Saturday, November 28, 2009

Conversations with Sangharakshita

Sangharakshita, founder of the FWBO, has just released the transcript of a series of ‘Conversations’ held this summer with two of his senior disciples, Mahamati and Subhuti. They explore in considerable detail many aspects of his character, including his sexuality, plus a series of fascinating and previously unknown episodes in the very early years of the FWBO.

Mahamati, who participated in the sessions, writes in a short introductory message -

“In August this year Subhuti and I met with Bhante over three successive days and asked him some questions about his understanding of his own character and aspects of his personal history. Bhante had on an earlier occasion talked to us, together with Dhammarati, about some of these matters and we thought these conversations were of wider interest and significance. They fill in gaps in what is generally known and therefore help us to understand our Movement better, through understanding the circumstances in which it was created. Bhante agreed that our conversations be recorded and spoke to us for three or four hours each day, freely and generously answering whatever we asked him. The recordings were transcribed and then edited by Bhante for readability and clarity of meaning.

“For me personally it was a privilege to participate in such an intimate exchange with Bhante. It was much more like a series of conversations than an interview, and was always characterised by Bhante's warmth, humour and frankness”.

The conversations begin -

“Mahamati: Bhante, many of your disciples would like to know more about you. We know your teachings and we know quite a lot of the facts of your life, however many of us don't know so much about what makes you tick or how you tick – although, of course, there is a lot of speculation. Our sense of not knowing seems to come partly from the fact that you are a rather unusual man, but also because maybe you are by nature rather reserved, even reticent, for whatever reason. Could you say something about your own character, as you understand it?”

“Sangharakshita: I think perhaps you are right, I am rather reticent in certain respects...”

The Conversations are available in full on Sangharakshita’s website There is also a new poem on the site, entitled ‘An Apology’.



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