Wondrous Wisdom

//Wondrous Wisdom

Wondrous Wisdom

Twenty-one years ago when I became a Zen Buddhist and vowed to uphold the ten precepts of Buddhism, I was given the dharma name of Myochi, which means Wondrous Wisdom. It felt like a name that would take me many lifetimes to fit into.

I don’t use it much anymore since leaving my teacher a few years ago after his sangha blew apart over a sexual scandal of his own creation. This was traumatic for me and as significant a loss as any death. In the aftermath, I went through all the stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and acceptance. And tremendous amounts of sadness. Then, finally, forgiveness and moving on.

One of the casualties of this experience was my dharma name. I lost my Zen sangha, and people in my civilian life never called me Myochi, so I stopped using it. It, along with everything connected to that experience felt toxic, so I left it by the wayside. It took me more than three years to go back to the zendo to pick up my robe and rakusu, on the back of which my former teacher had written in calligraphy my new name and the date of the ceremony.

Today, as I embark on a new venture—being a student in the NYZZCC Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care course that could lead me into Chaplaincy in the future if I choose that path—it feels like it’s time to resurrect this name.

I will be volunteering in a hospital a few hours a week, to be there for patients and their families when they want someone to just listen, or when they’re in need of comforting, or when they just want a gentle hand to hold.

As I enter this new and unknown territory, I will take my name with me because I think I will need all the wisdom I can find to help where I can those who are suffering, who have lost someone, who are dying.

When I was given this name all those years ago, it took a while to get used to it. I remember checking out its numerological significance and was told that when I use this name I become more caring, generous, and openhearted. I’m not sure this is true, but I do know that I want to bring all these qualities with me into this new aspect of my work.

I hope I am up to it. I hope I can bring some comfort to those in need. I hope this name and its meaning helps me to help them. I am once again grateful to have the name and know in my heart that this new path will further purify it, me, and my old teacher. May we all seek and be filled with wondrous wisdom.

By | 2016-10-22T08:21:15+00:00 September 12th, 2013|Expect Nothing|4 Comments


  1. Bunrin September 12, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply


    You and Seigan have held my name for me
    That’s why my name is still alive in this world
    Sometimes when I post soemthing from Zen I sign it Bunrin
    But really the sangha of my name is you two
    Our connection appears as fragile as a silver filament
    But inwardly it is the most sturdy dharma connection I have
    This connection is fifty years old in these vulnerable bodies
    What an accomplishment we have together
    You are my family and I am blessed that you are there.
    Love from your dharma sister (from 125th street *~*)

    • Nancy September 12, 2013 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Bunrin, my dharma sister, this is so lovely. And it is comforting to know that my sangha is still out there and we are connected. love, Myochi

  2. Banko September 13, 2013 at 2:03 am - Reply


    Congratulations on being a student of the Buddhist Contemplative Care course. Having been in hospice for some time I know how rewarding you will find the calling.

    I have gone through some of the same feeling that you describe concerning your Dharma name. Some of my Dharma friends names have morphed into their “regular names” as a result of the fallout of ZSS. I too have become Randy to many, rather than Banko (Everlasting). But somehow you have always remained Myochi to me!

    Wondrous Wisdom, Everlasting – how can we ever really give them up? I know that none of this has to do with who we really are but somehow these Dharma names have some power and beauty regardless of the historical circumstances of the man who gave them to us.

    You are in my heart and mind as you go forward in this next part of your Zen journey.



    • Nancy September 13, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

      Banko, thank you for your beautiful words. Funny how we often don’t know the meaning of each others names but Everlasting seems just right for you. There are often so many blessings after a crisis/tragedy/whatever we want to call an event that rips apart our life, and one of them here is having so many wonderful dharma brothers and sisters spread all over the place with the thread of our experience together always connecting us. And I always think of you as Banko. Love, Myochi

Leave A Comment