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Mingling Souls - Launching Dear Dinoo, Letters to a Friend

by Sangharakshita

A newly remastered full-length talk from Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community. Given at the end of last year to launch his recent book 'Dear Dinoo: Letters to a Friend', this is a wonderful set of recollections of life in India in the 1950s and early '60s. But it's also a glorious personal ramble through the history of letters and letter writing.

As usual the range of Sangharakshita's reflections in this is hugely impressive - taking in late mediaeval and 18th C. letter culture, provocative takes on Christianity, the Romantic poets and even the economy! It's an education and a genuine, poignant pleasure to hear him evoke a vanishing art, pass on old pieces of knowledge and lore, and remember so vividly a friend now gone with whom he shared, in Keats' phrase, 'a mingling of souls'. A beautiful talk.

The recording also includes the full introduction to Sangharakshita and the book by his editor, Kalyanaprabha.

Talk given in Birmingham, December 2011.

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Kalyanaprabha - How the book came about; Dinoo Dubash; a personal correspondence (3:40) 
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2. Bringing Dinoo to life; London coincidences; the Kazini of Chakung; working with Sangharakshita on footnotes (3:21) 
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3. Sangharakshita remembering - seeing people with appreciation; Dr Mehta; working on the notes (a Dickensian reverie); the book's audience, present and future (4:19) 
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4. Writing the introduction; an overview of the correspondents' lives in 1956; the challenge of writing about Sangharakshita; breadth and depth - seeing and intuition (3:28) 
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5. Two standout things about Sangharakshita; the ordinary and the extraordinary; kindness; a single stream of Dharma activity (2:33) 
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6. Sangharakshita - Life in Kalimpong and on the Plains of India; Bombay in the 1950s; the Parsee (Parsi) community; Zoroastrianism (4:13) 
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7. The Towers of Silence - Parsee 'air burials'; Parsee culture; meeting Dinoo at a lecture - 'Inspiration Whence'; the Arts as a source of spiritual inspiration; Dinoo's painted visions of Maitreya Buddha (4:21) 
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8. Conversation at the flat on Marina Drive; a correspondence; Dinoo's death - the loss of old friends; old letters returned; publishing the book (6:33) 
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9. On letters; John Donne - 'letters mingle souls'; the history and kinds of letters - clay tablets in ancient Babylonia (Iraq); business letters (4:38) 
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10. Banking based on letters; the economic troubles; quantitive easing - let there be money! (4:23) 
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11. The newsletter in the Victorian Age; Alistair Cooke's 'Letter From America'; the didactic letter - philosophical and religious; 'Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man' by Friedrich Schiller; the Epistles of St. Paul as basis of Christianity (4:52) 
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12. 'The Brook Kerith' by George Moore, a novel on the life of Jesus saved from the cross; Jesus' meeting with St. Paul in the novel (3:51) 
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13. A varied and flexible literary form; 'imaginary letters' - the epistolatory novel; Samuel Richardon's 'Clarissa'; Dr Johnson's verdict (2:21) 
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14. The personal letter; the Paston Letters (15th C); the 18th C - the century of letter writing; Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son; Dr Johnson's critique and famous put-down letter (4:17) 
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15. Letters of the Romantic poets; Byron's letters; Keats - 'a vale of soul making'; Coleridge's letters; Philip Larkin; Sangharakshita's own letter writing now (3:44) 
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16. Reflecting on old age and death; James Hillman's emphasis on old age as a stage of life in its own right; wondering about rebirth (3:31) 


Total running time: 1:04:05

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