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Monday, October 21, 2013

Well, I haven't heard anything from Deer Park monastery in CA; nor have I received an application for an internship from Blue Cliff monastery in NY. Bummer.

On a whim (ie. at the prompting of my friend, Maha), I applied at Kroger and Whole Foods and BOTH requested an interview with me! BOTH interviews went well! I have training at Kroger, and a second interview at Whole Foods while I figure out the living situation (which will probably determine which job I take).

My friends (Maha and her housemate, Robert) have graciously offered me a place to stay while I search for a space and a roomie! I am so blessed!

While the time to become a nun grows short (there is an age limit), I'm not disappointed in the turn of events. I'm actually excited. I really hope it all works out, so that I don't have to move back in with my family. I love them, but they are not my tribe.

So that being said...anyone looking for a housemate in Maumelle, AR???


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VALERIEMAHA 10/21/2013 11:06AM

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-- Robert Frost

Hahaha...well you DO have NINE more years (isn't it 40) before you reach the age limit for nuns! And by then you might have taken a completely different "less-traveled" path!

You might even decide to find a place in Conway regardless of which job you get once I show you the "back way" to I-430!

You are ON FIRE!

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SOULFISH80 10/21/2013 10:45AM

    Good luck in all your current endeavors. I pray for the very best for you :-)

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COCK-ROBIN 10/21/2013 10:44AM

    I hope it all goes well for you.

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BECOMINGONE 10/21/2013 10:14AM

    I am so proud of you, my friend. Getting started is half the battle ....

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RONNIEHUEY 10/21/2013 9:46AM

    wow didn't know nuns had an age limit.good luck

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NOTANINJA 10/21/2013 9:43AM

    Wow, best of luck to you. Sounds like there are many great opportunities for you.

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To Be a Nun

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

"I had occasionally considered becoming a nun before, but it had been out of hopelessness and despair. When I met Thay and learned about the practice of mindfulness, I realized that the monastic path might save me from my own destruction." --Sister Dang Nghiem

I'm crying right now, because I know I've considered the monastic path from time to time out of a desire to get away from people who can't and won't understand me; when underlying, there was all along a sense that I don't even understand myself. Yet, all along, there has been a sense of urgency. P. Yogananda says "everything else can wait, your search for God cannot."

All along, there's been a separation between my family and me. Some people are searching, and I believe some people are not searching...not on a priority level, anyway.

I'm crying because that separation is all my doing. I separate myself from my family because my path is different, but the whole cosmos is in a flower--we're all made of stars--and we're all on a path together as brothers and sisters. I want to become a nun to save myself from my separateness. I want to see my brothers and sisters (my mother and father) in the flowers and the trees and the wind....

I cry because it's the only path that makes sense to me. My grandmother said that I've tried so many things, thinking they were my path, and that I am just wandering along not knowing what I want.

I cry because being a nun will show me what I want; the only thing worth wanting--freedom from this nonsensical suffering I put on myself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COCK-ROBIN 10/8/2013 10:08PM

    Do it! emoticon

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MTRACHEL 10/8/2013 9:11PM

    aimlessness..I think that's a part of the teaching somewhere.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/8/2013 7:25PM

    Well then, "Just Do It!"

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Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I miss the wake up bell and chanting at Magnolia Grove Monastery. I miss the mindfulness bell; I put an app on my phone, but it doesn't help when everyone keeps talking or even gets annoyed that you've STOPPED.

I find myself resentful of this place and these people; I have everything I need or want without working for it, and I am not at peace with that. So I breathe in knowing I am resentful, and I breathe out smiling at that resentment--knowing it is impermanent; it's just a feeling. Fleeting.

I call myself patiently awaiting a reply from the monastery about an extended stay in order to explore the monastic path; I check my email daily.

So I breathe in my "patience;" knowing it is fleeting, I smile breathing out. This is how I stay patient.

I cried when I had to leave Magnolia Grove; it was all the "I have arrived. I am home" stuff. I felt more at home among the monastics more quickly than I have felt at home anywhere else. I feel like I would be gaining so much by joining the monastics. I've wondered what I would be giving up--what's a life of renouncement if you've nothing to renounce? I would renounce having everything in life passed to me by hand, as it were...I'd give up the easy life. Sometimes I think I live rather like a princess, everything handed to her--that can't be good, karmicly! lol!

My parents don't know I'm considering the monastic path. What they don't know won't hurt them. They haven't been giving me a hard time about going to a Buddhist retreat. Mom asked me "what is Buddhism?" I need a good answer to that question; it's not enough to say it's an Indian guy's teachings that ring true for some people; it's not enough to say that the Buddha and the Christ taught the same things (even though I didn't have to say that; she got it just from my description of some of the teachings).

What is Buddhism? It's not a religion. It's not really even a philosophy. It's a method; a method by which we each attain individual freedom in order to guide others to their this life as well as beyond life as we know it.

gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, what an awakening!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTRACHEL 10/8/2013 9:09PM

    Coming out of a retreat with Thay, i couldn't believe how LOUD and mindless the world was. Everyday I work to find just a bit of the peace I found in retreat. Always glad when I do, especially since being mindful in real life is like the minfulness Olympics! A method, a practice, it's something to be. I'm happy to see you are looking into being a monastic.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/8/2013 12:22PM

    Beautifully and sensitively articulated. Smile on!

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The Bell's Ring

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Every evening and every morning at the retreat--healing yourself healing the world--a monk or nun would ring this giant bell and chant intermittantly for twenty minutes...(I have pictures of it in the album "Magnolia Grove" on my facebook page: Ashley Gray Robin). This bell was rung to remind us to be silent, and to really be present for this moment. I remember the bell being a slightly rude awakening (I don't know exactly what time it was rung, but it was early in comparison to what I was used to) at first, but it came to be a beautiful engagement ring with each new day.


Bells also rang throughout the day. We are to stop and breathe every time a bell rings in order to re-engage ourselves to the present moment, and to calm down from our habits of hurried-ness...


Every time a bell rang,

I would stop.



Take in the wonderous


Every time a bell rang,

time stood still

for just a moment.

Enabling me

to re-enter

this world.

Every time a bell rang,

I breathed in

the sumptuous

life and light.

Every time a bell rang,

I heard the breeze;

felt the trees;

knew the bees;

and inwardly--

went to my knees.

Every time a bell rang,

people would smile;

they arrived;

they were home.

Every time a bell rang.


Om shanti (peace).


I met a lot of wonderful people while at the retreat. Sister Tranquility (a nun I worked with at washing pots) invited me to the monastery in New York, where she lives. I think I'd love to stay with the monastics a while longer....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTRACHEL 10/3/2013 11:42PM

    Your words are so lovely, I would like to share them with my Sangha. Let me know if that is alright. We are a group who has practiced with Thay and missed going to retreat this year. It's wonderful to be there through you and Valerie. Do go to Blue Cliff if you can. Rachel

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COCK-ROBIN 10/3/2013 9:49PM

    That's a beautiful thought to think of. I'll remember it every time I hear a bell.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/3/2013 9:25PM

    BTW, Robin means on Facebook here: "I have pictures of it in the album 'Magnolia Grove.'"

Comment edited on: 10/8/2013 7:28:48 PM

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VALERIEMAHA 10/3/2013 9:02PM

    Listen, listen,
this wonderful sound
brings me back
to my true home.
-- Gatha by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Where Krishna Sat; There I Would Die...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Show me how
You're in every thing;
teach me
the ebb and flow
of your Tide.
Allow me to caress
the secret spaces
and to let go
of all this tangled
web of delusion.
This schizophrenic world
makes me feel so lost;
find me
take me in Your arms;
the disorder
of it all
Let me trace
your secret spaces
and tell me
how You've Loved me
for eons.
Play with me;
let me sing of You
as whispers in Your ear.
Gopala Hare Hare...
Let me be a sweet nothing
in Your ear.
Plow down these layers of depression
and weakness
which are so unbecoming of me.
Re-trace my beauty;
mold me into how You see me.
Re-define me as
my original face,
and let that be my testimony of You
to the Universe.
Teach me how to Love You;
I want nothing else.
Om Shanti
Where Krishna sat;
there I would die;
on a branch of the tamal tree....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NONIE_C 5/22/2013 6:20PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful's such a gift to us all.

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MTRACHEL 5/21/2013 9:39PM

    Lovely! So glad I found this blog today!

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