That April Susanna Parodi was ordained in Dharamsala by Ling Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Cherry Greene was ordained as Thubten Chodron in the same ceremony. She later wrote many books on meditation and became a well-known Dharma teacher, establishing Sravasti Abbey, a monastic community in rural Washington State, USA.
“Lama Yeshe had asked Lama Pasang to get robes for me,” Susanna recalled, “but the ones he got were huge and made of polyester. The fabric was so shiny they called me the ‘nightclub nun.’ It was a very funny day. During the ritual, there was a part where I had to kneel down. But when they told me it was time to stand up, I couldn’t because I was still recovering from drugs and in a lot of pain. Ling Rinpoche kindly said it was okay for me to remain down, but I thought this so inauspicious I somehow managed to make it to my feet. So there I was, standing there in my huge shiny robes. Everyone just cracked up laughing because I looked so funny. They were laughing so hard they were crying!
“Then Ling Rinpoche said, ‘Stop. We aren’t going to give her the name chosen here. We’ll give her a special name, Thubten Chökyi,’ [which can be loosely interpreted to mean happiness in the Dharma.] So I became the happy nun.”
On May 12 Lama Yeshe wrote to Susanna from Madison:
Dear my daughter Susanna.
Congratulations for your right livelihood. I know too you are fortunated. Continue you study Dharma and dedicate your life, eventually gain enlightenment for all mother sentient beings. You are the first lady on this earth to become Italian Mahayana Buddhist nun. I pray for successful your destination.