This year had not been a particularly busy one for me. It did however, mark two significant landmarks in my life; I turned 65 in October and I celebrated 40 years of being a monk. I made two overseas trips in the last twelve months. Together with a group of friends I visited northern Queensland and when they returned after a week I stayed behind for another two weeks. I spent July/August in France visiting family. While there my brother and I visited St. Nazaire where the famous commando raid took place during the Second World War. Over the last decade I have become increasingly interested in the history of WWII, perhaps an unusual interest for a monk. Our society had several prominent visitors this year. Bhante Dhammaswami from Oxford was holed up in Singapore with a broken leg, having fallen down in the Botanical Gardens. Bob Isaacson from Dharma Voice for Animals in the US paid us a visit, and Ven. Anoma stayed with us for a month. My Dhamma work received some recognition this year with the publication of Figures of Buddhist Modernity in Asia published by the University of Hawaii Press which includes a paper about me by Meng Tat Chai. Other than this my year has generally been quiet. Only one new book came out, A Pilgrim’s Guide to Borobudur was published in Jakarta in English and Indonesian. I contributed an essay for the beautiful new coffee-table Sri Lanka: The Heritage of Water which was published in Colombo just last month. I also finished my new book, A Banquet for the Buddha: Food and Drink in Early Historical India although it will not be published until sometime next year. I decided to cut my speaking engagements, only accepting several invitations to organizations that have been supportive of our society over the years. Next year I plan to withdraw much more from public engagements so I can focus on writing and meditation.
I hope all my readers will have a happy, safe and fruitful New Year.