Satyavani writes: You’ll notice from the photo and from the way I’m introducing myself that something has changed!
On Saturday, Bodhi Day, I was ordained as a Buddhist Priest with the Order of Amida Buddha.
I don’t know where to begin. I could tell you about the twelve hours of chanting we did on Friday, the shaving of my head, the taking of 156 precepts, the prostrating before the Buddha, the nervous moment before I received my new name during the ceremony… (here’s how to pronounce it and what it means)
I expect some of these things to sound alien to you, regardless of whether you have a spiritual practice of your own. Yesterday I wrote an email to my close friends & family, telling them I would prefer it if they would call me by a different name. This was a difficult thing to do.
The twelfth precept I took is:
To open oneself to grace; to enjoy the sun, the sky, the clouds and storms that nature sends, and to treat all occurrences, fortunate and unfortunate, as occasions for awakening.
We can’t escape the storms. The weekend was so beautiful, I feel thoroughly soaked in sun. And even amidst this celebratory meeting of friends there were complications – people bumping up against other people’s dysfunction, uncertainty, disappointments. We can’t escape dukkha.
And so this is the precept I will be holding in mind today: to open myself to grace. To transform this grit in the oyster, when I can, into the beginnings of a pearl.
I’m very grateful to my teacher Dharmavidya who introduced me to the Pureland Buddhist path, and who continues to inspire me with his teachings. I’m grateful to Sujatin for ordaining me and for choosing me the perfect name. I’m grateful to my husband Kaspa who accompanies me along this always-interesting road. I’m grateful to my sangha in Malvern, in the UK and all over the world – it was wonderful to join with you as we chanted in Derbyshire, Belgium, Hawaii, Canada, Israel and elsewhere. And I’m grateful to you, for reading this, for your support, for all the wonderful messages you’ve left on Facebook and on Twitter.
One more thing. I wanted to shave my head to mark the ceremony and we did this on Thursday. A friend suggested I send my hair to the Little Princess Trust who make real-hair wigs for children who need them. I wanted to send a donation with the hair and I’m pleased to announce that we hit our target of £1000 (and a bit over). You can still contribute at this page.
If you’d like to see more photos of the day (including this rather lovely one of 9 month old Selena) here they are.
I am different now, and I am the same. I hope that making this commitment will support me to be the best-person-I-can-be, and help me to show people where they might find their own light.