Giving It All Away

Today I read about one successful Indian woman who completely changed the direction of her life to become a nun. Barkha Madan who was a Miss India finalist, a Bollywood actress, and setup a production company, but renounced this way of life to become a Tibetan nun. These two paragraphs taken from The Times of India explain why Barkha Madan became a renunciate.

Drawn by the happiness on his face, she asked Lama Zopa Rinpoche if she could make her a nun too. Rinpoche laughed, “Why? You fought with your boy friend? Joining the monastic order isn’t about escapism. You need to embrace Buddhist philosophy and reflect on why you want to walk the path of Divination.”

“Everything was going well but I felt something was missing,” she reminisces, explaining her reasons for going to a monastery in Kathmandu and asking to join the Buddhist monastic order.

I quite like the definition of the word “renunciation”:

The formal rejection of something, typically a belief, claim, or course of action:
Example: a renunciation of violence

Or the word “renounce”:

Formally declare one’s abandonment of (a claim, right, or possession):
Example: Alexander at one time had toyed with the idea of renouncing his rights to the succession and going with his wife to live an idyllic life on the banks of the Rhine.

Renouncing the world like “this just isn’t working for me, I’m out bro”.
That’s what Barkha Madan has chosen to do, probably for far greater reasons than I just described. Now her nun name is Ven. Gyalten Samsen.

There is no turning back,” she said. “On November 4, 2012, at 11:20 a.m., I was reborn.”

    I find Ven. Gyalten Samsen very inspirational in that she was so successful and yet knew that happiness for herself meant giving it all up. For obvious reasons it has made me reflect on the following points:

  • How much happiness do I get from spending too much time at work?
  • Whether becoming ordained would make me happier or not?
  • How happy am I right now and what would I sacrifice by ordaining?

In her pictures as Ven. Gyalten Samsen she looks sublimely happy. I hope that she is incredibly happy and continues her work to benefit countless precious beings.