Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sangharakshita's news

Vidyaruci, Sangharakshita's secretary, sends Triratna News his diary for the past month. He says -

"The period since the last diary began with Bhante's trip to Ipswich, which he took in the company of Paramartha, and where he stayed with Swadipa and his partner Carol. On the way there he and Paramartha spent some time in Bury St Edmunds, which Bhante had not visited before, where they looked round the cathedral. In the evening they were taken out to dinner by Harshaprabha who then drove them to the mariner and the docks, and round other parts of Ipswich town.

"While in Ipswich Bhante and Paramartha drove around the beautiful Suffolk countryside, visiting the villages and towns of north-east Suffolk looking for traces of Bhante's Lingwood ancestors. They made some interesting discoveries, including the grave of Bhante's great-great-great-great-grandfather and his wife in Brome churchyard. They also spent an hour or so in Folkstone as Bhante wanted to look at the sea, which he had not seen for some years. They visited Ipswich centre, where Bhante blessed the newly finished chapter room, then gave a talk to the local sangha, and answered questions.

"ack at home, Bhante's regular guest slots remain well subscribed. Kalyanaprabha has come a couple of times to talk about her project of editing some correspondence Bhante had with a friend in Bombay, mainly in the 50s and 60s. These letters throw a lot of light on Bhante's life and activities at that time. Vajrasadhu, Karunika, and Mokshapriya, who together constitute the Sangharakshita Land Project development team, visited Bhante in order to tell him of their progress.

"From further afield, and from outside the Movement, came David Cherniack, who has been a Buddhist for forty years, and documentary for only slightly less time. He is making a film about Buddhism's transition to the west, which will be shown on Canadian TV and elsewhere, and is interviewing many Buddhist luminaries for this purpose, including Bhante, who he described as an 'elder statesman of the Dharma'.

"Paramartha went to Poland for a week, and Ashvajit stepped in once more to give Bhante practical help, as well as to read to him from Omens of Millenium by Harold Bloom. I have continued reading to Bhante, and we have now finished The Rainbow Road. He also wanted me to read him the Mahagovinda sutta from the Digha Nikaya, which he finds very interesting for various reasons.

"Audio books that Bhante has enjoyed include The Unknown Coleridge, a selection of some of Coleridge's less known poems together with a connecting commentary by Richard Holmes; A Child of Bliss by Sebastian Faulks, the author's reminiscences of his famous father, the author of the Gormenghast trilogy; and Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy, a collection that includes what is perhaps his best known short story, 'The Withered Arm'. One Bhante's many guests recently brought as a gift a series of four CDs on the life and work of Bach, which he has enjoyed listening to.

"The only health news is that Bhante went to the hospital for a vision check, and met with his consultant, who proposed not to give any more eye injections for the time being, and said he would monitor Bhante's progress over the coming months".



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