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Sthanashraddha is Bhante’s secretary. He writes:
“As this short month of February comes to a close here at Adhisthana it’s clear the seasonal battle between summer and winter is on. We have enjoyed a few delightful days of blue skies and warm sunshine as the snowdrops blossom all around the hills, but the winds have howled too! The rain has lashed the window panes on more than one side of the building and the temperature has fluctuated. Nonetheless summer is winning, as it always does, even if the victory can seem a little weak in England sometimes.
During some of the worst weather this month we lost an old friend. Toppling over one morning, one of the beech trees by the front pond crashed to the ground. Apart from this Adhisthana suffered no losses even during storm Doris. Just to further my usual opening verses on the natural world around Adhisthana, Bhante thought a nature note was in order: the ducks and drakes here are all pairing off and beginning to roam around the buildings searching out their familiar nesting sites before they settle and lay their eggs. Bhante mentioned a pheasant spotted outside the conservatory recently. Some of you on more than one occasion will have already spotted a robin in the main dining hall which also visited the annexe kitchen once or twice while Sanghadasa was preparing Bhante’s lunch.
Bhante’s health is continuing to be very good since his recovery from the attack of pneumonia in December. Though he has taken to using his zimmer frame about the house for support, he has also commented on feeling, health-wise, better than he has done for some time. There have also been two hospital trips this month, one for his fourteenth Lucentis injection in the left eye, and the other trip to see Mr Gandhi, his consultant ophthalmologist, one of a team of six eye consultants at his hospital, who is a very talkative and friendly man with a turban.
As I mentioned last month Bhante has received many personal replies to his personal statement and clarification. These continue to arrive and are almost all expressions of understanding and much appreciation and gratitude, there being just two or three replies of a more searching or critical nature which were also expressed in an overall mood of gratitude. Along with these letters Bhante is also aware of the recent article in the Observer newspaper which was read to him later on the day it was published.
This month Bhante has been going through a book about the ‘Book of Job’ with Paramartha in the evenings. Though as he pointed out to me this was not his first encounter with Job. He has something to say about the book in his own book From Genesis to the Diamond Sutra including this: ’When I was in my teens my favourite books of the Bible were the ‘Book of Job’ and the ‘Song of Solomon’, especially the former, which I read over and over again.’ (p.17)
On 24th February four years ago Bhante arrived at Adhisthana; apparently it was very cold with ice and snow around. This month then, on the 24th, the sangha here marked the anniversary with a photo outside the men’s community in the sunshine with Bhante, followed by a more-than-usual festive tea break and homemade cake, some of which was sent through to Bhante.
And finally, on the subject of past events and memories, Bhante is working on more than one set of personal reminiscences at the moment, which he hopes before too long will be ready for publication.”