Celtic Buddhist Monks
"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 belong 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 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. Sister Gryphon was empowered as a lineage holder and abbess in the Celtic Buddhist tradition in July 2011 by H.H. Seoanaidh Perks. Prior to training with Seonaidh, she trained as a monastic for 8 years at Zen Mt Monastery and has spent time as a mendicant monk wandering and learning from other spiritual teachers including wilderness training with Tom Brown, Jr. Sister Gryphon also holds a degree in veterinary medicine.
Currently, Sister Gryphon lives gently on 40 acres in the wilds of northern Maine and runs the Island Falls Animal Health Clinic. IFAHC is a holistic centered veterinary clinic that is dedicated to manifesting the Dharma through compassion and nongreed. Sister Gryphon refuses no one treatment for lack of ability to pay. Despite her busy schedule, she is always open to guiding others on the dharma path. She may be reached at: email@example.com or at 207-267-5505. The veterinary clinic number is 207-249-8646.
I have been wearing robes for four years now. In the beginning it was those Gelupka clothes and colors which everyone seemed to know. When I started wearing blue for the ocean of wisdom and yellow for the Great Eastern Sun some people wondered if I was wearing a dress, universal bano opportunity clothing I guess. I was fortunate of being present in places where people got to know me beyond the uniform and it gave me the opportunity to talk about CB, Trungpa, Yeshe and compassionate calling so it became less of a "thing". The acceptance of our monastic attire and more importantly our monastic tradition has been the same both on this remote island in a third world country and in the neighborhood of Anadaire Celtic Buddhist Center. I have watched the reaction to our novice monk, Tinley Fechín (Elliot Cole Miller) by his peers and it has been a positive experience for both of us as there is great interest in someone other than an "old monk" following our monastic tradition. If you are ordained in our monastic tradition I feel you should wear your colors as much as possible as it gives the opportunity to open people up to our tradition and our lineage/heritage. Because of the tropical weather here I will also wear secular western clothing but wear the blue/yellow/saffron colors as it both identifies us and affirms our place on the CB Sangha. The short term ordination of Tinley has been an interesting experiment for me and I believe it is in the tradition of "rains retreat" ordination that has been common for many young men in the Theravada tradition. I look forward to the expansion of the monastic order in our tradition and I am dedicated to assisting any who wish to take the leap. As always I am grateful for and guided by the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the love from and for my teacher Yeshe Tungpa. A deep bow of gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this conversation. Bless you all, Lama...
Tinley Fechin also known as Elliot Miller
Grew up in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I am an Artist exploring Modern Abstract Urban Expressionism. Studied art history and aesthetics under Nick Vukmanovich. I wandered for years where I crossed paths with Lama Naomh Tomas at a wedding in Turks and Caicos. I was at the height of self indulgence and sought some sort of change.
What brought me to Celtic Buddhism was meeting Lama. After the wedding, Lama gave me the offer to come to Bocas Del Toro to study Buddhism and work alongside him if I could prove sobriety and commitment to the practice for 3 months before traveling. During that 3 month clean Lama jokingly said "don't worry, I won't turn you into a monk or anything", but that didn't last long because Yeshe recommended Lama to Ordain me.
Now ordained, there is a visible change in my daily perspective, as well as my peers' perspective. Whether I have known them for years or are just meeting them, people are generally curious as to what brought me to being a Buddhist monk, to Bocas, and how I could possibly handle my vows as a 25 year old on this island of desire. So I talk about my years of donating my memory, having no true path, how I wasn't happy, and so committing to my vows for 3 months is very much worth it to figure out happiness. I have found that the friends I've made are able to step away from certain troubles and indulgences when they talk with me, which is all I could ask for.
After my 3 month ordination I will be traveling to Europe, starting in Scotland. Scotland has continued to pop up in dreams, conversations with family, during meditation, and now my sister will be at the University of Glasgow. So I am going to listen to those signs and move there to continue my practice, with Art and Service. As Henry Thoreau said " the definition of Art, is that which affects the quality of the day" and I will go to focus on that affectation.