by 伊凌 yi ling
I got “promoted” to “jingren” a candidate for ordination. Though under slightly awkward status because this previous person here was telling me all this shit about the elders here and how they weren’t shit for not having superpowers. She also talked a lot of weird voodoo stuff like “you have heart troubles cuz you butchered hearts” before and don’t go to the stupa because it’s too yin. All non legit stuff. I pointed this out and they had a mediation process and asked her to leave after a year. Watching her left me to reflect a lot on the grandiosity I engaged in and what I was truly trying to accomplish. How it’s harmful even with good intentions to people’s paths. And the necessary reverence to have for teachers or else learning is impossible. How often I used to grouse about how we don’t have elders–I want to treasure this opportunity to learn well!
I had to write all chinese for my application (still gotta write my bio for the seniors *stress*) which took hours but I’m very proud. Though my mother always warned me from being too political, I decided not to hold back. Rei Shifu, the community organizer professor nun really enjoyed it, which made me happy. As she said, “colonization was wrong, it shouldn’t have ever happened. this isn’t too political at all.” I’m in the right place ❤
(On my history with Buddhism)
My mother prayed to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas when I was in her womb that I would become a monk and help many beings. She sent my sister and I to Tzu Chi Chinese Cultural School as well as to live in monasteries. That summer before 9th grade, I took refuge in the Triple Gem and 5 precepts, but once I got to college, I started seeking other religions because my mother’s interpretation of “karma” left her without fight in the face of troubles. I hoped that faith wasn’t a way of denial or suppression but a way of liberation. Thus, I didn’t restrict myself, trying to understand different worldviews; philosophy, economics, politics, Christianity. But facing friends/family/self/society’s loss and changes, I reconnected to Buddhism. I participated in a 10 day Vipassana retreat, returned to the monastery I stayed at in 8th grade, even met a Tulku earlier from Tibet, but I wish to find a homegrown practice, in the process understanding a worldview that does not fall into western colonization.
(On my ambitions with Buddhism)
When I envision the future, I imagine a safe and tranquil and welcoming space for beings to come together to heal and take care of their hearts. In this sanctuary, people can practice, grow in dharma, participate in rituals and ceremony to honor elders and ancestors, dedicate this space to diasporic and refugee people. For their cultural preservation and growing in the dharma, people need a place free from white supremacy, imperialist, capitalist, patriarchy. I hope to decolonize the dharma so Buddhism returns to the hearts of many young people and connect liberation from hearts to the collective body.