It has been quite some time since news of Sangharakshita has appeared in Shabda. However we have now received a report from Dharmamati, his secretary, and are pleased to reproduce it here -
"Sangharakshita has been very active in recent months, visiting centres both here and abroad, seeing individuals nearly every day, continuing working on 'Precious Garland Seminar' with Samacitta and taking regular study with a small local men's chapter.
Bhante has been in quite good health over the last couple of months. His eyesight has even improved a little and he has started to be able to read large print publications and smallerprint with the aid of an illuminated magnifying glass and he has even been able to draft a few letters. This said, however, his eyesight is still limited and most things have to be read to him.
The last report concluded with Bhante attending the Guhyaloka reunion at Padmaloka. At the end of this month he was invited to a conference organised by The Network of Buddhist Organisations (UK) and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy-UK. the conference was called The British Buddhist Landscape - Transplantation and Growth. He was one of the two keynote speakers for the conference, the other being Stephen Bachelor.
The FWBO had quite a strong presence at the conference, not only with speakers, but with artworks contributed to an exhibition of Buddhist art from Britain. Bhante's talk was entitled 'Looking back and forward a little, reminiscences and reflections. In it he recollected his association with British Buddhism especially his time with the Buddhist society in the early 1940s in London. He also gave some reflections about the future. (for more about the conference see the report
on FWBO News.
July was quite a full month with visits to Sheffield, Berlin and leading study for the Men Mitra Convenors at Padmaloka. In both Sheffield and Berlin Bhante gave a Q&A session for Order members and a public talk.
In Sheffield Bhante gave a talk on something that he has rarely talked about in public, 'Rebirth'. This was a personal talk that included reflections on dreams, visions and experiences from his life.
In Berlin the public talk was on the 'Six distinctive emphases of the FWBO' According to the local sangha this was a very timely talk in helping establish what the FWBO has to offer in Berlin; a talk covering some of the same ground was given in Birmingham and is available here
from FreeBuddhistAudio. During the Men Mitra Convenors meeting at Padmaloka Bhante led ten study sessions over a period of 5 days on 'The Path of Regular and Path of Irregular Steps'.
During August Bhante spent most of the month at Madhyamaloka. Towards the end of the month Bhante celebrated his 83rd Birthday. A special event was organised by Siddhisambhava with invited guests from Madhyamaloka community, Uddiyana trustees and those involved in the recent fundraising appeal for Bhante's support. Happily to say the goal was exceeded due to the generosity of many individual Order members.
Two days after this Bhante left for Spain where he attended an Order retreat. The venue was Tushita retreat centre run by the FPMT in the hills behind Barcelona. During this event Bhante gave a q&A session for Order Members. From there he travelled to Valencia where he stayed in the men's community. During his stay in Valencia Bhante gave a public talk at the Valencia Buddhist Centre. the theme this time was Padmasambhava, his talk included the five poisons and the five spiritual faculties. This event was attended by over 150 people.
The next event was an historic one, the public launch of the Spanish translation of 'A Survey of Buddhism'. The event took place in a lecture room at a University.
Most recently, Bhante has been to Krakow, Poland where he opened Sanghaloka, a new FWBO centre and our first in Poland.
Labels: books, Germany, Interbuddhist, Sangharakshita, Sheffield, Spain