Ashvajit, one of Sangharakshita’s carers, writes with his monthly update on Bhante’s diary for the past few weeks. He says -
“On 1st August there was a great burst of activity to get things ready for the Grand Opening of Adhisthana, Bhante’s new home. On 2nd 3rd and 4th of the month, the doors were thrown open, on the Friday to neighbours and all those who had assisted in any way in the refurbishing of the premises, on the Saturday to Order members, and on the Sunday to Order members and Mitras. There were more than 500 visitors, for many or most of whom this was a first visit. They were shown around, pleased and amazed at the extent of the campus, savouring its pleasant and peaceful atmosphere, and participating in the ceremonies. Those who knew the place before were delighted by the way that the grounds had been improved, opened up by the removal of fences and obstructing bushes and hedges, by the work done at the front of the Old House by Sanghadeva, and by the extensive refurbishing of the buildings.
Bhante, though his health has continued to improve, was not well enough to participate directly in the dedication programmes. He therefore asked me on the Saturday and Buddhadasa on the Sunday to present offerings on his behalf to the new shrine during the Dedication ceremonies led by Parami and Dhammarati. He had placed in my palm a tiny Buddha-rupa which was offered on the Saturday as a blessing to all. I placed it in the meditating hands of the gently-smiling Borobodur image in the new large shrine room, where it remains for the present. On the Sunday, Buddhadasa offered on Bhante’s behalf a flower, a lighted candle, and a stick of incense to the Shrine, by now graced with scores of small Buddha images that had arrived from all over the world.
Bhante meanwhile has been slowly but surely recovering from the strain of the move from Birmingham to Adhisthana, and from the after-effects of the medication previously mis-prescribed in an attempt to deal with another bout of insomnia. He has been sleeping more naturally recently, with the result that he has more energy, and is therefore able to take a more lively interest in his new surroundings and everything that is going on. During the glorious weather we have had in England this Summer, he has been sitting outside the Urgyen Annexe enjoying the warm sun, and from time to time Paramartha has taken him on little excursions into the beautiful surrounding countryside, during which he has admired the scenery beloved of William Langland (author of the famous poem Piers Ploughman) and been for little walks.
On 26th August Bhante’s birthday was celebrated by a 108-year anniversary Puja in the Adhisthana Shrine Room, and some of those present spoke of their meetings with him. Bhante himself, not wanting a fuss made, remained in the Urgyen Annexe, where a chocolate and walnut Birthday cake made by Vimalabandhu was presented to him. There were hundreds of Birthday greetings.
There have been visitors to the Urgyen Annexe guest room, notable amongst them being Nityabandhu, who stayed here while he was attending the European Chairs Assembly retreat.
Since then, the glorious Summer days have given way to Autumn, the fields have turned from green to gold, harvests have been reaped, the meadow beyond the Old House has sported cylindrical bales of hay, and the roadsides are beginning to be littered with yellow leaves. The extensive accommodation at Adhisthana is already being put to good use, and there has been a succession of events, some larger and some smaller, with a programme extending well into the New Year.