[L. 87 | 94] 21 February 1964

Nalanda, is it not now a centre of Buddhist studies (a kind of Buddhist university)?[1] Perhaps you will know about this. In earlier days, certainly, Nalanda was a very large Buddhist university, with many thousands of students; and some (or at least one) of the early Chinese pilgrims studied there. In the Buddha's day it was a flourishing city (not far from Rājagaha, King Bimbisāra's capital), appearing in several Suttas (see the Brahmajāla Suttanta, Dīgha 1; Kevaddha Sutta, Dīgha 11; Upāli Sutta, Majjhima 56). There is certainly no harm in sending a copy of Notes there.

I have just received a letter from London. It is from a man who has read my translation of Evola's book, The Doctrine of Awakening (which, however, I cannot now recommend to you without considerable reserves).[2] Since he seems to have a certain liking for samatha bhāvanā I have been encouraging him to go on with it—I think it will do him more good than harm, and it is an excellent way of occupying the later years of his life (he is now past sixty, I think). How many people promise themselves to spend their retirement profitably, and then find it is too late to start something new!

Editorial notes:

[87.1] Nalanda: Yes, it has been re-established as a university for monks, foreign as well as Indian. [Back to text]

[87.2] Doctrine of Awakening: During World War II the author (then known as Captain Harold Musson) served as an interrogator with intelligence in North Africa and Italy. He came across Evola's book and, in order to brush up his Italian, translated it. It was in fact his first contact with the Buddha's Teaching, aside from a distant look when, from 1927 to 1929, his father serving in Rangoon, Port Blair, and Maymyo, the sight of monks would have become familiar to young Musson. But there is no evidence that as a boy he came to know anything of the Teaching. His translation of Evola's book was published by Luzac in 1951. [Back to text]