Buddhist Audio Books

The Rainbow road
From Tooting Broadway to Kalimpong: Memoirs of an English Buddhist
By Sangharakshita
ISBN: 0904766942
Read by Subhadra

This is the first set of memoirs by Sangharakshita. Set out on the Rainbow Road and take an extraordinary journey from wartime London to the dusty villages, ashrams and mountain caves of India. Long before thousands of Westerners flocked to Asia in search of themselves, Dennis Lingwood set out to search for the Buddha’s teaching in the land that gave birth to Buddhism. Accompanying him in his quest, we can follow his life as a homeless wanderer and witness his ordination as the Buddhist monk Sangharakshita. Although full of fascinating characters and keen insights, The Rainbow Road is not just an entertaining travel book - it is a remarkable record of a journey of spiritual exploration.

‘Non-fiction it may be, but he makes his points with all the finesse and resonance of a novelist.... His deft prose should invite comparison with E.M. Forster’ Times Literary Supplement

The Rainbow Road was originally published in two parts: Learning to Walk and The Thousand-Petalled Lotus.

An Extract from: The Rainbow road
The concluding stages of our journey were the worst, and had it not been for the hope that every step was bringing us nearer to the goal of our desires it might have been difficult for us to carry on. It was still early May, and the heat, having risen in fiery crescendo to its terrific climax, now seemed likely to remain there indefinitely. Not a drop of rain fell. Day by day the hot dry wind from the desert, laden with dust, blew more strongly and more scorchingly than ever upon the hard, sun-baked earth, which by this time had become criss-crossed with a network of innumerable cracks and fissures, some of them several inches wide. Travelling during the less hot hours of the day, and taking advantage of every scrap of shade, grimly and wearily Satyapriya and I plodded on from temple to temple and from ashram to ashram, mile after mile across the heat-stricken land. In some of the temples and ashrams at which we halted we were given a cordial welcome, in others our reception was more reserved. Towards the end of our journey our stops became more and more frequent. At one place we took our bath in a pond full of lotuses. At another, where we came across an unusually well-kept ashram standing within a secluded mango grove, a friendly Nanak Panthi, or follower of Guru Nanak, not only put us up for the night but treated us with exceptional kindness.

On our last morning we were less fortunate. Indeed, this was the least fortunate part of the whole journey. We had intended to halt for an hour or two at the Buddhist Rest House which had been built, so the Nanak Panthi had informed us, not half a dozen miles from our destination. On our arrival there we found that the Rest House had been converted into a school, and the headmaster received us in a very unfriendly fashion. We had no alternative but to set off again at once. Before long we were heartened by the sight of the dome of the Maha Parinirvana Stupa rising majestically from behind a cluster of trees in the far distance, and leaving the road we cut straight across the fields towards it. I could not help thinking with what exultation, only ten or twelve days earlier, we had seen the pinnacle of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara rising above the tree-tops of Sarnath. Did Kusinara hold a similar disappointment in store for us? Or were we destined to receive here the ordination on which we had set our hearts?


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