Reflection on the Radio Interview
Yesterday I was interviewed on radio by Ven. Than Chandra of Santi Asoke. We were supposed to talk about my poetry book: Saeng Chan Nua Yodson or Moonlight over Pine Tree. But the update on my life after I left the university in October last year got us carried away. So instead we talked about how I lived my everyday life, how I ran the foundation, and how I practiced the Dharma.
Ven. Than Chandra even asked me practical questions such as whether I drove myself to the office of the foundation, how long I worked there, what I did when I stayed in a retreat, what mantra I recited, what time I woke up and so on.
He asked me whether I was being selfish by not working at the university to use my Ph.D knowledge to the fullest. I told him I have already done that for 14 years. And leaving the university doesn’t mean I leave my knowledge behind. This is the time I can apply my knowledge to other contexts of life, and more importantly learn “within” looking inside my own mind. The understanding of the mind is imperative for society and the world. Without understanding the true nature of our own mind, we often harm others and do not recognize the great potential of our being.
I told Ven. Than Chandra that even though my new life is like a small boat, it’s the boat that is driven by love, compassion and the willingness to change oneself. Controlling the boat is challenging, particularly when it is done by a female, but I wholeheartedly accept the challenge because I know the small boat will grow to become a big boat and no storms can harm it, as long as it is rooted in pure aspiration. Besides, this boat is nurtured by great support of friends, students, family and those who share my spirit.
After the live interview was on air, two people called. A woman said she was inspired by my decision and my dedication to Dharma activities. A man said he couldn’t accept my view and my way of life.
It was interesting to see two different perspectives. I’m not surprised that the man reacted this way. It seems women don’t have a right to devote herself to the Dharma, particularly if they have access to higher education.
To me, it’s time we are broad-minded and look at Dharma in a new light. Dharma shouldn’t be restricted to anyone’s duty or role. Both men and women have rights to pursue their spiritual pursuits. If men want to become ordained, we usually rejoice, but when women want to do the same thing, they are blamed for abandoning their families. Is this the right way of reaction?