autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Refuge 11-19-06

to call this an auspicious day would be a profound understatement. today, i have taken official refuge within the drigung kagyu lineage.

the process involves taking the vows of the five precepts, and of receiving one’s dharma name and Yidam by the root lama. i have been blessed to take refuge with Venerable Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche and was, by him, gifted with my dharma name: ye’shes b’zhang’mo.

As part of personal practice, the name is indication of potential, not reality. But it is the Yidam that serves as the literal path of practice through which one seeks to attain realization.

The syntax of the Tibetan language is such that the ‘surname’ comes first. in this case, ‘kongchok’ references the lineage and is generally translated as ‘of the triple jewel‘, with the names following serving as first and middle, which results in:

kongchok yeshes bzangmo 

which in turn may be translated in any of the following ways:

– wise kindness of the Triple Jewel
– wisdom all good of the Triple Jewel
– wise mother of the Triple Jewel

to say it is an auspicious naming would be something of an understatement, i am told.

i freely admit ignorance of so many things with regard to it all… but i am learning. the delivery to me of the meaning of this name is the first gift of the sangha to one who has taken refuge, and it was a true blessing as well as humbling beyond conveyance to sit as the sangha took turns explaining the various meanings and what care Rinpoche takes in selecting these appellations.

i admit, it is a soothing thing, this name. for many reasons, not the least of which is balm to a recent wound that is still healing. but what really surprised me about the ceremony was the manner in which it completely broke me down.

i had no intention of weeping. it was the furthest thing from my mind. but no sooner had i knelt to receive than the oddest fullness swept over me… and i … just could not NOT cry.

i can’t describe it. i will try. it may sound weird. but that’s ok.

i was thinking as i approached that the showing of respect was a thing that was not for ‘him’, the person, but for what he represents in the tradition. i held the white, silk cloth between my two hands and as i knelt, offered it to him… and as soon as his hands touched mine… something around my heart just… dissolved. i don’t know any other way to explain it.

suddenly, i was crying. hell, i’m crying now to recall it. it felt like something had been released. like this heavy weight that i hadn’t even known was there, was not only felt for a moment, but felt and then, relieved. and i was just so… happy… that i couldn’t do anything but weep.

he leaned and put his forehead to mine… and whispered something in Tibetan. i could not understand the words. but i could feel them. it is hard to define but for saying i could feel the compassion and care of him just… wash over me. for the first time in my life, a true and deep sense of … oh… so many things all at once… belonging… cherishing… welcome… love… acceptance… soothing… relief… rightness… contentment… wonder… kindness… care.

he lifted his head and snipped a lock of hair from my head. then set his head to mine again, whispering once more, the djore briefly touching my crown… and in that moment, there was no thought at all. it was like it all just… dropped away… my breath… his breath… the same… and not at all.

when he sat back, he gave me such a look that i just bawled like a baby. i didn’t want to get up. he knew that. he wrote my new name on the refuge card and handed it to me with a upward gesture.

it was then that i remembered i was kneeling there in front of the entire sangha. it was then that i remembered that i was.

but i was not embarrassed. how could i be? i was home.