Padmasuri welcomes her good friend Malini to the CollegeOn Fri, 1 December, 2017 - 18:02
It is our great good fortune that Malini has joined the College of public preceptors and just attended her first college meeting at Adhisthana. Malini’s initial contact with Bhante was attending a meditation class led by him in the basement room of Sakura in Monmouth street, central London, in 1967. Today she is the longest standing Dharmacharini in the world – quite an accolade! Ordained in 1969 at the tender age of 19 and when the number of order members could be counted on a pair of hands, she participated in those early inspired yet sometimes challenging times as the movement grew and began to take shape around Bhante’s vision.
During this college meeting an evening was given over to her telling us her life story and sharing glimpses of those fledgling years including the ups and downs of her personal involvement. I have heard her life story before but this time I was particularly struck by her deep regard and even love for Bhante, and what a powerful presence and effect - not always easy - he had on her early life in the WBO. I hope her story will be written up and more widely shared with future generations of Buddhist men and women.
Malini is woman who played an instrumental part in my life befriending me at a time when I was finding my own faltering ways into Buddhism and the FWBO. I will always be indebted for her interest in me and sharing of herself especially the times we spent together in the late 1970’s at Mandarava retreat centre in Norfolk where we both lived, and later sharing our lives around the LBC mandala. Her friendship was one of the greatest boons in my life. Yet her hand of friendship was not exclusive to me: there are dozens of women, and probably men, for whom Malini has been, and still is a source of kalyana mitrata and wise counsel, including others in the college.
Some 30 years ago she moved to New Zealand where she has lived ever since, and there plays a significant part in the ordination process for women primarily being a good friend to many and private preceptor to a few. While the college is looking to gradually pass on their responsibilities to younger generations - which is hardly Malini who is now in her late 60’s, she however has agreed to step into the role of public preceptor for a short while so as to be a bridge until the Australasian kula has more trained, mentored and active ‘next generation’ public preceptors.
Welcome Malini! Lovely to have you with us, and Sadhu! Thank you for all you have given to the movement and Order, most especially to the women’s wing just by sticking on in there through some baffling times, and for listening to your own heart the effect of which has given the gift of confidence for others to listen to their own hearts, and to know themselves more deeply.