El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

I wanna be a Himalayan hermitess

August 29, 2014 1

“Oh wow! Hey (Pastor) Niral, that book looks interesting!”

I was sat amidst boxes and envelopes, all containing books and gifts that Rinpoche had bought online to send back to Malaysia. Of course being the greedy gumdrops that I am, I could not help but peruse the titles myself, to see if there was anything that I would like, that I could order online for myself.

I made a mental note of the title, thinking I would buy it later, then put it back into the stack. I finished unwrapping everything else and set it to one side to present to Rinpoche later, and got on with my work.

A few hours later, Pastor David came bounding up to me.

“Here you go! A gift from Rinpoche!”

“Oh? What’s tha…omg.”

Out of the 20-odd books and gifts that had arrived that morning, the one that had got me excited was the very same one Rinpoche was gifting to me.

[insert British accent hehe] “Oh. My. God. Rinpoche knew,” Pastor Niral said.

I read the note inside and nearly cried.

Book

Click to enlarge

THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT RINPOCHE!

When I requested for ordination (for the third time in my life!) late last year, Rinpoche said to me very clearly,

“You are a normal girl. You want to do what every normal young girl wants to do. So you will have ups and downs, and that is okay. I know you will have them and I can tell you this because I had the same when I was younger when I asked to be ordained. Of course I didn’t have as much as you will, but I had my ups and downs also, just a little bit. There were times when things were so difficult that I wanted to give up, but I remembered what Zong Rinpoche told me and I didn’t. So I can tell you all this now because I went through it myself. If later you change your mind and you don’t want to become ordained, it is also okay. And if you want to become ordained, I will be very happy for you but you do not to do it because you think it will make me happy. I will be just as proud of you and love you just as much if you decide not to do it. It will not change what I think about you if you change your mind. So I accept your request and you decide and you think about it, okay? If you decide to become ordained, I will be very happy for you and you will have your ups and downs but learn to look past it and later you will find it easier.”

I decided I want to do it.

Since then, Rinpoche has sent me stories of inspiration about great women who overcame their obstacles to become eminent practitioners. I’m constantly inspired by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and whenever I have my ups and downs, I think back to her and the challenges she faced. I’m not one for relationships but her honesty in those chapters in Cave in the Snow…although the object of her obstacles were different to mine, it’s her thought process that I can relate with and I take inspiration from. I’m nowhere near her level but once upon a time, she was a normal girl living in London who decided to pursue enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, and I’m a normal girl too. At the Tsem Rinpoche Foundation, we have been learning about how the study of namthars (biographies) is beneficial to our practice. From my personal experience, this is exactly why :)

I have A LOT of reading material by my bedside (most recently, Rinpoche also gave me John Blofield’s Mantras: Sacred Words of Power which I am so excited to go through as well!) but I’ve set it all aside to start reading this one. I’ll let you guys know how it goes :)

ps. that plant in the picture? Also a gift from Rinpoche because I spend so much time on the computer. Rinpoche told my brother he got it for me so I don’t become radioactive haha

Gifts, Becoming a Nun

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