Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:49 am

Chapter Forty-Seven: Friends, Teachers, and a Letter from London

Kalimpong was situated 4,000 feet above sea level. Here the air was thinner and clearer than in the plains, and the sky a deeper, darker blue. On most days of the year except during the rainy season one could see, high above the foothills to the north-west, the dazzlingly white shape of Mount Kanchenjunga, the second highest peak in the Himalayan Range. I had lived in Kalimpong for fourteen years, ever since the memorable day when Kashyap-ji had left me there with the parting injunction to stay and work for the good of Buddhism. During that time I had become an accepted part of the cultural and religious life of the cosmopolitan little town. Now I had come to say goodbye. I had come to say goodbye to my friends and teachers, some of whom I might never see again. I had come to say goodbye to my hillside hermitage, with its row of Kashmir cypresses, its flowerbeds and terraces, its hundred orange trees, its bamboo grove, and its solitary mango tree. I had come to say goodbye to the shrine room where I had meditated for so many hours, to the study-cum-bedroom where I had started writing the first volume of my memoirs, and to the veranda up and down which, during the rainy season, I had paced deep in reflection. I had come to say goodbye to Kalimpong goodbye to Mount Kanchenjunga and its snows.

But though I had come to say goodbye, my 'homecoming' was in many ways a joyful one. The first to welcome me back to the Triyana Vardhana Vihara, or Monastery Where the Three Ways Flourish, were Hilla Petit and Maurice Freedman, who had been staying there for the last few days. Hilla was the elderly Parsee friend with whom Terry and I had had lunch in Bombay, and diminutive, big-headed Maurice was her long-term house-guest. I had first met the oddly assorted pair in Gangtok, when they were holidaying with our common friend 'Apa Saheb Pant', the then Political Officer of Sikkim, and in later years I had more than once stayed with them at their comfortable Bombay flat. Both were keen followers of J. Krishnamurti, and soon Maurice and I were deep in one of our usual rather inconclusive discussions as to whether Truth was really a 'pathless land' that could be approached only by way of choiceless awareness. Not that I had much time for such discussions that morning -- at least not as much as Maurice probably would have liked. There were letters to be opened, other friends to be seen.

One of the first letters to be opened was from the English Sangha Trust. It was dated 1 November and was signed by George Goulstone in his capacity as one of the Directors of the Trust. After assuring me in the most fulsome terms of the Trust's deep appreciation of my services to the Dharma in England, he went on to inform me that in the opinion of the Trust and my fellow Order members my long absences from the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara, together with what he described as my extra-mural activities, were not in accordance with the Theravãda's high standards of discipline and ethics. Moreover, I had not comported myself in a manner fitting the religious office that I held in the Order. The Trust had therefore decided to seek elsewhere for an incumbent of the Vihara. As my work in India was so dear to my heart, the letter continued blandly, I might think that my allotted task was to remain and serve Buddhism in the East. Should I, on careful reflection, consider that my work lay in the East, this would be acceptable as a reasonable ground for my resignation, and notification to this effect would be made to the Buddhist Authorities in the West. Should I not feel disposed to take this step, the trustees would feel regretfully obliged to withdraw their support from me. In so doing, they felt sure of having the agreement of the Sangha authorities in England.

'Do you know what this means?' I asked Terry, when I had finished reading the letter. 'It means a new Buddhist Movement!' The words sprang spontaneously from my lips. It was as if the Trust's letter, coming as it did like a flash of lightning, had suddenly revealed possibilities that had hitherto been shrouded in darkness or perceived only dimly. Though I had long felt that the Buddhist movement in Britain might need a fresh impetus, and had even discussed with the Three Musketeers and Viriya the feasibility of my giving lectures and holding classes outside the orbit of the Hampstead Vihara and the Buddhist Society, I had certainly never considered the possibility of my taking a step so radical as that of starting a new Buddhist movement, whether in Britain or anywhere else. But I now saw that a new Buddhist movement was what was really needed, and that the Trust's letter had opened the way to my starting it. The movement I was to found some months later may have been born in London, but it was conceived there in Kalimpong on 24 November 1966, at the moment when I addressed to Terry those six fateful words.

Yet clearly as I saw that there would be a new Buddhist movement in Britain, I had no idea what form that movement might take. Nor did I need to have any idea. My immediate concern was with the reasons alleged by the Trust for their wanting to replace me as incumbent of the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. A number of points struck me in this connection. There was the claim that my fellow Order members (who were they?) shared the Trust's opinion that my conduct had been unethical. What evidence was there that they really did share that opinion? According to the Vinaya or Monastic Code a monk could not be charged with an offence in absentia, much less charged, tried, and sentenced as the Trust was actually doing in my case. He had to be charged face-to-face at a formal assembly of the monks. Either the Trust's claim was false or my fellow monks had acted in direct contravention of the Vinaya. In any case, the Trust's charges against me were couched in very general terms. What did they mean by extramural activities, and in what way had I failed to comport myself in a fitting manner? As for my long absences from the Vihara, there had been only one such long absence, when Terry and I were away travelling in Italy and Greece. Before we left Walshe and others had assured me that I deserved a holiday, though a 'holiday' was not quite what I had in mind. Moreover, the trustees seemed to have forgotten that in accepting their invitation to visit England I had stipulated that my mornings should be free for literary work and that, when this proved impracticable, far from minding I had gladly accepted the new situation. Finally, the Trust had overlooked the fact that on the eve of my departure from England I had promised my friends and supporters that I would be returning in four months time. In suggesting I might on reflection consider that my work lay in the East they were proposing not only that I should break my word but that I should cover up the fact that I was breaking it with the downright lie that I had changed my mind. So much for the Theravãda's high standards of discipline and ethics!

Such were the points that occurred to me as I read the Trust's letter. They were all points which would have to be made, I thought, when I replied to Goulstone. But much as I felt like replying immediately, I decided not to do so. Better to wait a few days, and reply when I had had time to think things over and consult with Terry. Meanwhile, there were friends to be visited. Having finished reading my mail I took the rough track up the hillside that led from the Lower to the Upper Cart Road and thence, eventually, to Chakhung House. The modest bungalow so named was the residence of the Kazi Lhendup Dorje-Khangsarpa of Chakhung, a leading politician of Sikkim, and his formidable European wife. I had known them since 1957, the year of their marriage, rather late in life, in New Delhi. The Kazini had come bringing from a common friend at the UK High Commission a letter of introduction in which he asked me to help her should she meet with any difficulties in Kalimpong. She did meet with difficulties and I did help her, and this had led to the development of a friendship between the Kazi and Kazini and me. Though her husband was a leading player in the politics of the tiny Himalayan principality (he became Chief Minister some years later), the Kazini herself was not openly involved in them, but instead pulled strings behind the scenes, maintained contact with a variety of intelligence agencies, and was an unfailing source of information and gossip. During my absence they had kept an eye on the Vihara for me, making sure that Lobsang Norbu and Thubden kept the place clean and tidy and aired my books from time to time, especially during the rainy season, when they were apt to become mildewed. Both were in when I called, and we had a happy meeting. I gave them their presents (the Kazinis was a political biography she had wanted), heard all the news, and stayed for lunch, and it was not until late afternoon that Kazi left for a political meeting in Gangtok and I for the Vihara and further inconclusive discussion with Maurice. That night I slept in the shrine room as Hilla was occupying my own quarters. Thus passed my first day back in Kalimpong.

Hilla and Maurice left after breakfast taking with them for posting in Bombay the letters I had written first thing that morning. I did not want to post them in Kalimpong, since they would then be read by the local branch of the Central Intelligence Bureau, as were all letters to and from foreigners living in the town, and might therefore take a long time to reach their destination. Besides writing to Gerald Yorke and Jack Ireland I sent to the New Statesman an advertisement to the effect that I would be returning to England as planned and continuing my lectures on Buddhism. Hilla and Maurice had no sooner left than I received a visit from Durga and Nardeo, two young Nepali friends who had once studied English with me. Durga was particularly close tome, and had more than once stayed at the Vihara while I was away on one of my preaching tours. After I had talked for a while with the two young men, Terry and I went to see Dhardo Rimpoche, on the way stopping first at Chakhung House (Terry did not take to the Kazini, nor she to him) and then at the Frontier Office where I was given a cordial reception by Moitra, the Frontier Inspector, and his staff and where we obtained the application forms for a one-month extension of Terry's Inner Line permit. Dhardo Rimpoche was an eminent tulku or incarnate lama who had lived in Kalimpong since 1950. In 1954 he had started the Indo-Tibet Buddhist Cultural Institute, under whose auspices he was soon running an orphanage and school for Tibetan refugee children. I was associated with these projects from the beginning and this had led to the development of a friendship based on mutual respect and liking and on the fact that we were both working, in our different ways, for the advancement of Buddhism. Our friendship was deepened in 1956, the year of the 2,500th Buddha Jayanti, when with fifty-odd other Eminent Buddhists from the Border Areas, as we were styled, the Rimpoche and I went on pilgrimage to the principal Buddhist holy places as guests of the Government of India. During those nine or ten days we saw much more of each other than usual. Indeed at times we were in each others company uninterruptedly for days together. I do not know what kind of impression I made on the Rimpoche during this period of closer contact, but the impression he made on me certainly served to reinforce the very positive one I had already formed of him. Besides being always mindful and alert, in his dealings with others fellow pilgrims, Indian officials, and railway staff he was invariably kind, patient, and good-humoured and, in short, exhibited all the qualities of a true tulku. To such an extent was this the case, that I eventually came to revere him as a living Bodhisattva, so that when I felt ready to give formal expression to my acceptance of the Bodhisattva ideal by taking the Bodhisattva ordination it was naturally Dhardo Rimpoche whom I asked to be my preceptor. He had given me the ordination in 1962, thus from a friend becoming a teacher, though without ceasing to be a friend. While I was away he had moved his Institute, together with its orphanage and school, to their new home at the edge of the lower bazaar, and it was to this new home, on the other side of the saddleback on which the town was situated, that Terry and I made our way from the Frontier Office. Dhardo Rimpoche received us with his usual cordiality, and I presented him with the maroon and gold table clock I had bought for him in Zurich. Though he had aged a little, his eyes still sparkled with intelligence and good humour, and I saw that Terry was regarding him with a mixture of curiosity and respect. As was his custom when at home, Dhardo Rimpoche wore only a maroon monastic skirt and a sleeveless Chinese style shirt of orange silk so that his arms were bare. After he and I had talked for a while and Terry had been properly introduced and his background explained, it was agreed that Terry and I should return next day and that my friend should take the Rimpoche's photograph. The following afternoon, therefore, we saw the Institute again, and Terry took photographs of the Rimpoche seated on his elevated Dharma seat, wearing full monastic dress, and with his dorje and bell on the table before him.

A few days later Terry photographed the children of the school, of whom there were a hundred or more of all ages. Many of them were poorly clad, but they all looked healthy and well cared for, and it was evident that their relationship with the Rimpoche was a very happy one. Sherab Nangwa, an elderly Tibetan whom I had ordained as a Theravãdin novice, was present on this occasion, and when Terry and I took Dhardo Rimpoche back to the Vihara for lunch he accompanied us. The weather had been cloudy that morning, but in the afternoon it was bright and sunny, and after lunch the four of us were able to sit out in the garden. Before leaving the Rimpoche performed, in the shrine room, a short ceremony of purification and blessing for the benefit of the Vihara and its occupants, scattering rice and ringing his ritual bell as he did so. In the course of the next few weeks he came to see me three or four times, and I visited him still more frequently, sometimes with Terry, but more often on my own. We spent much of our time together working on the translation of a Tibetan sadhana text entitled The Stream of the Immortality-Conferring Nectar of the Esoteric Oral Tradition of the Lamas Bestowal of the White Tãrã Abhiseka. We had started working on it some years earlier, after the Rimpoche had given me the White Tãrã abhiseka, or consecration as it was sometimes called, and were still working on it at the time of my departure for England. As our medium of communication was Hindi, interspersed with words in Tibetan and English, the task of translation was a difficult one, but we both attached great importance to the work and were determined that it should be completed before I left for England a second time.

Dhardo Rimpoche was not my only Tibetan teacher, nor was he the only one to visit the Vihara after my return. Kachu Rimpoche, who was abbot of Pemayangtse Gompa in Sikkim, also came, accompanied by his nephew and one of his lamas. As always, he arrived unexpectedly, just as Terry and I were finishing breakfast, so that I was all the more glad to see him. He was obviously no less glad to see me. Like Dhardo Rimpoche, he was a monk, besides being a tulku, and like Dhardo Rimpoche he wore the maroon monastic robes, but apart from the fact that both were men of rare spiritual attainments and deep commitment to the Dharma, there the resemblance ended. Dhardo Rimpoche belonged to the dominant Gelug, or 'Virtuous', school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by the reformer Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Kachu Rimpoche, on the other hand, was a follower of the Nyingma, or 'Old Style', school inaugurated more than 600 years earlier by the Indian yogin and wonder-worker Padmasambhava in the course of his historic mission to the Land of Snows. The two incarnate lamas also differed in character and manner, as well as in their way of relating to me. If Dhardo Rimpoche was the more urbane and cultivated, Kachu Rimpoche was the more spontaneous and direct. While Dhardo Rimpoche had always responded positively to my requests and had in- variably answered my questions with patience and good humour, so far as I remember he had never given me any direction or instruction of his own accord. Kachu Rimpoche had habitually done just that, and though not one to stand on ceremony he was always very much the guru. Thus he had urged me to ask the celebrated Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche, his own guru, for the abhiseka of Mañjughoëa, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom; had given me, as instructed by the Rimpoche, the abhiseka of Padmasambhava, together with that of Amitayus, the Buddha of Infinite Life; had started me on the practice of the four mûla or foundation yogas of the Vajrayãna; and had insisted, as a result of a vision, on our having a multicoloured 'banner of victory' on the roof of the Triyana Vardhana Vihara. But now it was my turn to take the initiative. Kachu Rimpoche having had his photograph taken, at his own request, I asked him if he would mind Terry taking pictures of him demonstrating the eight offering mudras, the eight hand gestures representing the flowers, lights, and other items which, in Tibetan ritual worship, were offered to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. To this he readily agreed, and the pictures were accordingly taken out in the garden, in the sun, and against the background of a white sheet. Next day he came for lunch, as did Sherab Nangwa. After the meal the three of us sat out in the garden, and the Rimpoche explained certain fundamentals of Vajrayãna meditation, so far as those related to the visualization of the figure of Padmasambhava. On his departure I gave hima large bag of oranges to take with him back to Pemayangtse -- oranges that had been gathered from the Viharas own trees that very morning.

Yogi Chen did not come to see me. He lived as a hermit in a small bungalow at the bottom end of the lower bazaar, never went outside his front door, and rarely received visitors. During my latter years in Kalimpong, however, I had been allowed to visit him from time to time, and this privilege was now extended to include Terry. A short, plump, round-faced man in his middle or late fifties, the yogi had an ebullient manner not usually associated with a hermit, least of all one who spent the greater part of each day engaged in various forms of meditation. Nor was he without his eccentricities. Sometimes he wore the traditional dress of a Chinese scholar, complete with black skullcap, sometimes an anorak and baseball cap. Despite his eccentricities, he possessed a thorough knowledge of the Buddhist scriptures (he had twice read through the entire Chinese Tripitaka), a comprehensive grasp of Buddhist doctrine, and a rich and varied inner life which included in its gamut not only insights and ecstasies of a more spiritual nature but also strange psychic experiences. Over the years I must have asked him hundreds of questions about the Vajrayãna, about Chan, and about Chinese Buddhism in general; and many were the times he had clarified a philosophical doctrine, or explained a meditation practice, in away no one else had been able to do. For this reason I had come to regard Yogi Chen as one of my teachers, though he absolutely refused either to consider himself a guru or to allow others to speak of him as such. But he was always ready to share his knowledge and experience with the few who were allowed to visit him. He certainly shared them very readily with Terry and me, and on one of our visits discoursed to us at length on Vajrayãna sadhana or spiritual practice. He also allowed Terry to take pictures of his thangkas, which for the most part depicted esoteric Tantric divinities of the wrathful kind, many of them in sexual union with their consorts.

Whether Terry and I happened to be on our way to see Dhardo Rimpoche or Yogi Chen, or were walking through the High Street, or investigating the Tibetan pavement stalls at the top end of the Lower Bazaar, we could not go more than a few yards without my bumping into, or being accosted by, someone I knew or who, at least, knew me. I was particularly glad to meet my old protégé Budha Kumar, now a civil engineer in Gangtok after making a romantic runaway marriage, and loyal, devoted Mrs King, a Tamang Buddhist married to a Chinese, with whom I had to have tea, and at whose house I met Durga's pretty young wife Meera, whom I had once taught English and who had not been the brightest of my pupils. People also came to see me at the Vihara. They included Joseph E. Cann ('Uncle Joe'), the prickly, chain-smoking Canadian Buddhist, now in his seventies, who had arrived in Kalimpong shortly after me, and who according to my diary 'talked almost without stopping for about two hours; worried-looking Dawa Tsering, one of the most faithful and helpful of my old students; the plump, teenage Sogyal Rimpoche; monks from the Tharpa Choling Gompa at Tirpai; and the head of the local branch of the Central Intelligence Bureau, one Mr Das Gupta. Terry and I also paid several more visits to Chakhung House. On one occasion the Kazini insisted on giving gruesome details of the Delhi communal riots of 1947,which rather upset Terry, while Uncle Joe, who also happened to be there, was no less negative. Both seemed to enjoy the horrors they were denouncing, my diary comments.

Meetings with my friends and teachers thus occupied much of my time, as to a lesser extent they did Terry's likewise, so that within ten or twelve days of my return to Kalimpong I had seen practically all those who were not out of station, as the phrase went. But precious as these occasions were, and greatly as I appreciated being with my teachers and friends again, the thought of Goulstones' letter, and of what I should say by way of reply, was never far from my mind, especially as other letters were arriving from London as well as from other parts of the little world of British Buddhism. These letters were of a very different kind. From them it was evident that word of the Trust's decision to replace me as incumbent of the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara had somehow leaked out and that members of the Sangha Association had reacted to the news first with incredulity and then with mounting astonishment and indignation. Why did they have to behave in such an underhand manner? wrote one correspondent, Could they not have talked to you while you were here? There was also a sad, affectionate letter from Ruth Walshe, and a personal one from Maurice in which he sought to justify the action the Trust had taken on the grounds that like Caesars wife I had to be above suspicion and that, despite my talents, I was emotionally unbalanced and immature and in need of psychological and spiritual help. Though I had originally intended to reply to Goulstone at length, making the points that had occurred to me when I first read his letter, after several abortive attempts along these lines I realized that trying to rebut charges that had not been made in good faith, and of which in any case I had already been found guilty, was really a waste of time. I therefore wrote him a short letter, but not before I had consulted Dhardo Rimpoche and Yogi Chen (Kachu Rimpoche was consulted later), as well as the Kazi and Kazini. They agreed in thinking that I should return to England as planned, and there continue working for the Dharma, though probably only the Kazini understood the kind of difficulties I would have to face. My letter read, in part, as follows:

Dear Goulstone,

Having considered the contents of your letter dated 1st November, I do not propose to deal with spurious accusations through the medium of correspondence. My main concern at this juncture is to safeguard the Buddhist activities at Hampstead, which the Trust has now placed in an extremely difficult and unfortunate position. The charges you mention are so easily refuted as to suggest the possibility of their having been fabricated with an ulterior motive. Even if the Trust withdraws its support from me, my own allegiance to and responsibility towards the Buddhist movement in England does not permit me to retract promises made or -- more disastrous still -- to abandon Buddhism to those incapable of recognizing the promising nature of the movement which has been built up at the Vihara during the last two years.…

Having now lived with your letter for a few days, and having received from various prominent members of our movement letters protesting against the Trust's behaviour and promising support, I am not sufficiently alarmed to curtail my stay here and will return as planned early in the New Year.

Yours sincerely,

Sangharakshita


Once the letter had been sent I realized that the die had indeed been cast and that there would be no turning back, even if I wanted to do so.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:19 am

Chapter Forty-Eight The Man in the Pit

Since my arrival in India three months earlier my life had been predominantly one of travel (including pilgrimage), sightseeing, lecturing, and meeting people of many different kinds, from the Dalai Lama to illiterate villagers and convicted criminals. In other words, I had been living very much on the first of the three levels recognized by Tibetan Buddhists, the level of the outer life, and comparatively little on the second level, that of the inner life of reflection and meditation. As for my secret life, the life I led on the third level, this had continued, as usual, to look after itself in its own mysterious way, without having direct contact with the two other levels. Once while I was in Kalimpong, however, it broke through into those levels and I had an experience that had no connection with anything I had been doing or thinking the previous day. The experience happened at the Vihara, and though of a different kind from the one that had befallen me in Glasgow the previous year, it was hardly less intense, and no less memorable.

One night I awoke to find the whole room filled with light. Between my bed and the mattress on which Terry lay sleeping there was a deep pit, and in the pit there was a man standing. His hands were joined in supplication, and he was looking upwards with a piteous, imploring expression as if begging to be delivered out of the pit. It was Jivaka, the English doctor who, then bearded and pipe-smoking, had turned up at the Vihara one morning in 1958 with one of the oddest requests I had ever received: that I should teach him how to read peoples thoughts and how to see what was happening at a distance. He had been directed to me by Dhardo Rimpoche whom he had met in Bodh Gaya and who had assured him that the English monk who lived in Kalimpong was the best person to help him in this connection. The Rimpoche had worn a skirt, he added, laughing uproariously at the recollection, as if the idea of a man wearing a skirt was the funniest thing in the world. In view of his own history this was ironic. He was in fact a woman. Born in 1915, he had been orphaned at an early age, had been brought up by two maiden aunts, had gone to Oxford, and between 1945 and 1948 had undergone a series of operations that had given him the outward appearance, at least, of a man, thus enabling him to pass as such. He had then qualified as a doctor, and until recently had worked as a ships doctor on a British liner, resigning only when the discovery of his change of sex by a reporter had led to its extensive coverage in the press. All this I learned from the newspaper cutting which, within minutes of his arrival at the Vihara, he produced from his wallet and silently handed me. Later he told me he had been greatly impressed by the fact that I had read it without turning a hair, as he put it, as well as by the readiness with which I agreed to his staying at the Vihara. He stayed for more than a year, studying the Dharma, learning to meditate (though not how to read peoples thoughts or how to see what was happening at a distance), and writing his autobiography. To make it difficult for the press to track him down he shaved off his beard, and I gave him the name of Jivaka, after the Buddha's personal physician.

The fact that he was the first female-to-male transsexual to have modern surgery and hormone treatment was not the most interesting thing about the Vihara's new inmate, at least so far as I was concerned. He was also a disciple of the notorious Lobsang Rampa, author of the best-selling The Third Eye, who was not a Tibetan lama at all but a plumber from Plympton with a vivid imagination and a racy style. A few weeks after his arrival at the Vihara Jivaka confided to me, with a solemn air, that Lobsang Rampa had initiated him into the Secret Order of the Potala and invested him with its robe and girdle. There were only thirteen members of the Order, he had told him, including the Dalai Lama, and any Tibetan who saw him wearing the robe -- even the highest dignitaries -- would immediately prostrate himself before him. He had worn the robe when he went to see Dhardo Rimpoche, he added, but strange to say the Rimpoche had not prostrated himself. Perhaps he was a low-ranking lama who had not heard of the Order. Naturally I wanted to know if he had brought the robe with him. He had brought it, and not only showed it tome but demonstrated how it was to be worn, wrapping it round himself in the most extraordinary fashion and tying it with what appeared to be a length of dressing-gown cord. But Jivaka, its an ordinary Burmese monks robe! I exclaimed. No, its not! he retorted angrily. Its the robe of the Secret Order of the Potala. Fortunately I had just such a monks robe in my cupboard. It was of the same yellowish-brown colour as the one Jivaka was wearing, consisted of the same number of patches, and bore in one corner the same manufacturers label in Burmese script. Jivaka was dumbfounded by the discovery. Even so, I had a hard time convincing him that Lobsang Rampa was not, as he claimed, a lama who had spent many years in Lhasa and had been initiated into the deepest mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism, and that the Secret Order of the Potala existed only in his fertile imagination. Eventually, however, I did convince him, whereupon he wrote to Rampa, who was then living in Ireland in a house bought for him by Jivaka, a letter of indignant remonstrance. To this the supposed lama only replied that evidently some evil person had been undermining his faith.

Jivaka's faith in his erstwhile master was indeed undermined, but not his faith in his own high spiritual destiny a faith that had enabled him to regard membership of the Secret Order of the Potala as being no more than his due. 'I know that I am a teacher, a teacher with a capital T', he once told me. I had responded by saying that in that case he ought to have something to teach, and it was this remark that had led to his spending so much of his time studying the Dharma. Besides being spiritually ambitious, he was headstrong, wilful, and by his own admission a great believer in the fait accompli. He could also be high-handed in his dealings with people. While I was away on one of my preaching tours he took it upon himself to chastise one of the younger inmates of the Vihara with a slipper, a terrible indignity by local standards. I therefore made arrangements, soon afterwards, for him to continue his studies at Sarnath. There he quickly got himself ordained as a Theravãdin novice, though without revealing to Sangharatana and other monks his true sexual identity. Later he spent five months at a monastery in Ladakh, where he became a novice in the Tibetan monastic tradition and started calling himself Lobsang Jivaka. He died suddenly in Dalhousie in 1962.

This, then, was the unfortunate being whom I saw standing in the pit, his hands joined in supplication, and clearly wanting to be delivered. I felt an intense desire to deliver him, and was wondering how this was to be done when I suddenly remembered an incident that had occurred in the course of my connection with Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche, whom I regarded as my principal teacher or 'root lama', as a Tibetan Buddhist would have said. I had met the Rimpoche in 1957, shortly after his arrival from Tibet, where he was widely regarded as one of the very greatest of living lamas. We met in the bungalow I had once occupied as the guest of Prince Latthakin of Burma, the son-in-law of the exiled King Thibaw. He was then about sixty, and though he wore the usual maroon robes he at once struck me as being more like a Burmese mahathera or great elder than a Tibetan incarnate lama. A few months later, having seen more of him, I asked Jamyang Khyentse, through Kachu Rimpoche, for the Mañjughosa abhiseka or consecration, which he gave me on 24 October 1957, together with the consecrations of Avalokitesvara, Vajrapãni, and Green Tãrã.

The ceremony took place in Darjeeling, in the presence of Jamyang Khyentse's youthful dãkinî, the Maharani of Sikkim, Kachu Rimpoche, and a few other friends. Partly because it was in Tibetan, and partly because I was unwell at the time, as was Jamyang Khyentse (he died in 1959), I remembered little of what happened that morning. I did, however, remember offering Jamyang Khyentse a mandala or symbolic representation of the universe, and noticing with what reverence a disciple offered him the pointed red pandit cap which he donned at certain key points in the ceremony. Above all, I remembered the rapt, beatific expression with which he looked up as he was invoking Mañjughosa and the other Bodhisattvas, as if he actually saw their diaphanous, rainbow-like forms floating in the air before him. He subsequently commissioned a thangka depicting Mañjughosa and the three other Bodhisattvas together with the nineteen great teachers who were his main spiritual ancestors and whose different sectarian lineages he united in his own person. When I next visited Gangtok, where he was then staying, he handed me this thangka, at the same time explaining that in conferring the abhisekas he had transmitted to me the essence of all the teachings of all the gurus depicted therein.

It was on the occasion of another visit to Gangtok, where Jamyang Khyentse was now settled, that there had taken place the incident which I suddenly remembered when I saw Jivaka standing in the pit. The Rimpoche's quarters were on the upper floor of the magnificent building that was the royal chapel. On my arrival there I was asked to wait. I waited for about half an hour. On his emerging from an inner room, my venerable teacher apologized for having kept me waiting for so long, saying that a lama friend of his had recently died and in order to help him he had been reciting the hundred-syllable mantra of Vajrasattva, the Diamond Being who delivers from hell. No sooner did I remember these words than I knew what I had to do to help Jivaka. I started reciting the mantra. As I did so I saw the letters of the mantra coming out of my mouth, one after another, and forming a chain or garland that went down into the pit and came up out of it in a continuous circular motion. On seeing the garland, Jivaka caught hold of the letters as they ascended and with their help hauled himself out of the pit and disappeared. At that instant the room was plunged into darkness and in the distance I heard the horn of the Jogi, the collector of the souls of the dead. I looked at my watch. It was two o'clock in the morning.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:31 am

Chapter Forty-Nine: Packing and Printing

Fine clear weather, not very cold. Took photographs of Kanchenjunga. Climbed up to Observatory Hill. Took more photographs, though on the whole Mahakala shrine etc. rather disappointing.


Thus my diary. Terry and I were not in Kalimpong but in Darjeeling, having arrived there early that morning. Darjeeling was 8,000 feet above sea level, as compared to Kalimpong's 4,000 feet, and the visitor who had the good fortune to be there on a clear day had an unobstructed view of the glittering wall of perpetual snow that was Kanchenjunga. The weather being clear that morning, Terry and I lost no time in walking up to the Chowrasta and thence to the Mall, from where we climbed to the top of Observatory Hill, stopping on the way from time to time to get our breath and to photograph the white mass that towered 20,000 feet above us, majestic against the blue. Having circumambulated the untidy Mahakala shrine, sacred to Buddhists and Hindus alike, we made our way back to the Chowrasta, to the bookshops and curio stores, and so to the GPO, for while we were glad to have had a better view of Kanchenjunga than was possible from Kalimpong, it was not really for the sake of the view that we were in Darjeeling that day.

We were there to send a cable to Christmas Humphreys. I had written to Toby shortly after replying to Goulstone's letter, assuring him that I would be returning to England despite the Trusts decision regarding me, and asking for his comments or advice. He had replied at once, and at some length, and my cable was in response to his letter, which had reached me the previous day. I was sending the cable from Darjeeling because I did not want its contents to become common property, as would certainly have been the case had I sent it from Kalimpong, and because I wanted to make sure that it would reach Toby before the Sangha Associations AGM, which he had said he would be attending, and at which his was bound to be an influential voice. The cable did not say everything I wanted to say, but it made my position sufficiently clear.

Thank you support stop glad you realize no evidence main allegation stop not interested image interested enlightenment supporters likewise stop better split than united mediocrity stop vihara tactics disgraceful stop AGM opportunity good purge stop wonder if you dare stop no intention being sacrificed combination Hinayana sterility British respectability stop not all your facts correct writing immediately stop good luck


As was evident from the tenor of my cable, Toby's letter had been concerned mainly with the question of my image. After acknowledging that the situation was tragic in the extreme, he had gone on to say that the trustees' decision was final, that it would not be affected by the views of the Sangha Association, that the magnificent work I had done for the Dharma was not enough, and that I had to face the depth and power of the English middle-class mind and its abhorrence of homosexuality. There was no question of any 'offences'. It was the image I had created that was the real cause of the present crisis. This was the clearest indication I had yet received that the Trusts decision had something to do with my friendship with Terry, for I could not but assume that it was to this that Toby was alluding when he spoke of the image I had created. There was little doubt that he was in a position to understand the depth and power of the English middle-class mind and, in particular, its abhorrence of homosexuality. Had not his father been junior prosecuting counsel at the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895? Not that Toby himself was a man of illiberal views. There were homosexuals of high character and ability in the Buddhist movement in England, his letter continued, but the Buddhist public did not notice them as such and were no more offended by them than by the presence of someone they were privately informed to be an alcoholic. In my case, however, it was my public image, my visible way of life, that was in question. A fair analogy would be the behaviour of a vicar in a small Church of England parish. Suppose he were often drunk on church occasions, or spent most of his time in book-makers offices, or flaunted a mistress, or were known to show blue films to his friends in private, the scandal would mean that he had to go, on the ground that his congregation was gravely upset by his conduct.

I had been astounded when I came to this part of Toby's reply, and told him as much in the letter which I sent from Darjeeling along with the cable. There was not the remotest resemblance between my behaviour and that of his Church of England vicar. The worst that could be said of me was that I handled money, that I sometimes took solid food after midday, and that I wore my hair a little longer than was customary. Toby subsequently had the grace to retract the analogy, in effect admitting that he had allowed words to run away with him, as I had bluntly told him was the case. Nonetheless, I could not help wondering what kind of stories Walshe, and perhaps others, had been circulating about me.

The cable having been sent, and my letter posted, Terry and I walked round the Chowk Bazaar, bought some cloth for the woodblock prints we had started making, and visited the Tibetan Self-Help Centre, where we saw some very beautiful but very expensive handmade rugs. Our day in Darjeeling ended with tea at Keventer's, a popular local rendezvous, after which we returned to Kalimpong and to a week of packing and printing and to what De Quincey would have called 'a thousand final or farewell farewells'.

According to the Vinaya, the individual monk might possess only eight things: his three robes, a bowl, a razor, a needle, a girdle, and a water-strainer. In the course of my fourteen years in Kalimpong, however, I had managed to accumulate a couple of hundred books on Buddhism and other subjects, as well as various images, thangkas, ritual bells, etc. These would all be of use to the new Buddhist movement I would now be starting in England, and for the last week or more Terry and I had been packing them into the black steel trunks Lobsang had bought in the bazaar, together with such diaries and notebooks as I thought worth keeping. On top we placed, partly by way of filling, the woodblock prints we had been making and which we continued to make almost until the day of our departure. I had four or five such woodblocks, depicting White Tãrã and other divinities, and it was from these that Terry and I had made our first, rather experimental prints on Tibetan handmade paper and on the brightly coloured cloths we had bought. We had also borrowed Dhardo Rimpoche's woodblocks. The prints would make good presents for our friends in England, we thought. It might also be possible for us to sell them at the Buddhist groups we would be visiting, along with the malas and other religious requisites we had been buying in Varanasi and other places along the way, as well as in Kalimpong itself.

One day I remembered that the local Gelug monastery had a large collection of woodblocks of various kinds, and that for a small fee it was possible to get prints made from them. My connection with the monastery went back to 1951, when in the company of Marco Pallis, the author of Peaks and Lamas, I had called on the aged khenpo or abbot and invited him and his monks to collaborate in the reception I was organizing for the relics of the arhants Sãriputra and Maudgalyãyana, the Buddha's chief disciples, which were then touring India and the Buddhist countries of South-East Asia. That collaboration had been gladly given, and over the years my relations with the monastery had become increasingly cordial. They had been particularly cordial since 1961,when I had organized the first public celebration of Tsongkhapa's death anniversary to be held in Kalimpong. The celebration was a great success, including as it did a grand procession through the town and a public meeting at which the principal speaker was Tijang Rimpoche, the Dalai Lamas Junior Tutor. This resulted in my becoming very much persona grata at the monastery, as well as with the wider Tibetan community, while the Tsongkhapa anniversary became a regular feature of the towns religious calendar.

On my return I was pleased to find that during my absence the anniversary had been celebrated, albeit on a reduced scale, and that this year, too, there was to be a procession and a public meeting in honour of the great Tibetan reformer. The celebration was held two weeks later, enabling Terry to see something of the more popular, colourful side of Tibetan Buddhism. The procession followed the same route as in previous years. Starting from the monastery, which was situated a mile or more from the town, it made its way down the hill to the upper bazaar, circumambulated the Mela Ground, and returned to the monastery by the back road. Terry and I had stationed ourselves at a spot half a mile below the monastery, from which we could see the procession as it passed down the winding, dusty track. First came two eight-foot copper trumpets, each of them blown by one monk and supported on the shoulder of another. After the trumpets came a long line of monks wearing ceremonial robes of rich brocade, some carrying banners of victory, others playing drums, oboes, and conch shells. These were followed by monks wearing the usual maroon robes, lay devotees in traditional dress, and Tibetan schoolchildren. Lastly, borne in a golden palanquin under a huge umbrella of yellow silk, came the famous gold image of Tsongkhapa, which reputedly had the power to speak. An hour and a half later, the procession having arrived back at the monastery, the public meeting was held in the courtyard in front of the main building. The monks chanted verses of blessing and I spoke about Buddhism in England, at the same time announcing that I would shortly be leaving Kalimpong again, this time for good.

Terry had taken many pictures of the procession. On our arrival at the monastery in quest of woodblock prints, therefore, the monks were not surprised to see him with me, and we were both given a warm welcome. It was not long before the woodblocks were brought out, or before four or five monks were busy inking them, placing a sheet of paper or a length of cloth on the inked surface, and pressing it evenly against the woodblock with the aid of a heavy wooden roller. The print was then peeled off and hung up to dry. The monastery's woodblocks were of many shapes and sizes and depicted not only Buddhas and Bodhisattvas but the Wheel of Life, mandalas of various kinds, and magic diagrams, while some also contained mantras and prayers in bold Tibetan script. After a while Terry and I noticed that not all the prints that were being produced were good enough either to give as presents or to sell. Some were smudged, some unevenly inked, and some not properly aligned with the paper or cloth on which they were printed. Terry therefore suggested that he should try his hand at producing a few prints, to which the monks laughingly agreed, obviously thinking that it would be a great joke to see what a mess the inexperienced English man made of the job. To their amazement Terry smilingly produced print after perfect print, so that in the end the laugh was very much on them rather than on him. Thereafter my friend and I paid several more visits to the monastery, each time taking with us a fresh supply of coloured cloth. The result was that thanks to the combined efforts of the monks, as well as to Terry's more skilled exertions, we eventually had over a hundred good prints to take with us back to England.

Terry enjoyed making the prints at the monastery, and enjoyed the company of the monks, with whom he seemed to be quite at home. Indeed, these sessions at the Gelugmonastery were probably the happiest part of his time in Kalimpong, even as our stay in Kalimpong itself was probably for him the happiest part of our whole India tour. Only once during those four or five weeks did he become seriously depressed, despite the fact that his dãkinî had proved to be no less elusive there than elsewhere. Do you think I shall meet my dãkinî today? had been his frequent cry during the early weeks of our tour, but now he was silent on the subject as if realizing that his hope of meeting her was an impossible dream.

A few dozen yards from the main building, half screened by trees, there stood a cottage that seemed to be part of the monastery and yet not part of it. This was the abode of Tomo Geshe Rimpoche, whom Terry and I had already met and who on the day of the Tsongkhapa anniversary had given us lunch. The Rimpoche was short and slightly built, and although then in his late twenties he had the physique of a boy of twelve or fourteen. At the same time, his bearing and manners were those of an old man, while his pale face had a waxen look. A slight smile, as if of amusement, usually hovered about his lips, and when he spoke it was in a low voice but with a quiet authority that commanded instant obedience from servants and disciples alike. Around him there was a certain atmosphere, almost an aura. This was perhaps due not so much to his own mysterious personality as to his having inherited the reputation and prestige of the previous Tomo Geshe Rimpoche, the celebrated yogi about whose wonder-working powers I had written, briefly, in A Survey of Buddhism. I had known Geshe Rimpoche, as he was generally called, since 1961. Imprisoned by the Chinese in the aftermath of the 1959 Lhasa uprising, he had been released thanks to the intervention of the Government of India, and after a short stay in Gangtok had settled in Kalimpong. Soon he was studying English with me at the Vihara, and in this way we had become good friends. Terry took a liking to the Rimpoche, and the Rimpoche seemed to take a liking to him, and we spent many pleasant hours in his company. Besides showing us the inner room where his renowned predecessor had been accustomed to meditate, he allowed Terry to take pictures of his most sacred images, as well as of himself.

Our last week in Kalimpong was a busy one. By the end of it, however, Terry and I had finished packing the last of the black steel trunks, had produced the last of our prints, and had paid farewell visits to Dhardo Rimpoche and Yogi Chen, as well as to Geshe Rimpoche, the Kazi and Kazini, and other friends. I was particularly sorry to be parting from Dhardo Rimpoche, and he, I believe, was sorry to be parting from me. At all events, in the course of the week he came to the Vihara twice, the first time being to attend the farewell tea party I was giving. Geshe Rimpoche, Sherab Nangwa, the Kazini, Uncle Joe, and Mrs King were also present on this occasion, as were several of my Nepalese former students. Quite a pleasant little gathering, my diary records, though Kazini as usual struck a rather jarring note. Dhardo Rimpoche stayed behind after the others had gone, and gave me a thousand small prints of the Three Long-Life Divinities, the Buddha Amitayus, White Tãrã, and the goddess Vijaya. Two days later he came again, bringing more presents: two fox tails for me (a traditional Tibetan gift); and a silk appliqué picture for Terry. The following day, Wednesday 28 December, was the day of our departure. In the morning we went and paid our last visit to Dhardo Rimpoche and I bade him a final farewell. Though I was sorry to leave him, I knew that I could never really be parted from him, anymore than I could be parted from Yogi Chen, or Kachu Rimpoche, or any of my other teachers. Spiritually speaking, they would always be with me, and I with them, and I would always have their protection and blessing.

A few hours later, Terry and I were on our way.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:03 am

Chapter Fifty: The Valediction that Failed

The journey down to Siliguri and the plains was uneventful, as was the flight to Calcutta the following day. On our arrival at the Maha Bodhi Society in the early afternoon Terry and I found Thubden already established there. I had sent him on ahead of us by train, as he was eager to serve me for at least a few more weeks. Veronica was also staying at the Society. She was evidently on the friendliest terms with Venerable Jinaratana, who had installed her in the Welfare Home adjacent to the headquarters building, in a room next to the one he himself sometimes used. After I had talked with her, and she had told me about her unfortunate experience in Kalimpong, the four of us went out together. We walked all the way to Chowringhee, where we had a meal and where Veronica bought two books on witchcraft.

In the morning I awoke feeling unwell, and for a few days did little except work on the January number of the Maha Bodhi Journal, talk with Terry and Veronica, read The Meaning of Evolution, and have lunch in the Sri Dharmarajika Vihara shrine room with the thirty or forty Sinhalese monks who were then staying at the Society before proceeding to Bodh Gaya on pilgrimage. I was not impressed by the monks. My first diary entry regarding them describes them as 'a rabble', while the second comments 'as motley a collection of rogues in yellow robes as I have seen for a long time'. When I felt better, Terry and I started spending part of each day exploring the curio shops, handicrafts emporia, and khadi or 'handloom cloth' stores of Chowringhee, as well as of those of the nearby New Market, in search of such Buddhist requisites as were not easily procurable in England, especially outside London. Before long we had quite a stock of sandalwood malas, bundles of good quality incense sticks, and small images and heads of the Buddha, so that it was necessary to add another black steel trunk to the four we had bought in Kalimpong, which Thubden had lately collected from the Air Carrying Corporation. In some of the curio shops we saw exquisitely beautiful images of various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Tantric divinities, many of them gilded and studded with jewels, and all evidently of Tibetan provenance. Chowringhee being in the heart of the city's tourist district, they were extremely expensive, and we bought only one such image: a four-armed Avalokitesvara which we took the precaution of sending to England by registered insured post. The Nepalese bronze images, on the other hand, were quite affordable, and of these we eventually bought seven or eight. We bought most of them at two curio shops in the New Market, where we spent so much time deciding what to buy and haggling over the prices that we came to be on friendly terms with the proprietors.

One day they showed us their respective storerooms. To our astonishment, both were filled with Tibetan images of every description, some of them several feet high, and many still wearing their brocade robes. They had been brought to India by Tibetan refugees who, being destitute and perhaps starving, had disposed of them for a fraction of their true value. In one of the storerooms we were shown a solid gold disc, about a foot in diameter, which was inlaid with several hundred turquoises of a lustrous sky-blue colour, those in the centre being exceptionally large. It was one of the most beautiful examples of the jeweller's art I had ever seen, and I found it difficult to take my eyes off the glorious creation, which until recently must have lain on the breast of some giant golden figure of Tãrã or Avalokitesšvara, or have hung from one of its ears.

When Terry and I had been less than two weeks in Calcutta, however, we were obliged to curtail our expeditions to Chowringhee and the New Market, at least for the time being. Letters for us had started arriving at the Society in ever-increasing numbers, some of them straight from England, others redirected from Kalimpong, and I had to spend much of my time responding to such as were addressed tome. There were letters from Minh Chau, Viriya, and Francoise, letters from each of the Three Musketeers, and letters from scores of other members of the Sangha Association, particularly from Mike Rogers, Emile Boin, and John Hipkin, who with Mike Ricketts, Sara Boin, and René Rudio were campaigning vigorously for my reinstatement as incumbent of the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. Some of the letters contained copies of the letters Mike Rogers and his colleagues had sent to various people who had somehow been drawn into what was becoming an increasingly complex situation, from the Thai ambassador to a wealthy and eccentric former benefactor of the Sangha Trust. From these letters, some of which were extremely lengthy, I learned something of what had been going on at the Vihara during the last few weeks. My locked cupboards had been broken into and their contents thrown into another room. Viriya had been told that if he wanted to remain at the Vihara he would have to be re-ordained under the auspices of the Thai Sangha. Walshe had been telling people that I had been dismissed for reasons much more serious than those that had been given out, but that they were to 'keep it dark'. Nor was this all. The Vihara had a new incumbent! 'New leader for the Buddhists', ran the heading of an article in The Hampstead and Highgate Express of 30 November 1966, a cutting of which was sent tome. The new leader was a 30-year-old Thai monk who had been three months in England, and of whom English Buddhists, at least, had not heard before.

Many of the letters reaching me at this time contained references to, or accounts of, the events of the Sangha Associations AGM, which Christmas Humphreys had said he would be attending. The fullest account came from John Hipkin, in a 2,500-word letter written on 1 January 1967, the day after the AGM. He began by assuring me that Maurice Walshe, and to a lesser extent Toby Humphreys and Tom Harris, had experienced a crushing defeat. My good name had not only been restored but strengthened, and there had been the strongest possible feeling among an overwhelming number of those present that I should return to England, be reinstated at the Vihara, and continue my work along the lines already started so hopefully and competently. It had fallen to him, he said, to represent my case at the AGM, to cross-examine Walshe and Humphreys, and to formulate the four important motions that had been put to the meeting. He was very happy that he had been able to play the part that he had done and that the outcome had been so entirely satisfactory.

The letter continued with an account of the events of the AGM in their sequential order. The Thai monks having all arrived, and the seniormost monk having led the meeting in two short sessions of meditation, the secretary had read the minutes of the last AGM and Walshe, as Chairman of the Sangha Association, had given his report for 1966. The report was in two parts, he had said, the first outlining general matters and the second discussing in full the reasons for my dismissal. According to other accounts, the first part of the report dealt at some length, and in considerable detail, with the Vihara's activities during the period under review, though without my name being once mentioned in that connection; but John said nothing of this, going on, instead, to give me the gist of the second part of the report. Walshe had begun by saying that the Trusts decision regarding me was a regrettable one but that it was irrevocable (he stressed the irrevocable character of the decision on at least half a dozen occasions, John observed). Whatever my qualities, and they were considerable, I had not comported myself in a manner becoming a Head of the Sangha. I had given a number of people the impression that I was behaving indiscreetly. I slept out at night, young men were seen coming and going from the Vihara, one young man I had admitted as a novice saw fit to leave after only two weeks. Even before I had come to England there had been rumours of my alleged homosexuality. In any event, whether these charges were true or not a distinctly unsavoury atmosphere now surrounded the Vihara and it was better that I stayed away. My conduct since the decision was made was further proof that I was an unsuitable incumbent.

All this was heard in silence, John said. Someone it may have been Humphreys -- moved the adoption of the report. He (John) had opposed the adoption immediately. He had sprung to his feet because he feared that they might all be procedurally steam-rollered. He was familiar with the devices a Chairman could employ to get his way even against the wishes of a meeting. From that moment the initiative had been his, he declared, and he had kept it.

He had then made a speech lasting twenty-five minutes. These were the points he made. First, he could not believe what had happened. That they should be gathered in that very room where they had so often listened to me now to consider my removal, expulsion, and banishment was unthinkable and horrible. The whole affair was ignominious. He urged everyone present to assure themselves of the true nature of the decision. I was a unique figure in the world of Buddhism -- a man of undoubted and distinguished intellectual powers, of supreme efficiency and advanced spiritual awareness. That the Head of the Sangha should be endowed with these triple qualities was their extreme good fortune. They should be clear whom they had rejected: one who was beginning to devise an authentic Western Buddhism with its own distinctive idiom, and one who could bring to this task the most complete understanding of the indigenous context in which Buddhism had arisen and still evolved. That they should have removed such a man without the slightest evidence on the basis of rumour, gossip, and hearsay was shameful folly. Next he had spoken at length about my friendship with Terry. This I must forgive, he said. My personal relationships were of course best understood by me and those with whom I shared them, but Walshe had made great play of the fact that I and Terry had been away together for so long in a caravan. (Wasn't that sweetly picturesque!) He (John) had spoken of the friendship as one he had seen at close quarters. We had both been to his house (but had not actually spent the night under his roof, he had added, to loud and sustained laughter). We were both sensitive and serious young men with a common concern for spiritual matters. Mine, as Head of the Sangha, was a lofty and isolated position. I was surrounded by people who drew upon me for advice, comfort, and support. I too needed replenishment and affection. Did the spiritual man become inhuman? Or more human? Whatever might be said about appearances my friendship was not an exclusive one. He and others had found me accessible at all times and he thought the quality of my concern and compassion had deepened since my friendship with Terry had started. Friendships often have that effect! He had concluded his speech by asking what would be the effects of that abhorrent decision. Schism, dissent, and conflict! But if all that was necessary they would have to endure it. A great injustice had been committed. A man's reputation had been sullied. It was monstrous to suggest, as Walshe had done, that a bhikkhu was immune from the effects of salacious rumour and calumny. There was of course a core of my being that was unassailable but I had to function in the world of men, in a society, and in these circumstances a mans reputation meant a very great deal. They owed it to me to restore that reputation, to remove the blemishes, and to see me fully reinstated at the Vihara where I belonged.

This was a much abbreviated account of what he had said, John wrote, but the tenor must be clear. His speech had been greeted with long and sustained applause, as they said in the People's Republics, though he fancied it was a bit more spontaneous than was often the case in those particular polities!

Humphreys had then been called upon by Walshe to speak, the letter continued. (He had asked Humphreys in the course of his speech, John said, whether he, as a distinguished lawyer, would condemn a man on the sort of flimsy allegation which had been brought against me.) He was grave and serious. I was his friend. He had known me for twenty years. I had great ability, etc., etc. He then read the letter which he had sent me in reply to my request for his comments or advice. I would no doubt have a copy of that letter. His remark that I had to respect the middle-class abhorrence of homosexuality seemed to him of historic significance. Humphreys had largely defended my dismissal on the grounds that middle-class susceptibilities were offended by the appearance of my activities. I was like a parish priest who had to comport himself appropriately. In private and heated discussion with him later, John added, he had again referred to the Buddhist Society as a parish. It was now quite evident, and on the man's own admission, that Humphreys regarded the Buddhist Society not only as a primarily secular institution but as one that must be respectable and that according to the dictates of the English middle classes.

The remainder of Johns long and circumstantial letter was occupied with the results of the various motions put to the meeting, and with the question of what should be done next. At the end of the briefest discussion the motion that the Chairman's report be rejected had been passed and carried by 28 votes to 8 (or thereabouts), Walshe having ruled 45 to 50 proxy votes out of order. A motion rejecting the second part of the Chairman's report on the grounds that the charges against me had not been substantiated had been passed by a similar majority, as had a further motion requesting the Sangha Trust in the strongest terms to reverse its decision to dismiss me. What John described as the coup de grâce had occurred at the end of the AGM. After further protestations of friendship, Toby had proposed sending me a motion expressing the Associations deep gratitude for the work I had done in the past on behalf of the Buddhist movement in England. To John this had sounded too much like a valediction, and he had proposed that the motion should go on to say that they looked forward to my return in the future to carry on the work I had begun. Toby had objected, shouting, No! That only brings back the hate. Not to me it doesn't, John had retorted, whereupon his proposal was carried overwhelmingly. The meeting had then broken up. Groups had stood on the pavement outside the Vihara for several minutes discussing what had happened. Many of those present had expressed themselves pleased with the course of events at the AGM. Viriya had been particularly heartened.

I replied to Johns letter immediately. Much of my letter was taken up with the question of what should be done next. In general, I agreed with his suggestion that an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Sangha Association should be called before my return, that it should consider the whole question of the relationship between the Association and the Trust, and that if my complete reinstatement was prevented the Sangha Association should sever its links with the Trust. Action should also be taken in other ways, five of which I proceeded to tabulate. One of them was that a letter should be sent out over Mikes signature, informing members of our victory at the AGM, and giving the full text of the resolutions passed in my support. Another was that steps should be taken to ensure that a garbled version of the AGM proceedings was not published in The Buddhist. The opening paragraph of my reply struck a more personal note, however. After thanking John for his letter, written when the details of the AGM were still fresh in his mind, I wrote:

My only real fear, that our case would go by default for want of a good spokesman, has been shown to be baseless. Clearly it was your sincerity, courage, and above all sheer ability, that carried the day, thus demonstrating once again how much even one committed individual, functioning under democratic conditions, can achieve, especially when he is backed up, as you were, by a strong body of staunch adherents. Emile writes that your oratory was brilliant and memorable and will not soon be forgotten by those present. It must have given you intense satisfaction, amounting to a sense of real fulfilment, to have been able to function, in a situation of this kind, in a manner that was so entirely adequate even by your own exacting standards of performance. Warmest congratulations from us both!


Towards the end of my letter I adverted to the subject of Toby, and the part he had played in the proceedings of the AGM.

As for Toby, he has burnt his fingers badly, having been publicly defeated, perhaps for the first time in forty-odd years, on a major policy issue. Perhaps we should give him time to lick his wounds and think things over. In any case, I shall be writing to him again. There is much good in him, and given time he may come to see the absurdity of an exponent of Zen Buddhism burning incense at the shrine of the British Middle-Class Mind and murmuring Mrs Grundy Saranam Gacchami. If he did, it would not be the first time he had performed a complete volte-face when confronted by serious opposition. Only he must be allowed to do so as though on his own initiative, and with complete consistency. In any case, however, he emerges from the AGM with diminished stature. What you did should really have been done by him. Instead, he had to taste the bitterness not only of having to make common cause with Walshe, in itself bad enough, but of being defeated with him too.


I concluded by striking a note of optimism regarding the future.

In the midst of all these negations, however, let us not lose sight of the positive side of things. As a result of what has happened, English Buddhism may well thrive as never before. Let us act vigorously, but without personal enmity, confident that in the long run truth and justice will triumph.


Though John spoke of Walshe and Humphreys as having experienced a crushing defeat, I knew as well as they did that the Trust was in a strong position, in as much as it was legally entitled to say who should or should not stay at the Hampstead Vihara. At the same time, I appreciated the efforts he and his friends were making to have me reinstated, and was willing that they should continue with those efforts, if only to expose the intransigence of Walshe and his fellow trustees, and to make it clear to everyone that if I were to return to England at all, it could only be in order to start a new Buddhist movement. One of the most remarkable features of the situation was the fact that apart from John Hipkin, and perhaps Mike Rogers, none of those who had been at the forefront of the campaign for my reinstatement had had much personal contact with me. They had been content simply to attend my Sunday lectures and my meditation classes, and to absorb what they could of the Dharma. Yet it was they that had circularized the members of the Sangha Association, alerting them to the Trusts intentions regarding me, who had rallied my supporters, and who had done their best to restore my good name, and I was greatly indebted to them for their loyalty and resourcefulness. Mike Hookham and Alf Vial, on the other hand, who together with Jack Ireland had had more personal contact with me than almost anyone else, had shown no such loyalty, despite the fact that I had explained to them the four mûla or foundation yogas of the Vajrayãna, taken them through certain forms of deity yoga, and given them the Bodhisattva ordination. True, they had resigned from the Trust when the motion for my dismissal was carried by a majority of 3 to 2 against them, but now Mike wrote to say that they had become disciples of Trungpa Rimpoche, at the same time making it clear that even if I returned to England they wanted nothing more to do with me. Indeed, Mike urged me in the strongest terms not to return. If I returned, the present gossip of my critics would become more intense, and some of the mud would stick. All the societies and viharas would close their doors to me, literally refusing me admittance, let alone allowing me to speak or conduct meetings on their premises. No magazines would accept my articles, and I would have no facilities for talks or meditations, except in so far as I might be able to make private arrangements with individuals, which would be chancy, or hire a public hall, which would be expensive. There would also be the problem of advertising my activities, also a costly business since none of the societies would put them on their noticeboards. He also claimed that I would have little support from the provincial groups. They were mainly Theravãdin in outlook and would easily be swayed by the pressures that would be brought to bear upon them. Mike did not know that many of the scores of letters of sympathy and support I had received were from members of these same provincial groups. They may or may not have been Theravãdin in outlook, but they had a British sense of justice and had been appalled by the Trust's treatment of me.

Despite Mike's letter, which could hardly have been more discouraging, what kind of reception I would meet with on my return to England remained to be seen. Meanwhile Terry and I were in Calcutta, and were to be there for two or three more weeks. Once the flood of letters had abated, and I had finished replying to the more important of them, we were free to resume our expeditions to Chowringhee and the New Market, and before long Thubden had to be sent out for more black steel trunks. In the end we had altogether ten such trunks, the increase in their number being due not so much to the bulk of our new purchases as to our having had to redistribute my Kalimpong books and thangkas and pack them more securely for their long journey. All this took time, as did the typing in triplicate of a detailed list of the entire contents of each trunk, one copy for placing in the trunk itself, one for handing over to the shipping agent, and one for retention by me. But at last the work was done, and we had the satisfaction of seeing the shipping agents van come and take all the trunks away. When I was not exploring the curio shops with Terry or repacking my trunks, I worked on the January and February numbers of the Maha Bodhi Journal, talked with Jinaratana, and took part in some of the functions organized by the Society. Thus I attended the reception given for a party of Japanese Buddhists, made a speech at the Welfare Home on Netaji Day, and spoke a few words at the Ceylon Independence Day celebrations in the Society's hall, besides meeting two Buddhist scholars from an East German university, and spending time with one B.R. Barua, an elderly Bengali Buddhist who had known both Anagarika Dharmapala and Dr Ambedkar. I also went to see Devapriya Valisinha, who was now back in hospital, having been obliged to return there shortly after our last meeting. Though he was able to move his arms more freely, his eyes had the same tragic haunted look as before, and I felt sorrier for him than ever.

I had a much happier meeting with Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, one of my teachers, who had not been in Kalimpong while Terry and I were there. He was staying at the Dharmankur Vihara, the headquarters of the Bengal Buddhist Association, and I went to see him after breakfast one morning, taking with me Terry and Thubden, as well as Sherab Nangwa, who was passing through on his way to Bodh Gaya. Like Kachu Rimpoche, Dilgo Khyentse was a follower of the Nyingma school, and like Jamyang Khyentse he was a tulku of the great nineteenth-century lama of that name (a lama could reincarnate in more than one body at a time). He had arrived in Kalimpong as a refugee in 1959, together with his wife and his two grown-up daughters, and I had got to know him shortly afterwards when he was living in a cottage in the grounds of a Bhutanese monastery. I invariably found him sitting cross-legged on a bed in the tiny front room, a bulky Tibetan xylograph volume on his lap. Looking up from his book, he would welcome me with a smile of great sweetness, his wife would bring tea, and soon we would be deep in discussion, Sherab Nangwa usually translating. In the course of these meetings I learned much, and in 1963 he introduced me to the sadhanas of Jambhala and Kurukullã, besides giving me important teachings regarding the transference of ones consciousness from the mundane world to the transcendental realm of Amitãbha, the Buddha of Infinite Light. In 1964 I went to see him on the eve of my return to England (he was then staying in Darjeeling) and asked for his blessing. This he readily gave, and his wife, who had grown quite fond of me, presented me with a bone-handled Tibetan knife in a filigreed copper sheath. On my unexpected arrival at the Dharmankur Vihara, he welcomed me and my three companions with his usual easy dignity, and for the first time in our tour Terry had the experience of meeting someone who towered over him as much as he himself towered over others. I told my teacher about my work in England, and about the difficulties that I would have to face on my return, and once more he gave me his blessings. The difficulties were of little importance, he assured me with a smile, and would soon pass away.

The day after my meeting with Dilgo Khyentse I received a visit from Dorothy Carpenter, whom I had met in Dalhousie three months earlier. She was accompanied by a young Gelug monk named Saltim Tendzin, and I arranged for them to be lodged near Terry and me. They had just spent a week in Kalimpong, staying at the Triyana Vardhana Vihara, and they came with a proposal, namely, that four or five monks from the Lower Tantric College should be installed at the Vihara, there to be looked after by Lobsang and Thubden while they pursued their studies and meditations. In the course of the next few days we had several lengthy discussions, and in the end I agreed to accept the proposal and wrote a formal letter of invitation for Dorothy to take back to Dalhousie for delivery to the College authorities. I was pleased by the turn events had taken. I could now leave Calcutta and India with an easy conscience, knowing that my peaceful hillside hermitage would be in good hands and that some, at least, of the purposes for which it had been established would be fulfilled.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:39 am

Chapter Fifty-One: Agra -- Almora -- Cairo

the new delhi branch of the Maha Bodhi Society was located at the Buddha Vihara, the Buddhist annexe to the very much larger Laksminarayan temple, a grandiose structure which, though dedicated to the second member of the Hindu trinity and his consort, also had room for a host of lesser divinities. Both places of worship had been built by a Hindu multimillionaire philanthropist, and the difference of size no doubt reflected the relative importance of the two faiths in the eyes of a good Hindu. The Buddha Vihara occupied a special place in my personal history. I had first seen it in 1944, shortly after my arrival in India, and its modest shrine was the first Buddhist temple I had been inside. Next door there was a no less modest bungalow, on the lawn in front of which yellow robes were spread out to dry on that first occasion; but the door was locked and there was no sign of any monk. In later years, when I was myself a monk, I had stayed there more than once, and had got to know the resident bhikkhu, Venerable Ariyawamsa. It was he who now welcomed Terry and me on our arrival from the airport and who, after giving us tea, arranged for us to be accommodated in the library.

There was much to see in New Delhi, but though my friend and I visited several handicrafts emporia and made a few purchases, our principal concern during our first two days in the city was to arrange for the dispatch of our unaccompanied luggage and to make enquiries about buses to Almora and trains to Agra. Almora was where my friends Lama Govinda and Li Gotami lived, while Agra was the city of Shah Jahan and the Taj Mahal. Owing to the possibility of strikes, there was no certainty about buses to Almora. We therefore decided to go to Agra first, and accordingly caught the fast Delhi-Agra tourist train early the following morning.

I had visited Agra -- and seen the Taj Mahal -- once before, in the course of my 1956 Buddha Jayanti pilgrimage with Dhardo Rimpoche. On that occasion I had been afraid that the beauty of the famous monument might be spoiled for me by all the photographs and paintings I had seen of it, not to mention the plastic models that were on sale everywhere; but in the event my fears had proved to be groundless. This time, therefore, there was no question of my being disappointed, and I looked forward to seeing the Taj Mahal again as much as Terry did to seeing it for the first time. On reaching Agra station, however, we did not go straight to the Taj Mahal. Instead, we decided to catch the coach to Fatehpur Sikri, twenty-five miles away, and afterwards to see the Agra Fort, keeping the Taj Mahal for the conclusion -- and culmination -- of the days sightseeing. The guidebook described Fatehpur Sikri as a ghost city, but it was a ghost city only in the sense that it had no inhabitants. There were many buildings of red sandstone which, in the brilliant sunlight, beneath a sky of cloudless blue, gave it a far from ghostly look. The city had been built by the emperor Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal rulers of India, in the latter half of the sixteenth century. Originally it was to have been joint capital with Agra, but the water supply soon dried up, the inhabitants left, and for more than 400 years Fatehpur Sikri had lain deserted. Starting from the Shahi Darwaza, or Martyrs Gate, Terry and I spent a couple of hours wandering from courtyard to spacious courtyard, and from palace to palace, admiring the red sandstone pillars and arches, and the white marble lattices, all intricately carved. Eventually we came to the Gate of Victory and the great Jamma Masjid, or Friday Mosque, within which was the white marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, the Sufi saint who had predicted the birth of Akbar's three sons.

Much of the Agra Fort was out of bounds to the public, the place being a military headquarters of some kind, but we were nonetheless able to see the greater part of Shah Jahan's palace, with its halls of public and private audience, its baths, its little marble Gem Mosque, built for the ladies of the zenana, and the pavilions that clustered round the high terrace overlooking the River Jamna. We also saw the famous tower from the top of which Shah Jahan, shortly before his death, had taken his last look at the monument he had erected for his beloved wife and where he himself was to be laid to rest. After seeing the fort, we visited the beautiful tomb of Mirza Ghiyath Beg, and from there made our way to the Taj Mahal.

The entrance to the gardens in which the monument was situated lay through a massive arched gateway of red sandstone. Once inside, Terry and I saw a long avenue of dark cypresses, down the centre of which ran a waterway. At the far end of the avenue, flanked by its minarets, the world famous building showed dazzlingly white against the blue sky. From where we were standing, it looked quite small, but from previous experience I knew this to be no more than the effect of distance, and indeed, as we walked towards the platform on which it stood the rectangular frontage and surmounting dome rose ever bigger and grander before us. After climbing the steps leading to the platform and entering the deeply recessed archway in the front of the monument, we found ourselves in the high octagonal chamber containing the richly decorated cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. The empty tombs lay side by side in the centre of the chamber, surrounded by a delicately carved marble screen. The actual tombs, simple and unadorned, were in the crypt immediately below, a smaller, much darker place which we also visited. On regaining the platform and the bright afternoon sunshine, we walked round the outside of the building admiring the fine relief carving, then descended into the Mughal-style gardens where, as we wandered about, Terry took a number of photographs. Later, when they were developed and printed, we agreed that no photograph could possibly do justice to Shah Jahan's masterpiece. The beauty of the Taj Mahal, like the beauty of Helen of Troy in Homer, could not be described but only inferred from the effect it had on the beholder.

Two days after our visit to Agra, we left for Almora, in the meantime having bought pottery and basketware and the cheese Lama Govinda wanted. We travelled the whole way by bus. The journey up into the Kumoan foothills took exactly twelve hours, with one change, and it was not until eight o'clock that night that we arrived in Almora. With a coolie carrying our bags, we started climbing the hill behind the town to Haimavati, the bungalow where the Govindas had made arrangements for us to stay. We reached it at ten o'clock, having passed the place in the dark and been obliged to retrace our steps. In the morning, after the caretaker had given us breakfast and I had inspected the contents of the bookshelves, we made our way up the rough track to the Kasar Devi Ashram, three miles away. The isolated stone cottage was situated at the end of a ridge, and commanded a fine view of the snow peaks of the western Himalayas. My two friends had lived at the ashram for the last ten years or more, and I had visited them there on two separate occasions. On our arrival they welcomed us and the cheese with open arms, and I soon perceived that Lama Govinda's kindly, unassuming manner and Li Gotami's more expressive friendliness had made Terry feel quite at home with them.

We spent five days in Almora, not including the days of our arrival and departure. On the third day we went down into the town for a few hours, principally in order to check the departure time of the Delhi bus and to visit the post office. The remaining four days were all spent at the Kashar Devi Ashramwith Lama and Li, as the couple were affectionately known to their friends. Each morning we arrived at the cottage at about eleven o'clock, having breakfasted at Haimavati and read for a while, and stayed until the late afternoon or evening. As yesterday, spent the day in discussion, with refreshments in between, reads one entry in my diary. Another entry reads, Li showed her photographs. This took more than two hours. Discussed my future literary work and other matters. Li's photographs were those she had taken in the course of the Tsaparang Expedition, the eventful journey she and Lama had made in 1948-9 to the ruined temples of Tsaparang, the former capital of Western Tibet, a journey vividly described in Lamas book The Way of the White Clouds, then recently published. The discussion of my literary work was probably concerned more with the future than with the past. Lama had more than once strongly advised me to spend less time giving lectures and more writing books, and on this occasion he no doubt repeated the advice. Littera Scripta Manet. The written word remains. As for the 'other matters' discussed, I must have included my difficulties with the English Sangha Trust and my plans for a new Buddhist movement in England, and I must have received a sympathetic hearing.On the last day that we spent with them, our kind hosts performed for us the puja of the Arya Maitreya Mandala, the Vajrayãna order Lama had founded some years earlier, which had members in West Germany and Hungary and (I think) the United States. Besides making the customary offerings, they chanted the Refuges and Precepts and recited Pali devotional verses with which I was already familiar. Thus Terry and I left them with the words of the sacred texts -- and their own warm good wishes ringing in our ears.

Our last days in Delhi -- and India -- were spent visiting the national museum, where there was little of Buddhist interest to be seen, and the Ladakhi Vihara, which was quite dirty, as well as in writing a large number of letters. Among the dozen or so written by me, there were letters to the Kazi and Kazini, and to Lobsang and Thubden, informing them of the arrangements I had made regarding the future of the Triyana Vardhana Vihara. On Sunday 19 February, shortly after nine o'clock in the evening, we left for Cairo.

In Cairo we stayed with Apa Saheb Pant, who was now India's ambassador to Egypt. Since I was feverish, and Terry more depressed than he had been for a long time, we did not do much sightseeing. However, we did visit the Egyptian Museum, where we saw the gold mummy mask and other treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun; and we did drive to Giza in order to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. I had imagined these latter to be situated out in the desert, miles from anywhere, but Giza was now part of Cairo and as we drove through the suburb the Great Pyramid rose from behind the houses at the end of the street. Apart from a meal at the home of the Minister to the Embassy, these were our only outings. While Terry closeted himself in our room, I passed the time either talking with Apa Saheb and his wife Nalini, or reading about the civilization of Ancient Egypt, or simply sitting in the garden. On Wednesday 22 February, at 7.30 in the evening, I gave a lecture at the Nile Hall. With Apa Saheb in the Chair, I spoke on Characteristics of Indian Spiritual Thought. The audience was not a large one, as President Nasser happened to be making an important speech that evening at exactly the same time.

By midday on Friday 24 February Terry and I were back in London.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:40 am

Chapter Fifty-Two: What the Dispute Was About

My diary entry for Friday 24 February, 1967, reads in part as follows:

Reached London 11.30 local time. Delayed going through customs, as one piece of baggage had been mislaid. Eventually found it. Then spent an hour collecting unaccompanied baggage. Did not leave airport till 1.30. Airline bus to Knightsbridge, then taxi to Centre House. Kathy and Marvin out, but shown our room by young Christopher. Half an hour later Kathy and Marvin came. Overjoyed to see us.


Centre House was home to a New Age group known simply as Centre. Terry and I had first become aware of the groups existence in Kalimpong, Dhardo Rimpoche having received a copy of its publicity brochure through the post. Though the groups nebulous ideology did not appeal to us, we found the brochure interesting. Not only did Centre House have a resident community; it also had rooms to let, and it was as a result of this circumstance that my friend and I now found ourselves taking a taxi to the large Victorian building at the top of Campden Hill Road and being shown our room there. Young Christopher, as my diary calls him, was the teen-aged son of Christopher Hills, the founder of Centre and director of Centre House. Kathy and Marvin were a married couple who had attended my lectures at the Hampstead Vihara and the Buddhist Society. They planned to start a community of their own in Cornwall, but were spending a few days at Centre House before their departure in order to help us settle in.

The day after our return was a busy one for both Terry and me, as were the days that followed. In the morning we discussed future plans with Kathy and Marvin, in the afternoon we met Christopher Hills and other members of the Centre House community, and in the evening we had dinner with Emile and Sara Boin and the rest of my more active supporters at the Boins tiny flat near the British Museum. Mike Ricketts and his wife Anne were already there when we arrived, as were René Rudio and John Hipkin, and Terry and I received a very warm welcome. Mike Rogers came later. The last time I had seen any of them was at the reception the Sangha Association had given on the eve of my departure for India with Terry, five months earlier. We now met in very different circumstances. The relationship between us, too, had changed dramatically. Emile and the rest -- Anne alone excepted -- had been at the forefront of the campaign for my reinstatement, and a strong bond now existed between us. Though united by their devotion to the Dharma, their loyalty to me, and their determination that justice should be done, the six campaigners were of very different backgrounds. Emile, the cheerful proprietor of Sakura, the Japanese shop in Monmouth Street, was by trade a restorer of Japanese lacquer, while Sara did translation work at home. René I remember only as a friend of Emiles, Mike Ricketts was an illustrator of books for children, John an up-and-coming young educationalist, and Mike Rogers a company secretary. In the course of the evening Terry and I learned a lot about what had been going on at the Hampstead Vihara, within the Buddhist Society, and among the provincial Buddhist groups while we were away. Evidently there had been quite an upheaval in the little world of British Buddhism once the contents of Goulstone's letter to me -- and Walshe's underhand tactics -- became generally known. In fact there had been something resembling a storm, even if it was a storm in what after all was a rather small teacup -- a storm that had not yet abated and the reverberations of which would be heard for a long time. Before Terry and I left it was agreed that the following afternoon we should drive down to Crowborough in Sussex with Mike Rogers in order to meet Mr Newlin, the Sangha Trust's former benefactor, whom I had once met in Bombay, many years ago, and whom I remembered as a small, excitable man who was anxious to give money to Tibetan refugee monks. It was also agreed that we should have lunch with John in Cambridge, where he was now living, in two days time.

The drive to Crowborough, deep in the stockbroker belt, was a pleasant one for the time of year. On the way Mike told us what he knew about H.J. Newlin. An inventor and businessman who had made his money in the City, he was now more or less retired, lived alone with his dogs and his library, and occupied himself forming and dissolving companies, moving his capital around, and carrying on a running battle with the Inland Revenue, a battle that involved an enormous amount of correspondence and which he seemed thoroughly to enjoy. He was interested in Buddhism, as his benefactions to the Sangha Trust showed; but he was also interested in Hinduism, and had developed idiosyncratic views regarding both faiths. Indeed he took himself very seriously as a thinker, and believed he had succeeded in reconciling the conflicting claims of science, philosophy, and religion. So much was this the case, Mike said, that he was trying to persuade an Oxford college to let him endow a chair for the propagation of his ideas, one of the conditions of the endowment being that the college should erect a life-sized statue of him, on the pedestal of which would be inscribed the words 'Henry John Newlin: Scientist, Philosopher, Theologian.' It was therefore not surprising that his residence, which we had difficulty finding, should be called Little Potala, or that in the course of our visit he should have treated Mike, Terry, and me to a rambling, not very coherent account of the nature and significance of his ideas. We were able, nonetheless, to discuss with him what further action should be taken with regard to the Sangha Trust. As I knew, he had already written to the trustees protesting strongly against my dismissal, and at Mike's suggestion he now agreed to write to them demanding to see their accounts. He also promised to write to the Board of Trade about the state of the Trusts finances and its failure, for many years, to submit returns to the Charity Commissioners. On the whole it was a satisfactory visit. Newlin seemed pleased that we had taken the trouble to come and see him, and despite my having been unable to agree that there was no difference between Buddhism and Vedanta, a trust he controlled subsequently made me a small allowance.

In Cambridge we had lunch with John Hipkin, as previously arranged, but not with him alone. Also present at the meal was Carmen Blacker, the University's lecturer in Japanese, who in the spring of 1965 had helped overcome the opposition on the part of the followers of Ananda Bodhi to my being invited to address the Cambridge University Buddhist Society. Though the four of us naturally discussed the way the Sangha Trust had behaved towards me ('Carmen intelligently sympathetic', my diary records), Terry and I did not spend our time in Cambridge dwelling on the subject. After lunch John took us to his new home, where we met Bronwyn and where Lodro Thaye, a red-robed English disciple of Trungpas, came to see me. Later we went to hear F.R. Leavis speak on T.S. Eliot. The famous critics delivery was poor, and the lecture itself did not live up to his great reputation. The audience listened with rapt attention nonetheless, and I had the impression that for many of them it was enough simply to be sitting at the feet of the master. In the evening, after dinner at Johns place, we made our way to the Guildhall, where we saw the Oxford versus Cambridge judo and karate competitions, which proved to be quite interesting. During the interval I spoke with Jack Austin, who was also now living in Cambridge, and who, as usual, was busy representing Buddhism on the committees of a variety of interfaith bodies.

The remainder of the week our first week back in England was no less fully occupied, and passed quickly. Besides spending time with Kathy and Marvin, telephoning some of my closest supporters, and (on my part) reading Neumann's The Origins and History of Consciousness, Terry and I had a number of visitors. Prominent among the visitors were Alan -- Terry's friend and former colleague Francoise, and Thich Thien Chau, all of whom were very glad to see us. Tender-hearted Thien Chau indeed was quite overcome with emotion. We also saw Vivien in her office and visited Emile at Sakura, going our separate ways only when Terry called on his old landlady, Mrs Hartmann, and when I went to see Gerald Yorke at his Mayfair flat. As I climbed the stairs leading to the flat, there took place an amusing -- and revealing -- incident. Having let me in via the intercom, Gerald was leaning over the banisters and looking down into the stairwell. The instant he saw me he ran back into the flat calling out, 'Angela, Angela, he's here! He's all right!' It was as though he had expected to see me with my arm in a sling and a bloodstained bandage round my head. After assuring himself that I was indeed all right, and that far from being affected by the attacks of the Sangha Trust, I was in good spirits, he told me he had news for me. Rider and Co. had accepted one of Alan's designs for the dust jacket of The Three Jewels, and the book would be out within the next few months. There followed three hours of discussion about literary matters and about Hampstead Vihara affairs, towards the end of which we were joined by Angela. As I knew, Gerald had been one of the first to protest against my dismissal as incumbent of the Vihara (he had also taken Toby to task for having compared my conduct to that of a drunken clergyman), and while still hoping that the Sangha Trust could be persuaded to reinstate me, he was confident that inasmuch as there was a lot of goodwill towards me, among both Buddhists and friends of Buddhism, I would have little difficulty functioning independently, outside the framework of the existing Buddhist organizations.

That there indeed was a lot of goodwill towards me was demonstrated when, a few days later, I attended and spoke at the inauguration of Hannyakai, a new Zen group with which I had been in correspondence while still in India. The inauguration took place at the Alliance Hall, Westminster, in the presence of more than a hundred people, many of whom had come specially to hear me speak, and with Jack Austin in his Soto Zen robe -- occupying the chair. Besides the Marquess of Queensberry's appeal for funds and my own address the lengthy programme included a demonstration of ikebana the Japanese art of flower arrangement -- and demonstrations of judo and kendo. Afterwards many people came and spoke tome. Not all of them were known to me, but they all seemed very glad that I was back.

By this time I had composed a circular letter to all members and friends of the Sangha Association, and this had been sent out together with a covering letter of their own by Mike Rogers and his five fellow campaigners for my reinstatement. The letter was concerned mainly with the events of the last two and a half years, particularly those of the last few months, and it opened with a brief explanation of why I had written it.

As it is impossible for me to reply individually to all the friends and well-wishers who have written welcoming me back to England and pledging their support for my work, and as a word from me seems called for at the present juncture, I have decided to write to you all collectively. At the same time, in view of the bond that lectures, classes, and personal interviews have established between us, I feel that I am addressing each one of you personally.

As most of you know, I went to India in 1944, subsequently spending there two years as an Anagarika (homeless wanderer), one year as a Sramanera (novice monk), and fourteen years as a Bhikshu (fully ordained monk). In 1957 I founded the Triyana Vardhana Vihara, Kalimpong, as the centre of my activities, which by this time extended over the greater part of India. I had no thought of ever returning to the West. It was my intention to live and die in the East. In 1963, however, Maurice Walshe, as Chairman of the English Sangha Trust, urgently requested me to come to England and take charge of the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. The invitation was strongly supported by Christmas Humphreys and other friends. After consulting my various gurus and spiritual teachers, and receiving their blessings on my mission, I accepted the invitation. In so doing, I made two conditions: that I would come for an initial period of six months, and that my mornings would be kept free for my own literary work.


After my arrival in August 1964 I received something like a shock. The Buddhist movement in England was far smaller and more insignificant than I had been led to believe, and both intellectually and spiritually quite mediocre. Too many of the wrong sort of people seemed to be in it for the wrong reasons. The Sangha Association and the Buddhist Society were at each others throats, and the most alarming rumours were, I found, circulating about almost everybody of prominence. Moreover, wrong methods of meditation had seriously disturbed the mental balance of more than a dozen people. Organizationally, there was chaos. As for the psychic atmosphere, it was bad, and at the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara worse than anything I had previously encountered.

Nevertheless -- indeed, all the more determinedly -- I set to work. Organizational reforms were made, regular lectures given and classes held. Despite extremists, the various segments of the English Buddhist movement started becoming integrated into a recognizable whole, and gradually a more cheerful, friendly, and spiritually purposive atmosphere prevailed. All this is of course known to you. Indeed, it is the point at which many of you entered the Buddhist movement. Hence I need not elaborate. Six months went by, a year, two years. Whenever I spoke of returning to India there was a chorus of protest. Indeed, having realized the vast potential interest as yet untapped, I myself eventually decided that, as the seniormost and most experienced member of the English Sangha, my true place was in this country. When, therefore, I left for India in September last year, it was only for a short visit. At the request of the Trust, and the repeated insistence of Christmas Humphreys and other friends, I made it clear that I would be returning to England early in the New Year. A statement to this effect appeared in the October issue of The Buddhist.

The five months which I spent in India were extremely busy ones. Apart from touring among the ex-Untouchables, I had a long talk with the Dalai Lama, visited Sarnath, Buddha Gaya and other sacred places, worked with the Maha Bodhi Society of India in Calcutta and, finally, went up to Kalimpong to renew contact with friends and teachers and see what was happening at the Triyana Vardhana Vihara.

It was then that I received from George Goulstone, Administrator of the English Sangha Trust, a letter informing me of my dismissal from the Incumbency of the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. Apart from a vague reference to unbecoming behaviour no reason for this totally unexpected action was given. Friends have understandably reported me as shocked and distressed. It would be truer to say that I was surprised and concerned surprised at the depth of human perfidy and concerned for the religious life of the Vihara, which the three trustees who (I subsequently learned) had voted for my dismissal had so cynically and violently disrupted. Messrs Walshe, Goulstone, and Marcus had, apparently, hoped that the fact of my dismissal could be covered up with a bland announcement that I had decided to remain in India. But this was not to be. To me it was clear that my work in England must continue, and that I could not disappoint those who had placed their trust in me and whom I had promised I would return. My teachers, whom I consulted, were quite unimpressed by the 'difficulties' which had arisen, and calmly said 'Return. You can work much better independently.' Moreover, as news of my dismissal leaked out a movement of massive discontent with the Trust's action and attitude began to make itself felt. Many of you wrote letters of protest. Frightened by the storm it had raised, the Trust dug its heels in and insisted that its action had the support and approval of all sections of the Sangha -- a statement now known to be completely false. Even when the Buddhist Sangha Association, in a series of resolutions passed at its AGM, demanded my reinstatement, the Trust remained obdurate.

Despite the upheavals of the last few months, I remain optimistic about the future of Buddhism -- properly understood -- in this country. My determination to continue my work here is unshaken. The question of my Incumbency at the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara is, of course, one of the matters under dispute at the present time. But even if I do not return to Hampstead the position I occupy in the Buddhist movement in this country is quite independent of my place of residence. The Trust has constantly referred to 'the Buddhist authorities'. Who or what this expression refers to I do not know. However, I should like to make it clear that if there is any such thing as an authority in the English Buddhist movement it can only be the seniormost English-born member of the Sangha.

Whether my work in England continues to take the form it did before or whether a new departure will be necessary will be determined by the events of the next few weeks, perhaps days. You will be kept informed. But whatever the form of the work may be, the spirit remains unchanged: to make known the Buddha's Path to Enlightenment and to co-operate, in love and understanding, with all who truly seek the same goal.

With Metta and blessings,
Yours in the Dharma,
Sangharakshita
(Sthavira)[/quote]

The question of whether my work in England was to continue along the previous lines, or whether a new departure would be necessary, was indeed determined by the events of the next few days. It was determined in effect by what happened -- or rather did not happen -- at the Emergency General Meeting of the Sangha Association which was held on 11 March at the Hampstead Vihara and which I did not attend, and could not have attended even if I had wanted to, as while I was still in India Goulstone had written to me prohibiting my setting foot in any of the Sangha Trust's properties. The covering letter which had gone out with my own circular letter, and which was addressed to all members of the Association, was on the subject of this meeting. It was a deeply serious letter. I had returned to a sorry, even tragic state of affairs. There had been disputes in the English Buddhist movement before, but seldom had it been rent by dissension as sharp as that which now divided it. It was not a disagreement about the length of a mans hair or what he ate after midday. Basically the dispute concerned the right of a bhikkhu to be free of the burden of other men's projections and to lead a life authentically attuned to the different and complex conditions of Western life and thought. It further concerned the question of ownership: should English Buddhism belong to an esoteric coterie who viewed with suspicion the wider social and philosophic context in which we lived and thought or should it be free to take hold of men and women and radically change the course of their lives? Was Buddhism in the West to continue as a fringe cult with its parish priest and compliant parishioners or should it become the singular and developing centre of ordinary peoples lives? That was what the dispute was about. There were times when to choose was imperative, the letter continued, and when the failure to choose became the cardinal existential sin against our humanity. In the face of injustice, arbitrariness, and victimization were we to resist or to succumb, to act or to acquiesce? That too was what was at stake. It was therefore most important that all those anxious to see justice done should attend the further General Meeting of the Sangha Association on 11 March. The Agenda would comprise three important matters:

1. A Report of the Trusts response to the express wish of the Association that they reverse their decision dismissing the Ven. Sthavira Sangharakshita.

2. To consider the next stage in the Sthavira's restitution.

3. To consider the relationship between the Association and the Trust.


The letter concluded by declaring that the Sthaviras friends were anxious that the discussion should not degenerate. They would strive to remain mindful and free of anger. They had an interest in seeing that there was the fullest consideration of the facts in an atmosphere of calm objectivity. The signatories were convinced that any open-minded observer would come to be persuaded of the gross injustice that had been committed and of the imperative need to learn the lessons of that sad and regrettable episode.

Members who were anxious to see justice done did attend the EGM, just as they had attended the AGM, but on this occasion, too, justice was not done. Though Walshe was voted from the chair (he resigned as Chairman of the Sangha Association soon afterwards), he repeated all the old allegations regarding my personal conduct, adding a few more, and insisted that there was no question of the English Sangha Trust reversing its decision to dismiss me. The offensive and belligerent tone of his remarks was hardly conducive to the atmosphere of calm objectivity for which my supporters had hoped, and after an inconclusive and at times acrimonious discussion the meeting broke up. The future course of my work in England had been determined.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:05 am

Chapter Fifty-Three: A Basement in Monmouth Street

Monmouth street was situated in the heart of London's West End, midway between Charing Cross Road on the one hand and Drury Lane and Covent Garden on the other. It was a narrow street of small, seedy shops, a café or two, and a hotel; Sakura, the Japanese shop, was located halfway down on the right as one looked towards Trafalgar Square. Previous to my departure for India I had visited the place only once (this was in the summer of 1965 when I discovered that its proprietor had been attending my lectures at the Hampstead Vihara), but after my return I was often there, sometimes with Terry, and the little shop was the scene of many a discussion between me and cheerful, loyal, Emile. The most important of these discussions, perhaps, was the one that took place two days after the EGM, when we discussed the formation of a meditation group. But where would the group meet? A new Buddhist movement might indeed be needed in England, but such a movement was as yet only an idea, even a dream. It had no premises of its own, and was not likely to have for years to come. But Emile had already given thought to the matter. Sakura had a basement, he explained. Perhaps the meditation group could meet there. The basement proved to be small and dark, and full of junk, but I thought it might serve our purpose, at least for the time being, and Emile undertook to ask his landlord if we could rent it from him. Four days later it was ours, and Emile and a few friends at once set about transforming the place into a shrine and meditation centre.

While this work was going on Terry and I were busy transferring ourselves from Centre House to my friends old flat in Lancaster Grove, the former Other Vihara, and getting settled into our new abode. The rent at Centre House was high, and it was clear that Christopher Hills expected us to be part of Centre and its activities. During the two weeks we spent there Terry was very depressed, as indeed he had been ever since we left India. His depression had, of course, a long history, going back as it did to his unhappy childhood, the shattering of his illusions regarding marriage, his inability to re-enter the Pure White Light, whether through meditation or by any other means, and finally the circumstances of his divorce, including its consequences for his access to his daughter. More recently, there was his failure to meet his dãkinî and the fact that now that we were back in England he would sooner or later have to resume his regular visits to his parents. He had been to Ilford once already, just to collect the Little Bus, and the thought of spending a whole weekend there made him feel physically sick. We talked about all this a lot, sometimes at great length, but our time together was by no means wholly spent in this way. We renewed our acquaintance with the Hampstead Public Library, walked in the grounds of Kenwood House, where the daffodils and crocuses were already out, and did a fair amount of reading. While Terry read Reich's The Function of the Orgasm, I pursued my Johnsonian studies and read, among other things, Porphyry's On Abstinence from Animal Food and Plutarch's Isis and Osiris. We also listened to a good deal of music, mostly Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Apart from Jack Austin, our only visitors at this time were Thien Chau and Phra Maha Prasit, my replacement at the Hampstead Vihara. The Buddhists new leader, as the local press had dubbed him, was anxious to assure me that prior to his arrival at the Hampstead Vihara he had been ignorant of what was going on there, and that he had taken on the incumbency only because he had been asked to do so by Vichitr and the other Thai monks. Moreover, he would shortly be returning to Thailand, where he planned to give up the yellow robe and be a layman again. In these circumstances it was not surprising that there was now little activity at the Vihara, or that when Terry wanted to collect some belongings, one evening a few days after our return, we should have found the place in darkness.

After my satisfactory meeting with Maha Prasit, I spent the rest of the morning preparing the lecture I was to give at the Reading University Buddhist Society that evening. Mike Rogers, who was an alumnus of the university, drove me there, and at eight o'clock, having met the Society's office-bearers, I spoke on Mind Reactive and Creative. In the years to come this was to prove one of my most popular lectures, being reprinted many times and translated into a number of languages. The starting point of Buddhism was the mind, which was twofold. On the one hand there was Absolute Mind, which was beyond the subject object polarity; on the other, relative mind, or individual consciousness, which functioned within the framework of that polarity. Relative mind was of two kinds, reactive and creative. The reactive mind -- the ordinary, everyday mind most of us used most of the time -- did not act, but only reacted to external stimuli. It was therefore the conditioned mind inasmuch as it was dependent on, even determined by, its object. Being conditioned, it was mechanical, repetitive, and above all unaware. The creative mind, on the contrary, was not dependent on, or determined by, external stimuli. It responded rather than reacted, functioning out of the depths of its own intrinsic nature. It loved where there was no reason to love, was happy where there was no reason for happiness, and created where there was no possibility of creativity. Thus the creative mind was independent, spontaneous, and aware. When functioning on the highest possible level, at its highest pitch of intensity, the creative mind was identical with the Unconditioned -- which was to say, it coincided with Absolute Mind. Not that there were literally two relative minds, one reactive and the other creative. There was only one relative mind, one individual consciousness, which was capable of functioning either reactively or creatively. Every event and every experience therefore presented us with a choice: we could act or we could react. The spiritual life was one in which we consistently chose to be creative -- to be independent rather than dependent, spontaneous rather than mechanical and repetitive, aware rather than unaware. Such was the gist of my lecture, which lasted for well over an hour and was followed by a lively discussion, as a result of which I was back at Lancaster Grove not much before midnight.

A few days later I took the Tube to Holland Park, where I spent the afternoon with Adrienne Bennett, the Maha Bodhi's faithful representative in Europe and the Americas. I was still having to edit the journal, and she was still helping me with articles and translations, so we discussed what should go into the next number. Except for a visit to Sakura to see how the work on the basement was progressing, my only other outing that week was to Rayleigh, where I had tea with my mother and gave her the Indian handloom silk she had wanted. Afterwards Joan came round to the bungalow with three-year-old Kamala, and Eddie soon followed. On Thursday 6 April, in the intervals between other work, I composed a kind of service for the dedication of the new Shrine and Meditation Room, which was to take place that evening. Succinct as ever, my diary describes the occasion in these words:

At 6.10 drove round to Vihara with Terry. Picked up Thien Chau and Jack Ireland. Down at Sakura soon after 6.30. Put finishing touches to Shrine. Function started at 7. Spoke for 15 minutes, then all recited Dedication together, followed by Sevenfold Puja. Finally 20 minutes meditation. Finished 8 o'clock. Very good atmosphere. More than two dozen people present, by invitation, including Jack Austin, Graham Petchey, Anne Lobstein, Mrs Phillips, Kim Well. Gave Thien Chau and Vivien a lift back.


Emile's account of the ceremony, written for the information of our friends and well-wishers, was more expansive. Under the heading A Buddhist Dedication Ceremony in London he wrote:

An event which may turn out to be a landmark in the further development of the Buddha Dharma in Great Britain took place on the evening of the 7th April. This was the dedication ceremony of the new Triratna Meditation and Shrine Room.

The ceremony was conducted by the Venerable Sthavira Sangharakshita, together with the Venerable Thien Chau from Vietnam, the Rev. Jack Austin and the Rev. Graham Petchey, both representing Soto Zen. The invited guests, numbering about twenty-five, were able to participate in the ceremony, which had been especially devised by the Venerable Sthavira Sangharakshita for the occasion. The ceremony started with a short talk by the Sthavira, and then proceeded with readings from Buddhist Scriptures and Puja; those attending also took the Refuges and the Precepts a simple but very moving occasion.

The room itself has been designed, decorated, and paid for by voluntary contribution, without any connection with any official organization or society. It is somewhat in the Japanese style, the predominant colours being white, gold, rust and natural wood. There is a lacquered shrine, lit from behind by a paper-covered, Japanese shoji window, and the Teacher has a slightly raised platform, where he can use either a cushion or a chair. There are both cushions and chairs available for the participants. The atmosphere of this room is warm and quiet, most conducive to stilling the mind. An additional advantage is that, being on the premises of London's Buddhist shop, it is open during the day to individual meditators.

Initially, two meditation classes, conducted by the Venerable Sthavira Sangharakshita, will be held each week: one for beginners, and one for those who have already practised under his guidance. Further classes projected consist of a Zen Study Class, to be taken alternately by the Venerable Sangharakshita and the Rev. Jack Austin, and a fortnightly discussion meeting. Puja will also take place periodically.


The establishment of the Triratna Shrine and Meditation Room marked the birth of the Friends of the Western Sangha which was to become, with the founding of the Western Buddhist Order a year later, the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. The new Buddhist movement was no longer just an idea, much less still only a dream. It had begun to be a reality.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:06 am

Chapter Fifty-Four: Cui Bono?

How had the trouble started? What had led to the Trust's decision to dismiss me as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara, so soon after my departure for India? And why was Walshe so opposed to my reinstatement? I could not help asking myself these questions as I reflected on the events of the last five or six months, as well as on all that had happened during the two years of my incumbency. So far as I could make out the trouble had started, as trouble so often does, with gossip, in this case gossip about my relationship with Terry. Dr Edward Conze, who had his own sources of information, later told me that the gossip had originated with 'the old ladies of Kensington', and I had no reason to dispute this. The ladies in question, as I well knew, were a group of some four or five middle-aged women, all of them staunch Theravãdins, who lived in West London and were connected either with the Chiswick Vihara or with the Pali Text Society. Some of them regularly attended the Buddhist Society's annual Summer School, and the gossip seems to have started at the Summer School of 1966, which Terry and I had both attended, and to have reached Walshe not long after our departure for India.

By what means the gossip of the old ladies had reached Walshe, and whether they had gone so far as actually to slander Terry and me, was not clear. What was clear was that Walshe had panicked, as he tended to do in a crisis, that he had called a meeting of the Trust, and that he had proposed that I be dismissed as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara. Alf Vial and Mike Hookham had, of course, objected to this high-handed and unjust proceeding, and on being out-voted by Walshe, Goulstone, and Marcus, had resigned in protest. Walshe was thus able to assure Humphreys that the trustees had voted for my dismissal unanimously and that, in any case, their action was justified by my behaviour. In these circumstances it was not surprising, perhaps, that Toby had agreed, albeit with genuine regret, that it would be better if I did not return to England. Both he and the three remaining trustees evidently assumed that in the absence of any support from either the Sangha Trust or the Buddhist Society, it would be impossible for me to continue my work in England and that I would have no alternative, therefore, but to accept the face-saving formula that Goulstone's letter was shortly to offer me. They assumed, in other words, that I would agree to go quietly, thus enabling the Trust to announce that I had resigned as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara, and would be staying in the East, without anyone knowing what had really happened.

These tactics having failed, and opposition to my dismissal having steadily grown among members of the Sangha Association, Walshe had dug in his heels, insisting on the Trust's legal right to dismiss me, which was incontestable, and covertly assuring people that I had been dismissed for reasons much more serious than those that had been made public. By the end of the year, however, he had become quite isolated, support for him probably being limited to a few former disciples of Ananda Bodhi. He also seems to have been apprehensive of what might happen once Terry and I were back in England, as we had originally planned. Be that as it may, in January he had agreed to publish in The Buddhist, of which he was now editor, a statement in which the trustees appeared to retract the charges levelled against me in Goulstone's letter. The idea of the statement had originated with Toby, who by this time was ready to dissociate himself from Walshe, and the exact wording had been hammered out in discussions between him and John Hipkin. As published in the February 1967 issue of The Buddhist, shortly before my return to the scene, the statement read as follows:

The Directors of the English Sangha Trust Ltd. wish it to be known that in deciding to replace the Ven. Sthavira Sangharakshita in the office of Chief Incumbent at the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara they are not making any charge of impropriety or misconduct against him. The Directors hope that whatever may have been said to the detriment of his character in the course of recent speculation and gossip may now be withdrawn, and that all concerned may turn their energies to the study and practice of the Dhamma.


Although Toby, John Hipkin, and Walshe were collectively responsible for this statement, their reasons for wanting it to be published in The Buddhist were by no means the same. Toby was concerned, as ever, to protect the good name of the Buddhist movement, or rather, its reputation for British middle-class respectability. It was very regrettable that charges had ever been made against me, he had told John in the course of their discussions, and he now hoped that with the publication of the trustees' statement, the fuss about me and my alleged homosexuality would die down. John himself was concerned to clear my name, a step he saw as essential to my eventual reinstatement as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara. Toby, for his part, regarded my reinstatement as an impossibility in view of the fact that the Trust was acting within its rights. 'If you and your friends don't like its decision,' he had asked John, referring to my dismissal, 'why not get out of the Sangha Association and form a new group?' As for Walshe, so far as I could tell his reasons for wanting the Trust's statement to be published in The Buddhist were strictly legal, he and his two fellow trustees no doubt having realized that what he had been saying about my relationship with Terry was probably defamatory and that Terry, at least, might be thinking of taking action against him.

Whatever Walshe's reasons may have been for wanting the trustees' statement published, its appearance in the February Buddhist put him and his fellow trustees in a curious position. On the one hand, they denied that in deciding to replace me they were making any charge of impropriety or misconduct against me; on the other, they continued to resist the Sangha Association's demand for my reinstatement. Indeed, within a month of the statement's publication, Walshe was not only insisting, at the EGM, on the Trust's right to dismiss me, but also repeating the old allegations. Why was he so against me? Was it because I was in favour of closer cooperation between the Sangha Association and the Buddhist Society and he was not?
Or was it because I had serious reservations about the insight meditation with which, according to Ruth, his whole emotional security was bound up? Then there was my article 'The Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest', serialized in the January, February, and March issues of The Buddhist, in which I ventured to criticize an assertion by Miss I.B. [Isaline Blew] Horner, the President of the Pali Text Society, that the Theravãda was 'certainly the most orthodox form of Buddhism.' Were these the reasons why Walshe was so against me, I asked myself, and so opposed to my reinstatement as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara? And how big a part had they played in my dismissal? Though Walshe had panicked when the gossip of the old ladies reached him, the gossip and the fact that I was out of the country may well have given him and Goulstone the opportunity to do what they had been wanting to do even before my departure. Had there, then, been a conspiracy to replace me with a Thai monk, and had Vichitr, whom Walshe saw regularly, perhaps been a party to that conspiracy? It was not easy to tell. Events had moved rapidly, a number of people had been involved, and men's real motives were in any case difficult to fathom. Perhaps instead of enquiring too closely into motives I should ask, as the lawyers sometimes did when seeking an explanation for a crime, cui bono? To whose benefit was the crime?

Clues were to be found in the January, February, March, and April issues of The Buddhist, especially in Walshe's editorials. His January editorial was entitled New Beginnings. In Hampstead they had started the New Year with a new incumbent, he announced, after a few generalities, and they would be making a new beginning by going back to the fundamentals of Buddhism, in other words, by going back to the Theravãda. Evidently he believed that during the period of my Incumbency there had been a distinct move in the direction of the Mahãyãna and, to that extent, a move away from the Theravãda. In this there was an element of truth. Though I had regularly lectured on the principal Theravãdin teachings, teachings that were in fact common to all forms of Buddhism, I had not lectured on the Theravãda exclusively. I had also spoken on, or referred to, the teachings of some of the Mahãyãna schools, besides once presenting the Buddhist spiritual path in evolutionary terms. In my meditation classes I had confined myself to teaching respiration-mindfulness (ãnãpãna-sati), and the development of loving-kindness (mettã-bhãvanã), both of which were regarded as Theravãdin methods. Only to the Three Musketeers had I taught any distinctively Mahãyãna (Vajrayãna) practices, and Alf, Mike, and even quiet and unobtrusive Jack may well have been among those whom The Buddhist's new editor described as seeking to run before they can walk, or even to fly before they can run. In his February editorial, entitled 'What is the Sangha?', Walshe was concerned to emphasize two things: that apart from the community of 'Noble Ones' the Sangha consisted exclusively of fully-ordained monks (there was no such thing as a 'lay sangha'), and that, basically, the monks were the preceptors of the lay people and the lay people the supporters of the monks. This was, of course, the traditional Theravãdin position, the rigidity of which I had sought to moderate in my February 1965 editorial entitled 'Sangha and Laity,' and Walshe may have had it in mind when writing his own editorial exactly two years later. In any case, he took occasion to remind the reader that according to one of the rules of the Sangha Association, members should honour their obligations to support the Sangha, by which he meant support it financially on a regular basis, which not all those attending my lectures and classes at the Vihara had been doing.

An announcement elsewhere in the March issue drew the readers attention to other rules. The meetings of the Association were to be concerned solely with the Buddhadhamma; speakers had to have the prior authority of the Sangha; meetings and classes, with the exception of those specifically stated to be public meetings, were to be open only to members of the Association, and members had to produce their membership cards when asked to do so. These rules had fallen into abeyance long before my arrival in Hampstead, and it was obvious why Walshe had decided to reinstate them. He wanted to make it clear that members of the Association should regard themselves as being lay people in the traditional Theravãdin sense, that they should be subordinate to the monks, and that the Association itself should be under the control of the Sangha Trust. An article in the April Buddhist suggested that it was 'back to the Theravãda' at the Biddulph meditation centre too. The article was by John Garrie, a Mancunian 'insight meditation' evangelist whom I had met once or twice, and who was now in charge of activities at Old Hall. In recent months, a programme of decoration and alteration had been completed, he declared towards the end of his article, and in fact Biddulph could well have a sign outside its door saying under new management. As Garrie was a former disciple of Ananda Bodhi, like other members of his team of 'Biddulph enthusiasts,' new management naturally meant Theravãdin management. The team, he moreover went on to say, was the management board of a completely new organization which had no connection with any other society or association and was only responsible to the English Sangha Trust. Thus the Sangha Association was now a Theravãda-type lay body, as was Garrie's team at Biddulph.


Image

John Garrie, later known as John Garrie Roshi (May 18, 1923 – September 22, 1998), was a British actor who later became a respected teacher of Zen Buddhism.

As an actor, John Garrie played minor roles in a number of British television shows during the 1960s and 1970s, including The Avengers, Z-Cars and UFO. He was also a bartender at the Rovers Return Inn on the drama Coronation Street for one episode (Christmas Day, 1963). In the episode of Danger Man entitled "Koroshi", he played the role of an "Old Japanese Man" which foreshadows his later career as a teacher of Zen. He also appeared in the Vincent Price movie Madhouse.

John Garrie Roshi's teaching drew on several traditions including Zen, Theravadan, Tibetan Buddhism as well as Taoism and martial arts. He described the mindfulness practice he taught as "Sati", drawing heavily from concepts within Theravadan Buddhist Satipatthana training. He founded the Sati Society which was generally based in the West Country.

John Garrie Roshi wrote a blessing entitled "Peace to all Beings", which was used to introduce and to end meditations. It is still widely used by former and present students of Sati.

-- John Garrie, by Wikipedia


To whose benefit, then, was my dismissal as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara? Evidently it was to the benefit of the Theravãda, or rather, to the benefit of the Theravãdins as represented by Walshe, Goulstone, Vichitr, a minority within the Sangha Association and, no doubt, the old ladies of Kensington. Whether or not there had actually been a conspiracy, it was they who were responsible, directly or indirectly, for my being replaced by Phra Maha Prasit.

Yet much as my dismissal was to the benefit of the Theravãdins, it was also of unintended benefit to me. Now that I was no longer incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara I was free to devote myself to the creation of a new Buddhist movement -- free to devote myself to the creation, eventually, of the FWBO and the WBO. In the meantime there were lessons to be drawn from the events of the last six months. Two of these lessons were to be of particular significance for the new movement.

Though Walshe had taken the lead in the business, it was not Walshe but the Sangha Trust that had dismissed me as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara. There were at that time five trustees, of whom four were Buddhists (if one included Goulstone), and one a non-Buddhist. Walshe and Goulstone had voted for my dismissal, Alf and Mike against it, and Marcus, the non-Buddhist trustee, had voted with Walshe and Goulstone, so that there had been a 3 to 2 majority in favour of Walshe's proposal. This meant that my dismissal, together with all the consequences of that dismissal for the religious life of the Vihara, had been the result of a deciding vote cast by a non-Buddhist member of what was ostensibly a Buddhist body. The lesson I drew from this circumstance was that a Buddhist organization had to be controlled by Buddhists, and that it was not possible for it to be controlled by Buddhists unless all its members were Buddhists. But who was a Buddhist? The traditional answer to the question was that a Buddhist was one who went for Refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and to them alone. But who was the Buddha, what was the Dharma, and who were the members of the Sangha, and in any case, what did going for Refuge to them mean? These were questions with which I had long been concerned, and in the years to come they were to occupy an increasingly central place in my own spiritual life and in the spiritual life of the movement of which I was the founder.

The second lesson to be drawn from the events of the last six months had reference to a matter that was of more general interest. The trouble, as I have called it, had started with gossip about my relationship with Terry. That relationship, it was alleged, was of a homosexual nature, and as Toby had pointed out the English middle-class mind had an abhorrence of homosexuality. So great was that abhorrence that even the appearance of homosexuality was sufficient, it seemed, to warrant a man's banishment from decent society or, as I had found, his removal from the position he occupied. What this meant in effect, at least in England, was that it was difficult for men to develop more than ordinarily close friendships without incurring the suspicion of homosexuality and, in some cases, the unpleasant and even painful consequences of such suspicion. But friendship occupied an important place in Buddhism, the Buddha having gone so far as to declare, on one occasion, that spiritual friendship (kalyãna-mittata) was not the half but the whole of the spiritual life (brahmacariya). Middle-class fear or hatred of homosexuality thus stood in the way of the full practice of the Dharma. The lesson I drew from this circumstance was that our new Buddhist movement would have to be free from homophobia, as it came to be called, if spiritual friendship was to flourish within it. Indeed it would have to be free from homophobia if it was to be truly Buddhist. Buddhism was a universal teaching, and as such its attitude was one of goodwill (mettã) towards all living beings, irrespective of race, nationality, social position, gender, or sexual orientation.
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Re: Moving Against the Stream, by Dennis Lingwood

Postby admin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:24 am

Epilogue

My prediction regarding Christmas Humphreys, that given time he would see the absurdity of his position and perform a volte-face, did not have to wait long for its fulfilment. Within weeks of my return to England he was making friendly overtures to me -- overtures to which I did not immediately respond. Early in the 1970s I was once again lecturing at the Buddhist Society's premises in Eccleston Square under his chairmanship. During the last five or six years of his life Toby and I met fairly regularly and he assured me on more than one occasion that he had always been my best friend. In his autobiography Both Sides of the Circle, published in 1978, he spoke in highly complimentary terms about me and about the Western Buddhist Order, to which, he said, he gave his full support. Maurice and Ruth Walshe I saw only once more. Along with six or seven other monks I had been invited to the Vietnamese Embassy for a meal. When Maurice and Ruth entered the room and saw me chatting with the monks they were extremely confused and embarrassed, and at once retreated. Ruth died not many years later and Maurice soon remarried. After his retirement he spent the rest of his long life producing a scholarly new translation of the Dîgha Nikãya and campaigning against me and the FWBO. The monk who conducted his funeral service humorously remarked that he knew he was dead because when he bent over him and whispered Sangharakshita in his ear, he did not react. Goulstone and Marcus I neither saw nor heard of again.

Alf Vial and Mike Hookham continued to tread the path of Tibetan Buddhism, though under the direction of another guru, Trungpa having departed for the greener pastures of the United States, while Jack Ireland pressed on with his Pali studies, eventually producing a useful new translation of the Udãna and Itivuttaka. Ananda Bodhi travelled widely, transformed himself first into Namgyal Rimpoche and then into Star One, and developed his own Holistic Cleaning method of meditation. Mangalo stayed in England and became a Church of England clergyman. Both Ratanasara and Vichitr followed Trungpa's example and betook themselves to the United States, where the latter returned to lay life and married. Viriya was not long at the Hampstead Vihara. Shortly before my return to England he left for Vietnam, Thien Chau having arranged for him to study at the Vanhanh University under my old friend Thich Minh Chau. Later he settled in Japan and married a Japanese woman. Thien Chau himself moved to Paris, where I stayed with him in 1970 and where he arranged for me to give a few lectures -- my first on the Continent. Activities at the Vihara having virtually ceased, Francoise soon found herself out of a job and went to work at John Watkins, the famous oriental bookshop just off Charing Cross Road.

John Hipkin, Mike Rogers, Emile and Sara Boin, and Mike Ricketts were among the twelve founding members of the Western Buddhist Order, all of whom I ordained at Centre House on Sunday 7 April 1968, after I had given them their private ordinations, and their new names, at the Triratna Meditation and Shrine Room in the course of the previous ten days.

And what of Terry Delamare? In August 1967 he and I moved into a bigger flat, on the third floor of an old terraced house at the lower end of Highgate West Hill. He had continued to be very depressed, and even before we moved had started seeing Dr David Cooper, the psychiatrist at whose Villa 21 he had undergone his ether abreaction or seen the Pure White Light four years earlier. Soon he was seeing him twice a week, but neither his sessions with Cooper nor the antidepressants he was now taking did him much good, and in the course of the next few months his condition grew steadily worse. My diary for these months is full of such entries as 'Terry very low all day, Terry extremely low again ... collapsed on the stairs,' and 'Terry very low. Had quite a terrible hour.' By the end of the year he was talking of suicide and in January told me he had 'reached rock-bottom.'

During this period I was busy taking meditation classes at Sakura, giving lectures in various public halls, and visiting the provincial Buddhist groups, which did not close their doors to me, despite Walshe's efforts to persuade them to do so. I was thus in the unenviable position of having to live in or at least commute between two very different worlds, and I often felt the strain. This was particularly the case after Terry started talking of suicide, as I took such talk seriously. More than once, having taken the meditation classes at Sakura that evening, I walked up the hill from the bus stop not knowing whether, on my arrival at the flat, I would find Terry alive or dead. The strain was exacerbated by the fact that I was unable to share my concern for Terry with any of our friends, as he was adamant that no one should know he was a victim of depression. Indeed, he put on such a good front whenever he drove me to Sakura or attended my lectures that it was a long time before Emile, Sara, and the rest suspected that there was anything wrong. The only person with whom I was able to discuss Terry's condition was Cooper, whom I met twice. I formed an unfavourable impression of him (he was to die of chronic alcoholism) and moreover found his therapeutic commonplaces unhelpful.

It was about this time that Terry wrote his parents a letter in which he told them, as tactfully as he could, that his childhood had not been a happy one -- a claim to which they responded with hurt and incredulity. They were in any case quite worried about him already, the more especially as they had not seen him for nearly a year and had no idea what he was doing. Terry therefore asked me to go and see them and assure them that he had not gone mad, as they seemed to think. His father was a tall, powerfully built man who evidently had a temper, while his mother, no less obviously, was a chronic depressive. Both parents, I soon found, were convinced that the study of philosophy had affected their son's brain and that if he would only give it up and go back to his job in advertising all would be well. 'We can understand him wanting a change from work sometimes,' his mother told me, 'but he can always come and help his dad in the greenhouse on a Saturday afternoon.' Terry must have gone in fear of his father, I thought, and have sucked in depression with his mother's milk. When, therefore, he started going to pottery classes and made a black pottery head with round staring eyes and a hole of a mouth lined with jagged teeth, I was not surprised to learn that he proposed to call the hideous object 'Mother', or 'Woman', or perhaps 'Death'.

Unfortunately, I stopped keeping a diary after 15 April 1968, so that for the last year of Terry's life I have no written record but only memories. He was now living with Mafalda, a gentle, dark-haired Portuguese divorcee who had been attending my meditation classes and lectures. In January 1968 he had taken a room in a friend's house at Chalk Farm, but communal living proved uncongenial to him, and after a few months he had moved into Mafalda's flat in Islington. He came to see me almost every day. Some days he came twice, and sometimes he brought Mafalda with him. He continued to be deeply depressed, though he hid it from the world, even from Mafalda, and when we were alone together he talked with ever-increasing desperation of suicide. There was only one alternative, he declared: that he should be enabled to re-enter the Pure White Light, and in this way transcend the pain of existence, which had become unbearable. With this end in view, he asked Cooper to give him LSD (he had previously given him marijuana, to no effect). Cooper agreed, but insisted that he took it under medical supervision. Terry therefore found himself taking the drug not at Mafalda's flat, and in her company, as he had wanted, but in the office of a white-coated woman doctor whose telephone kept ringing, and who spent most of her time answering it. The result was that he experienced nothing. This finally convinced him that he could hope to see the Pure White Light only at the moment of death and that he had no choice, therefore, but to commit suicide.

In April came the FWBOs Easter Retreat, which I led. and which Terry and Mafalda also attended. John Hipkin and our other friends were shocked to see how depressed and ill Terry looked, for by this time he had given up trying to conceal his condition. The retreat ended on Sunday 13 April, and after the concluding puja and meditation. Terry, Mafalda, and I left for London in the Little Bus, Mafalda and I sitting beside Terry in the front seat. Halfway through the journey. Terry suddenly declared that he felt like driving at top speed into the nearest brick wall. and killing all three of us, and for a few minutes it seemed that he might actually do this. After dropping me at Highgate West Hill. he drove on to Islington with Mafalda.

At 10 o'clock the next morning I received a visit from two uniformed police officers. I knew at once what this meant. Terry had died two hours earlier, they informed me. He had died at Kentish Town Underground station, having apparently thrown himself under an approaching train, and my address had been found on his body. In response to their enquiries, I told them that my friend had left nine months ago, and gave them his parent,s address, as well as Mafalda's. When the officers had gone, I noticed that on my desk there was a small pile of letters that had not been there the night before. Terry had come very early in the morning, while I was asleep, and left them. Two of the letters were for me.

'I must be brief for I am too upset,' the first letter began. 'My greatest fear is that I shall live after this event, if this should happen, please make something possible, but I hope my remarks are superfluous.' His biggest regret, Terry went on to say, was that he never lived to bring all his energy and love -- which he believed to have been quite considerable -- into being. He also asked me to look after Mafalda as best I could, expressed his conviction that we could have worked miracles together on this earth, and maybe would do so another day, and reflected on the paradoxical split in his nature which had, he believed, torn him apart. He concluded, 'We will always be together. What happiness! Yours ever. T.' The second letter was much shorter, and dealt with various practical matters.

A few hours later, Terry's parents came to see me. They came straight from the mortuary, and reported that Terry had a slight bruise on one side of his head, but looked peaceful. I gave them the letter he had left for them. In it he asked that he should be given a Buddhist funeral, that he should be cremated, and that I should be invited to conduct the funeral. He also asked that I should be given £1,000 out of his estate, and Mafalda £500. His father,s face darkened as he read the letter. It was not a legally valid will, he told me, and he proposed to ignore it. Terry would be given a Christian funeral, and be buried in the local cemetery, so that his mother could visit the grave and change the flowers every Saturday afternoon after doing her shopping.

The next day they came again. This time it was to collect Terry's suits. There were three or four of them, and his mother insisted on my pinning sheets of newspaper round each one. 'What would the neighbours think', she asked, 'if they were to see us coming out of the house carrying men's suits?'

'For two and a half days after Terry's death I heard him calling me and felt him pulling,' I subsequently wrote in a notebook. 'Could not bear the thought of his suffering under the wheels of the underground train alone. Strong wish to follow. Kept seeing him standing on the edge of the platform, waiting.... Sense of waste.' Perhaps it was because of my wish to follow Terry that at some point during those two and a half days I went to Kentish Town Underground station, stood on the edge of the platform as Terry had done, and tried to imagine what it had been like for him as he waited for the train. I also attempted to describe Terry's last hours in a poem. The poem was entitled 'For the Record', and was addressed to him.

You wrote four letters, one
To your parents, one
To the girl who looked after you, one
To your accountant, and one
To your best friend
Me,
Sealed them neatly.
You wrote out
Two cheques in settlement of small
Debts,
Walked around
Here and there
Came in, went out
Two or three times
Returned my typewriter
(It was early morning,
I was in bed, asleep, did not hear you)
Felt a little uneasy,
Perhaps, for a minute or two
Parked your bus
Down at Kentish Town
In front of an old brick wall
Where it would not be in anybody's way
(After drawing the faded red
Curtains) bought a ticket
To somewhere, anywhere
Rode
Down the escalator
Stood
Heron-hunched in your old black duffle-coat
Hands thrust deep in pockets
Brooding, thinking,
Meditating,
Watched, waited
Anticipated
And when the train came
Heavily lumbering along the platform
slowly gliding along the smooth shining rails
Suddenly threw yourself under, and in a moment
Found what you had been seeking
All your life.


Under the heading Obituary, FWBO Newsletter 5 carried the following report:

It is with very deep regret that we record the death of Terry Delamare on Monday, 14th April. He was born in 1934, and gave up a successful career in advertising three years ago to devote himself fully to the study of philosophy, religion and psychology. In October 1966 he accompanied the Ven. Sthavira Sangharakshita to India, where he took the remarkable series of colour slides entitled 'Buddhism in India' which has given pleasure to so many of our friends.

On Monday, 21st April a memorial service was held at 52 Noel Road, Islington, the residence of Mrs Mafalda Reis. The simple but moving ceremony was conducted by the Ven. Sangharakshita, and was attended by many friends who had not only known Terry but loved him for his great qualities of head and heart.


But though I missed Terry, and wept every day for six months, what he had called 'this event' was not an unrelieved tragedy. The day after his death I took the classes at Sakura as usual. While meditating I heard these words:

Pain shall be transmitted into joy, suffering into ecstasy,
When to the eternal life of Buddhahood
We all awake.


I wish to acknowledge, with feelings of deep gratitude, the critically important part played by Dharmacari Sarajit in the production of the last ten chapters of this book.

Sangharakshita.
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