Fifty Years, Fifty Voices: Abhaya (Highlights)On Sat, 1 October, 2022 - 11:48
“You have to balance or hold the bearer of the archetype with the ordinary human being, that’s very important. Because there’s no way you’re going to reconcile them.”
In 1968 I was living in Cornwall with my family, sharing in a kind of family community experiment. I had met Bhante and the seedling movement a year before at his first summer retreat at Haslemere, Surrey.
In 1978 I was working as a carpenter at Sukhavati in Bethnal Green, which soon came to be called the London Buddhist Centre, with Atula as the overall foreman of the building project. Most of us were employed as part of a government sponsored programme called the Manpower Services Commission.
In 1988 I was in Norwich, sharing a house with Vajrananda, having spent 5 years as chairman of the Norwich Buddhist Centre. I was then engaged in another government scheme which allowed me to work as part time teacher, part time writer. I was writing short stories as well as my life story and I was teaching part time at a local language school. It was at this time that I experienced a strong spiritual crisis which led me to opt out of all responsibilities to do with the FWBO and to going to teach EFL in Japan for four years.
In 1998 I had re-engaged with movement activities and was working at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre office as well as acting as a part time official Kalyana Mitra for the men at Windhorse Trading. In 1999 I went to teach at the men’s study centre, Vajrakuta, in Wales.
In 2008 I was living in Birmingham, in one of the men’s communities in Moseley and contributed a little to the Dharmadhuta course which Subhuti had organised. A very important and transforming spiritual experience during this period was a three month solitary retreat at Sudarshanaloka in New Zealand. It was also during the late ’90s and early 2000s that I became a private preceptor to 3 men and subsequently a public preceptor. I ordained 2 men publicly.
In 2018 I am living in Brighton in a sheltered housing flat. I have little to do with the Brighton Buddhist Centre apart from attending sangha events and giving occasional talks. My small chapter here has dwindled to two. I have a small circle of friends here in the Order and we get together either regularly or periodically. I spend a lot of time doing art work.