Ngala Nor’dzin Pamo was the first of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen’s apprentices to take ordination. At that time the meaning and importance of ngak’phang ordination was little understood among Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen’s apprentices and only a few people attended the ceremony. Nevertheless the event was a powerful experience that is still vividly remembered by Ngala Nor’dzin and her husband, ’ö-Dzin Tridral.
In an article in ‘vision’, spring 1996, Ngak’chang Rinpoche said of ordination:
The ngak’phang tradition is colourful, individualistic, and highly heterodox. The ngakpas and ngakmas, are the ordained, robe wearing members of this tradition. They are neither ‘lay’, nor ‘monastic’, nor ‘in between’; and defy all attempts to pigeon-hole them into the neat and tidy categories of authoritarian institutions. They are a parallel stream of practice to that of the better known monastic sangha, and represent an opportunity for western people to establish the highest possible commitment to the Buddhist path without having to become celibate. The ngak’phang ordination is based on Tantric vows, and is therefore different in its character to the ordination taken by monks and nuns.
Ngala Nor’dzin knew that the strength of her commitment to the Nyingma lineage demanded that she live within the Vajrayana vows. Also she wished to offer her help and support to the aspiration of Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen to create a sangha of committed ordained ngak’phang practitioners. Ngak’chang Rinpoche comments:
Our approach is to take a step somewhat similar to that which the original Hassidim took – away from scholasticism and academia, towards an ecstatic path which can be embraced by non-academics. We see the Confederate Sanghas of Aro as providing a possibility for ordinary / working / family people. We are keen to establish the non-celibate tradition of ordination in the West in order to create a living stream of practice which can exist within society in a form that is integrated with everyday family life.
Ngala Nor’dzin wanted to be part of this ‘ecstatic path’. She comments:
I greatly valued the opportunity that I was being offered by
Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen. I could demonstrate my deep commitment to the Nyingma lineage and my Lamas, but also remain committed to the joy of my relationship with Ngala ’ö-Dzin, and celebrate the prospect of our becoming a family – I was pregnant at the time of my ordination.