All worldly conditions, even including the conventional form of Sangha which comprises human beings on a religious path, are subject to change.
|There has also been a need to review the position of the nuns' community at Hartridge. The Holy Life demands a stepping beyond what is safe, secure; we make some provision, but there can be no guarantee that it will be enough to see us through. In this case it has become obvious that, in fact, we have stretched ourselves too thin. With several of the more experienced sisters taking sabbatical leave, there are not enough of us for the community to continue there in its present form. Currently we are considering what might be suitable alternatives for maintaining a Sangha presence at Hartridge, but in the meantime there is the experience of uncertainty, and perhaps loss - not least for the lay community that supports and is supported by the Hartridge Sangha.|
Our personal reaction to all of these events may be one of agitation, sorrow or dismay: 'Why does it have to be like this?...' An enlightened response might be: 'All worldly conditions, even including the conventional form of Sangha which comprises human beings on a religious path, are subject to change - regardless of our wish, longing or need for that not to be the case. But we can rely on our own aspiration towards Truth; we can receive encouragement through the examples of enlightened disciples and of those who continue to engage wholeheartedly in the struggle towards such realisation.
Yes, it is a struggle for each of us - whether lay or ordained. The hoards of Mara are always ready to find our points of vulnerability, to undermine our efforts towards wholeness and freedom, but this needn't deter us. We can always access resources that will help us, such as compassion and wise reflection, humility, patience and forgiveness - these can transform the confusion and sorrow of our lives, bringing insight and a, sometimes surprising, sense of calm: 'Ah, this is how it is; how could it be otherwise?...' So we find the strength and courage to continue this Journey. There'll be times of ease and times of great difficulty, but we can know that it is our sincerity and the persistence with which we apply ourselves to 'following the good, avoiding what is evil and purifying the heart' (in spite of, or perhaps because of, our mistakes and our willingness to learn from them) that will bring us, sooner or later, to the Goal.