Then I called my friend Punya in Boston. Punya was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago and recently he has been very weak. The phone was untypically answered by his son Alexander who told me that his father had passed away just a couple of hours before. This was very sad, but not unexpected news. Punya was not yet sixty and had been a very energetic man – but his smoking had finally taken its toll. His wife and and family were with him, and some old friends. Over the next twenty four hours his many friends will be reading a book that he compiled – a handwritten book of quotes from Buddhist scriptures concerned mainly with the Buddha Amitabha and the Bodhisattva Ideal. I will be reading a copy of his book this afternoon.
This evening I called my father to wish him happy 87th birthday. He had taken himself out to lunch at a pub by the river where he and my mother often ate. He was well and is still physically quite active – it is not unusual for him to take a walk of several miles.