Change is very much the colour of the season here at Madhyamaloka and for Sangharakshita especially. He has both been adapting to a new secretary, and preparing concertedly for his imminent move to Herefordshire and Coddington Court (shown in the photographs opposite), which Bhante visited for the first time on 25th September. The historic occasion was caught on film; if you would care to see some images from this, please navigate to the recent news article. Sangharakshita was pleased by the site, commenting immediately on how preciously quiet the environment was, and then enquiring from Ratnadharini, already resident there, if she had, perchance, noticed any ghosts in the vicinity.
Whilst at Coddington Court, Sangharakshita focused his attention on the available building spaces, with a keen eye to finding a suitable dwelling for himself within the complex. A suitable space has since been decided upon. Beyond this, Bhante was keen to take in views of the surrounding Malvern countryside from the car to and from Coddington, and he has also been refreshing his memory of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and John Masefield - poets who both passed idyllic childhoods in the area.
In other reading, Bhante has been listening to Gentle Genius by George R. Marek, which he has found to be a perceptive exploration of the life and genius of Mendelssohn, with special reference to the position of the Jewish community in 18th and 19th century Europe. He has also been enjoying a biography of Madame Blavatsky with Paramartha, whose Isis Unveiled Bhante read at the age of fourteen and that made him realize that he was not a Christian. The author is Marion Meade and the subtitle to the biography, The Woman Behind the Myth, and he has said he is finding the woman in question very much more interesting than the myth that has grown up around her and been fostered by the Theosophists. Moreover, Bhante has been reading essays from Thomas McEvilley’s encyclopaedic tome The Shape of Ancient Thought, his focus being on themes concerned with Orphics and Jains, Platonists and Vijnanavadins especially.
Visitors continue to arrive on an almost daily basis to meet with Sangharakshita, including a large group of Polish Buddhists from the Krakow sangha who spent a long weekend in residence here. Unfortunately Bhante’s health took a turn for the worse that week and he regretfully had to cancel all engagements. He did, however, manage to meet the many members of the Krakow sangha the following week via the marvels of Skype.