Early Letters (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)

Page 24

[el. 10]

seeking the path


was published, was regarded with awe as the man who had been to Hell and lived to tell the tale? I fear that you, in time to come, will be regarded with similar awe as the man who read the Visuddhimagga and lived to translate it.2

part ii: 1955 (el. 11-22) [ EL. 11 ]

5 January 1955

Thirty-five today. Nel mezzo del cammin.1 A depressing day. A day for taking stock, as a shoplifter entering Harrods might say. But perhaps not thirty-five years entirely wasted, if we are to follow Cyril Connolly 2 (I think), who says that a man has lived in vain if, at the age of thirty-five he cannot tell him, Cyril Connolly, something new. I could certainly tell Cyril Connolly something new; but I don’t think he would listen. My present intention is to apply for Ceylon citizenship. With this in view I have written for a copy of my birth certificate, which may arrive VPP at the Hermitage in a few weeks time. If it does, I should be grateful if it could be paid for and [that] I [be] informed. My reasons for applying are not very clear: but I think I shall be no worse off as a citizen of Ceylon; it would be convenient if I wanted to travel (which at present I do not); I don’t like the idea (however fallacious) that I am on the end of a piece of string stretching all the way from England, and that somebody may decide to start pulling it; as a Buddhist I prefer to belong to a country where Buddhist principles are sympathized with; and it is always possible, so it seems, to change back again if need be. [ EL. 12 ]

27 January 1955

Many thanks for your letter and for the results of your researches. Most useful. The essay—or the book, rather—now amounts to about 16,000 words without counting texts and there is still some way to go. I am following The Meaning of Meaning to some extent and the results seem satisfactory, but there are still difficulties. The final conclusion is disconcerting:—In the only intelligible sense of the words it must be said that nibbåna is anattå. And there is a Sutta confirmation of this—the M¨lapariyåya Sutta. How-


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