Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Becoming a Monk: February, 1996

Dear readers,

I have many things to share about my early childhood days. This small anecdote is one of them. Actually, I am afraid it is cheerless. But all the same, I sincerely hope that you will enjoy ‘my little world’ and empathize with me. 
Just like you, I had many dreams in my life. When I was quite young I used to tell my mother that one fine day I will become a DCM Truck Driver or Dasho Dzongrub. But did I really fulfil my dream? I ask this question time and again. And I always get the same answer- No. No, I did not fulfil my dream. Who has seen the future? God perhaps has seen it. I didn’t.

Can a monk drive a DCM Truck or become a Dasho Dzongrub? It was beyond imagination, at least in those days. One has to study hard and get a lot of trainings to become somebody in his/her life. Day dreaming is one thing, but materializing those dreams are quite another. And almost everything starts with schooling. As I reminiscence over my bygone days, I am often strung with nostalgia and a sense of guilt as my parents struggled to see me through schooling system. Kadrinchey, Apa and Ama. What I am now is totally because of the sacrifices that you made for me, and the choices I made for myself.

But not so long ago, I decided to become a monk in Lhuentse Dzong. My parents wished me well. We assembled some basic things and packed them in a basket. I was ready. Monkhood was all I wanted. I was filled with joy and happiness. We started our journey and said goodbye to my village friends and neighbours. I had my cousins in Lhuentse Dzong. This fact excited me even more.

According to Dratshang norms, the total number of monks in the Dzong should be approximately 100 or 108. I ranked 130 on the admission list. So naturally, I was not recognized as a full-fledged monk. But I was lucky to receive ‘Wang’, ‘Lung’, ‘Thri Sum’ from His Holiness Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpochey who blessed us in the Dzong for 14 days. It was a grand ceremony indeed. But soon hustle and bustle in the dzong came to an end, and with it, my excitement too.

Life in Dzong took a different turn. I felt strange. I felt alienated. Day in and day out I agonized. My innocent heart ached with pain and tears simply oozed out of my eyes. I prostrated before Lord Buddha and said a humble prayer of remorse, “I am so sorry. I am not ready”. 

What is a monk? Did I become a monk? What did I do? Were my parents really happy with this? Did I find out another new world to become a DCM Truck driver or Dasho Dzongrub? It is beyond my comprehension. Who has seen the future anyway?