Celtic Buddhist Monks

 

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"Celtic Buddhist monasticism is inspired and informed by the life of St. Francis, Mother Theresa and St. Brendan, to name a few, and seeks to create a strong religious Buddhist/Christian monastic community. Buddhism will never truly sistergryphonlinbelong to the west until strong monastic communities are present. These communities will become the gathering place for practitioners, offer people the chance to the short and long term retreats and become living examples of what life can be when the focus is not on ourselves." an excerpt from Sister Gryphon's website: www.celticbuddhistmonks.org/

 

Sister Gryphon was empowered as a lineage holder in July,2011. Sister Gryphon is the Abbess of Glen Ard Abbey and the Director of Shambhala teachings in the Celtic Buddhist Lineage.

Sister Gryphon trained and lived for 8 years at Zen Mountain Monastery where she took postulant and novice ordination vows. She then lived as a mendicant monk for several years taking various jobs and wandering, visiting other spiritual teachers and centers. In 2009 she met Seonaidh Perks and in 2010 received final monastic ordination vows in the Celtic Buddhist Lineage. Sister Gryphon also holds a degree in veterinary medicine and has trained and practiced holistic and herbal medicine. She has also trained with Tom Brown,Jr. in wilderness skills, living with the Earth, and has completed scout training. She is currently living in the woods of Howland, Maine and is in the process of creating an abbey and training temple there.

 

 

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Lama Tenzin Roisin Dubh (Doug “Ten” Rose to his readers) had fun attending eight different colleges and universities. The on-paper results were a degree in Comparative Religion and Ministerial ordination from the American College of Metaphysical Theology in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and TESOL Certification from the School For International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.
     Tenzin has also studied for several decades with many Tibetan Lamas, most of them of the Drikung Kagyu tradition.
     Profits from his two books, Fearless Puppy on American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense, are donated to support an increase in the number of Wisdom Teachers on Earth (beginning with but not exclusive to Buddhist Nuns and Monks), and to other Dharma causes. Project details, newspaper articles about previous projects, interviews, etc. can be found at www.fearlesspuppy.info
     Ten has spent 13 years working for each of two environmental groups (Greenpeace and the Citizen’s Awareness Network) and over 30 years as a hitchhiking yogi. He often describes himself as “the luckiest homeless person who ever lived.” The projects he invented and worked previous to the current Fearless Puppy effort to support wisdom teachers have included, among several others, a Massachusetts for Africa Project. This raised funds for famine relief and included the participation of the Celtics, Patriots, governor, both senators, and rock stars as well as the statewide participation of many businesses, public schools, and trade unions in Massachusetts. Among other efforts were a year-long fundraiser for an orphanage in Mexico, and a live-in-the-streets awareness raiser for homelessness that included keeping a reporter sleeping on the streets of Boston with him for several days.
         He describes his half year living under very unusual circumstances in a Buddhist Temple in Thailand as one of his major influences. Ten was not studying Buddhism there. He was treating severe mental and substance abuse problems. He was spiritually adopted by the Monks and Nuns, and told by them (through a translating friend), “Remember! You are family here. Do with us what Buddhist stuff you would like to do, or none at all. Your only job is to make yourself comfortable.” The episode is described at length in the book Reincarnation Through Common Sense, which can be summed up very well, as can Ten himself, in this page from the book.
                                                                       The Cherry on Top of the Fruitcake
      Many tourists act a little wilder while on vacation in a foreign country than they do at home. This is even more pronounced here in Thailand where there are so very many opportunities to do the wild-and-crazy.
     The locals around here are usually very tolerant of tourist behavior, but they talk about you. This is true anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Thailand, Brooklyn, or at the North Pole. If you are a little different, at least a few of the locals are going to bust your chops—especially if you’re from out of town. Gossip of this type can happen whether you are wild and crazy or not. There may also be some finger pointing and giggling. Most of the finger pointing is just good-natured amazement, especially in a place like rural Southeast Asia where the locals find a zoom lens camera about as miraculous as we would find a working intergalactic starship with transporter beam. Mild shock and innocent confusion about foreign customs, or bafflement with advanced technologies, is harmless.
      But those are not the topics here. The topics here are staying in your own canoe, and letting bad stuff that flies in one ear fly as quickly out the other. These can be support beams for perseverance in the face of adversity, insult, or even danger.
      In spite of heavy competition from my fellow travelers for the position as cherry on top of the international fruitcake, I have become known in southern Thailand as “THE Crazy Alien.” None of my fellow non-locals have earned the title “Duongdao” ("From Outer Space”). Those foreigners who get any special attention from the locals are simply drunk and bizarre. The natives expect this. But when the locals see an American person who is a bit older, they suppose that he is like the Americans they see on TV.
      So when they look at me, they see something that falls very far away from their usual frames of reference. Here is a person they cannot explain. He is not at all “normal.” He is living in a Buddhist Temple on a foreign continent without studying Buddhism. He cannot even communicate in or understand the native language, is surrounded by people who don’t speak his language, has no money at all, and no home to get to as well as no way to get home. He is writing a book about a culture and religion that he is slowly learning very little about. When the book is finished, he plans to get back to America–somehow, and with absolutely no business connections and no related experience at all, sell novice writing for lots of money. He will then give all the money away to build combination educational and spiritual resorts that are entertaining destinations for guests. The purpose of these resorts will be to perpetually return profits that will be used to fund an increase in the number of Wisdom Professionals in the world, beginning with the sponsorship of resources for Buddhist Nuns and Monks. The purpose of that is to help alleviate suffering in human beings, and in all other living creatures affected by human beings, to the greatest degree possible. The theory is that more wisdom equals less damage.
      His long-term goal is to build enough of these resorts through which he can gain enough profits to make it financially possible to increase the total number of Wisdom Professionals in the world by one percent. Logic dictates that his odds of success may be roughly the same as the odds of one person winning a multi-million dollar lottery jackpot prize twice in the same week.
      The Head Monk (who is also the Head Teacher and most respected member of this community) has given all the compassion of Mother Teresa to the foreign lunatic including hospitality and privileges usually afforded only to Monks. The foreigner works at his writing while tucked away in his isolated cabin with the intensity and introspection of a lone Monk, stopping only now and then to completely fall very far off the other end of life’s pendulum by mysteriously acquiring massive expense-free doses of alcohol, ganja, and lodging at fancy tourist places along the beach. Even the folks living and working in that resort town, miles away from their village and Temple, are not used to seeing behavior like this—not even from the most certifiably loony and highly medicated tourists. I must seem even more bizarre to those of my neighbors who have rarely been out of this hundred-resident, isolated hamlet and have never seen those tourists. It is very lucky for me that Thai folks respect crazy more than Americans do!
      Once in a while I wonder exactly what they think of me—but not often. Every moment spent thinking about what other people are thinking about me is a moment I’m not thinking about what I actually need to be thinking about. It would suck to be on my deathbed and have to watch someone else’s life flash before my eyes. A life steered by concern for what other people think of it is a life un-lived. I don’t have the time to worry and wonder if other people think I’m strange. I have books to write and Wisdom Teachers to sponsor.
     But I do have a sense of logic. It is easy to see how what I’m doing might look strange to others, and just as easy to understand why some folks might think me a lunatic. Maybe I am one.   
                                                                          But if you are reading this, maybe I’m not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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