In the Sign of the Golden Wheel
This volume includes two memoirs.
In the Sign of the Golden Wheel tells the story of the ‘middle period’ of the fourteen years Sangharakshita was based in the Indian hill station, Kalimpong. It is a crucial time for Buddhism as the whole Asian world is preparing to celebrate 2,500 years of Buddhism, and Sangharakshita’s abundant energies are brought into play in diverse ways. His commitment to spreading the Dharma as widely as he can and to serving the (few) existing Buddhists in India takes him far afield: from tea estates in Assam to a film studio in Bombay, from the Maha Bodhi Society in Calcutta – he becomes the inspired editor of the internationally read Maha Bodhi Journal – to Kasturchand Park in Nagpur where he speaks to hundreds of thousands of bereaved followers of the great Dr Ambedkar. Whether describing great events of international import or those of more local significance, such as the funeral of Miss Barclay’s cat, the flowing prose descriptions of people, places and events bring it all vividly to life. And through it all the enlightening, inspiring and moving reflections on life, the Dharma, poetry, friendship – and himself.
Precious Teachers covers the last period of Sangharakshita’s time in Kalimpong. Here too are vivid encounters with people – a damsel in distress, a dakini, a transsexual and many others. At the forefront, though, are Sangharakshita’s Buddhist teachers: the Tibetans Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche, Dudjom Rimpoche, Kachu Rimpoche, Chattrul Sangye Dorje and Dhardo Rimpoche, and Chinese Yogi Chen. He recalls their meetings, his wongkurs or initiations, and the friendship that developed with Dhardo Rimpoche. In the background are events of international significance: the Chinese in Tibet, and the oppression of Buddhists in Vietnam. The memoir concludes with a letter from the English Sangha Trust inviting Sangharakshita back to the West….
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