An Introduction to
Rejoicings in his Merits by his Friends and
Contents Early Days London Buddhafield In Memoriam... Credits Autobiography
Introduction This book celebrates the life, work and friendships of Devapriya, in the words of some of his many friends. Following a suggestion made by Dhiramati and Abhayajit, it was put together in a few days at Samhain 2012, as Devapriya lay very ill in hospital - where he died at noon on Thursday November 1st, 2012, His old friends Paul Boyce, Annie Munro, Rehana, Carl Davies, Kamalashila, Satyajit, Yashobodhi and Rosie, plus his sister Akasacitta, were with him when he died, sending him Metta and chanting the Tara Mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA.. I’m sure that if we had had more time there would have been many many more contributions - despite all his many quirks and foibles, Devapriya was and is much loved and touched the lives of many people in many ways. He was one of my oldest and closest friends and I think pulling together this book is my own contribution and ‘rejoicing’ in him. As Rumi says, "Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth." Lokabandhu, Glastonbury/London October/November 2012
Member of the Triratna Buddhist Order 1981 - 2012
Kamalashila I'm with Devapriya as I write and send this, Satyajit is with me, up from Devon. Devapriya is sleeping and I took the photo opposite. I've known Devapriya since shortly after I came on the Triratna Buddhist scene in London in 1972 and I even worked for him once in a cafe he and Padmapani used to run in a student union in Whitechapel. That was a long time ago, too many things have happened, but more recently DP has been very kind to me and Yashobodhi, putting us up without rent or time limit when we were homeless and needing to find a place in London. Since then I've stayed in touch. DP is always good for a stimulating Dharma exchange. I always enjoy his company, and even during this very difficult time in hospital, was impressed that he cares so deeply about Dharma and so wants to practice. What more can anyone hope to do in such a difficult place.
Dharmabandhu Padmapani and I heard about Devapriyaâ€™s death as we were on our way to see him. We arrived at the hospital about 1.45pm on Thurs as Annie and the nurse were getting Deva ready to be moved to the Hermitage. His consciousness/spirit/energy seemed to be around and seemed to be around all day and eve as the gathering of his friends increased and we welcomed his body back at last into the Hermitage where he wanted to be. We chanted mantras, lit candles and incense and created a loving and devotional space with all his Thangkas and Rupas as more friends and family arrived to see him and say goodbye. It was a loving, sad and memorable day and evening as we talked about Devapriyaâ€™s life and shared memories of him. Deva had left his will and Lokabandhu read that out to us in the evening as we sat together after we'd shared a lovely Indian meal together. I found it hard to realise he'd really gone and it was only yesterday afternoon as I was leading a Puja I dedicated to Deva at the Brighton Buddhist Centre that I felt the loss and sadness more deeply.
Dhiramati: late October 2012 I hope you are well. Iâ€™m sure you are aware that Devapriya is very ill and has been close to death this week. I have been speaking to Abhayajit for a little while and he felt the need to celebrate/rejoice in all the good Devapriya has done for the movement, and all the love people feel for him, he has touched very many hearts. We both felt this was needed and that it would be good to do something while he was alive, so he could feel that appreciation and love and have it publicly acknowledged. I feel like why wait until he dies? He may come through this latest struggle but I feel something can be done now. I know Devapriya from Buddhafield and have always appreciated our contact but do not know him as well as others. So I was wondering perhaps ask friends to contribute some thoughts/feelings/history about Devapriya and edit then put in Shabda articles. Iâ€™m prompted by a dream I had last night where we were at an Order Convention and I was sat at table with Devapriya and someone said Devapriya is going to die.... the whole room went quiet, very still..then I said Ah Hermes has entered the room...there was more to it but it ended with me holding his hand and us acknowledging each other as brothers..... I would like us all to acknowledge him as a brother in the Dharma who has lived the life and followed his journey with great courage and heart. best wishes Dhiramati
Paul Boyce There he lay His frailty and strength in contrast Vulnerable to the point of helplessness yet His wit never failed His dignity never paled His fire His charm His ability to find calm, In the centre of a storm With his heart rate doubled in his sleep Each beat A countdown to his final breath. His depth Warmth and integrity Shone through for the most part When he fell short of his ideal He was still real Levelling the playing field Where friendship flourished. No rose-tinted glasses Our faults clearly visible Paled into insignificance In the light of truth As we shared our joys and pains Our existence Accompanying each other Upon life's road. You were a journeyman to me A marker A shower of the way Your love of maps Of internal and external landscapes
Served you well The path you chose The webs you wove. Fine the tapestry of your life Each colour many shades Each layer deeper Ever wider the circle grows A village comes and goes Frogs croak by a mill Telling tales of long ago By the mound Of our ancestors The rainbows pass As do the clouds above My love of such illusion Did not grasp All things pass In a room full of metta and mantra Removed the mask To stare death in the face Once more The sorrow and well-wishing of goodbye Brother, Sangha, Friend Journey well We will tell tales Of your trials and triumphs For generations to come We will rejoice in your merit Dear Deva!
Rosie Balyuzi Praise of Deva I met you the moment I met you which met me beautifully at the Padmasambhava retreat, mother of all retreats to meet the lord and the lady too, spiralling inside you calling you
I see a tall green grass, sharp, spiky strong, in essence so bright, intriguing delightful, not afraid to stand alone or to penetrate demons that need speaking to you said you would never cut out on me and you spoke true
big eyed deva I love you old rogue and new breath with ya sharp wit underlit with ruby kissed sweetness green tara hearted deep wisdom keeper never ever parted
Sangharakshita For the last few days my thoughts have been very much with Devapriya and they will continue to be with him tomorrow, Friday, as well as with all those attending his funeral. He was an Order member of the older generation, and his cheerfulness and positivity will be greatly missed. I trust that the funeral will be all that he could have wished for. With much metta, Sangharakshita
Padmapani Over the years I have distilled some sweet memories of my time with Devapriya. One of these is probably the one where always I can rely on Devapriya holding court at the Hermitage (his flat in London) When he was in better health conversation was always lively and one never knew who would turn up. This heady mixture, extending way into the night, with Devapriya answering a sense of everything being in Ritual Space. There was always a candle lit and incense wafting up from downstairs, and these, with the inevitable and usually evocative music playing quietly in the background , gave us a wonderful open sense of debate, with conventional views being scrutinised and usually found wanting. This was always very stimulating.
Yashodeva I met Devapriya on our Ordination course in 1981. He and I became ‘Devas’, though he was one already, having been named Alan Angel. His new name is ambiguous. Not only is he the loving deva he is also the ´lover of devas´. But it takes one to know one. We can see the deva in his eyes. They really sparkle. His poor body though was like our venue - Il Convento, Batignano, Tuscany - needing lots of maintenance. We´re talking 30 years ago and I was only 20. He liked the so called lion terrace (hope someone has a photo). Its bathed every evening in sunlight. Rock walls, red roof tiles and human skin alike are hotted up to a glowing pink. After three months together we all glowed from within. Later, in England, on our way to an Order weekend at Padmaloka, near to Red Lodge, he took a few of us to a beautiful Rajneesh centre where he was given health treatment. It was like a devaloka. I was impressed by how easily he makes friends. With love, Yashodeva.
Maharatnajyoti I first met Devapriya round about 1973 in Archway and my memory of him in those days is Alan Angel continually asking for, firstly to be a mitra and then Ordination. I remember him mainly though for his contribution to the Buddhafield festivals and family retreats, especially the ones in Teddy Stone's field. He was very strong willed, yet one of the softest and kindest men I have met. I hope his journey through the Bardos can be one of fearlessness and ease. Love from Maharatnajyoti
Vimalachitta I met Devapriya in the year of 1982. He was sitting behind a desk in Phoenix Housing co-op looking at me with a sort of knowing smile - I was a shy, rather lost 19 year old who had just got involved with the London Buddhist Centre. I wanted to move into the co-op and be near the centre but I was pretty naive and impractical about how to go about living in the Big Smoke. How lucky I was that he and his housing project were there to meet my inexperience with care and interest. He was friendly, warm and humorous and easily sorted me out with somewhere to live. At the time I was really grateful and looking back now, I am grateful for the 8 years that I lived in Phoenix. What a great project he created. It helped so many communities and individuals to live around the LBC and live in the way they wanted. For the years I was in Phoenix it was where most of the LBC Sangha lived, there could not have been 'a Buddhist Village', in the heart of the East End without it. Now 30 years later what stands out to me about Devapriya is that I have noticed how much affection there is around him, he seems to be a bit of a love magnet. People really care, value and appreciate him. I have not been around him so directly, but have known others who have (through his music in Shanti or through the Family Retreats), and he is always spoken of with such affection. The kind of affection that is reserved for those whose value and uniqueness is recognised. Personally - he is always someone that I am pleased to bump into, have a chat with, share a hello with or just simply see. He is one of those people who, purely by being who they are, make your heart smile.
Siddhiratna Devapriya! Not always an easy man to deal with but without him there would probably be no Sukhavati. The men working on the old fire station were struggling to get the centre finished, going out to work as Friends Building Services and other Right Livelihood enterprises to earn money to put into completing the project. It wasn't happening, despondency was setting in like dry rot. Along came Devapriya with his SCH (Student Community Housing) experience and his connections with Ken Livingstone mayor of London. Devapriyaâ€™s abilities as an organiser and string puller paid off. The money to finish off the LBC was awarded by the GLC and in 197? and the centre opened to the sounds of chanting and bagpipes. I don't know if Devapriya ever received the full recognition he deserved but I'm pretty sure that without his input the whole thing would have dragged on interminably or collapsed totally. So all power to your elbow DP. Best wishes and Metta, Siddhiratna
Ratnachuda I first met Devapriya around '91/'92 when I used to come up to stay at Vajrakuta to help Nityajyoti with the conversion of the barn into a dining room at Vajraloka. On that occasion, Devapriya had arrived by car with his friend Padmapani. As a mitra I was intrigued by the nature of their friendship. That was the start for me of a continuous puzzle about the wide variety of Devapriya's friendships. He seems to have an uncanny knack of drawing and maintaining a very broad circle of Friends, Mitras and Order Members (past and present). This was very evident at his birthday party in the Spring this year, at the flat he has lived in for twenty years. Arriving early in the afternoon I found myself with a few people who seemed to be connected or have been to the Triratna or the FWBO in some way. As the afternoon progressed I met people I'd known in the Movement over the years. Something about Devapriya's exemplification of friendship in the context of the Dharma? After my first encounter with Devapriya I next saw him at Rivendell on a Green Tara retreat in '95. By then I was ordained and living at Rivendell, he addressed me as 'Lord Chuda'. It struck him I was the lord of the manor, Rivendell. Shortly after that we have been addressing each other as 'Lord Chudaâ€™ and 'Lord Priya', a name I gave him as there's something quite manorial about Devapriya's bearing, despite all the severe physical ailments that have beset him for many years. I resist calling them infirmities, as he has with the help of good friends continued to have a life in the Dharma, leading family retreats and Buddhafield and Vajrasana. Last year I was very happy to be Devapriya's friend in the context of the Abhayaratna Trust in ensuring he was supported to go on the Order retreats he wanted to. Sadly the recent illness has prevented that happening so the Trust will look how it can support him in other ways. Devapriya's life hasn't been easy and I can see how his devotion to Green Tara has sustained and carried him to enable him to do this right up to this Summer when he was carried in a sedan chair around Buddhafield. Which is perhaps the picture that fits him best, the Lord visiting his manor? Ratnachuda Oct 28th
Harshaprabha Devapriyaâ€™s will, determination, open mindedness, straight forwardness, at times cheekiness and kindness stay with me. Much love and appreciation from Harshaprabha x
Suvajra Every time I meet him he is always lively and friendly with me - very hard to forget! I will more and rejoice more later.
Sudhana We were ordained together in Batignano, Tuscany, Italy in 1981. Devapriya has both a mystic and a socialist side to him.
Amoghavajra I have always loved the mischievous twinkle in Devapriya's eyes and your lively unconventional, grounded intelligence.
Jayaghosa Dear Devapriya, the only man I know who was born an Angel twice, free at last to lead the way beyond and inspire us with his vision and courage. Go well old friend. Om Ah Hum!
Chintamani My family and I were on a family retreat at Vajrasana when Devapriya passed away. His was the motivating energy behind that retreat and many like it. The best tribute I and other Buddhist parents can pay to him is to make sure that his wonderful initiative continues and goes from strength to strength.
Dharmananda I can't remember my first meeting with Devapriya, but it must have been in the late 70's, and probably at a Padmaloka retreat... I came to know him in the 80's when I moved to London. We travelled together to the early Tara visualization retreats at Vajraloka from 1982. In '84 he moved me up to Vajraloka in his old left-hand drive Volvo, an icon of its times. He didn't live long in the valley & we continued our friendship over my fairly frequent visits to London. The Hermitage was always a place of warm welcome. I remember him so fondly as a cantankerous old curmudgeon, with a mischievous twinkle in those ocean deep eyes. A man delighting in the mythic wonder of the Dharma & ancient folk lore alike; envisioner of Padmasambhava delighting in the Goddess (Tara). His kindness and generosity without compare. I wish my old friend a speedy and fortunate rebirth amongst our community.
Bodhidharma Remembering Devapriya I have good memories of Devapriya when I visited him twice or thrice in 1997- 98 . I remember spending my evening with him, had a dinner with him and If I remember well we listened music . He was very warm and friendly person, though had lot of personal difficulties with respect to his health but he was having a meaningful life. Such a joyful person! I think he lived his life fully and faced the death peacefully., In a true sense he was Dhammek. I learnt so much from him and always remembered him whenever I had to struggle practicing Dhamma. Dhamma life is full of struggle and therefore it is lively. I feel he is around me. Though he is not there in a physical rupa but he is very much there in my heart because of his good Karma. So much to learn from him when I reflect on his life. I send my metta and Shraddhanjali for him. with love, Bodhidharma
Ashvajit Thanks a million for the update on Devapriya. And thanks for the wonderful rejoicings in his merits, too. I have actually been thinking of Devapriya quite a bit, and if there is a further opportunity to contribute a rejoicing, I would like to do so. The memory of him is sweet. May his departure be painless, and his faring on be skilful. With much metta, Ashvajit
Dayaratna Devapriya was a kind and generous mentor to me in East London along with my Kalyana Mitras, Padmapani and Siddhiratna. About 1980 or 81 he took me on as works co-ordinator for his baby, Phoenix Housing Co-op, a job I did till I went to Tuscany to get ordained in 1983. He showed me the ropes in so many ways, from plumbing to attending a posh GLC meeting with Ken Livingstone, taking me to meet friends in different parts of London, sharing his unorthodox views on all sorts of issues and just relaxing together. Before I moved to USA in 1986, he personally offered to lend me quite a lot of money to have with on arriving in the States and my last evening in UK was spent chatting till way too late with him. He was masterly navigating the bureaucracy of the GLC, and was personally responsible for creating so many Buddhist communities. The existing communities on Approach Road near the LBC would not exist were it not for Devapriya's efforts. He was ousted very painfully from Phoenix - on one occasion his effigy was burned, and I think it's fair to say he was scapegoated, (Such a thing could not happen now could it? ! ) but he stuck with us and found other ways to engage with people in the context of the Triratna community. He was warm hearted and generous. Like a Bodhisattva, he had a way of removing fear and bringing one into the present. With Metta, Dayaratna
Prajnananda My recollections of Devapriya go back to our ordination retreat in Tuscany in 1981. He had an out of the ordinary capability to live a very full life alongside coping with severe health issues. These sometimes dominated but never completely defined him. There always seemed to be plenty going on for him and he possessed a mysterious catalytic ability to â€˜bring things aboutâ€™, arising from some inner drive and also an apparently tireless and genuine interest in other people, their doings and just who they were. He always seemed so fragile physically that I think it must have been largely this enjoyment in people and making things happen that kept him going so long. I wish him well.
Kuladitya I first met Devapriya in 1982 or 1983 when he was running the Phoenix Housing Co-op in East London. He had transformed a little short life co-op to the point where it was just about to register with the Housing Corporation to get serious government money and permanent housing for Buddhists around the LBC. Devapriya had an unusually strong ability to get things done and to make projects work, and it is because of his pioneering work and vision that the LBC has so many communities around it today. Our paths didn't cross again until I spent some time involved in Buddhafield, where once again Devapriya's indomitable spirit could be seen at work in the success of the 'child-friendly' retreat as it used to be called. Devapriya had been working for many years to organise and run more family and child inclusive retreats around the LBC, and he brought his vision and energy to Buddhafield, helping to build up the child friendly retreats into the fantastic events they are in today. Being perhaps a bit of an outsider himself, Devapriya has a great knack of contacting and including people who might otherwise struggle to make a connection with the Dharma - and I'm sure there are many people around the movement today who wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Devapriya. What is more he has achieved all this while being pretty much constantly in pain and struggling with his ill health! SADHU DEVAPRIYA - Master of skilful means and compassion!! With love from Kuladitya
Nik My Guru, my Mentor, my Uncle, my friend =) I will sorely miss my Teacher. There is a huge empty space in my heart. But he has already planted something Beautiful there. Really excited about what mite grow ? =D
Aloka Devapriya was part of the Archway Centre when I first came along in '74 -But thinking of him over the last week or so I remembered that I only got to know him better in the late '80's as he used to come and visit me at Street Farm to talk things over when he seemed to be having difficulties with various people in London - Devapriya was one of those people who (for whatever reason) never travelled the smooth or comfortable road - His physical ailments were obviously part of that but in spite of everything he had a very Good Heart. The first 'snap-shotâ€™ memory that surfaced on hearing the news of his death was of us being on an Order weekend at Padmaloka. I'd just lost a number of teeth which many seemed to find a source of amusement as it caused me to lisp quite badly, Devapriya -(an old hand at dental misadventure) took me to one side and told me not to worry as in time your body adapts and the lisp vanishes - a kind and useful observation which I found to be true. I trust that he's currently enjoying the next bit of the adventure, free (for the time being at least) of bodily ailments. Best wishes Aloka.
Nityabodha At the moment of DevapriyaÂ´s death I was climbing up a gully to an Aztec pyramid in Tapazlan in Central Mexico, the type of place were some say men become gods. Later that same day I was in Mexico City to witness the Day of the Dead Festival - the symbolism was not lost on me. I have taken what opportunity I have to mourn the passing of my friend and companion of 30 years. On the 22nd of October I went to visit Devapriya in his room at the Whittington. As was my habit of many years I called him Myrddin, a name I always felt appropriate and a name he always liked and accepted. I spoke about my plans to attend the Mexican convention and his plans to get back home next week. In time I ended the meeting, I kissed his hand, another habit of many years and bid him goodbye. It will be the last time we will ever meet. My feelings for Deyapriya are many and varied. I remember him as the driving force behind Phoenix, as an excellent host, as a scintillating conversationalist and as someone beset with terrible illness. What we must realize is that Devapriya was perhaps the most influential individual behind the creation of the London Buddhist Centre. His knowledge of housing, his connection with local government and
his diplomatic skills proved invaluable. The building of the LBC was a make or break project for our Sangha and without him it might have never been completed, a fact which he has never been given the credit he deserved for. Without him the LBC might never have been finished and all of us might be living very different lives. Devapriya was an extraordinary man. Even with being house bound and in terrible pain he still managed to draw people around him. I visited him regularly over the last year and was often delighted to find his flat filled with the most interesting and good hearted people you could ever find. The loyalty of his friends, myself included, bears testament to his friendliness, his warmth and his wit. At times Devapriya gave me the most useful advice. Towards the end of my last meeting with him he made an observation which permanently changed my sense of things of the highest importance to me, providing me with a new and valuable insight into my own past. Devapriya was a man of the keenest intelligence. But perhaps his fineness and most defining virtue was his kindness. It is this, more than anything else that I will never forget and will always treasure. For me life will never be the same, will never be as good as it might have been. I will never find anyone to replace him.
Maitrimani I met Devapriya in 1985 or '86 at Vajrakuta in Wales. I do not recall how we became friends following that meeting. I know that I was living in communities and working with other Buddhists in some of our businesses in East London while he was often at his residence in Archway, London. I frequently had the pleasure of spending time with him there, meals with him and my cup overflowing throughout the evening with the Dharma. He conveyed to me a refreshing approach as I found myself navigating how to pursue Buddhist practice within this lifestyle, living and working with other Buddhists. I very much welcomed him sharing his thoughts and experiences as the communities and the businesses I worked in could become intense, each of us in these situations showing up with our own unique personalities. I valued Devapriya's quality of accepting the baggage of personality, our egos we stumble along with as well as how to get the bigger perspective. His down to earth kindness through acceptance but not staying complacent stand out to me.
Sometimes I supported the introductory classes he led at the LBC (East London). He gave the gift of confidence. In our weekly meetings he would ask the supporting team how the evening went, did what he was trying to convey come across? He really wanted to know our thoughts and wanted us to be participants in the classes. This just enabled us to take a straightforward approach and voice any thoughts and concerns. I did experience a similar approach from other facilitators. Enabling a support team in this way is incredibly valuable. Devapriya had a much deeper experience and understanding of the Dharma but he wanted the supporting team to know we too had our experiences to share. Not only did this encourage confidence, it gave us the opportunity to come together. This leads me onto what I experienced as Devapriya's most excellent quality, forming and fostering community. Our sangha jewel shone through him and still does in all those beings who value his qualities. His involvement in the LBC and Phoenix housing enabled communities to flourish and friendships to form in the Buddhist village in East London. I benefited greatly from this. But that wasn't enough for him! This addressed some individuals who were single or those able to work in these situations. They could be part of the Buddhist community in a more in depth way. But it did not address people living in families. Developing family retreats enabled so many more people to contact the Dharma in a meaningful way and continued what I consider this great legacy of Devapriya's, forming community. When I had my son, Stefan we both went on some of these retreats. Devapriya was a precious friend to me personally and I know he was a precious friend to so many people, many I have never met. He just met everyone he encountered where they were at, always looking to engage. I want to thank all those who have written about their friendship in the book of his rejoicings. Your voices so honour him. I am able to feel a connection with many people I haven't met. I just have a picture in my mind of Devapriya where he loved to be, on a Buddhafield retreat in one of the expansive and serene fields with children and adults just moving around. Devapriya held us all, each of us personally and the big picture of how important community is. With so much appreciation for your love, Devapriya, and many hugs and kisses I sent across the Atlantic while you were in hospital and since your departure, Maitrimani And with much metta to you all, Maitrimani
Deva from a time when we called him Al on Glastonbury Tor in the early 70's. (photo Chris Turnbull)
His raggedy majesty travels to a better place Like endless incense from his shrine he floats free of his bones that could no longer carry him His heart so full of love and his deeds so full of kindness and his sharp and fruity wit shall be embraced like one of his many guests by his beloved Tara! Once a twinkle of mischief under that hat Now ripening into fruition For the benefit of many The buddhalands extend! (Helen Chuntso)
Denise Dobson I met Devapriya at his home in the year 1999. I had been invited over to "The Hermitage" as I had been asked to join NLBC band 'Shanti' as an egg shaker and backing vocalist. (Devapriya is a dab hand on the tablas for those of you who didn't know!). This was the first of many, many evenings of Shanti magic over the next 5 years. and so it would be true to say that some of my most beautiful and soulful experiences were shared with Devapriya, Appicha and Manjudeva. Devapriya particularly likes a song that I wrote called "Stone' and he always asks me to choose it when we are coming up with lists of songs to sing at gigs. Tell me something Tell me something I don't already know Tell me whatâ€™s new about this... There's still no blood coming out of this stone. Itâ€™s not yet fully seen I can't make sense of the shapes staring at me What do they mean? I can't make sense of this strange reality Sitting here with myself again, nowhere to run and hide. Tell me who will I be If I dance in this shadowland, what will I see? I'm scared of the dark I'll keep alight a fire in my heart" Every time I visit The Hermitage, I can be assured of a warm welcome, good company, food and drink. Devapriya's first question is always "How's Tara?" (my daughter) which touches me every time.
I will be forever grateful to Devapriya for introducing me to the Family Retreat at Frog Mill. The family retreat was his vision and it has grown into a wonderful community where the dharma can be practiced and celebrated in work and play on the land, our own land. Our whole year has revolved around the retreat for the last seven years and that is all thanks to Devapriya. Thank you Devapriya. I am so sorry that you are in such pain and I wish you peace in mind and body. With love Denise xxx
Manjudeva I met Devapriya in 1993 on my first ever weekend retreat. Then he appeared to me as a kindly wizard!. We studied together for four years, he was always very open minded, which was not that usual in those days! The best part of our friendship was playing in the band Shanti for seven years. We have a lot of fun and laughter and created magical music that will stay with me forever. Thank you Devapriya for introducing me to a bigger world in so many ways. There are a thousand ways to kiss the earth as Rumi says. and a huge thank you for your kind company over so many years.
Samavahita I totally rejoice in Devapriya. My memories of him go back to the LBC in the 1980s when I first got involved. I owe my long experience in communities to all his work at Phoenix Housing Co-op. Always exemplifying friendliness, and full of common sense and no nonsense wisdom, he is someone who gave me faith in the Order in my early days and down the years. Our paths crossed on parent and children retreats, as mitra convenors, and later in Bodh Gaya and at many teachings with Tibetan Rinpoches in London, It was always a delight to see him and talk with him. His positivity in the face of his physical limitations has always been an inspiration to me. May he go with love and find a fortunate rebirth.
Suryagupta I had the privilege of co- leading the LBC parents and children's retreat with Devapriya for a number of years. The parents and children's retreats have evolved considerably over the years as different Order members partnered with Devapriya in developing activities. Thanks to his support and encouragement these retreats have become a real oasis for parents and children alike. When I got involved l wanted to bring my work of storytelling and creativity to teaching the dharma to both parents and children. Devapriya was unstintingly encouraging and supportive of my various approaches and the teamâ€™s general development. He had both a quiet and strong presence, like an anchor and this was greatly appreciated by young and old alike. In fact it became almost a ritual on the retreat to rejoice in his qualities both formally and informally, recognising in doing so that it was his loyalty and persistence that enabled these activities to continue over so many years. It was a moving experience to see Devapriya step back from leading to just enjoy being on these retreats. He would often sit and delight in the creative activities of the children, often initiating musical ones as well as contribute wholeheartedly to any spontaneous discussions that arose with adults. As he became frailer the team encouraged him to ask for what he needed, and accept help, something he found difficult to do at times, when he did he was very appreciative and expressed a depth of gratitude that was humbling. I personally marvelled at his ability to remain so engaged and energetic despite his health and saw this as an expression of faith in the dharma and love for people of all ages, sizes and circumstance. Thank you Devapriya for being a good friend to us all.
Kuladitya I first met Devapriya in 1982 or 1983 when he was running the Phoenix Housing Co-op in East London. He had transformed a little short life co-op to the point where it was just about to register with the Housing Corporation to get serious government money and permanent housing for Buddhists around the LBC. Devapriya had an unusually strong ability to get things done and to make projects work, and it is because of his pioneering work and vision that the LBC has so many communities around it today.
Our paths didn't cross again until I spent some time involved in Buddhafield, where once again Devapriya's indomitable spirit could be seen at work in the success of the 'child-friendly' retreat as it used to be called. Devapriya had been working for many years to organise and run more family and child inclusive retreats around the LBC, and he brought his vision and energy to Buddhafield, helping to build up the child friendly retreats into the fantastic events they are in today. Being perhaps a bit of an outsider himself, Devapriya has a great knack of contacting and including people who might otherwise struggle to make a connection with the Dharma - and I'm sure there are many people around the movement today who wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Devapriya. What is more he has achieved all this while being pretty much constantly in pain and struggling with his ill health! SADHU DEVAPRIYA - Master of skilful means and compassion!! With love from Kuladitya
Paulo I met Devapriya in 1998, shortly after joining the Karuna Trust team and community in North London. He was my mitra study group leader for a few years, a role which he performed magnificently. Our weekly meetings at the Hermitage were invariably a delight, not only because of Devapriya's hospitality and entertaining presence, but also because of his fresh perspective on all the themes that we tackled in the mitra study programme. However, that was not how Devapriya secured a place in my heart. In his company I was always able to be myself, to fully feel what I felt, to openly express whatever was going on for me (and in those years I had a lot of difficult stuff going on). He listened patiently and often offered a different perspective on things, he even helped me to see when I'd been unskilful or just wrong. Still, not once did I feel judged or inadequate or diminished in any way. Devapriya accepted me and my experiences, whatever they were, with compassion and an ever so light touch. He helped me through difficult times simply by doing what he does best: allowing people to be and relating to them without trying to change them. For this, I will always be grateful. Thank you, my lovely friend.
Amogharatna Devapriya Briefaktion I first met Devapriya in the autumn of 1993 while engaged in my first Karuna Trust appeal in North London. Once a week Devapriya generously gave his time to lead us through study in the recently opened North London Buddhist Centre, for which I am very grateful. I was fairly new to the FWBO at the time and Devapriya's clarity, patience and friendliness made a strong impression on me, and contributed to my decision to pursue my path in the context of the movement. Many, many thanks to you Devapriya. With much Metta Amogharatna
Arthacarya Devapriya was one of the first people I met at the newly opened NLBC at Chillingworth Road. I was struck by his obvious physical ailments, and by his good humour, courage and friendliness in the face of them. Devapriya proved a firm friend and mentor for many years, as he was to so many at the NLBC and beyond. He provided a fresh and critical perspective on the WBO and movement, which I found helpful, particularly in encouraging critical thinking. He had a genius for exposing hypocrisy and prodding at inflated egos! He wasn't afraid to say what he thought, which took courage, but that sometimes put him outside of groups which I know sometimes hurt. I remember his kind heartedness, sensitivity and his tremendous faith in Sangharakshita, Tara and Padmasambhava. He had more than a touch of the tantric guru about him himself. He was a firm 'mantrayana' devotee (to quote him) and the Hermitage always had incense burning, the kettle on and esoteric music playing. Like entering another realm..I was part of the 3 years mitra study course at Devapriyaâ€™s house, he was unfailingly generous with his time and energy, inspiring and real during those pivotal study sessions. I visited him often for many years, and was always struck by the depth and range of friendships he managed to maintain, and the Hermitageâ€™s revolving door policy. Sadhu and Shanti Devapriya.
Andy Slack I met Devapriya over ten years ago, around 2002 I think, in the old North London Buddhist centre, where he was teaching Friday night practice class. He invited me and Steve Silverton back after class a few times, and I later got to know him when I played with him in Shanti, and then through Buddhafield. I visited him in his flat many times. He has been a very good friend to me, always available to listen and talk, and share his hospitality. He is a real authentic character, not without his flaws, who can speak his mind plainly, which I love. He also has a really big heart and has been a great listener, adviser, support and host to me and many other people over the years I have known him. I have very much appreciated his earthy sense of humour; I also believe he has a beautiful, fine, broad and open vision of the dharma, which he has been able to share with many people in a warm and accessible way. His courage in dealing with his health problems, yet still getting out and about in the world, has been remarkable and heroic, and despite these problems he has remained consistently engaged with other people and available to them. I have spent many great hours with him, both in his flat and in his caravan on Buddhafield events. I love him dearly and will feel his loss greatly if now is his time to go. I have a heartfelt hope that he can pull through and spend some more time with us.
Upayavira While I've known Devapriya since the mid 1990s, it is only in the last two years that I have really got to know him better. I have spent quite a lot of time in London in that time, and when there, have stayed with Devapriya. I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated our seemingly endless stimulating discussions about psychology and the nature of mind - the only hard thing about chatting with Devapriya is bringing a conversation to a close! However, aside from all that, the thing that has struck me forcibly of late is the nature of his practice, particularly around pain management. I was on a number of occasions while chatting with him, quite taken aback when he talked about the level of pain he experiences, and how he uses his practice to manage it, rather than resorting to drugs that would also cloud his mind. I sensed a substantial level of practice focused on that task that has been built up quietly over the years which, to me at least, has gone on largely unnoticed - he makes nothing of it. Through his hospitality and friendship, Devapriya helped me through a time that saw some substantial inner changes, giving me the space to explore and expand into a richer inner life. For that, and his friendship in general, I am deeply grateful." Upayavira
Khemajoti I remember Devapriya on an LBC families retreat at Vajrasana a few years ago. Clearly a project dear to his heart which has gone from strength to strength. I wish you well Devapriya. Metta
Santva Rejoicing in Devapriya A few lines rejoicing in dear Devapriya. love, Santva I first met Devapriya in the early 1990s. He took a kindly and enormously helpful interest in the parents' and children's activities which were beginning to spring up around the LBC at that time. From 1995 to 2002 we ran retreats at Waterhall, Court Lodge (Subhuti's mother's house) and Vajrasana, during which parents could meditate, study and spend time together and with the children, who made friends and played. With so many diverse needs and preferences and the retreats sometimes resembled chaos, into which Devapriya unfailingly brought a Dharmic perspective, good humour and much encouragement. He was mostly fairly relaxed and led the shrine room activities so that family life and Dharma practice came together. His intelligence and his kindly interest in us all, individually and collectively were well placed and he was much loved and appreciated. He was also very good at practical things, having been both an electrician and a kitchen manager. I particularly remember delicious late night phone calls, full of camaraderie, when the two of us relived the highs and lows of the last retreat and began to plan the next one. I think Devapriya was nocturnal at that time, or maybe he thought I was. His health was never great, but that did not impede the flow of his generosity. I have very happy memories of those times with Devapriya. Santva
Paul Wady MY DEVAPRIYA. By Paul Wady. It was during my first few days in the North London Buddhist Centre that I became aware of one of ‘those Buddhists’ who had managed to keep some of his original name. David Priya? We became very close. I spent so much time with Devapriya in the infamous Hermitage, that I moved in a year after meeting him. During the summer of 1995 he proceeded to give me home and shelter. Afterwards I moved into his son’s flat before returning to renting. For 9 years before it moved, we were all part of the old North London Centre family. God help us all. I've known him 19 years now. Devapriya thinks nothing of giving. It is a way of life for him. No matter how badly life has sabotaged his health and his dealings with the world, he will not stop caring. During a year that was crucial for my spiritual survival and progression, he was more of a friend than both of us recognized. My five years of not seeing him ended this year. It is to my shame that we parted over this time. We both hold very similar views on the Triratna, yet see it as a dysfunctional family you just cannot divorce yourself from. Devapriya loves too much to do that. We’ve had a lot of good meals at that table he has always kept by his small kitchen. That and some arguments. Devapriya has been very important to all of us who are outsiders in different ways. The Triratna’s insular style means that the people involved who are outside of a certain prevailing kind, need teachers and personalities like him. It is surely the nature of such people that they will hold strong views in opposition to others. We all know Devapriya can do that. Such is the freedom and importance of his presence in the spiritual community. Now you get better soon and take the whole thing over. xxx Paul Wady.
Padma Delic Devapriya has been a good friend to me. One of the few people in this world who really understands the Dharma right down to his bones. He's had a tough ride in so many ways and still manages to stay positive and open to others. What a guy. A true practitioner. A true master. I've learned so much sitting around his table. His eyes are open. He's a fighter and he's got more to teach this world. Rise up Lord Deva! You're not done yet! We need to read your book!!! Big love and respect, Padma Delic xxxxx
Steve Silverton I second what Padma Delic says. I first met DP in 1993 when he led the study for a Karuna Appeal. I found his clarity of understanding, energy and warmth tremendously inspiring. He has indeed had a rough ride but for me he embodies the ability to transmute suffering into wisdom, whilst 'keeping it real' and being who he is.
Kathy Jarvis I first met Devapriya in 1998 when I 1st started going to the North London Buddhist Centre. He organised the child friendly events we had there and has always been incredibly supportive in helping me practice the Dharma. I find him to be warm, generous ,funny and mad! Iâ€™ve had many a conversation with him at lots of Buddhafield festivals .I really appreciated the time I spent with him this last festival in his caravan listening to his words of wisdom and laughing a lot. THANK YOU Devapriya for all your love and kindness xxx
Kusala A very important man in the lives of me and my children. I doubt very much if I would be in the Triratna Buddhist order if not for him. I actually met Devapriya the first night that the old North London Buddhist Centre opened back in 1992. His constant support for parents' and children's activities was crucial for me and I think my daughters look back on those slightly wacky retreats at Water Hall in the 1990s with affection and nostalgia. He also was a brilliant study leader for me and others in three plus years of mitra study
Zoe Hayward Dear Devapriya, Zoe here... ... Hello ... I have often thought back over the years to my time at NLBC, with a huge gratitude and warmth of heart. There were such excellent characters bringing together the dharma and sangha that it really was a most positive time. And you were certainly a big part of that .. I recall your excellent, cheeky and somewhat playful, sense of humour.. your clear uncomplicated teaching of dharma, practical, matter of fact, common sense .. and yet a delight of magical, mystical and ungraspable. I recall your friendship with me, you were not discriminating in your sincerity of connection, with a 'person' not what level of commitment in the order, or age, or gender... you were 'real' .. this is a rare thing sometimes in human society.. I recognise sincerely that I 'met' a humble, true being. Visiting you at home in Highgate, we'd converse through so many subjects from poetry, politics, religion, music.. and many more....!!
I would've loved to see you at Buddhafield this year, only I was in a very bad way, having had a very difficult year, after my mum had a stroke last year in august, I became her carer ..it has been much more difficult than just looking after, as she is different personality, emotionally, memory etc +much more but thatâ€™s not the point of this email... suffice it to say, I have had a year of strong challenges emotionally, psychologically, my Kshanti has had VAST quantities of practice!!! When I got to Buddhafield, I needed to be 'held' by the space.. and see what arose in me that I needed to do... I spent a fair bit of time alone, crying, meditating and a little catching up with friends... it was only a day or so before the end that I found out you were on sight, I had assumed cos of the mud you wouldn't be!! ... so, wish I'd seen you .. however, hope you had a good one.. I rejoice in you having been a part of my experience at the beginning of my FWBO experience, I look back with great fondness to that time..there was real sangha at times, a lot of Love Metta in that shrine room.... Lovely... Sadhu!! many blessings much Metta Zoe
Jayaraja A rejoicing, I met Devapriya when he led study for us on my first Karuna appeal. I was impressed with his vitality, and energy and enthusiasm. He was also an excellent man to have leading study on such an appeal. He was perceptive, encouraging, broadminded and very friendly. I later moved to London and joined a chapter with him, which was often at his flat. Though he would at times get stuck in some past difficulties he was capable of listening to others very empathically and was a generous host and committed Dharma practitioner. Despite his aliments he was resolute in getting involved and leading retreats that were of an inclusive nature, most notably the Buddhafield family friendly retreats, and I am sure there are many who will celebrate his contribution to those events. He is a devoted Tara practitioner and embodied some of her qualities, in striving to go out to people and befriend them. may he farewell in his continued Dharma journey. Metta Jayaraja
Yashobodhi I met Devapriya in 2007. I had just moved to Devon to live with Kamalashila in the context of Trevince House, a Buddhafield community near Exeter. Devapriya has a strong connection to Buddhafield and I met him first on a gathering for Order Members involved with Buddhafield, to which I was kindly invited. In May 2007 he was present at the hand-fasting ceremony I had with Kamalashila, and the photo attached shows him getting up to make an offering to the shrine in the big bender at Broadhembury. When Kamalashila and I came back to the UK fairly suddenly after having lived in Spain, Devapriya offered us the use of his spare room until we had found a place to live in London. As Kamalashila was booked on a number of retreats that Autumn, it was mainly me that lived in the guestroom in Devapriyaâ€™s Hermitage for a few months. I will always be grateful to Devapriya for offering his spare room, oasis, in this difficult period of my life. Everyone who knows Devapriya knows how passionately he feels about the Dharma and how he
loves talking about the Dharma with people. His mind will always turn to the Dharma. This became especially clear to me when I visited him in hospital the day after he nearly died. He was mainly talking about the Dharma. It has made a strong impression on me to see how his connection to Green Tara supports him in these very challenging times. Seeing this inspires me to practice more deeply and to renew and strengthen my relationship with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. May their blessings rain down upon this amazing and wonderful being: Devapriya.
Becca I first met Devapriya when my daughter was two - so 2008, on a family retreat at Vajrasana. He gave a talk with the title "Grace, Grit and Gratitude". In the last couple of years I have worked closely with him and come to see how much the title of that talk is his working ground - and just how much grit he has had to deal with. Always, always, he has had how to support the growth and health of the families retreats (and family Dharma practitioners) at the heart of what he does. The apple tree he wanted the children to plant at Frog Mill this year (and which he witnessed them planting despite terrible pain) will bear the fruit of his labours for many generations to come. He has touched so many lives. May the blessings of Tara always be with him. Rebecca
Rehana Devapriya, I love you and I miss you - you drove me mad sometimes but you were a unique spirit. Your force of will was stronger than anyone i know - it carried you through great pain, along with your humour and creative mind. I know that you loved life, it always interested you. You were in touch with the Mythic. You were a great Romantic. Goodbye, I hope Peace finds you, and you settle, in light, forever. Love Rehana xxx
Kamalini I first met Devapriya in the nineties at the London Buddhist Arts Centre and enjoyed his wholehearted, enthusiastic, sometimes fiery and yet also receptive presence during discussions on visual art, music and Buddhism. I'm also extremely grateful to him for the energy and commitment to family orientated retreats and activities, he has shown impressive constancy in this, despite his own challenges. I think I remember him saying he enjoyed children more than adults, but he has given so generously to both! Thanks so much, Devapriya.
Ross I first met Devapriya at Buddhafield Festival in about 2005, and then he was at the Child Friendly Retreat later that same year. I always liked him and got to like him even more as I got to know him better, finding that we both shared a very similar world view. When he offered me the chance of staying in the spare room at his flat a few years later, I jumped at the chance. It increased my commuting time to work from twenty minutes to an hour, but it was worth it and I ended up staying there about a year and a half. I remember us both spending many happy hours sitting round the kitchen table in the evening putting the world to rights. I can honestly say that I have ALWAYS enjoyed his company - and I can only really say this of very few people. And I found him a very straightforward bloke to live with, being totally clear about what were the do's and donâ€™ts in his home (not that he was fussy about much), but at the same time being the perfect host and always making me feel completely welcome. He is a great teacher. I love his no-nonsense approach and have been very grateful for his uncompromising insight. Despite sometimes being quite unwell, I watched him accept this with remarkably good spirit and I learnt a lot from his pragmatic approach to his difficulties. Overall he helped me through quite a strange period - I had a job that didn't really suit me, combined with a return to a city I didn't much like. His wisdom along with his wicked sense of humour helped make it much more bearable and for me to make more sense of things. I've been asked to say some nice things about him, but I really don't have to try very hard. He is such a special person to me. My very dear friend, Devapriya.
Drew Deva was my Brother, Father, Partner in Crime, Godfather, Guru, Kalyana Mitra, Confidante, Teacher and above all these a Great Friend. He had the power to say the right things at the most effective time. He was simply one of the most extraordinary people I ever met. I miss him but he will always be in my heart and in the memories of so many he was there for.
Dharmabandhu Devapriya, what a Star! what a Hero! what a Trojan, Unstoppable! Indefatigable, mysterious, magical, wily, ingenious, totally determined to help create A Buddhist Village Community, Inspired, Helpful. Loving, Mischievous, Thoughtful, Friendly...Well look I better stop here for the moment so some of you other lovelies have got words to use!!! he’s a loving friend xxxx
Abhayajit It’s just 2 hours since I heard of your death. I’m still stunned at the suddenness of it. You probably don’t remember the first time we met, it was after I went on my first GFR Retreat and you were leading a Mitra study Retreat. Noticing the contrast between the 2 events was for me quite significant and if there were 2 different ways of being in the world being demonstrated I’d like to think I chose your way. I loved Dhiramati’s dream about you as Hermes, that is so true. The trickster, the magician, the messenger. Even your faults seem to have taken on an archetypal significance to me right now. I don’t know if you cultivated the wizard look at all but even if you did the basic ingredients were there. What made me join the Order was ‘Yashomitra’s Letter’ and its effect of making things feel more Human, it’s hardly surprising to me that you were putting him up at the time. To some degree I think I followed in his footsteps in that you supported me in my own process of ‘Individuation,’ which included several rants over wine and cheesecake! There weren’t many people I felt I could talk to about all of that stuff and you helped me. As to your own rants, whilst I am well aware there is another side to that story. I am left with the wish and hope for some revisioning of what you went through I really feel blessed by some of the opportunities that have come my way in the last couple of years. These came partly because I joined this movement and I am grateful to those including you who welcomed me in but I am even more grateful for those who helped to give me the key to thinking about unlocking my own particular mystery and you were a significant part in that. Thank you!!! I felt that you would have liked to have gone further down that road yourself. In that sense maybe I am your son, grateful for what his Father has endured to give me a golden opportunity.
‘The hermitage’ truly was a place of refuge for so many people and I am glad to spend quite a lot of time there over the last couple of years. You supported me whilst I was doing my course by putting me up and sometimes even cooking for me despite your increasingly desperate physical condition. I know your last few weeks were pretty horrible at times, in fact that’s probably an understatement. I hope you are feeling the release from that. We all have our faults and you were complex its true, but when I think of you I think of someone who was more than his good and bad qualities. There is something mythical about you, you will shine brightly in our imaginations. I have known Devapriya around 12 years and he has been a significant person in my life, perhaps even more so than I have realised. It is in the last couple of years whilst staying with Devapriya whilst doing my counselling course that I have got to know him more deeply. It’s in the area of Soul/psychotherapy that we really connected and My first real meeting with Devapriya sticks in my mind. I had just come back from my first GFR retreat at Padmaloka and whilst I had found the retreat helpful, I breathed a sigh of relief on meeting Devapriya, his down to earth warmth was just what I needed at that point as he led us through a mitra study retreat. I would say that meeting at that I got ordained into the order because there were people like Devapriya in it. Lots of love Abhayajit
Suzanne Burgess I met u in your caravan at buddhafield festy some years ago and we have not seen each other since! The memory may fade but the kiss was forever! love and bless you xxx I light a candle for you deva xxx
Rose Amey Devapriya: unforgettable
Vajradakini Friendly, warm. humorous, smiling, playful, musical, delighting, serious practitioner, friend of many, enemy of none, lovely man.
Jess Brand I met you many times in Buddhafield but the time we actually had a laugh together was in Bath hospital - with my friend Rev Val - joking about thongs and having people dressed up or down as they do their work. Always so impressed with your coolness I do hope that the pain passes on and leaves you free.
Kavyasiddhi It's been lovely to see you and share a laugh - or at least a wry smile - under some bit of canvas or other, over the years. Seeing you is one the ways I 'l'and' at Buddhafield. Go well, Beloved of the Gods
Bodhakari I rejoice in Devapriya helping to provide retreats for families. I have been for tea with him at Buddhafield and thoroughly enjoyed that. Sending him metta xxx
Daniel Dobbie Our hearts are with him.
Saul Deason Lokabandhu asked me to write an appreciation of Devapriya that was to part of an anthology a Book of Rejoicing in Devapriya. What with plumbing crisis and ongoing decorating in my home and deadlines looming at work I missed what I thought was the deadline. In fact I heard that Deva had died that very day. Death has a way of sharpening up our perceptions of what is important so now I want to add these few words about my friend Deva. Deva always reached out to people. I first met Deva on a children’s and parents’ retreat. That was one of his pioneering efforts and later as we all know he went on to organise the Buddhafield child friendly retreats. Deva always took an interest in people and he always wanted the movement to be a friendly welcoming place for newcomers and he didn’t make assumptions about people - so if they were busy single parents that was fine by him - and he would organise to include them in the Dharma. Deva was an activist. Despite enormous physical limitations he was always actively engaged in projects like Buddhafield. Many of us remember how he took on busy roles like running the information centre at the festival. In the North London Buddhist Centre he was a moving spirit in all manner of projects and schemes. Even when he wasn’t obviously running things he always took an interest and encouraged us to run new ventures. Deva challenged complacency. Those comfortable individuals who considered themselves the natural leaders were challenged by Deva. He was not impressed by suave appearances and he was intolerant of pretentiousness. Deva would champion those who were unheard. This meant that Deva was not always a comfortable person to be with because he did challenge the complacency of those self appointed elites that like to take things over in the movement. I never had to pretend to be anyone else in his company. All too often dealing with Order Members I found I had to pretend not be or not to… and ended up having to conform to social mores that weren’t my own. Deva could take it and he accepted that other peoples’ experiences and perceptions could be and were different. I confess I follow the path of excess (even if in moderation) and in Deva’s company I did not have to feel like a hypocrite and I could discuss the ethical implications of things that others could not even discuss. As a result I had more earnest conversations about dharma issues with Deva than with others in the movement.
Most of all I will miss my friend Deva sorely and there is a gap that will not be readily filled. But he wonâ€™t be forgotten quickly either. Saul Deason 1st November 2012 Newington Green, North London.
Jane Easton Hi Lokabandhu, that's a lovely idea. I don't know him at all, albeit at a distance around the B'field site. My thoughts and good wishes go to him however and I'm so pleased he has many caring and kind friends at this difficult time.
Mark Hughes I just heard that Devapriya has passed on. I'm sending my heart-felt best wishes for the magical being.
Loren Treisman Devapriya, you're a special man. I remember having many memorable conversations with you at the various Buddhafield retreats I've attended and enjoyed spending time with you in your warm, toasty caravan. I admire your passion, strength of character and insight. You're also a lot of fun! Your energy has also been felt throughout Buddhafield. Sending lots of metta your way. Lots of love, Loren
Rob Scott R.I.P. Devapriya, the bravest, most stoic, charismatic, and humble man I have ever had the good fortune to meet. Someone who, despite his suffering, lent a listening ear to many including myself, at a time when it was most needed. Someone who inspired many to let go of their grief and just do the best they can. I wish now that I had taken the time to go visit him since he became ill in August. I wanted to but couldn't justify the cost... something that now seems a churlish reason not to give my love, empathy and healing energy to a friend in need. However, he was always in my thoughts and prayers, and more than anything, I wished for him to be at peace, and to be free of pain. Though I feel sad that I can't now tell the living breathing soul how much he meant to me, I know that wherever he is, he knows how much love I had for him, and how much love I gave to him, and he knows the depth of gratitude I have for the love he showed me. Be free Deva. Thank you in my humblest gratitude for conceiving the Buddhafield Family Retreat. You have inspired me to strive to be better. Rest in peace knowing that your life made a difference to all who met you xxxxxxxxx
Sasha i ♥ u Devapriya love sasha
Rupadarshin Today I lost an incredible friend. Deva Devapriya, the indomitable champion of family Buddhist practice, a true exemplar of Green Tara. Despite massive physical challenges he led family camping events with flair and determination for the last 7 years, despite flood, tempest, rain and even sun, his door was always open and his kettle ready. Respect and Farewell, old friend. You set the bar high, may we meet the challenge. ♥ ♥ evapriya. We hold his dreams - and will take them onwards. Farewell, Lord Priya, Deva, Angel, warrior. D Farewell, Braveheart! ♥
Ruth Walker It seems fitting him being such a Pagan Buddhist that he should die on the day of the dead. Blessings and Tara mantras and candles lit. What an amazing man. I am so sad.
Peter Cogger Silent warrior! I saw Devapriya grimace as he played the tabla, sitting in/on an array of cushions. Our eyes met as he saw me send him an enquiring frown, with the tilt of my head. Afterwards I approached him. ‘How are you doing?’, I asked. ‘Not too bad’, was his gentle reply. ‘You sure about that?’, I asked again as my eyes met those of this brave man. ‘Yep, pretty sure’, he smiled. Kinda sums it up for me. I didn’t know him very well but I knew a warrior when I met one! I aspire to your qualities, Sir. Journey well.
Libby Davy With profound appreciation for all you have shared, created, been to us dear Devapriya. Your vision for putting children at the centre of the Mandala will not die with you. We honour, ♥ and respect you so much... even your tenacious hassling me to do things... and will visit you often, looking into each other’s eyes and visiting your fruits growing ripe on the land you did so much to manifest. You achieved and gave so much, even in your last weeks, and managed to go and bloody die on the day the Mexicans *celebrate* children who have passed on. Seems so appropriate, you crafty bugger. I imagine you "heard" in one form or another all the tributes Lokabandhu and others were organising for you, and felt yourself in the centre of the circle at our gathering several days ago. Joyous freedom to you!
Helen Chuntso Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes... because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.~ Rumi I am trying not to miss my dear Devapriya who went to join the ancestors amidst the circle of love he created. A raucous mystic with no undue regard for convention, a warrior of the heart in a raggedy pair of trousers who needed no uniform or rule book to get to the essence. He had a spark for life even amidst his sufferings, and could ignite mischief, dream dreams and hold court over long dinner like no one else. Ever generous, he will no doubt appear all over the place when he has worked out how and continue to light up darkness. I am ever grateful for knowing him and his deep kind heart. Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha! Ps - Me: " thank you Devapriya, you're so kind." Deva Devapriya: "I don't want to be KIND!! !I want to be SEXY!!!!" Such memories. I wish you a happy journey Deva Devapriya x
Hannah Phillips Sad. Sad. Sad. Go well Deva Devapriya, you funny, tricksy, kind, indomitable, open, talkative, interested, political, mythical and wily old dog. Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Svaha.
William Softmore Just heard the news... wow. Can't believe it. Fare well wherever, whatever you are now, you mystic scallywag. As others have said, Devapriya was indomitable, unstoppable, an inspiration and unique friend to so many. Despite his physical discomfort he always seemed to have a lightness and joyful spirit that cheered me up and shook me out of my petty self-centred concerns. Thank you, I am glad to have known you and to have walked alongside you, meditated next to you, banged bongos under the same trees as you! oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā
Helen Hatt sadhu sadhu sadhu.......and thank you, for everything! my love goes out to those left behind......i feel a great loss....but not for him, travel well kind friend glad you are not bound by your meat and bones anymore see you on the spiral path xxx
Catherine Powell Beautiful, kind, Devapriya, full of life and soul and Tara. Grandfather Oak. Thank you for inviting me in, always inviting me in. I realise how special your friendly invitation has been to so many of us whose hearts and lives you have touched, you made us welcome as ourselves, and nurtured our growing. Thank you for inviting me in to the glorious Child Friendly retreats, they shine like rainbow-coloured jewels, wellies, mud, rain and all, full of love, mindfulness, fun and ceremony, and steering us into those mythic depths you so loved to explore. Being at Frog Mill with you all has brought me real relief from suffering, and much healing and joy. Thank you for welcoming me into your caravan whether I was happy or sad, for sharing your devotion to Tara, and bringing the Dharma to each thing arising. Visionary friend, with such courage. To help keep the incense burning in your caravan was a precious experience I will always remember. It was a gift to sit with you, wherever you were was like a sacred space, welcoming, with candles and incense alight. You are a beacon of faith. For me the Tara mantra has you enfolded in it, protected in Tara's embrace. I will miss you deeply. May I remember your visions for community. May you go onwards free from pain and shining in Tara's rainbow light, and may we meet again. Love, Cat
Sheila Whitaker I very much appreciated Devapriya's input on Families retreats. My daughter and I have enjoyed them so much over the years, and I think he helped me to relax a bit and be myself. He was a lovely, friendly, inspirational person. I particularly remember a talk he gave a few years ago (Grit, Grace and Gratitude) where he talked about meeting challenges with grace, and gave examples of his experiences in hospital. He will be missed. Love and best wishes, Sheila Whitaker
Jnanarakshita rejoicing for Devapriya Dear Devapriya I am pleased to have an opportunity to rejoice in your merits. Most of my contact with you has been when I've been working on the Info Point at the Buddhafield festival, and you have been either sat at the desk there or in your caravan. I have always particularly enjoyed visiting you in your caravan - I have always felt it's like entering Tara's realm going in there. I have always felt she is very present with you, and I like the way the shrine to her is usually alive with offerings. You have always been very friendly and encouraging to me, and that has been a great help on several levels, not least when we are stretched by the demands of the festival. This is to send you much metta at this time. I am sorry to hear that health and pain levels have been more difficult recently. I am imagining that Tara is nearby to you, and that she will continue to be so (after all, she is bound to be at least as loyal to you as you have been to her). Call me a faith type, but I feel that in her loving compassion everything will be fine. Bearing you in mind, and with much fondness, Jnanarakshita
Gill Turner I was very sad to hear of Devapriya's passing, he was a good friend and an inspiration. I came to know him at NLBC and over several years of family retreats at Waterhall, where he was much loved by all the children as well as their parents-he just knew how to have fun with them and remain clear and strong in his teaching at the same time. I don't think those retreats would have got off the ground without his energy and input, and they were so important to those who were there-a chance to practice with our children and give them a taste of the Dharma too. I also remember clearly a time when I was somewhat disabled with sciatica, and at the end of a practice night when I couldn't bend down to do up my shoes, there was Devapriya, on his knees, doing them up for me! Very humbling. SADHU, Devapriya, go well. We just lit some incense for you to send you on your way. Thanks for all the humour, the music and the dharma wisdom.
Tara "Rest in peace Devapriya xxx"
Lydia Glanville I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Devapriya. He was a very kind man to me when I was a teenager and an inspiration for many.
Celia West What a beautiful idea. Like Jane above, I have not really spoken to Devapriya, just seen him around a field and felt his presence...however, I do have a beautiful memory....My teenage son and his friend 'braved' coming to the child friendly this year (to keep mum happy-but actually had a pretty good time)....towards the end of the retreat their tent, got totally flooded out, everything soaked, and 2 very :-( young lads, wanting to go home. I 'found' them snuggled up with hot drinks and lots of warmth and care in Devapriya van with Devapriya and Heath given them care and reassurance. Thank you SOOOO much, it was a beautiful thing. Sent with much love gratitude and care. x <3
Jane Penston A kind and loving man, properly interested in others, unconditional in his caring. Welcomed children and became their friend. A ray of sunshine. I rejoice in his life x
Lola hi Devapriya. thank you for being my friend. love Lola x
Tammy and Pheonix DEVA PRIYA is my Aslan of Avalon , made a place in my heart held my hand when I needed and much more I could see when on retreats that his approach with people being on such a personal level with holding the complex understanding on how to bring us all together in harmony in one place and oh he always humoured me I Love him if I could make a sculpture it would depict the transcendent halo just touching his majestic brow and I hope to see him soon Hope you get better soon much love Tam and Pheonix xox
Samten Dorje Take care my brother. met you a few times at buddhafield. lots of love Samten Dorje
Heath Dawson Much love Deva, "Who is this David Pre-ya?" kids say on retreat, I’d tell them he is magical just go and meet him-man of myth and magic.
Anna Casey I would like to say that although my direct contact with you has been small that I have always felt your presence strongly. The love and support that you have offered my family and your great desire to keep us connected through such an isolated time in our life has been greatly appreciated. You remind me that even when the body is weak that the soul can still shine bright and make great things happen. You are courageous, committed and full of inspiration that you share with all who connect with you.. I send you love at this time. Anna (partner to Mike, mother of Finn and Rafi (Wren))
Tam Thank you . Words to me just lately he said : “I’m not dying yet I’ve got still a lot to do”. X Tam No beginning or end through life and death he will always be my friend.
Joely I first met Devapriya in 2005 at the Buddhafield festival â€“ and since getting to know him further I understand why he was introduced to me with such a joyful love. We soon re-met at the storm weathered Brendon Hills Family Friendly retreat that year, which was my first experience of being on the kids team. Asking me to sing the Tara mantra, in his own way Devapriya gently welcomed me, and my son, into the Sangha and has held us there ever since with his kindness and encouragement, his wise and wonderful dream-weaving, and well timed soulful solace. I thank him so much for that. I thank him for seeing me, I thank him for believing in me, I thank him for never reducing me to less than I am, and for always seeing in me more than I thought I was, and I thank him for thanking me from the heart. I have learnt so much from him. I honour his strength, I honour his ability to see, and be, with compassion, I treasure the words of wisdom he chose to share with me, with that wonderful sparkle â€“ must have been the lamp of Bodhi shining within his heart. Go well Devapriya... Iâ€™ll miss you... until we meet again. Deep love and gratitude, Joely.
Emma Pearce I met Devapriya at Buddhafield festival in the year 2000, our eyes locked and I saw such humour and mischief in them - no words were spoken at first we had a huge hug and were friends ever after. I shall miss the beautiful poetry he regularly sent me, always words that connected me with the universal spirit through the spiral of life. He was such a compassionate person despite his own physicality and he never complained, he used his time to be of huge support to others which touched my heart greatly. The light that shone from him burned so brightly and I will treasure all the precious times I spent with him. He taught me so much of value which I will carry with me always. He loved life and was an outstanding example of making the very best of it. I send him rainbows always on his journey through it all. Blessed be. =
Paul Chauncy I met Devapriya in 2009 on the Buddhafield Family Friendly Retreat. I was lucky enough to be in the menâ€™s kula group that he was leading and he made a big impression on me. I was struck by his kindness, courage, humour and wisdom, all of which he used to help steer the group through some rocky waters and back to dry land. It was a voyage I will never forget. I feel tremendous gratitude to Devapriya for the vision and determination he has put into creating and sustaining the family friendly retreats, which have become the heart of my and my family's year. Thank you the magic, the inspiration and the support.
Adam Moore Make it work, make it work, fight fight fight, I love the cure. That was the man and gee look at the myth. Our student teacher relationship was so old, old like the power of the ancient, and old too like your hat. You are the drum beating, (green, I think), Buddha, (that's what you taught me, maybe), you demand a way of strength and love for men. I wish I could tell you again that I love you. Man I wish my funeral was going to be like this, hmm, I think I'll just decide that this is my own funeral. The war goes on, you who refused to believe in the way of war. Let Deva be himself, maybe even against this man's own teaching. Was I like a whirl that joined your whirl with my own whirl? Outside of words there is the belief that there will be a true day, for the fact that it is happening and for all that has been for you, me and my other leaders. I didn't come to see you because I thought you were stronger. The flowering mountain is abundant again and these people of the great noise dream the world will never end. Some poetry might be necessary. Is it a joy to be alive and held with everything given? Those who suffer less for our thoughts are with some beautiful people at a party where no one thinks anything of what they might expect of the night. The days around it are punctuated by moments like it. These risings and settings pass with surprise joy and singing together as we help and be, interspersed with great processions.
Sally Miller I first met Devapriya at what was then the family retreat (now village retreat) when I turned up on my bicycle as part of the Cycle Circus, lured there by Keith Ellis who had been the previous year and said it was enormous fun. It was. So much fun that I went the following year, and the year after...and am still going 11 years later. I have Devapriya to thank for that retreat, as I know it is his passion for it that allowed it to keep alive. I have the retreat to thank for my wonderful husband, who I met there in 2003. I have Devapriya to thank, therefore, for my wonderful family and two beautiful children who I hope will grow up as part of the retreats big family, running to Frog Mill every year calling for their once-a-year bosom friends, playing in the river and being surrounded by the love and support and magic that retreat brings me. Deva- enabler, enthuser, magic-bringer, sangha-maker and friend. Thank you x x
Andy Miller Dear Deva. Thank you for your friendship, vision and generosity. The family retreat is a unique and wonderful thing and that is due in no small part to you. It offers a window into a possible world, where community is based in spiritual practice and creativity. Much love x Andy
Vijayadipa I first met Devapriya in 2000 at one of the early family friendly camping retreats. I felt that Devapriya particularly appreciated that I was there as part of three generations, with my daughter, Sarah, and my grandchildren, Colm and Ana. Last year the whole family came including Vishvapani and Kamalagita and their son, Leo. We all appreciate Devapriya's input over the years and the welcome he has given us. As well as the importance he has given to families within the Triratna Buddhist Community. Colm and Ana have maintained friendships made when they were 3 and 6 years old and are now 15 and 19. What a wonderful 'family' Devapriya has created. Wishing you a good recovery. Much love, Vijayadipa xxx
Becky Harris 31 October Devapriya Importance: High A friend forwarded me the message about Devapriya, I'm very sorry to hear he is so ill. Please find below my addition to your collection. I met Devapriya in the summer of 2011 at a Buddhafield Retreat, his carer had become ill so I spent the week helping out. He was certainly a teacher to me and had an extremely succinct way of delivering his teachings. I remember him giving me advice about porridge making that led to me having to dispose of 50 portions of porridge as it was so lumpy! Perhaps he will not be remembered for his culinary expertise but for his twinkly mischievous eyes, his commitment to roll-ups and his tenacious spirit. I do hope that whatever happens, Devapriya is able to find ease in the next stage of his life. With Metta Becky Harris
Mike Fletcher Dear Deva, You never gave up on me. You always supported me. You have kept me connected, you see me when I hide, and you donâ€™t forget. You have made happen your dream of families connecting on land, and in doing so have given so much to so many people. My family benefits so so much from your vision and I am so very grateful for the happiness and love we all receive as a result. The child friendly is my boys favourite happening of the year, and mine, and Anna's. I love your persistence in the face of difficulty. I love your fairness and your social conscience. I love hearing you lead the Tara mantra. I love that when we meet you touch my forehead with your forehead. Amazing! As I write in my van looking out towards Cosdon Beacon, a beautiful Jay appears 5 feet away on a gate. All resplendent in glorious colours. He regurgitates three acorns, and hides them under moss, in the crack of the wooden gate post, and in the earth. I hold my breath as I watch, he hasnâ€™t seen me, and I type as I watch. He is satisfied with his three jewels. Devapriya, Above all I appreciate your kindness and your magic. This moment of magic is your moment and my moment. I love you. Mike xxx
Vajrin Our family are indebted to Devapriya for being the first to include all of us. We joined him in a vibrant NLBC family group, creating Dharma activities for kids, study time for parents and joyous time for all. Our children have grown up into NLBC family get togethers, Buddhafield and beyond thanks to his welcoming appreciation for family life. Later we saw him at the 'Min' hospital in Bath and for supper. Always a mischievous smile, kindness and wise words. Much loved and remembered... Vajrin, Kathy, Benjamin, William and Hester"
Merlin of the Woods Devapriya, I first met you at the first total immersion retreat in 2005. We instantly connected musically and philosophically. I will continue to cherish many years of fond memories working with you on the Buddhafield retreat team. Great inspirer, visionary and devotee, you never complained about your illness. Bright soul, you will continue to burn ever brighter in the hearts of all who valued your passion for the dharma and your mission to empower community. Merlin.
Moira I met Devapriya in 2005 at Zen Buddhafield Retreat in Devon. At the time I had a Kundalini disorder that manifested in all sorts of inner anarchy plus M.E. I looked normal but I wasn't normal - I felt like an invisible cripple. I had just been initiated into the Dhamma earlier that year and the whole concept of equanimity. It changed my life. Nine months later I met a living, breathing embodiment of that equanimity in Devapriya. He had difficulty walking and moving but the light and joy coming out of him was astonishing. I watched this man holding his condition with such grace and radiance and happiness and I thought 'that is how you do it'. I felt an immediate kindredness with Devapriya. I was the beginner, he was much further along the Path, literally embodying the Way. What an inspiration!! But it isn't just that joyous equanimity that so inspires me about Devapriya. It's his luminous wisdom. Whenever I see him (and that has not been enough in latter years, as my journey has pulled me hither and thither) he lights me up with it - that amazing blend of lucidity and wit, that beauty and clarity of expression. Thank you Devapriya - my life has been blessed for having your Radiance in it. Love, metta and a thousand, thousand lotus blossoms of infinite peace to you . . . Moira x Sorry to not do this earlier but I had a relapse. Prayer has also been put in to my Swami's 24 hour prayer centre today for Devapriya. It is a miraculous place. Metta Moira x
Dayajoti I met Devapriya through Buddhafield and particularly the family-friendly retreat. I think we must have met around 1999. I've worked with him on the retreat since that time. I rejoice in his dedication, persistence and tenacity in maintaining and developing that event, through all its glorious and turbulent history. When I've been in meetings with Devapriya he would always light a candle at the centre of our circle - a simple but powerful ritual act. For me he was reminding us of the heart, the love, the light of the Buddha that is and must be at the centre. I feel great respect for the way that Devapriya has continued to get himself to Buddhafield events, even in absurdly trying conditions - pain, rain, mud, very poor access, overstretched team - because his heart was there. I rejoice in that fiercely courageous heart. much love, Dayajoti
Akasati My connection with Devapriya has been, as for many people, the buddhafield families retreat, which he has nurtured, and defended throughout the years. Sometimes the rest of the buddhafield team were not quite so enthusiastic so a determined advocate was necessary. Devapriya's total commitment to this event and unfailing support for others who wanted to be part of it at any level has had an incalculable impact, on so many lives. This retreat is an incredible achievement- a true mandala, including all the energies- young, old, male, female, the land, the dharma, fun, learning... I'm not aware of anything else like it. Devapriya is the total embodiment of the elder- he bears the archetype seamlessly. Sadhu, om tare tuttare ture svaha. All blessings x x x
Mumukshu 31 October I can't remember exactly when we first met, I think it would have been in one of Teddy Stone's fields many years ago. I know we were on the first child friendly retreat in the big field together. I certainly remember being immediately very impressed by your vision and passion for community. we had many good conversations about our dreams of rural communities over the years. That retreat has grown into a wonderful phenomenon, it touches so many lives and has brought joy, meaning and connection to so many people, mainly due to your vision and commitment. You are a most amazing man, the way you have kept going, inspired by your vision, through such incredible odds, such difficulties. I admire your openness to all, your non-judging, your HUGE Heart. Go well lovely man, may all the blessings of all the Buddhas surround you and light your way. With much love, Mumukshu x x x
Andrew Black Lots of love and appreciation from Zach and Andrew B for being you over the years xxx
Vishvadakini dear Devapriya, I feel such love for you. you are a truly amazing being. you shine. you have inspired me with your courage and your determination, with your vision and your friendship. thank you for reaching out to Keir and me: you have touched our lives with your exemplification of not letting difficulty and disability stop you doing what you believe in or being where you want to be, with your huge generosity, with your empathy, understanding and support. I rejoice in your transforming suffering into love, and I rejoice in you. Vishvadakini (and I know that Keir would want to send his appreciation of his connection with you too; I reckon he thinks you're a dude) x x x
Gem Sardari Whereas most people are able to talk at length about the history they have shared with Deva, I cannot. I can't tell you about his childhood, his teenage years or his adult life. I can't share with you stories about his happiest memories or the times in his life when he felt challenged. I am probably his newest friend, having just come into each others lives recently. What I can tell you is that in the brief but beautiful time I did share with him, I did experience his supreme generosity, compassion and wisdom. Thank you Deva for inviting me into your life and for sharing your last moments with me. Thank you for trusting me and allowing me to hold you and your space in your last days here. As significant as it is welcoming new life into this world, so is true of saying farewell. For your kindness and your teachings, I will always be thankful. Jai.
Varabhadri Reading about Devapriya and just a quick glance at the amazing and beautiful compilation of testimonials.....I am very moved. What to say... the first word I think of is Kindness, such an abundance and flow of kindness from him. And yes, his extraordinary heroic qualities. My thoughts, my metta and silent Tara chanting I direct strongly to him, and to those hundreds of men women and children his great loving kindness has touched. It would be wonderful if he were to see that rejoicing..........but hopefully he feels our prayers and gratitude and appreciation. With metta, Noel/Varabhadri
Angela Miller-Smith I must have met Devapriya in 2001 in the Sunlodge Tipi of Whirling Rainbow (Phil) at the top of Teddy Stone's field and was totally in awe of his presence, compassion, wisdom and commitment to life, community, friendship and buddhism. I will always remember with love and affection the many happy hours we spent sitting, talking, listening, laughing, planning and sharing. One cold night I remember being privileged to warm those beautiful hands in my arm pits! With love and gratitude, from Angie
Cassandra For Devapriya: You are an inspiration to me. A true wise man, teacher. I have huge amounts of love and respect for you. Be well special man, you are held in my heart, you have given more than you know. I love you very much!! Be well fellow spirit..
Amaragita Date: Sun, 28 Oct Devapriya's rejoicings I first met Devapriya on a family retreat in 2002. It was my first retreat with my daughter who was about 14 months at the time. It was a small retreat in Kent and he led our study group. I met him again a year later on the Buddhafield child-friendly retreat on Teddy’s field. I completely fell in love with the retreat, and was invited to lead a kula group in Phil’s Tipi. What I appreciated about Devapriya then and now is his ability to reach out towards people and offer them friendship, interest and a place at the table. His ability to make connections encouraged me to get involved. He was open and keen to share his vision of a ‘village’ based on spiritual values. He was also very wholehearted in his appreciation of what the benefits and difficulties were of being a parent householder and a committed spiritual seeker. I found in him someone with a breadth and clarity about wanting to create conditions for people in these circumstances to be met witnessed nurtured and nourished. Eventually he asked me to co-lead the retreat with him. I really appreciated this invitation as it has led to me taking part in the most fulfilling part of my year. I have been co-leading this retreat for the last 6 years and it is the week of my life that is the most satisfying as it brings together my love of dharma teaching and practise with mythic enactments and connections with a community that is vibrant intelligent and supportive. It is also something very special that I have been sharing with my two children and has given them times of fun, meaning and magic which they will remember their whole lives. This is the very special gift that Devapriya has given to me and I am hugely grateful and appreciative of this. Many Blessings Amaragita Ps will try to find photo of self!
Debbie Jones 31 October I met Devapriya this year, 2012, at the Family Friendly Retreat at Frog Mill. I had seen you, Devapriya, throughout the week, and had wondered at how you coped with such intense pain, whilst still appearing to enjoy the company of us retreatants at communal fun times on occasion. I was curious about you, and came to say goodbye to you as we were leaving, whilst you lay in your caravan. You talked about life being a film, "and if you don't like something, change the channel'. I liked that idea, as I do believe we have a choice in how we feel, even if at times we need a lot of support to get there. Thank you Devapriya; for your presence, your ideas, your devotion to bringing the dharma to children and parents in nature. With metta, Debbie (from Manchester)=
Simon Jacobson 28 October Here is my offering. With love Simon I met Devapriya at my first Child Friendly retreat in 2002. As the event became a regular summer event for me, I got to know him better, particularly through his perceptive, witty, wise and always compassionate guidance of the men's kula group. His presence in the menâ€™s' lodge for those kula groups became a touchstone for me every summer. As the retreat itself has become a central part of my life over the years, and now a part of my son's life too. I will always be grateful to Devapriya for providing the intention and inspiration for the retreat, and the gateway into a deep connection with buddhism.
Daisy Bruce 25 October Hi everyone, What a lovely idea. Thank you for organising this. I would love to join in celebrating him... â€œI met Devapriya in the year 2003 when I went to the Buddhafield Family friendly in Teddy Stones field with my kids Ife & Ayo. I'd like to express my gratitude to him for his constant encouragement over the years and brightness of spirit, especially to do the childrenâ€™s mindfulness at the Buddhafield festival and take part in the Lewes mitra gatherings of 2008/9. Also I respect his calmness and anchored vision amongst the birthing of new ideas at the family friendly retreat. His eternal optimism and strength of spirit encourages me forward and touches many who benefit from what he has co-dreamed into manifestation. Well done Devapriya for living so well and keeping us young ones on our toes and appreciating being alive. I hope to see you soon. lots of love and light, Daisy x" From Daisy Bruce, Lewes x
Kent Thodsen 30 October Rejoicing in Devapriya I am sitting on the train going South from London having just visited you DP at the Whittington hospital. As I am sitting here I cannot but help reflect on the impact you have had on my life as well as that of my family. When we first came to the family friendly retreat almost ten years ago our family was on the brink of breaking up but through what we experienced during that first week we managed to find a new direction in life. You have ever since been an inspiration and a guide with your ability to see the positive without ignoring the negative. The countless number of gems and seeds that you have planted in my mind are still growing and continue to guide me through the minefield called life. Last night as I told Natasha that I was going to London to see you DP she reminded me of our first retreat at Teddy's farm when you found a small blue plastic ring on the ground and gave it to her - she still has it on her shelf of special things (she was not even three at the time). This is just one of many examples of how you have touched people's lives with your presence and generosity. A big thank you for not just the family friendly but also to your contribution to our lives in Lewes. Kent, Kate, Natasha & Casper
Amaranatho 25 October Hi, thanks for the offering to Devapriya. I send a hundred thousand blessings for his wonderful ears, his generous heart and awe of life. Keep trucking Devapriya. Blessings Venerable Amaranatho
Penny Robinson Hi , I am writing in response to your post on facebook about Devapriya. My thoughts on this are perhaps a bit strange... as I do not think I have ever actually spoken to him, however, I felt moved to write because what immediately came to my mind was seeing Devapriya over the years on many different buddhafield events, and over the years myself being in some quite painful and difficult states. What came to mind as soon as I saw his picture was that I recall on many occasions passing him in the field and feeling, literally, touched by a radiant and warm smile that he would give. On these unspoken exchanges he would embody, for me, some of the magic and friendship of buddhafield. I would like to thank him for that. Penny
Joy Mackeith I attended the Buddhafield Family Friendly retreat for the first time three years ago and have been every year since then. I would like to thank Devapriya for his role in making this retreat happen. It is such a special and loving community and such an unusual thing to find somewhere with a spiritual focus where whole families can attend. Thank you Devapriya. Joy MacKeith
Aryapriya 31 October My Dear Devapriya I first met Devapriya properly when I went for my first ever ...... on a Buddhafield retreat. I was quite nervous, I remember climbing naked into this pitch-black homemade tent with about twenty other guys and all I could see was these red hot glowing stones in the middle, as the doors to the tent closed I felt even more nervous, like I was dying almost. Sitting next to me, flesh to flesh was what looked like death himself, it was Devapriya with a big smile on his face. Devapriya looked completely relaxed and at ease and as I helped him out I got this sense of fearlessness from him, just going for it as we traversed the red hot rocks. It was like being born again. My next fond memory of Devapriya is him wrapped up in lots of coats and sleeping bags, he looked like he was in a cocoon, all we could see was his little face peeping out as we carried him back to the tents. We had gone out for a walk on Dartmoor to some stone circles and suddenly it had started pouring with rain with a vicious wind tearing through. It was a magical mythical moment. My last favourite memory of Devapriya is when we used to meet up in Bath when he stayed there for health, and I was living there. I was a bit out of touch with my old buddhist friends, so seeing Devapriya and spending some time with him really meant a lot to me. He really blew me away with his kindness, clarity and complete disregard for social norms. He remained Devapriya in each situation. I think it was a taste of a real individual in love with life. A lover. When I was ordained recently and received the name Aryapriya, the first person I thought of was Devapriya for two reasons; the first is that we are both priya's, both lovers who's heart guides them along the path. The second was that Devapriya is Arya, he is Noble, majestic, graceful, beautiful, holy. I am a lover of the noble, and a lover of Devapriya. With all my love Devapriya, Aryapriya
Clare Bear Book of Rejoicing in Devapriya I know Devapriya from working with him for several years on the Information Team at Buddhafield festival and a familiar face at the Child Friendly retreats. There was always much frantic chaos and drama when preparing for the festival but when Devapriya turned up to our team I had his beautiful soul, full of wisdom and calmness to turn to and feel like everything was going to be okay whatever happened. In most of our meetings he would be such a joker, giving us fine humour to help us all de-stress! His presence had such a profound effect on me, I will always remember our chats and looks of knowing as well as insatiable laughter. He has such a kind inner nature and almost electric mind, and I fondly admired that he spoke his truth regardless of the consequences. He is a man of such strong substance that reminded me of my own Grandfather. I enjoyed every moment with him and send so much love and gratitude to him for this, he is truly wonderful being! My gift is to send him my ‘Prayers’ – a painting I did to express the power and grace of prayer to help us through life. Clare Bear
Libby Dear dear Devapriya The first time we met you on the Village Retreat, I was a little in awe of your ancient looking gravitas! Seems funny now, thinking how very human you are to us. Bea was only 5, and feel in love quickly. She was having none of that awe stuff, and walked straight up the front of the shrine room to sit at your feet and gaze affectionately. Your vision for the Village Retreat has shaped our lives in small and large ways. It was definitely part of the reason we moved to England over 6 years ago… and most certainly part of what keeps us here today. As Jo Jacobs once said, the Retreat is the "spiritual bedrock of my year". I can't agree more. It began my involvement with Triratna and will continue to feed me and my family and friends in so many ways, for many many years to come. Most of my closest friends in this country have been well met there… with our hearts and minds open. Rest assured dear friend, that the dream will live on and keep growing as the Buddhist world increasingly realises how important children are. Sounds simple really doesn't it! Soon, the retreat's Dharma talks will go online for the first time at Free Buddhist Audio. Currently there are only two tracks when you type in "parenting" there. This year there will be nearly 10. Next year, even more, Then a comprehensive audio documentary will follow, with easy navigation so people can dip in and dip out, plus a 3-6 minute "highlights" track will also be available, woven together by Paul and I and friends. A book as you say, will no doubt materialise too. We are sharing the experiment with others who want to learn and grow together… around the world. This will also grow and continue. More order members will have children and come. Everyone's inner child will continue to come and play, be healed. Your legacy is in our parenting, in this new generation of children… and their children. I'm not sure about all that rebirth malarky, but I do know your love will live on in us all, and all we are connected to. We love you. We honour you. No bloody well get better and see you at the next one! Or as it shall be… Love times 8 (tilt it) Libby, Gra + Bea
Shantikara To Devapriya, from Shantikara Friend, inspiration, hero... Visionary alchemist... Mischievous jester... Holder of the keys... Orthodox Elder... Unconventional King... A man...? An Angel!
A Short Autobiography Genesis 1950 Born Alan Angel, middle of last century, at Kent Cottage, Gillingham Road, Gillingham Kent. Second son of David and Esme Gwendoline Angel. Elder brother Johnny by two years. my grandparents had moved to Medway because of the Naval Dockyard where they were based. Grandpa Angel had been a midshipman in the marines and Grandpa Caton was a nursing officer at the Royal Naval Hospital. My father had been a marine fitter in the dockyard and had joined the RAF when war began. He survived one of three of his training squadron of 72. My earliest memory is of the gate of Woodlands, where we lived until end of my teens and where we moved to when I was 2, the gate the front path, the open front door and the light coming door the hallway, running down the path into the house. Two sisters born after me Sue and Lee. Around age 7 perhaps, standing outside our backdoor, late afternoon, autumn, facing west, through the Lombardy poplars, to Norman church on the hill, reflecting on my “landing”, “crash landing”, living in this house, with my family, near London 30 miles to the west, close the river, good, good, good, more a landing than a crash! Good! God made you! Really? Before birth nothing, after death eternity in heaven or hell? Doesn’t make sense! I've been here before! A Fallen Angel, Rising Again! Father declared Atheist and Communist though he would say if there is a god he needs throttling, after what he had seen in the war. So at school, don’t have a Christian name sir! Had dispensation to miss religious bit of morning assembly, would sit out with the one catholic and one jew, but not always, as sometimes I’d go in for that, my parents only said I didn’t have to go! Went to Sunday school for about a year, didn’t make sense, so I stopped going but continued to go to youth club, all held in a Baptist hall on the river near the pier, a mile walk. Always questioned the bible doctrines, was as if there was something going on but they weren’t telling me, cos what they did tell was nonsense! My first memory of actually going into a church was when my brother had a confirmation or something like that. Went to other youth clubs in church halls but never really occurred to e to go in church. First time in Rochester Cathedral on way to play chess for school, master took us for a look.
Devapriyalan” devapriyalan.wordpress.com DEVAPRIYALAN: A VARIANT OF ALAN ANGEL, ORDAINED DHARMACARI DEVAPRIYA AT IL CONVENTO DI SANTA CROCE, TUSCANY BY URGYEN SANGHARAKSHITA IN 1981. FOUNDER MEMBER: PHOENIX COMMUNITY HOUSING 1980, NORTH LONDON BUDDHIST CENTRE 1992, LONDON BUDDHIST ARTS CENTRE 1993, LEADER: DHARMA MITRA STUDY COURSES AND RETREATS, DHARMA PARENTS RETREATS, since 1990 BUDDHAFIELD CHILD FRIENDLY RETREAT since 2000. STUDIED PSYCHOLOGY AT BIRKBECK COLLEGE AND TRAINED IN VARIOUS PSYCHOTHERAPIES. incl ARCHETYPAL PSYCHOLOGY WITH JAMES HILLMAN AND NOEL COBB, NLP WITH RICHARD BANDLER AND McKENNA, PSYCHOSYNTHESIS WITH MARILYN FELDBERG. ECOARTS DHARMA FIELD SCHOOL devapriyalan.wordpress.com/ecoarts-dharma-field-school Our Dharma School for kids began in the late eighties with the first Dharma Parents Retreats held at Water Hall, the London Buddhist Centre’s Retreat House in Suffolk, now the Vajrasana Retreat Centre. In 2000 our Buddhafield Open Summer Retreat became “Child Friendly” to meet the need of a growing number of Buddhist parents and to facilitate more parents and children being on retreat together. Members of Moving Sounds Collective have been integral to our school in Buddhafield together with many others. Welcome to this blog, created by Devapriya to celebrate the Buddhafield Child-Friendly retreats and other Dharma Parents retreats in the FWBO.
Imagining Albion 2000 A beautiful valley somewhere in Wessex, opening south perhaps, or southwestward, with the sea in the far distance and faint cry of seagulls in the air, near a major town or city with good transport links. At the head and sides of the upper valley there are woods, with hermits in their various huts, yurts, chalets therein, and a stream, brook, burn running down into the cultivated fields with their farm buildings, house, greenhouses, barns, etc using various natural power sources, water, wind, sun. Following the stream we come to the village, with houses around the green and shrine room, shops, offices. school, hall, workshops etc. all run on natural power. Then further down the valley to various fields where retreat camps are set up from time to time. Albion Farm grows organic fruit and vegetables, marketing a range of organic frozen foods, providing a major source of income, and employing many people both part and full time, as it will be significantly easier to obtain planning permission for farm workers dwellings than ordinary residential permission. So we need to find those willing and able to commit themselves to the project, and raise the money to buy the farm of a hundred acres or more. DevaPriya Summer Solstice 1999.
Rosie Balyuzi I add this to the growing stack of tributes, a short sharing of a very intense new experience of death and the days after... a little snippet of the entire shared experience the last days with Deva. I pay total tribute here to Paul, to Annie, Gem and Rehana, his devoted carers. -------- ♥ ---------------To hold your fading hand so grand, and one of the youngest, beautiful body parts of you, thank you and sit laser-eyed at your feet, fast upon your heart my parting vision then you choose to depart time ceases still – we all rest.. and soon rejoice, in freedom so sweet, granted friends surrounded the oxygen machine grounded turned off..
and spirit home in seven (did you nip to India?) Hermitage glowing in tangible magic Presence I could only transmit now in eyes brinked to flow In your Superlove Temple We all feast on take-out from the Tiffin Tin - that you pay for in a stack put aside, undeniably Okay’d by you..
it was enough.
And we get to share a chair for a short bit Easy for us both to fit now..
Your body arrives home in three hours
Sleeping in your room the two nights after this
peace on peace deep bedded sleep mixed in sexual union with the stars.. and in the morning I get to mistletoe kiss your forehead and for just then we are the lovers one dead, one alive crossing over these lines that divide.. and this is one story I feel special And in awe of knowing Precisely that you made so many others feel this special – That is some goddam Dharma trick Devapriya Lived, loved and given..
In Memoriam... We're remembering Devapriya by trying to manifest one of his last wishes - to create a 30â€™ yurt for the Buddhafield Village Retreat to use for years to come. Weâ€™ve already got some generous off-line donations, the skills and probably the people to make it; we just need some more money! If youâ€™d like to contribute - just visit http://www.justgiving.com/devapriya In memory of our good friend Devapriya. Annie, Carl, Lokabandhu and many others
Credits Many thanks to all contributors, both writers and photographers. Apologies for not crediting the photographers individually. Special thanks to Mumukshu and Manth for the paintings of Green Tara, his sadhana.