During this vassa some quite drastic changes are taking place. Don’t know whether it is the new practice that I included into my schedule or the past and disturbing experiences as abbess. First, I lost my enthusiasm to become enlightened, which is not too bad, after all. I was a bit fixated on that. Since years. The longest time I could not bear the thought not to become enlightened in this life and having to go through this all again. It is still not what I wish. It might well be that I detect in the end some bhava tanha, the desire to be but still I notice mainly vibhava tanha, the desire not to be. To exsit presently is perfectly all right. No worries. But although I do not wish to be in this circle of samsara again with a new existence after this one, I noticed one of these days, that the burning ‘must’ disappeared out of the sentence ‘I must become enlightened.’ It’ll happen when the time is ripe.
The robes were everything to me. Magic cloak, shelter, home, philosophy, all I wanted and wanted to wear. I remember having written or at least thought that I want to die in these robes. Well, as it seems there also happened a big shift in thoughts. This process started in OZ already. The robes are becoming more and more what they are, cloth that keeps heat and cold and flies and mosquitoes away. What I wear is unimportant. Wearing these robes I represent something which I have started to distrust, institutional Buddhism. Not that I seriously wish to disrobe, but I wouldn’t mind to wear lay clothes. Not the wrapping is important, only the contents. A pure mind can be in a male body or in a female, a body donne with robes or wearing lay clothes. I was reading the book about Dipa Ma, a burmese lay woman, meditation practitioner and teacher, she died as a non-returner, as it seems. Well done. 🙂
It is said by some that one dies after 7 days when one becomes an Arahant as a lay person others say one dies that very day. I believe it is metaphorical in both cases. Of cause one dies the very moment one is becoming and Arahant, the person that was does not exist any more and never will again. Although that body might continue to exist for some time. But honestly, I am far away from being an Arahant and don’t mind much to die, how much less would I mind to die should I ever happen to become enlightened as a lay person. However, just playing with thoughts.
In fact, the robes can be an obstacle. As a bhikkhuni one is in the center of attention. Just as I was a an actress. Many people hang their hopes on you, have expectations and all this. This is not welcome to me because not good for my ego. I am just not advanced enough for this challenge, especially since I want to please, I want to be loved and respected.