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A Big Thank You for Your Kindnesses for my 70th birthday on April 22, 2014 (Earth Day)
Dear One who is the One of All,
I am writing to thank you for all your kindnesses, lovely words and warm messages for my 70th birthday last month, Tuesday, April 22 (Earth Day). I recall having a birthday party for my 40th birthday. Radha said we are not going to wait another 30 years.
I received this lovely birthday message from Zohar who invited friends to offer donations for precious projects to mark my birthday. She wrote:
“The website page was created with so much love and gratitude trees4ct.blogspot.com. The website was compiled by Nathan, Dave Adair and Zohar. There are some public comments and birthday wishes there, and Dave collated the personal messages as well as donations to the different projects we have invited people to support in celebration of your life and work.
In total, people donated $1694 to the 4 different projects, in celebration of your presence in our lives.
$414 – donated towards buying trees for the farmers of Wadi Kana in Palestine.
$818 – donated to the Pragya Vihar school in Bodhgaya, India
$179 – donated to the Forest Way reforestation project in Tiruvannamalai, India.
$281 – donated to the Dharamalaya reforestation project in Himachal Pradesh, India.
“So glad to hear you had a such a meaningful day. Nathan and I were thinking of you up in the high Himalayas on the day. And you came up in a Dharma talk I gave, as an inspiration of service to the Dharma. “
April 22 evening
We had a wonderful evening at Café Mumbai at the top of Totnes High Street. As always, an international sangha – 25 Dharma friends came from nine countries. I thought Nshorna was at home in London taking care of kids and full time work responsibilities. She sprung a big surprise on me and came to the birthday party.
I said a few lines about each person – name, country, residence where and when I met them and their roles as servants of the Dharma. I actually remembered. Assuming the breaths still flow, I cannot promise such recollections, going back to 1974, if there is a 75th birthday party.
As part of the plan to initiate the evening, Martin (Aylward) kindly said a few words to us. He gave me a package of appreciative notes. Others, like Eran in Israel, Radha from Australia, were part of the plan. Martin said he contacted various people in the worldwide Sangha, including 25 of those who I have encouraged and invited to teach. Martin said they had put together a dana for me. I smiled and said: Thank you “and spoke a few words. Nshorna, who was sitting next to me at the long table in the restaurant, nudged me: “Dad, I think you should put your glasses on and look at the cheque.” I had one of those OMG (OH, MY GOD!) moments. The teachers and seniors were exceptionally generous. Others also kindly gave dana, plus dana for our beloved Prajna Vihar School in Bodh Gaya.
I also received generous dana from Australia, California and Europe. I am currently writing an exploration for the blog on the Symbolic Significance of the 70th Birthday. It will go on the blog within the next seven days.
Dharma wallahs gave me books, DVDs and CDs, an Indian shawl, shirts, a lovely bottle of red wine posted from Germany, large mug for a cup of tea, carpet slippers, book tokens, chocolate, health food, organic acai powder, herbal tea, an A4 size montage of photos from our retreats in Bodh Gaya in the 1990s, photographs of Sr. Mary of Bodh Gaya, a photograph of myself from 1974, photos on a USB stick take over the years at Yarrahapinni, NSW Australia at the annual Dharma Gathering, group photo from Bodh Gaya retreat, plus numerous cards, messages and recollections worldwide.
A Strange Kind of Paradise. India through Indian Eyes.
Alain Badiou. Wittgenstein’s Anti-philosophy
Big Data. Victor Mayer-Schonberger
Debt: The First 5000 Years.
Life after Life. Kate Atkinson
Music at Midnight. Life and Metaphysical Poetry of Anglican priest, George Herbert (1593 – 1633)
Poetry of Emily Dickinson (1830 -1856)
Religion for Atheists. Alain de Botton
The Philosophy of Walking. Frederick Gross
DVDs and CDs
Barenboim and Edward Said in Conversation
Barenboim and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
George Harrison, John Lennon and other rock singers (on a USB stick)
Ida (classic film from Polish Cinema)
Inside Llewyn Davis
John Lennon. The Messenger
Leonard Cohen. Bird on a Wire .Tour 1972
A Different Kind of Love, Sapni. Transjoik (single tracks)
Searching for Sugar Man
Short Birthday video from teachers in Israel and happy birthday signs held up.
The Making of Madness. Are we all Inmates? Citizens Commission on Human Rights
I told friends in the café that I was writing a poem called 70th Birthday. I have placed it on my blog. Here is the link. http://christophertitmussblog.org/?p=1901
During the week of my birthday, I spent for 25 minutes cycling to and fro, twice a day, to attend a small Dartington Conference for 30 invited people – mostly professors, academics, scholars, scientists from India, Russia, USA, France and UK – on East-West themes of consciousness, self, mind and brain, spiritual and secular. Max who runs Consciousness Café in Totnes organised the conference. I did not hear any real support for the major contemporary scientific paradigm: namely, the claim of materialistic reductionists of matter/energy as the reality with the mind/consciousness only able to show an image of the reality. There was considerable support for expansive views of the inter-connection and mutual influence between consciousness, mind and matter. I took lots of notes and will write on the conference for my blog in May. The participants kindly offered a birthday cake for me.
Once again, many thanks for all your kindness.
Lots of Love
PS. I hear rumours of a birthday event in Israel when I go to serve the Dharma there in September. Can’t wait!