|Ngakma Nor’dzin & Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin|
In this video from February 2010, Ngakma Nor’dzin and Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin explain the principle of non-monastic ordination and the householder tradition.
Ngakma Nor’dzin: I think the very public face of Buddhism—of Tibetan Buddhism—has been the monastic tradition – with the red robes and the shaven heads. So it’s rather important that we display this other tradition that existed and still exists in Tibet – which is the household tradition where we wear white skirts, and we don’t cut our scalp hair. This (cutting or not cutting scalp hair) relates to Sutra and Tantra. Sutrayana is the renunciate practice where you shave the head as a symbol of the fact that you are renouncing the world and you are entering into a monastic, celibate lifestyle. Whereas in the householder tradition, we are Vajrayana practitioners. This is the path of transformation, where we engage with everything in our ordinary lives as our practice.
Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: I think there’s a tendency to assume that the only options available to people—if you are going to be ordained—is to be ordained as a monk or a nun, and other than that there is ‘lay practice’. Here ‘lay’ is seen as being somewhat amateur. So it’s helpful to display the other possibilities. It is not that people can’t practice and gain realisation in their own home without any ordination at all—it (ordination) is not a requirement—but in order to show that there are other ordinations, we hold this ordination and we display the robes of this ordination so that people can see that there are other choices for people who feel drawn to taking vows. Then they could live within the vows of this aspect of practice.