Daring to Dream
Dear friends in Dhamma,
this time in which many children of all ages are dreaming of new toys,
twinkling lights, bright stars; commercial extravaganzas mixed with
silent nights and holiness... i dare to dream another dream.
Today I received two letters:
One letter ended with an exerpt from Jack Kornfeild's book Wise Heart, in which he says:
"What we repeatedly visualize changes our body and consciousness."
The second letter
was from Susan Pembroke, long term student of the late Ayya Khema and
now meditation teacher in her tradition; founder of the Alliance for
At the end of her letter, Susan writes of her dream
in which there are as many bhikkhunis in the world of Theravada Buddhism
as bhikkhus. I replied to her that i do not dream of as many, but
rather of a world in which bhikkhunis are just as treasured as and just
as well supported as their bhikkhu brothers, and in which we have as
many great leading bhikkhuni teachers, shining for the benefit of the
world as their bhikkhu peers. A world in which bhikkhus delight in
uplifting and supporting their bhikkhuni sisters, mothers, and
daughters, just as much as bhikkhunis delight in uplifting and
supporting their bhikkhu brothers, fathers, sons... A world in which
neither great leading laymen and laywomen teachers nor the men and women
inspired to and living the monastic life are devalued by one another;
but rather live in mutual appreciation and mutual upliftment -- looking
upon one another with eyes and heart of loving kindness.
might say that we should go beyond dreaming, into the world of The
Real. And i agree. And yet, i have learned from the Blessed One -- the
Buddha -- the great power of the mind; its leading power, and
transformative power. Both the turning of the Wheel of Samsara and the
turning of the Dhamma Wheel happen based upon the very same principle;
that of cause and effect. And it is our intention and our thought that
is the primary causal kamma which determines our experience of this Real
If we are going to make anything in our minds; let us make well.
us cultivate and grow and harvest calm and peace, joy and equanimity,
and both all the levels of the courses of wholesome intentions, as well
as the thoughts, words and actions that are the stepping stones of each
one of our Paths.
Each thought, each vision, each word so
matters. With the power to be garbage, or to be nothing, or to be
happy; to be peaceful, to purify our hearts, to love one another; to
live the Path through and through in each moment of our lives. So if
there is to be any becoming at all; lets make it a wholesome becoming,
and a becoming liberated, becoming free.
So, you might say that dreaming is fine; but what of the pragmatics?
(I will repeat this part now of my talk given at our Aranya Bodhi Hermitage Kathina this last month, on request.)
are those who share the wish and dream to see as many great enlightened
women bhikkhuni teachers blessing our great land and our earth as there
is a call and a wish for. And it is true that just this wish alone --
without the practical actions to follow up to make this true -- will not
The wish and the intention must be a proactive one.
If you wish to see such; you must be willing to do the groundwork of
the path to make it happen. This means that not only supportive
thoughts and intentions, but applied intentions -- applied in words and
applied in bodily acts -- will be what makes this happen. This means
that there must be a critical mass of people willing to set the dream
into motion; that is to walk their talk -- to live the dream -- all the
way through to its very real embodiment and very real fulfillment.
it were farming; this would mean the willingness to do what it takes to
cultivate through to harvest in all the stages: to prepare the ground,
to give fertilizer, to plant the seeds, to give water, remove weeds,
look out for any harm... through to reaping the fruit. If this were
growing human children, it means giving loving care with regards to the
heart, food and drink, medicine, clothing, shelter, education... And
growing up monastics and a whole field of monastic teachers in the field
of the Sangha -- compared by the Buddha to the unsurpassed field of
merit for the world -- is not so different:
Loving care, food
and water, shelter, robes, medicine, training in Dhamma and
Discipline... not so very different than for other human beings -- only
generally needing much much less of the physical things. But they are
still needed; still critically important. The provision of these
physical things on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis; especially
lodging, medicine and food, make the difference of whether it can really
happen or not.
There are many women in this country who have
the aspiration to go forth into monastic life; the aspiration to live
the Holy Life -- as lived by the arahants and their bhikkhu peers -- to
its fullest. If the requisite support is there; their dream will become
a lived reality.
So, i would encourage each and every one of
you, dear friends, both known and unknown, who may be reading this
letter; to know your dream, to make it conscious -- and if it is a
wholesome one -- for the benefit of oneself and for the world -- then to
live it. Do what needs to be done to fully live your Path. Live it
yourself and support others in living what you wish to see in the world.
Such that your dream does not remain pumkin pie or sugar plum faries in
the sky, but becomes your lived reality.
Sadhu! and great apprecation from all of our fledgling Bhikkhuni Sangha
to all of you who are and have been so proactive, so supportive and so
engaged in fully cultivating the causal conditions for the full living
of this dream.
At the end of many of the Buddha's
teachings as recorded in the Suttas to friends and family, both young
and old; when someone has completely fulfilled the Path, this is an
essential part of their victory verse: "I have done what needed to be done."
Wishing you well,
with jaya mangala - victory blessings :-)
Mind is the forerunner of all states:
Mind is chief, mind-made are they;
If one speaks or acts with a defiled mind,
Suffering follows like wheels of a cart.
Mind is the forerunner of all states:
Mind is chief; mind-made are they;
If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
Happiness follows like a shadow that never leaves.
--The Buddha, Dhammapada