Saturday, August 12, 2006

FWBO History

SangharakshitaOn this day in 1964 Sangharakshita returned to England for the first time since being shipped off to India during World War II. Sangharakshita describes his return after twenty years in his memoir Moving Against the Stream. He was met by Ananda Bodhi the controversial incumbent bhikkhu from the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara, and driven back to the vihara via St John's Wood. The constrast with his life in India was acute:

"we were now making our way through a part of London that was terra incognita to me (I had never been further north than Regent's Park), and as at Heathrow a strange quiet prevailed. Very few people were on the streets, and there was little traffic... [at breakfast] there was a choice of four or five different hot drinks, and at the centre of the table, besides jam, marmalade and honey, there were various spreads quite new to me. In my own monastery in Kalimpong we drank only tea, and jam had been seen there on only one occasion when, plums being unusually cheap that year, we had made a couple of dozen jars of it. As I was going upstairs to my room after the meal I heard the oldest of the novices ordering supplies on the phone. 'You've only got two kinds of salmon?' he was saying. 'Then send the more expensive kind.'"

- Moving Against the Stream p.2


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