Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye

We had a leaving ceremony for Renee today, who is heading up the coast this weekend, first to be with her family, and then to study with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in Seattle. It was a moving ceremony for me; laughter and tears not far apart. Jordan, her teacher, spoke of her qualities, and asked her a question, and then, turning the usual form on its head, asked her if she wanted to ask Paul something, which she did. Paul got his question in afterwards though, as well as some beautiful words of appreciation.
The fluid nature of the residential sangha here is something I have written about before; there is a constant process of intimacy and parting, continually placing our wish for connection against the reality of impermanence. I have been happy and proud to have Renee as a friend, especially through the hard times of this year; I remember when she used to come as a volunteer dishwasher in the kitchen when I was tenzo, as well as helping Diana in the bookstore that she ended up running. As Jordan said, we would be sadder, except that we know she is doing the right thing for her life right now.
We also know that people never completely disappear from our lives, especially in the Mahasangha, and of course, these days, you can always keep in touch with people on their blogs...

Renee in her element, dancing at the Pride Parade this summer

The more contemplative side, on her favourite rock in the courtyard

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