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Leah's ordination at Akashavana

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With great joy I have accepted an invitation to Akashavana for a three month ordination retreat in April 2020. During this retreat I will be ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order by my dear friend Vajrasara. Many friends already know how significant ordination is in my spiritual journey.

A journey of transformation that began in January 2009 when I was living in a women's refuge in Northern Ireland with my 8 year old son. I was reflecting on the choices that I had made in my life that had led us there, when amongst our few possessions I picked up a book that I had bought four years earlier at the Newcastle Buddhist Centre. It was called Living With Kindness, written by Bhante Sangharakshita. I read this book and it profoundly changed everything, from the way I viewed my conditions, to what I chose to do in response.

I moved to Hertford to start a new life with my son, and searching for Triratna, I found Buddhafield East, the Cambridge Buddhist Centre and booked my first retreat at Taraloka. Over the next ten years I worked with friends to co-create a Triratna Sangha which today is fondly known as the Hertford Massive!

I have received so much support and guidance from friends and family throughout this time, that it is clear how deeply interconnected my spiritual development is with the spiritual development of others.

This ordination will be very significant for our sangha, as I will be the first home-grown order member in Hertford. I sense how important this is as a way to continue to support others to find tools to transform their own lives, in the way that I have with my Buddhist practice. My son is now 19 and at university, so committing to a three month retreat seems possible for me for the first time. It also feels essential; if I am to really benefit my own spiritual practice and that of others in the Hertford Sangha and beyond, then a total immersion or going forth will provide the best conditions for this.

I have set up this gofundme campaign to ask for help to get me ordained. Even asking for help is a fruit of spiritual development, as I'd have found that extremely difficult not so long ago.

Having been a single parent since my son was 8 months old, all of my income has facilitated supporting us, and no savings have been possible. I will also be taking a three month unpaid career break from teaching so that I can attend the retreat. To ease this financially and secure my home, I now have a lodger to help me pay for my rent while I am away, however I am appealing for help to cover the cost of the retreat which is £3000.

All travel and other costs I will fund from my income between now and April. Any support will be greatly appreciated, even simply sharing this appeal on to others.


Leah Cooper

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