Belated Wedding Offering

Jul 22, 2005

It would've been the ultimate conspiracy: take monastic vows, for a short period, on our wedding day itself! It was the only offering good enough to express our deep gratitude for the officiant of our blessing ceremony -- Rev. Heng Sure.

But then, Guri and I figured it would be a little too much shock-and-awe for our already shocked-and-awed family and friends. :) Instead, the universe afforded us the opportunity to cook for all the monastery monks (and Viral), for our first month together.

We didn't forget our debt to Rev. Heng Sure, though. You can't, even if you want to.

An American Buddhist monk, Rev. Heng Sure is a personality beyond words. One could rave about his mind-blowing three-steps-one-bow peace pilgrimage across the California coast, one could talk about his vows of sleeping in meditation posture every night or not touching any money or not eating food after noon, one could appreciate his high-tech, activist approach for compassionate social action, one could sing along with his heartfelt guitar songs or be mesmerized during a story-telling session. Really, if I didn't know him in person, I would have a hard time believing that someone like him actually exists on this planet.

Rev. Heng Sure doesn't do weddings. But he made an exception. Just like he and Marty made an exception to speak about their pilgrimage, after more than twenty years, on a Wednesday night in our living room.

But what can you give a man who can carry everything he owns, who spends his days thinking about spreading compassion in the world, who has dedicated his entire body, mind and soul to serving others? Whatever people give him, he returns it back, multi-fold: you give him food, he gives you words of wisdom; you give him a guitar, he makes your heart sing; you give him open ears, he shares dharma you can understand.

To have found each other, to have understood "dharma" together, to have the guts to be pilgrims, Guri and I feel incredible gratitude for many souls like Rev. Heng Sure. We know it's impossible to repay kindness, but we still keep trying. And today, it is Rev. Heng Sure's turn.

Dear Rev. Heng Sure,

Last year on July 1, we were at a monastery. This year, on July 1st, we are at a monastery. Funny stuff. ;)

It's turning out to be "rains retreat" of sorts. Guri and I currently live in full segregation, observe the five precepts, take what is offered, wake up at 4:30AM and average 8-10 hours of meditation, spend half of the days meditating in full solitude, provide humble service to those seeking dharma, and largely cultivate a heart of compassion in silence. I also don't eat after noon, but instead of shaving my head, I'm growing my beard. :)

It's hard work to change the ignorant habit patterns of the mind. But it's gotta be done sooner or later. Sooner, rather than later, for us.

Perhaps the greatest lesson you have taught us, by your example, is 'Dedication of Merit' -- to give away all the good you have.

Today, we dedicate our couple months of monastic livelihood to you. It's a year late, but we offer it with interest. :) If we do gather any merit through this cultivation, we offer it to you with a humble bow of gratitude.

May all become compassionate and wise. May all become compassionate and wise.

In walking the Way,

Nipun and Guri

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