Vidyaruci, Sangharakshita’s secretary, writes with his monthly update on Sangharakshita’s activities, saying -
“December saw Bhante giving a talk in Birmingham, at the launch of his new book Dear Dinoo: Letters to a Friend. It was his first public talk for more than a year, and his first time speaking at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre for around five years. Preceding him at the lectern was Kalyanaprabha, who spoke movingly about her experience of engaging with the project - editing the letters that form the substance of the book, and writing extensive notes and an introduction. Then Bhante addressed the assembly, and surprised many - perhaps including himself! - by speaking for nearly an hour. The unifying theme of the talk was around letter-writing of various kinds and at various points in history, which allowed enough scope for Bhante to touch on topics as diverse as the illusory nature of money, the contrast between the teachings of Jesus and St Paul’s version of Christianity, and even Bhante’s next rebirth. We were also, of course, introduced to Dinoo, the Parsee lady to whom the letters of the book are addressed.
“The talk was filmed by the good people of Clear Vision, and I expect will be available online at VideoSangha by the time you read this. Bhante was pleased with how the launch went, and pleased that so many people showed up including Sangha members from Nottingham, Cardiff and Manchester.
A couple of weeks before the book launch, Bhante enjoyed a brief visit from Nityabandhu, who had been to Padmaloka with Wojtek, one of the Krakow centre’s postulants. Among his many other visitors has been a group of women from London - two English, one German, one Dutch - who have just started a new women’s community.
Bhante’s audio book consumption has included Norse Myths by R I Page, which he found interesting but not nearly so beautiful as the Greek myths, and Persuasion by Jane Austen, which he had read many years ago and enjoyed even more this time. He and I finished Facing Mount Kanchenjunga, and Bhante commented that he was surprised how much he remembered of the events the book describes.
Early in January Bhante will have a cataract operation on his left eye, and he went to the hospital a few weeks ago to do the preliminary paperwork. It is hoped that the operation will bring about some improvement in his vision.