Lotuses and Hailstorms

Good fortune, my name is Pema. My name means lotus, like the beautiful flower that represents purity. My parents named me Pema after my gentle and kind nature even in the beginning stages of infancy. I am a twenty year old women living here in the small nunnery. I was born in this village and by the age of eight my parents decided to dedicate me to the nunnery. I was sent away to live with a distant aunt who lived about a four day walk away at a much lower altitude of Tibet. She is a nun and she taught me my first religious prayers and sutra. I lived with her for four years, realizing my potential for the monastic life and grew to develop a curiosity for knowledge and scholarship. At the age of twelve I moved back to my village and starting splitting my time between home and the nunnery, studying more sutras while also keeping my household chores. Slowly I made the transition to living at the nunnery full time.

By the age of sixteen I was living in the nunnery and was assigned a tutor, a seventy-five year old nun named Alama. She was very strict in her nature and was adamant that I quickly learn text by memorizing it page by page and testing me at the end of the day on what I had been studying. At first I found it challenging but I have grown to love spending my days enriching my knowledge of the sutras.

I am ordained as a novice nun, meaning I have taken ten vows and have decided to dedicate my whole life to the monastic way. There are fully ordained nuns, called bhikkhunī, but they do not exist in the Tibetan tradition. As much as I would like to become a fully ordained nun, it is only possible in other Buddhist traditions and I am quite content in my village and with my studies of the sutras.

I have recently decided to add additional studies to my scholarship of the sutras, with that of ritual practice. My village is known for our healing, with people traveling from all over to come and be healed. I am interested in the rituals they use to heal others and have decided to gain knowledge in the ritual sphere. I believe it will aid in my overall scholarship and add to my merit. I know I am still young and have a lot to learn, but I am passionate about my studies and quite content to continue on my path of scholarship.

Earlier this week there have been rumors spreading around the village that a terrible hail storm is coming for our village. It is said that the hail will be the size of grapefruit and can cause major damage to buildings, including the nunnery. Although I am very nervous about the potential hailstorm, I am exercising parts of the noble eightfold path with right speech; by not gossiping about it with others at the nunnery, and right effort; by not trying to picture the hailstorm ruining our beautiful village. I do not want that unwholesome state of mind. Others are also saying that it might be black magic coming from an individual in the village across the river. I am trying not to let my mind wander that way and try and keep my thoughts pure.

There has also been talk about an amulet seller in Deer Park selling rare protective amulets. I have been debating whether or not to make the trip to retrieve an amulet. It is such a far pilgrimage down the mountain and it would take a week, if not more to get there. Between my studies and chores at the nunnery I don’t think there is enough time for me to make the trip. I know I am taking a risk but I have decided to stay in the nunnery and focus on my scholarship. There are many things I can do from here to try and divert the storm.

Instead I have decided to turn to my prayer beads and mantras for now. I will have different mantras for protection, peace and well being. I will recite each one one hundred and eight times, once fort each bead on my mala. I will also pray for protection against evil spirits, just in case it is someone using dark magic. I have also been reading that there are different rituals that can be done to divert the hailstorm. The dorje is a tool to be used along side the bell. The dorje represents the masculine principle of the compassion of the Buddha and the bell is the female counterpart, wisdom. I think maybe that it can help effect the weather because it is also known as a lightening bolt? I am not too sure about this, I need to look into it more.

Anyway I have to get back to my studies, I’m going to go research what exactly the dorje is used for and if it can help prevent this upcoming hailstorm.