Sangharakshita Memorial Space

Deadline for submissions to the Book of Gratitude

On Mon, 19 November, 2018 - 17:00
vajrapriya's picture

The deadline for submissions is Friday 30th November, so if you haven’t already, please do share your feelings of gratitude for the life of Urgyen Sangharakshita. To remind you, here are the criteria and means of submission:

Because the book will be professionally bound we ask you to follow these following simple instructions. The page will need to be:

  • A4
  • Landscape (wider than it is tall)
  • Plain paper
  • Left hand margin of 25mm to allow for binding
  • Right hand margin 20mm for balance

​Send a paper copy
Send your handwritten or printed copy to:

Book of Gratitude
c/o Adhisthana
Coddington Court,
Herefordshire HR8 1JL
United Kingdom  

By email
Please send as a text email, or an email attachment to: orderoffice [at] Attachments can be send in Word, Pages or pdf format (if pdf, make sure the margins suit those listed above, and best to send a doc/pages version as well)

Upload to this space
You can upload your file to this space as a post. Choose + resources and attach your file(s). Include in the title of your post the words ‘book of gratitude contribution’ so we see it.

You can write it in any language you wish. If you can provide a rough English translation, that will enable more people to read it, but it is not essential.

If you have already left some sort of grateful comment elsewhere in the memorial pages, that will be included in the Book of Gratitude.

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Responses's picture

A contribution to the Book of Gratitude - Ashvajit

Imagine, if you will, a young man, tolerably well-educated, ambitious, energetic but increasingly frustrated at finding himself in a strange, perplexing and sometimes hostile and dangerous world. He lacks the ability to pay skilful and sustained attention to what surrounds him and to what lies within. He sees only a swirl of fleeting and conflicting impressions and ideas. His emotions are a disturbing flux, sometimes manifesting as craving, sometimes as noble aspiration, sometimes as hatred, sometimes simply as confusion; he has given up trying to make friends with people, they are so inconstant, unreliable and reactive. Put rather starkly and dramatically, such, far too often, were my own mental-cum-emotional states, even though I managed to conceal them quite successfully from others and even from myself for much of the time, before I met Bhante Sangharakshita.

From the time I first heard Bhante speak, conducting a question and answer session in the basement of Sakura, Monmouth Street, not far from Trafalgar Square in London in October 1970, to his death at 10:00am in Hereford Hospital on 30 October 2018, almost exactly 48 years passed. They were years in which I came to know one of the most remarkable men it has been my privilege to meet; the one who was to have by far the most profound, far-reaching and life-changing influence on my character and conduct. Such was his dramatic and psychic impact on me that for the first year or so after meeting him, I thought that we were in telepathic communication. Whether that was so or not, he soon taught me to recognise what was truly my own mind: he taught me by personal example how to meditate and how to reflect. A year and a half after we met he ordained me, gave me my name and introduced me to the mandala of Avalokiteshvara, the archetypal bodhisattva of compassion, thus making me one of his personal preceptees and acknowledging me as a disciple of the Buddha. He taught me how to live with mindfulness, kindness and wisdom, though often at first I ignored his teachings. He taught me how my inner turmoil arose, and how it might come to an end. And I began to pass on, to whatever extent I was able, the gift of the Dharma to others. He gave my life meaning and purpose, and though at times I found him uncomfortably, even painfully strict, he gradually became a very special friend, showing me unparalleled kindness and patience. I am glad that he was strict. Had it not been so, I would not have learned, not have realised what had to be overcome, what abandoned, what developed and what attained.

Urgyen Sangharakshita’s passing has been yet another life-changing event for me. He leaves me with a paradox: on the one hand, a void, an emptiness, an absence, yet on the other, an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy. Early on, he introduced me to his mother, his sister Joan and her daughter Kamala - a wonderful token of his confidence in me. Whether being his chauffeur, servant, student, cook, publisher, correspondent, secretary or companion, I learned the extent to which I could trust my own mind, and, though comparatively recently, to pay no attention to the attacks and blandishments of Mara. He helped me build unshakeable confidence in the Buddha-dharma, and taught me how to apply it to myself and to others, with compassion, in the midst of contemporary affairs. He has left a huge corpus of teachings redolent with insight that are now in course of publication as his Complete Works, as well as a large number of wonderful poems. He has left me with a host of personal recollections of him that I will reflect upon for the rest of my life. He has opened my eyes to the timeless beauty of the spiritual world, to the world of art and literature, and even to the lesser, fleeting beauty of the world of the ordinary senses. And last but by no means least, he enabled me to enjoy the company of countless numbers of friends near and far, young and old all over the world, as well as to cherish a small number of very close ones.

Urgyen Sangharakshita has helped me transform my breath, my blood, my flesh and my bones. He has taught me to listen to my own wise inner voice and to pay no attention to the stupid one. And now, whether in the midst of activity, with friends or in solitude, reflecting or meditating, I feel he is there encouraging me, protecting me and yes, even admonishing me should I for a moment fail to follow his precepts.

With love and profound gratitude to Bhante and to everyone else who has helped me transform my life in the direction of Enlightenment, and in whose company the bodhichitta has surely arisen.


28th November 2018, 4 Bronhaul, Y Fan, Llanidloes, Powys, UK

bodhaniya's picture

Dear Ashvajit, thanks for publishing your personal tribute.  Acknowledging my gratitude to you for example in friendship. The cycle continues.  With love Bodhaniya

khemajoti's picture

Thank you Ashvajit - very moving to read.