Reflection on Outstanding Buddhist Women Forum (2)

6 March

I woke up in the middle of the night. A cold breeze came in through windows. Will the participants feel cold? Do they have enough blankets? I asked myself. But I was too tired to get up and check it myself. Around 8 am they all came for breakfast. Many of them looked fresh after having a yoga meditation with Maechee Aree, a lady of small figurine whose courage touched my heart.

We gathered at Dewa Sala for the morning session. To protect us from the sun, Yonten used the green and blue cloth that is supposed to be prayer flags as shades. We started the day with a 30-minute meditation.

Sensei Carol in elegant black robe with a green sage led us on a journey of gratitude. We reflected on what we received at the awards ceremony and what we thought should be improved for the next year’s ceremony which will be a a tenth anniversary of the OBWA. We bowed to each other, opening our heart and mind.

We learned to appreciate all the details that made everything possible including the event at Khadiravana.

All is due to the two ladies who believe in women’s abilities, who extend their loving kindness beyong the confines of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand. To Bhikkhuni Dr. Lee and Bhikkhuni Ratanavali we owe their gratitude.

The afternoon session was held at Vasutara Sala. It was an intense discussion on Thai and Taiwanese Bhikkhunis. A few new faces including chair of the Prachuab Khirikhan Chamber of Commerce visited us.

We had a lovely break with “Look Chub,” a traditional Thai sweet made of green beans and jelly.

The Taiwanese sisters in particular seemed to enjoy look chub so much. They even wanted to take some back to Taiwan.

The dialogue continued till the sun disappeared from the sky. We talked about obstacles women went through when they first sought bhikkhuni ordination, the meaning of feminism as beautifully presented by Aj. Nardrudee, the role of lay women in promoting Buddhism and how our Taiwanese sisters dealt with problems and confrontations. Ven. Min Yu with a gentle smile encouraged us by way of her life philosophy –  remain silent, observe your mind and problems will disappear by themselves.

8 pm We watched Pandara’s films together. Our mini theatre is cherished by Bhikkhuni Dr. Lee, who remarked to me that the ordained love watching movies because we hardly have such a chance. We also showed Bo’s Kailash teaser, which inspired us to discuss the role of pilgrimage in modern days. Perhaps one day it would be possible for us to go on a pilgrimage together. How wonderful will it be for dharma sisters of various lineages to walk together as peace pilgrims!

The highlight of the first day’s evening activities was to circumambulate and chant for peace and harmony at the Shanti Tara Maha Stupa site. Each one of us held an incense in our hands.

The melody of devotion Om Mani Padme Hum filled the sky shaking the hearts of all gods and spirits. With mindfulness we walked to the Stupa site. With love and compassion we led the way to the world…

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