TEN YEARS AND TEN DAYS. A 528-page Memoir. Christopher Titmuss. Life for six years as a Buddhist monk. One circle of the Earth.
I wrote a Memoir of my years overseas between 1967-1977. My mother (1920-2015) kept encouraging me to write the book. She kept the 427 letters and aerogrammes I posted home.
I promised her faithfully I would hand her three or four chapters before she died. I kept the promise. During the lockdown in 2020 and early 2021, I took the opportunity to write the other 80 chapters completing the book in Spring 2021.
The book recalls firsthand experiences includes Buddhist practices, insights and depths of teachings found in the East.
The Memoir of 10 years on the road includes a hippy life, mind altering drugs, romantic encounters and brushes with death. The book covers travels through 20 countries, the discipline of a strict Vipassana (Insight Meditation) monastery in Thailand, nine months in a cave and meetings with leading spiritual teachers in Thailand and India.
I posted to friends around the world, who are seniors in the Dharma, a copy of the book. I received some kind responses. You will see a selection of responses below.
Depart Croydon (UK) 26 April 1967
1967. Croydon (UK), Belgium, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sikkim, Nepal.
1968. Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, Australia.
1969. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin.
1969. Darwin, Portuguese East Timor, Lombok, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos.
1970. 1974. Thailand. Laos.
1974 – 1976. India and Sri Lanka.
1976. Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, South Korea.
1977. San Francisco, New York
Arrive Croydon (UK), 6 May 1977.
Besides the letters, I also drew upon more than 30 diaries and notebooks, plus memory of events from 1967 to 1977.
The freedom to explore confirms an infinite potential for discovery.
The book falls into three sections
April 1967 to March 1970
March 1969 to December 1973.
December 1973 to May 1977.
This section includes period from April 1967 to March 1969. I start with birth on a remote farm in the north of England on Earth Day, 1944, upbringing in Croydon, Surrey, weeks in a cave in Matala, Crete, Istanbul, experiences in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I meet the Buddha in Sarnath, India. I write about experiences in Thailand, Laos, hitchhiking across Australia and spending five months in Indonesia.
This section includes March 1969 to December 1973. After ordination as a novice and later as a monk, I stayed in a Vipassana monastery from 1970 to late 1972. I then lived for nine months in a cave on Ko PHa Ngan island. Section includes account of profound teachings of Ajahn Buddhadasa in Wat Suanmoke (Garden of Liberation), a forest monastery in Surat Thani province. Time in the cave explores solitude, formless realms, the seven chakras, understanding of emptiness and the unconditioned.
This section recalls years in India meeting with internationally known spiritual teachers including Mother Teresa, Swami Prabhupada, S.N. Goenka, Kirpal Singh, Sri Parthasarti,Swami Dayananda, Sri Nisargadatta, J. Krishnamurti, Bhagwan Rajneesh (Osho) Ma Anandamayi and others. This section includes Bodh Gaya, Dharamsala, Goa, Dalhousie, Australia, Korea, Berkeley, New York and arriving back home.
SELECTION OF COMMENTS OF READERS OF TEN YEARS AND TEN DAYS
I posted out more than 50 copies of the Memoir in Spring 2021 to Dharma teachers, seniors in the Dharma and long-standing friends. I received kind responses.
Here are some extracts:
“One of the things that really stood out as I read was what a hard-core yogi you were.” From the USA.
“Two words came up: Non clinging. If ever there was a book that demonstrates it, this is it with manifestations on every page.” From Israel.
“You have always lived a life full of adventure and passion for both the inner and the outer world. Your exploration of potential and power of the concentrated mind was inspiring.” From USA.
“Throughout the book, I kept shaking my head and saying, “how did he ever get all that personal time with so many renown teachers?”” From the USA.
“I was inspired by many aspects. It’s a great book on so many levels and I hope it is read by many.” From France.
“What I like very much is how you use your story telling as a way to point towards universal insights of the Buddha, which are open to everyone.” From Germany.
“A truly inspiring book that should be read by anyone wanting to embark on a new life adventure. The author recounts fascinating stories that engage the reader throughout. A thoroughly captivating read.” From UK.
“Your influence runs right through my dharma practice, teaching and understanding.” From France.
“I felt your “no holding back” energy of the book.” From the USA.
“Having experienced directly for himself the freedom of the Buddha that leads to the highest happiness, he joyously seeks to share that freedom in this book.” From the USA.
“I’d heard lots of the stories in your Dharma talks & conversations. It was a treat to cover that territory in so much more depth and to read about your inner experiences at the time.” From the USA.
TEN YEARS AND TEN DAYS
Published June 2021.
£14.95. 528 pages.
£6.95 Kindle e-Book.
Kindle version also contains 25 photographs.
(Amazon edition polished, plus corrected typos and extra paragraphs added).
The book and Kindle edition is available on AMAZON in Australia, France, Germany, UK, USA and other countries. Available on Kindle in India.
Here are the links to these countries.
AMAZON KINDLE UK
AMAZON.COM (USA). For Paperback and Kindle
If you read the book, would you kindly insert a comment on the Amazon page of the Memoir. THANK YOU.