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Retirement from the College
As I have been approaching my 70th birthday in December this year, I have for some time been considering retiring from the College. After consulting with Bhante, Saddhaloka and his Deputies, the Adhisthana Kula members, my own Indian Kula, and other close friends, I have decided to take that step. This has therefore been my last College meeting as an active Public Preceptor.
There are a number of reasons behind this decision. The primary one is what could be said to be a matter of principle: I believe that I need to get out of the way of new generations who are well able to take responsibility. I have been a Public Preceptor for 28 years and have had a great deal to do with the shape the College has taken. Bhante long ago inculcated in us the principle of ‘up and out’ and of ‘working to make yourself redundant’. Well, I have been redundant for a while, to some extent because of my own efforts, and there are many now capable of carrying on without me.
My most active area of responsibility has been India, where I have been a key figure in the Indian Public Preceptors Kula. But there are now 7 very experienced Public Preceptors in the kula, 6 of whom are Indian-born. They can be fully effective without me and I believe need the opportunity to take responsibility completely independent of me. I will be available for consultation if they need me, but I shan’t interfere. I will still be making my biannual visits to India, but will concentrate on teaching the Dhamma and kalyana mitrata.
From a more personal point of view, I am resigning because I no longer feel that I am best used in this way and the overall strain of my activities, responsibilities, and schedule, especially travelling back and forth to India, is beginning to tell on my health a little. I have no serious problems but don’t want to wait until I do. I would like to open up some space and time for something new to arise - and by definition I do not know what that may be. I’m sure I will continue to be active but I hope in less programmed ways! I simply want to be useful to the Order and movement, as I have tried to be since I was ordained 44 years ago.
How much retirement from the College will mark a real change I’m not sure, apart from immediately freeing up a few weeks of my time. I still have a number of responsibilities and interests, in India especially, but also in Hungary and in the UK. I have not retired from these yet, though I have been actively handing on more and more of my work to others and hope that that will now gather pace. Notwithstanding these other responsibilities from which I am not yet able to retire, I think it will definitely make a difference to me and probably to other people that I am no longer a member of the College.
Finally, I should say that I certainly will continue to support the College and it’s leadership, and am open to being consulted or called upon - or not! I am keen to keep in contact with my many friends in the College, several of whom have been my brothers and sisters in the Order throughout my adult life.
Needless to say, I take this step in full of confidence in the future of our precious Order and movement and in their very positive contribution to our suffering world.