Apprentice

Ordination

I took a long time with the idea of ordination and vajra relationship, and trying to live the vows before assuming them. I knew that it was possible, even common, for non-ordained practitioners to have strong dedicated practice, and fruitful relationships with their teachers. And I also knew that ordination did not gain a person access to better things, teachings, power, or status. So, on the surface of things, there did not seem to be much to gain that I could not have as an apprentice. What I wanted from my practice and my relationship with my Lamas, however, was a ‘no escape’ clause. I wanted to pull all my stops. I needed help to supplant all my clever ideas – the cosy preferences that trap me in disappointment. I wanted to be contained in a dedicated, unconcealed, trusting relationship with my teachers. So, I took the leap in 2005. I now feel supported by the lineage of practitioners through history – but, the more profound change has been my experience of my Lamas as vajra masters. Since ordination, they have felt inseparable from Buddhism itself. Through their interests, their taste in clothes, the way they care for their belongings, the things they enjoy and dislike—some aspect always touches on teaching. Because they are Western people with Western lives, I am continuously reminded of them by the things I experience in my life of no escape.

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