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Reflections from a Recently Ordained Member of the Order of Interbeing

31 Oct 2017 5:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

With gratitude to Katy Shields for sharing about her recent experience at the Magnolia Grove Monastery, where she and her fellow FCM member Carol Meyer were ordained into Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing.

Being an aspirant in Thich Naht Hahn's Order of Interbeing, I knew that ordination at Magnolia Grove Monastery retreat would be very moving. I just didn't know in what way.


Leading up to the retreat I felt a strong connection to my teacher and the line carried down from our Bodhisattva ancestors including Master Linji and Thay.  Thay's continuation day marked the beginning of the retreat which made his connection and presents very real. During our daily OI family small groups sister Dang Nghiem helped prepare us for ordination spiritually and logistically. Each day I felt more and more the embodiment of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings and the OI family collective. Sister "D" made it clear that Ordination and our vows were not an end result but just a beginning.


The beauty of Magnolia Grove, the wonderful vegan meals, deep relaxation, walking meditation and practicing joyfully together, nourished deeply. Through the daily Dharma talks and panels given by the monks and nuns, it was made very clear that the Dharma, Thays lineage, his teachings as well as his wisdom and compassion are in good hands and will continue beautifully.


I experienced most of the monks and nuns as being very present, wise and compassionate. They embody Thay in their action of body speech and mind. Someone in our group called it "Thayhood".


The Ordination Ceremony began at predawn on the 4th day of retreat. The dimly lit meditation hall was filled with retreatants, family members, monks and nuns.  The monks and nuns sat nobly, clothed in there very best ceremonial attire. This moved me so much. This was a sacred day for them also. 


When my legs were shaking nervously as I got up to receive my transmission certificate, I looked at them sitting so solidly holding space for us that I was able to continue walking peacefully.


Some final words of the ceremony were given by sister Anabelle Laity. "Do not think you know all there is to know about the 14 Mindfulness Trainings. It takes many lifetimes to understand these trainings".  


Everyone says that something happens to you at ordination. It's true and very hard to explain so I won’t. But if in any way you are called to this path, all I can say is that I highly recommend it. This is the most meaningful thing I have ever done by far.


I believe what Sister Annebelle says about the many lifetimes.   May I not waist a moment. May I transform unwholesome seeds, see things as they are and may I be of benefit.


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