Vidyaruci, Sangharakshita's secretary, writes with his monthly update of Sangharakshita's news. He says -
"The recent cold weather disrupted Bhante's routine only to the extent of precluding his usual walk round the garden, the paths in which became perilously icy, for a week or so. During that period he was without his usual secretarial support, as I was on solitary retreat, but the visitors continued nonetheless, including Nityabandhu and Santaka from Poland, who came for a weekend.
"The most unusual event of the last month was a fundraiser at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, at which Bhante was guest of honour. The event was called 'Tea with Bhante', and consisted firstly of a performance which included recitations and musical settings of some of Bhante's poems, then songs that were popular in his youth; and secondly the serving of tea and a vast selection of cakes and biscuits, during which Bhante chatted with various members of the local sangha.
"Other than this, Bhante's many visitors have included various groups from around the Movement, including Dharmavajri and three friends who had been celebrating a Kalyana Mitra ceremony together here in Birmingham; a group of ladies from Sweden; and men from Shrewsbury, accompanied by Akasharaja. He also had dinner with the public preceptors while they were at Madhyamaloka for their meeting, as well as seeing a number of them individually.
|Sangharakshita as a boy|
"Bhante's literary work has continued, and he has completed three of the short sketches in which he recalls incidents of various kinds from his early childhood, to which he has given the collective title of My First Eight Years: A Mosaic of Memories
. They will go up on his website (www.sangharakshita.org
) at some point, so look out for them. He has listened to audio books of, among other things, The Simple Soul and Other Short Stories
by Catherine Cookson, which Bhante thought good but not great, though he appreciated the fact that the stories exemplified strong ethical values; and Ted Hughes
by Elaine Feinstein which he found interesting and informative. I have continued to read to him from the Gandhavhuya
, and we have read some of the contributions to Buddhist Warfare
, a selection of essays edited by Michael K. Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer, which Bhante thought did not sufficiently distinguish between 'Buddhism' and the Dharma. I also read him Subhuti's new paper Re-imagining the Buddha
, which is based on conversations the two of them had around the subject of the Imagination.
"Bhante has been for his usual acupuncture session, and will have had another by the time you read this. Other than this there is no health news, and Bhante seems quite well, despite the cold weather.