is that this hospital is actually a training facility for new drs so all the dr’s have training doctors with them and there were about 3 girls inspecting my face. One said why is it not acne, I answered her question for her….. The moral of the story is take out private health insurance and for those of you at home……don’t trust Indian doctors.

If you have e-mailed me and are waiting for a response, please don’t get too upset if it takes a while I am trying not to go up to town too often. Last week the bridge connecting us to Dharamsala was washed out and in Dharamsala a tree came down blocking the road to the bus stand, so I’m a bit frightened to go up often in case I get washed down the mountain too!
I really had all intentions of restarting up this blog incase anyone felt what I had to say was of benefit, but just as last year (and the year before that) I am so incredibly busy, it is very difficult. As it turns out though I am not too busy to write to my Mum so I decided to cut and paste a few e-mails and create some kind of blog (although not like what it was before but at least its something.)

So much has happened in the two years since I was a regular blogger and I can’t barely begin to put down all that has been going on so I will just start again and slowly things will reveal them selves.

I would like to write little Dharma insights and these things as I did before but these days it is a bit of a sink or swim situation and book reading is something I have to save up for the holidays.

Which actually I am on right now but it will be over shortly and then there wont be another until January! What type of marvelous Buddhist books have I been reading these days? What about ‘The way of Perfection”….. wait isn’t that the credo of Teresa of Avlila the great Carmalite saint?
Well yes, and probably I shouldn’t be reading it but it is fascinating and often rings true even in my weird situation. Unfortunately for my mother there is no indication of jumping boats but it still has a lot of fascinating insights in to monastic community life.

So to fill you in a little on what has been going on around here………

The annual nuns debate festival will be held in our nunnery this year, they are also expecting a lot of puja requests from the Tibetan government during the time of the Olympics. Already classes have been disturbed a lot by all the stuff going on this year. Also it seems there will be another Kalachakra at Amaravati in Jan or late Dec which means we will have exams a bit early. Or at least that is the excuse they gave us for canceling our summer vacation this year. Pretty dirty trick hey! They are giving us 10 days during June (ie now) which is almost over already and I have been so busy running up and down the mountain I’ve only managed one day of rest so far!

I thought I was coming down with tonsillitis so I went up to see the dr. Once I convinced him I was still in possession of my tonsils he said I only had a bit of pharengitus. It wasn’t an auspicious start. I went up as His Holiness came back a few days ago and we were told he would give a little talk and that there was some prayers so although it started early (8am but it takes up to 2 hrs to get up there sometimes) I went anyway (as I also had to go to the Dr so why not!) Anyway, we got there and there was prayers but His Holiness didn’t say anything so it was a bit disappointing. He will be giving a teaching to the Tibetan Children at the Tibetan Children’s village (giant Tibetan boarding school with several thousand students) tomorrow. I am not going, I will see if I can get someone to record it for me.

Two weeks ago we traipsed up to meet some of the meditators who are living in little shacks near my friend Ven. Nykills retreat hut. We went the long (and prickly) way but made it in the end (with a few puncture marks one stinging nettle victim and a neighbors dog who decided to join us for most of the journey but gave up near the top of the mountain when we lost the path and had to start crawling through the thorns.)
Of course there was a easy and relevily simple path to follow but we only found it on the way down….. its that always the way!
In the end it seems it was worth it though as we meet with a meditator who was a lovely fellow (who Nykil and Sangye (both American one monk one nun) had already named ‘Happy Monk’) from their brief meting when he was on his way back from Sojong. He wanted to cook us lunch but I felt bad because the food we ate would leave him with more to drag up the mountain next time he went for supplies so we just had tea.

He spent near an hour talking about the Dharma especially mind training and the benefits of cherishing other, which sounds boring but his way of speaking was really entertaining and very moving. I had to translate for the others but it was hard because he would say so many interesting things so fast and go on for a long time so I wasn’t able to translate it all exactly, but I had a nice time!

As for me I am well, class is really good at the moment I like it a lot and our teacher is really very skillful. All the nuns are surprised by how hard he is making class but we are so lucky to get a top notch teacher in a nunnery so they are trying to butter him up and make sure he doesn’t leave. He is pretty old already (ie not worrying about a career) so I think he may stay for another year or two which is good for us. Its not easy to get a good Monk to accept a post working in a nunnery. Besides the fact they are suddenly so alone in a nunnery they get a lot of flack from their mates back in the monastery. The stigma of nuns being stupid and unable to be married off etc is still thickk in the air. Even one of my classmates asked me why I didn’t go to Sara school and study philosophy with the monks rather than coming to the nunnery but to be honest I much prefer being here with the nuns where we can be friend and I am not always shut out of everything. If I have to be here for 10 years or so I may as well enjoy myself a bit!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

very quick update with no real information

I thought I should post something in case they are thinking of shutting down my blogg due to unpresidented lapses of anything.

Not that I have not been insanely busy.

I have, and basically since the beginning of 2006 when I was trying to study Tibetan, work in my nunnery and be some kind of 'practitioner', any passing thought of updating my blog fell to the bottom of a very long list of things to do.

Now, it is honestly no better, more studying, less working but very little access to a computer.

It is already half way though 2007 and I can barely believe it. Time basically ended the moment I left the 'worldly life' and entered the Buddhist collage back in March 05.

Since that time I have moved from my home country to India, from a Western monastic environment to a Tibetan one, from lay vows to novice nun with the characteristic speed of a 24 year old thinking death comes at 30.

So much to tell and honestly no time so I will leave it here and hopefully, very soon try to fill in the gaps.