The death of Triratna’s Anathapindika: Lalitavyuha

On Tue, 22 November, 2022 - 15:36
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Dharmachari Lalitavyuha

Born 3rd July 1947
Ordained 8th June 1990
Died 16th November 2022

Some personal reflections from Amalavajra, FutureDharma’s Fundraising Director, and Vajratara, India Dhamma Trust’s Chair

Amalavajra writes:

‘Last week I was with Lalitavyuha at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton, UK, as the combination of pneumonia and Covid stole his last breaths. It was a privilege to sit amongst his loved ones and chanting his yidam Green Tara’s mantra. This donor had become a good friend.

We first met in 2014 at a fundraising event for India Dhamma Trust.

He gave £25,000 towards our £100,000 target to catalyse fundraising in India. The next year I asked him for £50,000 to launch FutureDharma Fund. His agreement still moves me deeply - it felt like a father’s blessing.

Both of these gifts have been very successful investments: each has generated many times more dana. FutureDharma has since raised over £1.5 million for Dharma projects around the world, and our Indian brothers and sisters have raised about £500,000.

Lalitavyuha was also a successful investor in the financial markets. His judgement in the 2008-09 financial crisis that British banks would survive was proved correct, and Triratna Buddhist Community and many thousands of people have benefited from it.

In the 11 years I’ve been fundraising for Triratna projects around the world I’m not aware of anyone who’s given as much as Lalitavyuha. His gifts may total £500,000, including supporting Subhuti’s work over many years (including in India and Hungary), funding landscaping at Adhisthana (perhaps including Bhante’s burial mound), and the recent development of accommodation at Vajraloka. These are only the gifts that I know about; there are probably many more. 

Lalitavyuha was a modern day Anathapindika, the merchant patron of the Buddha who famously bought the Jetavana Grove for his sangha. Many thousands of people around the world have found and are practising the Dharma as a result of Lalitavyuha’s generosity. I also found a friend.’

Vajratara writes:

‘I am very sad to hear of my friend Lalitavyuha’s death.  Amalavajra went to the hospital shortly before he died and put me on speaker phone on Lalitavyuha’s pillow.  What to say to such a friend?  That day I was at Adhisthana at the meeting of Public Preceptors, we were presenting a project he had funded in India.  A building in the beautiful countryside around Nagpur where we can run events for those training for ordination.  I told him about what he had made possible in this Movement, how his dana had come to fruition in this and many other projects.  

It wasn’t just dana for Lalitavyuha, it was a movement towards dana paramita.  During a previous brush with death he saw deeply into the nature of his own mind and saw how he was connected with everything.  He saw that what he could do that was of most benefit would be to give, and give and make more money to give again.  All that he gave, he gave out of this open state: simple, deep and full of hope despite his declining health.  In one email he just wrote:

“This morning the simple, so obvious, thought came to mind ‘don’t cling to life’. Freedom from anxiety.”

I sang for him the Tara invocation.  May Tara guide you towards freedom my friend.’

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