International Women's Day: SaradarshiniOn Thu, 11 March, 2021 - 17:38
I was ordained in 2007 in Golden Bay, Aotearoa New Zealand. I live in a vibrant suburb in Wellington, about half an hour walk to our Buddhist Centre and 45 minutes’ walk into the city. I live with my long-term non-Buddhist partner, we met in 1980!
As Chair of the Wellington Buddhist Centre, I spend most of my days organising Centre activities and meeting people. I meditate and walk and spend time being part of life in my garden. I like to know which bird is which, where they are nesting, who’s been injured, what territorial battles are happening. Monday morning, I spend with my 92-year-old, almost completely deaf, legally blind father, discussing such things as the nature of consciousness, and his new found interest in the Dharma.
We’ve been fortunate in Wellington as we’ve had one level 4 lockdown which saw our Centre closed from mid-March until mid-May when we entered alert level 2 and began opening again slowly. In June we moved to alert level 1 with no restrictions. We’ve had to operate under level 2 with some restrictions on three occasions and I’ve found that a bit tricky.
I loved the stillness of lockdown the quiet, no planes, few cars, the presence of bird life magnified, everything felt and smelt better! I haven’t had a cold for a year so I love that we’ve all taken on board staying away from each other when we’re sick.
Lockdown meant cancelling retreats, negotiating with landlords, moving all our classes on line, helping our Sangha stay in touch and get up to speed with Zoom and general use of technology. I also helped some doctors and nurses and receptionists, at a health Centre my sister manages, become more confident using Zoom. Our Sangha was fantastic in terms of embracing the move to online classes; the young Buddhists’ enthusiasm for getting online now, really helped with this.
We now have internet at the Centre for the first time. We continue to use Zoom for Council meetings and some study groups and Chapter. We run some classes both on Zoom as well as at the Centre. I’ve enjoyed developing a friendship with Saddhavati from the Highlands who attended our Saturday morning meditations.
Chair has been the main focus of my Dharma practice and Covid hasn’t changed that, I didn’t end up with more free time. I have felt the loss of longer retreats and time with visiting Order members. My appreciation of the wider Order has deepened with the Bodhicitta practice, the Sikkha training sessions and the online convention.
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