Gratitude to Bhante Urgyen Sangharakshita
My parents gave me the precious gift of life, Bhante Urgyen Sangharakshita gave me the precious gift of a direction, a way for this human life to be fulfilled. He passed on the teachings of the Buddha that lead to the fulfilment of the deepest wish of the heart. As an adolescent I was desperate to find a way of life that would lead to such fulfilment and to the alleviation of suffering in the world. I wanted a way to live that could benefit as many living beings in the best possible way. None of the options I knew then seem satisfactory enough because they did not seem to go deep enough into the root of human suffering. But one day in 2009 I enrolled myself into a meditation course lead by people from the Triratna Centro Budista de la Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City Buddhist Centre). Thorough that meditation course it became clear what the course of my life would be, I was a Buddhist and I was going to spend the rest of my life practicing and teaching the Buddha’s teaching. I had found a very clear reason to live, a clear direction for my energy, creativity and life.
It was through Bhante’s practice and understanding of the Dharma, through founding the Triratna Buddhist Community, through his exposition of the dharma and through his training of Order Members into the Dharma life, that the flame of the Dharma came shinning into my life all the way to Mexico (in the forms of Upekshamati and Dhayachandra). I was only 17 when I started learning about Bhante and his teaching. I completely threw myself into the training that bhante had developed and the contexts for practice that he had envisioned. I moved to the UK into Buddhist residential community, started working in Team Based Right Livelihood at Windhorse:evolution, joined a Mitra study, a GRF group, went on many many weekend GRF retreats and soon started helping leading classes. I did all that because I had full trust that Bhante had set up something really worthwhile and I needed to make the most of it. Nearly ten years later and as a member of the Order he founded I can only say that there is nothing better I could be doing with my life than to live by the Dharma Bhante has elucidated for us and do my best to pass it on.
His thought, teaching and the Movement he set up have shaped my life and I am incredibly grateful for that. He has given me a strong foundation from which I can face the world upright and fearless and move with purpose knowing what the ultimate goal is Buddhahood and the welfare of all beings. At the time of his death I am 26 years old and I am a parent. There is no doubt whatsoever that I am much better equipped to love and look after my daughter than I would have been without the Dharma life I lead under Bhante’s guidance.
I only met Bhante personally three times. In a way I had nothing to say to him other than: thank you, thank you, thank you. And in a way he had nothing to say to me either, after all he did not know me. Also there is more than enough that he has said through is lectures and writings. In a way the purpose of meeting him apart from saying thank you was to feel his presence and bathe in it. His warm, attentive, still presence, somehow got into the depths of my being so throughly that I can feel it very vividly even as I write. I am moved to tears as I recollect him. It was a real blessing to meet him in person, it is a blessing to live by his teachings and it is a blessing to feel him even now he is gone. I am infinitely grateful for his life and his work. May his influence upon the world endure till the end of time and may it melt the ice of hatred in the hearts of people even as it continues to melt it in my own heart.
Sheffield, 26th November 2018