By Dru Peers
The following extract is taken from Dru’s new book The Path to Celtic Buddhism: The True Story of Initiation into the Forgotten Wisdom of our Celtic Ancestors.
Dru was a Trappist Monk for 21 years but left the Order in 2011 to travel to Anadhaire Buddhist Center in Vermont. Anadhaire is also home to Rev. John Perks. Perks was for seven years the Close personal assistant to Chögyam Trungpa, and was inspired by him to establish a new Buddhist lineage, called Celtic Buddhism. This form of Buddhism seeks to free itself from eastern cultural trappings so as to express itself in the culture of our early European ancestors, still very much with us in the land and our sense of identity today…
Perhaps having become a little too sane, I left the Cistercian Order and headed to Anadaire Celtic Buddhist Centre in Vermont in the U.S.A. where I practiced deity yoga under the guidance of the Venerable Yeshe Perks. This brought new awareness of my inner wealth through the transforming power of visualization. It was a time of recovery and grieving after a long monastic stint.
Almost every day I would bathe naked in the river at the bottom of the garden and dry off in the sunshine on the massive boulders. The sound of the river was like music in my ears. The mossy river rocks felt as smooth as the inside of a woman’s thighs, while the fine air, trees, and bird-call all combined to invite me fully back into my body again.
Everything was communicating.
One morning, a particularly personal message arrived. On the way to Anadaire, I had spent time with family in Ireland. The welcome was cooler, maybe due to my new status as a layman. I tried to visit an ailing auntie but as I was recovering from shingles, my cousins barred me from visiting. She was a favourite aunt of mine, a large sweet-natured woman who was very fond of me. Feeling disappointed and frustrated, I continued my journey and crossed the Atlantic to America.
At Anadaire the news came through that my aunt had died. I went down to the river. Before diving in, I noticed a pale green luna moth (Actias luna) flapping about by the opposite bank. These are one of the largest moths in North America, pale green in colour. It flew off down the river but after a couple of minutes came back again. I stood up to greet it and had to duck when it came straight at me. It circled around again, and then… I knew. I put out my arm the moth came to sit on it, trilling and drumming it fern-like antennae while I told my aunt how much I loved her.
About two weeks later I found a book on Celtic myths and legends in a local bookshop.
Tears flowed down my cheeks when a couple of weeks later I picked up a book in the local bookstore in Bellows Falls. There it was in black and white: the Welsh believed a departed soul would sometimes return to say goodbye to a loved one, in the form of a moth.
On completion of 100,000 mantras, Chogyam Trungpa’s boots were placed on my head in a surprise ordination ritual one August evening in 2011, and from a selection of gifts offered to me I chose a small agate wheel to wear as a pendant: a symbol of the dharma but also of Tuireann, the wheel god, though I was unaware of it then.
It happened to be the anniversary of my monastic profession and the same night brought a dream in which was said, “He’ll need protection, we’d better go with him.” In the dream I found myself standing before a giant figure seated on a stone throne. He was looking about as if keeping watch. “If you are the Thunder God,” I shouted up at him, “you can come with me!”
A day later, a violent storm felled two trees in the garden. Then hurricane ‘Irene’ hit Vermont. Floodwater gushed down the hillside towards the centre but split into two separate channels flowing to the left and right of the building. The neighbours living above us came down to see if we had been washed away, but no damage was done to the house. After a week the power came back on, just in time for a last meal with the community before the departure back to Europe.”
Editor: John Pendall