Reflecting on her transformative journey with Buddhism and Dharma, Amber underscores the profound impact these philosophies have had on her interpersonal connections. She credits her understanding of compassion and interdependence for enabling her to cease blaming others and foster empathy for their struggles. Growing up in a culture of individualism, Amber found solace in the collaborative nature of Sangha, realizing that a solitary practice can coexist with collective energy.
Amber narrates her evolving perception of solitude and community, encountering monastics who live contentedly without romantic relationships. Exploring meditation techniques like tonglen, she highlights the practice of sending out positive energy and taking in suffering, emphasizing the interconnectedness with others. This shift in perspective allows her to find purpose in her own suffering and extend compassion to others.
The geographical change from Brooklyn to Woodstock, bringing her closer to the monastery, becomes a metaphor for her internal transformation. Nature, once distant, becomes a vital part of her practice, and she recognizes the importance of aligning her surroundings with her spiritual journey. The move signifies her understanding of karma as responsibility, not blame, and the ability to shape her environment.
Amber delves into the impact of chanting and Puja on her spiritual growth, initially struggling but eventually finding joy and connection in these practices. The communal aspect of chanting and making offerings becomes a source of profound connection, contrasting with her previous cultural experiences. Through Buddhism, she embraces a lens of responsibility, acknowledging her karma and utilizing it as fuel for devotion and practice.
Amber describes the profound connection she feels to the Sangha and the timeless practice of Buddhism, emphasizing the unbroken lineage of teachings passed down through generations. The act of making offerings becomes a transformative experience, fostering gratitude and shifting her mindset from scarcity to abundance.
As she reflects on her privileged upbringing, Amber recognizes her duty to give and serve, expressing a commitment to living with compassion and serving as an example. Chanting brings her a joy that was previously absent, making her appreciate the singular focus and purpose it provides. Her ongoing practice embodies a beginner’s mind, rooted in the joy of the practice itself, irrespective of the need for an external purpose. Amber hopes to preserve this perspective, maintaining a lifelong commitment to her spiritual journey.