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This evening Hastings sangha gathered together to remember Bhante Sangharakshita and the remarkable legacy he leaves behind for the benefit of us all. A single evening was really only an opportunity to start to reflect and process this huge event in the life of the movement – the conversation will continue as everything settles into its new form. We started with the Metta Bhavana, calling to mind both Sangharakshita and those who were closest to him. We listened to Vishvapani’s obituary, and then had time to share our memories of him, which were moving and funny and heartfelt. One highlight was a recording Karunabala unearthed of some advice Bhante had given to Hastings sangha, which was, ‘Keep being wacky! Don’t be too respectable!’ It was lovely to hear his sense of humour come through.
There was an extraordinary and poignant sense of devotion during the evening, both to him and also to all he has given us: the order, the wider context of the movement, our spiritual friendships, the precious opportunity to discover the dharma and to practise together. A palpable sense of gratitude and warmth arose through the rejoicings we shared. We concluded by chanting a Padmasambhava mantra in front of the beautiful shrine, and offering our gratitude to Sangharakshita for the many gifts he gave us and the world.