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I Once Was a Buddhist Nun

Descriere: (Extract from) Chapter 1
1 Rock bottom
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.'
(John 14:27 Nkjv)
It was the morning of Sunday 21 July 1991, a warm summer's day. The wind-battered hilltop was today pleasantly bathed with a sunny glow. I was living in a Buddhist monastery, north of London, England. In bad weather it often felt like a bleak place, dotted with the wooden huts in which we lived. The huts had a temporary look about them, built above the ground, which seemed to encourage nasty gusts of chilled air to blow underneath. The trees and shrubs we had planted in the field were still very young, but were beginning to add a bit more greenery to the surroundings.
We hadn't had the meal yet, but I wasn't hungry that day. I had other things on my mind. I was one of the few ordained members of the community left at the temple. Nearly everyone, including the lay people and guests staying with us, had departed early in the morning to attend an ordination ceremony at our other monastery in the south of England. This was one of the highlights of the year, our biggest ceremonial event - the one day when suitable men and women could take the higher ordination. I had relished seeing new people ordain. It was exciting and full of meaning for me. Ordinarily I would not have missed it. But this year I didn't want to be there. I had asked for permission not to go.
I had lived in a Buddhist temple for eight years, most of that time in England as a nun (although I spent the first six months in a forest temple in Thailand before ordaining). I had taken two ordinations, initially as a novice and then as a Buddhist nun (known as a ten-precept nun). I was searching deeply for truth, and had strongly believed that Buddhism could take me there. I had given up everything that was necessary to follow the Buddhist way.
Some people may consider it an extreme way to live. The life of a Buddhist nun was strict and disciplined. It involved many ascetic practices which had the aim of giving up the pleasures of the world in search for truth. They were designed to simplify life and help us detach from earthly things. Living like this was often very tiring, but it had become normal for me and very much part of me. We slept little, ate only one meal a day and experienced much sensory deprivation. We didn't listen to the radio or television, and so at some level were cut off from the world. I was known for my strong faith in Buddhism and hadn't ever really doubted the purpose of living like this. Until now.
Something had changed dramatically.
I had begun seriously to doubt Buddhism. This had never happened before and I was inwardly shaken and somewhat bewildered as a result, none of which I liked. I wanted and needed to be sure. I didn't know what was happening to me or where the strong persistent faith that I once had was disappearing to: it felt like sand slipping out of my fingers. Today I was at a peak of confusion and inner turmoil. I don't know where I was when I made the decision to go out of the temple.
Suddenly I found myself, with my shaven head and dark brown robe, running down to the traditional Anglican church in the nearby village. It was totally spontaneous. I didn't know who or what I would find there. I just found myself tearing out of the monastery and rushing down the hill. I was aware as I went that I had asked no-one's permission to leave. This was more urgent than etiquette! I just fled. My head was in a spin. I thought, I've got to talk to somebody,
I've got to understand what's happening to me.' I felt deep down that someone in the church would have the answer, but I had no idea who or why. ...

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Autori: Baker Esther | Editura: Inter-Varsity Press | Anul aparitiei: 2009 | ISBN: 9781844743841 | Numar de pagini: 192 | Categorie: Religion  


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