I went to Spirit Rock for an all day sit today. With Sister Anandabodhi, a Theravadin nun who has recently set up residence in the Sunset district of SF. They are beginning a monastery for women in the US, the first ever for Buddhist women. Totally revolutionary. Shaved heads, brown robes and begging bowls. They do alms rounds once a week in downtown SF. Whoa. Our culture is not ready for this. I once saw a picture of Zen monks and nuns in downtown Shasta with their bowls and a woman was putting bags of potato chips in each bowl. I don't think you refuse potato chips. Or anything else you are offered. Well, if it was a poison burger, you could refuse. They eat once a day, before noon. Then they drink tea. Today they looked perfectly healthy and well fed.
Anandabodhi taught about the 'sound of silence'. She describes it as a gentle ringing or silvery sound stream that goes through her head, and is always there. Because I have tinnitus it was a tad difficult to imagine/experience what she was saying. Instead I settled into a deep comfortable place just being there again after the March month-long retreat I did this year.
I am grateful today for all the monastics of every faith who enter with open hearts and practice earnestly for the benefit of all.