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I just would be an unintegrated mess if it wasn’t for the Sangha… communication with others and their help, and the inspiration of Sangha.
This interview was recorded in 2012.
In 1968 I was not born. My parents were working in London on Vogue magazine where my father was feature’s editor and my mother worked in fashion. Apparently my father was so shy to ask my mother out that he went into her office, an office of only young women, and said “I have some theatre tickets, does anyone want to come?” Everyone knew they were meant for her. They got married the next year.
In 1978 I was born. I was born in February in the London Hospital, just near where the LBC is now. I was about 2 months premature and they had thought I hadn’t made it. After announcing the time of death, one nurse said “lets give her one more go”. They managed to get a heartbeat and I survived, as did my mother who was very ill.
In 1988 I was 10 years old. I lived in a big house in Tooting with my parents and 2 elder brothers along with various lodgers. That year was significant for me. I went to India for the first time and saw visible poverty alongside such beauty I knew my life would never be the same again. I was also very effected by the Zubrugger disaster where so many people died. I realised my life had to take into account the suffering of others. I made a vow to my grandfather that I would become a nun!
In 1998 I was 20 years old. I lived in Leeds and was at the University doing a degree in ‘Philosophy and Religious Studies’. I had become a Buddhist 3 years before at the South London Buddhist Centre. At University I ran the ‘Buddhist Meditation Society’, which is where all my friends were. I was very involved with the Leeds Buddhist Centre, setting up classes and organising retreats. At one point I thought about giving up my degree, but my friend in the Order encouraged me that ‘the Order needs people who can think’. I asked for Ordination that year.
In 2008 I was 30. I was living in Sheffield working as a mitra convenor for women. I lived in a flat in a high-rise tower block looking over the city and into the hills. On my 30th birthday I was leading a puja at the Centre and they surprised me with a huge bunch of flowers.
In 2018 I am 40. I live at Tiratanaloka retreat centre for women and work on the Ordination Team. I am a Private Preceptor and Chair of the India Dhamma Trust. What does that mean to me sitting here on a sunny spring day in a garden filled with daffodils and the sound of the activity of birds? Just that I have spent over half my life practising the Dhamma and that the effects of Dhamma practice continue to reverberate in my being in unexplained ways, leading me onwards to a life I never imagined.
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