Dharmamati, who works in Birmingham as secretary to Sangharakshita, sends us this report of his recent meeting with the Dalai Lama at gathering of religious leaders in London.
“Recently Sangharakshita was invited to Lambeth Palace, official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for a meeting of religious leaders organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was primarily a reception for the Dalai Lama. Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, was there to have a private meeting with the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop prior to the main meeting. After this Gordon Brown greeted the religious leaders, during which time Sangharakshita got to meet him.
“Before the meeting Sangharakshita chatted with the Dalai Lama. It was the first time they had met since the early 1960’s. The Dalai Lama remembered him very clearly, also mentioning that he was well aware of the work of the Western Buddhist Order (Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha) with the Dalits(ex-untouchables) in India. Sangharakshita also got an opportunity to chat to some of the other delegates including Ajahn Sumedho from Amaravati, Ven Tawalama Bandula from the London Buddhist Vihara and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor R.C. Archbishop of Westminster. After the Prime Minister departed the meeting proper got under way.
“This was a private occasion and the opportunity, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, for some religious leaders to come together away from the media to reflect quietly on those things that are important for the wellbeing of the people of this country. There were 21 delegates and apart from the Christian and Buddhist contingent, representatives came from the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Bahai, and Jain communities.
“The Dalai Lama was invited to address the meeting. He stressed the importance of relating on the basis of our common humanness rather than difference in beliefs. He used the example that Buddhism and Jainism are both non-theistic and yet have a different view on atman and anatman. He then mentioned the enormous differences in the understanding of God between all the theistic faiths, concluding that because there is no end to difference, we have to find what is common to us all - which is, that we are all human beings. And, that any human being can develop wisdom and compassion regardless of what they believe. And finally, that this would be a definite step in the right direction! There was a delightful moment after the meeting when the Dalai Lama helped Bhante up the stairs, the two of them almost dancing hand-in-hand in a very playful way.
“Although this gathering of some of the most influential religious leaders in the country was very brief, let us hope that it goes some way in helping them realise their common humanity and find a path to peace and reconciliation”.
FWBO News hopes to bring you a more complete account of Sangharakshita's diary for the past two months very shortly. In the meantime we are pleased to annouce that his personal website
has been totally overhauled and been given a new look by Dharmamati.
Here you will find some 15 of his books
available for free download; many of his poems both old
; a complete bibliography
, many book reviews
from the 1950s and 60s, and some little-known articles
, such as the fascinating glimpse into Sangharkshita's early days back in the West to be found in his ‘1970 – A Retrospective’. There's more, of course – but we leave you to browse!
Labels: Interfaith, Sangharakshita