The Ordination of the Redwood Family
Great news has arrived! The Sangha garden has added 19 new members – 19 green trees of the Redwood family. This is our greatest pleasure in Plum Village, filled with warmth.
The Heart Beats in the Ten Directions
On the morning of December 1st, the four-fold Sangha gathered in the big meditation hall in Upper Hamlet to support the ordination of the 19 members of the Redwood Family, 10 of which were ordained in Plum Village and 9 of which were ordained at the Thai Plum Village International Centre. The ordination was transmitted online.
In the early morning, the day became luminous and yellow thanks to the robes of our monastic brothers and sisters filling the meditation hall. The ceremony began with the Buddha and the Heart Sutra chant, creating a true spiritual energy to support the members before their hair was shaved.
It was a sacred moment! Aspirants with different nationalities (Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Indonesia, France, and Vietnam) with shining faces knelt to receive the transmission, which touched everyone that was present during the ceremony. Parents and relatives of the members were crying with emotions.
Their hair shaved this morning
With a vast open road
Their aspirations to transcend the boundless afflictions
A heart that beats in the ten directions
Flowing as a River
Although Thay wasn’t available at the ceremony, there was great energy and love radiating from the monks and nuns, as well as radiating faces of the first-year novices, third-year monastics, and fully ordained monastics. Shaving their heads, dressed in casual brown robes, they looked like beautiful monastics! The spirit energy was mighty and pristine!
The Master of the Ceremony equally recalled the advice of Thay: “When you leave home, you leave your self. You are part of the Sangha and you no longer think about your future. When a girl gets married, she must take care of her husband’s future and their future as a couple. If the couple wants to go through the East Sea, then they must do it together. Therefore in the Sangha, do not seek your own future. We have a common future. And the path of the Sangha is now your path. That is the cause of the birth and continuation of the lives of your faith.”
Over the past 30 years, the Sangha garden has bared all kinds of fruits. Now the Redwood family has been added with 19 green trees. Each tree bears a very cute name, with love of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha:
Chân Trời Đạo Lực (Way of Strength, from Vietnam)
Chân Trời Đạo Hành (Way of Action, from Wake Up Netherlands)
Chân Trời Đạo Quang (Way of Light, from Germany)
Chân Trời Đạo Sơn (Way of Mountains, from France)
Chân Trời Tiêu Giao, Chân Trời Đạo Sinh (Way of Birth, from France)
Chân Trời Đạo Quy (from Vietnam)
Chân Trời Thiên Trúc
Chân Trời Tuệ Nhật
Chân Trời Luy Lâu
Chân Trăng Tĩnh Mặc (Peaceful Moon, from Indonesia)
Chân Trăng Ban Mai
Chân Trăng Hồ Thu
Chân Trăng Thái Bình
Chân Trăng Đại Dương
Chân Trăng Thiên Hà
Rebirth and Compassionate Gratitude
After the ordination ceremony, the lay friends and monastics sat together to welcome our newly-ordained brothers and sisters. The atmosphere was warm and playful! Sitting in a circle, members of the Redwood Family had the opportunity to share their gratitude with the Sangha and family and relatives.
Novice Chân Trời Đạo Hành from the Netherlands shared:
“Dear Thay, dear Sangha,
Thank you, Thay, for having sown seeds into a good, fertile land and building a fence to protect us from biting insects and birds. In the land of the Precepts, we have and will take refuge in safety.
Thank you, Thay, for bringing the sun to shine on the seeds of love for the seeds in these Redwood trees, bringing loving rays that penetrate deeply into the ground and enlighten the mind for us.
Thank you, Thay, for raining the water of Dharma, wisdom, love and patience, so that we can manifest today.
I’m so happy because I know that I’m going on a bright path that will not only help me, but also help families and society. I’m also very happy that parents are there to support their children on this important day. My parents will always be the parents for all of the Sangha.”
The father of novice Chân Trời Đạo Hành shared:
“When he was small, Rick (now Chân Trời Đạo Hành) did not know what he wanted to do when he grew up. I used to say to him: “Rick, it doesn’t matter what you want to do. The most important thing is to follow your heart and be happy with your decision.” Rick has followed the call of his heart, and he has now become a novice.
Our family is very happy and grateful to have received the acceptance from the Sangha for Rick to be ordained and to have the opportunity to learn about mindfulness, learn how to work in peace for yourself, and help people.
I think the world needs such a Sangha, the Plum Village Sangha, during tough times. We are very happy that Rick has found a direction in his life and we hope he will live happily with the brothers and sisters of the Redwood family. We wish the novices to have more confidence, joy, and happiness on their monastic path. We are also very grateful to the monks and nuns in Plum Village who are there for us and for everyone.”
Trời Đạo Sinh from France shared:
“Dear Thay, dear brothers and sisters, dear Sangha,
Today is a great day for me! I have been added to a new family, a spiritual family. During the ceremony today, I was thinking of Thay. Although Thay is not directly present in the ceremony, I felt very clearly his Dharma body with the presence of the monks and nuns.
I’m grateful because I’ve manifested my dream and I have the opportunity to live my dream.
I’ll try to practice to be able to continue what I have been transmitted.
I’m also very grateful to the monks and nuns thanks to their love, hugs, and patience for us in recent years.
And I’m just happy to be a member of the monastic family tree Redwood, a wonderful family!
I’m also very grateful to my mother and sister who were there to support me in the ordination ceremony. Seeing my mother and sister, I see my ancestors who are also present, along with their children.
I know that it’s not easy to for a mother to lose a child who has decided to become a novice, but I hope she will see that she also has many sons and daughters. Their families have now become her family now.”
Novice Chân Trời Đạo Quang from Germany shared:
“My new name is Chân Trời Đạo Quang. Nobody laughed because I pronounced it well! (Laughs) Many years ago, I traveled around Europe and went to monasteries to practice, but I had yet found one for my path. One night, I had a dream, and in that dream Thay came to me and said: “Come to Plum Village!” And I have followed my words in that dream. Early this morning, before I ordained, we were drinking tea at the Tea House in Upper Hamlet. Now that I have followed my dream, I feel wonder and happiness!”
Songs of Love
Here is a song that Sister Chuan Nghiem sang for The Redwood Tree family about a dream that they go together hand in hand to build the Sangha. In the dream, the novices had an intimate connection with people in the five continents living in peace:
The Redwood Family
Jointly build their Sangha
Their hands with intimate connection
To share all the love
For five continents to live in peace
Bring together all their places
Smile, confidence in the eyes of their friends
Sow love into human hearts
For people to know each other and live
Together they expand their
For tomorrow they are always children
Of the same family
Redwood, sing happily
Songs of love
Redwood, sing happily
Expand your path
Photos of the Ordination Ceremony in Thai Plum Village International Centre
Click here to see more photos of the Ordination Ceremony in Plum Village and Plum Village Thailand
This article was originally published in Vietnamese on langmai.org