In 2007 a Buddhist monk travelled from Australia to meet me. This in itself was unusual (as was the location) but it was the set of circumstances whereby this meeting came about that were even more unusual.
Early in 2006 I received a very strange email from a family in Serpentine in Western Australia. They explained that the previous Sunday they had been settling down for lunch when there was a knock on their front door. On opening the door they were surprised to discover, standing in front of them, a Buddhist monk dressed in full robes. He informed them that he had walked a few miles into town from the Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery; a place that they were not aware existed. The monk was clutching a piece of paper with an email address on it. He asked if they could send an email on his behalf to a writer in the UK that he was very keen to contact. He said he would come back in two week’s time to pick up any response.
The writer in question was myself, and the monk, I subsequently discovered, was called Ekaggatā Bhikkhu. The email requested my home address. This I sent to the family and, a few week’s later a letter arrived in my post.
In the letter Ekaggatā explained that he had found a copy of a paper I had published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies lying on the floor of a hut in his monastery.
He knew as soon as he picked it up that it was of significance to him. As with many Buddhist monks Ekaggatā was a very well read individual with a great interest in particle physics and neurology. However he was particularly fascinated by my Daemon-Eidolon Dyad and my new approach to the concept of The Eternal Return (Recurrence). A few months later, in September 2006, the first edition of my first book, in effect a book-length expansion of the original IANDS article, was published in the UK and the USA.
In June 2007 Ekaggatā visited the UK and we arranged to meet at a wonderful monastery deep in the English countryside. The Forest Hermitage (วัดป่าสันติธรรม) is a branch of the Wat Nong Pah Pong (วัดหนองป่าพง), the late Luang Por Chah’s principal monastery in N. E. Thailand.
Indeed that very day was, by tradition, both the Buddha’s birthday and also the celebration of his day of enlightenment under the Bohdi Tree. This coincidence was not lost on me – my Daemon had ensured that my first ever visit to a Buddhist monastery was to be on such an auspicious and significant day.
I sat with Ekaggatā Bhikkhu in a tiny spartan hut in the grounds. He explained to me that in his opinion my writing was of profound importance and that I should focus all my attention on getting it better known. Indeed he amazed me by commenting that my theory was, in many ways, pure Buddhism. He added that he was delighted that somebody with absolutely no knowledge of Buddhist scripture could have come to such “enlightened” conclusions.
These revelations made me slightly scared and filled me with trepidation. This had never been my intention when I started out on my quest but there was, as far as Ekaggatā was concerned, an underlying reason for my writing. I simply wanted to write a book for my own enjoyment. I never expected it to be published nor anybody else to be really interested in my ideas. But now, with many books now written and collective book sales in excess of 80,000 copies, I just sit back and wonder what this is all really about.
I find this all very strange and not a little awe-inspiring. Ekaggatā Bhikkhu is not alone in contacting me. Twelve years ago I was an arch rationalist and materialist and now as well as Buddhist monks, Sufi Shayaks, mediums, Gnostics, Hindu Mystics and even Occult adepts (for example The Servants of the Light – SOL) have contacted me – all of whom seem to see something of profound importance in me and my writings. Not the route I expected – but I guess this is something my Daemon has always known!
UPDATE (Aug 2016): I now know that the link seems to be the Buddhist tradition of Vipassana which has had a huge influence on the development of the Thai Forest Tradition. With this in mind I suspect that Ekaggatā Bhikkhu and his associates may be even more interested in the implications found in my forthcoming book “Opening the Doors of Perception”). Indeed, I now know how my article ended up at the monastery (but not why it was left in an abandoned hut). It seems that many years ago an Australian- Sinhalese consultant psychiatrist called Dr. Mahendra Perera was so impressed with my IANDS article that he sent a copy of it to his friend, Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera (Ajahn Brahm), the abbot of the Bodhinyana Monastery. Ajahn Brahm was born in London and was known as Peter Betts. He studied theoretical physics at Cambridge University before becoming a Buddhist monk in Thailand in the early 1970’s. I have yet to find out what Ajahn made of the article but I suspect that the fact it ended up discarded in a hut suggests that it failed to have the impact that Dr. Perera had hoped! As many of you know, Dr. Perera and I have now edited a book together and we are planning to write a full book together sometime in the future.
This link to Vipassana (my thanks to Professor Todd Murphy whose article on déjà vu brought Vipassana to my attention) has stimulated a great interest in me. I have discovered that this has its roots in the Shamanic Bon Tradition of Tibet, a philosophy that featured strongly in my book “The Infinite Mindfield.” ….. all wheels within wheels …… and I will be now contacting Ekaggatā again as I have not heard from him for a year or two …..
Here is a link to the original Blog Posting that this short essay is an updated version … http://cheatingtheferryman.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/continuing-on-buddhist-theme.html