I am here at Nagaloka in Nagpur. The atmosphere is excellent—outside of town, pretty quiet, and relatively cool in the evening. The cadre of students is all new. None left that I met last year. But they are very friendly and bright.
This time around I am much more on my own. They are allowing my real leeway in my teaching, which is fine. But I have my customary doubt (and some anxiety) about what I am doing here. It is helpful that I prepared for this mentally. Still jetlagged, though. I think flying eastward, against the sun, is more disturbing than the other direction. At any rate, waves of fatigue come on at strange times.
I am trying just to be very patient with myself and my discomfort. And I am also aware that I will begin to settle in over the next few days. Actually, I just finished my first class. I am more or less done for the remainder of the day, which is fine because I need the rest). The class went well, and I established a working definition of “gender,” which we will explore over the next four days, starting with women in early Buddhism, and moving to present conditions in India, particularly among the Dalit communities. Students really responded to my recitation Maylie Scott’s metta prayer, so we are translating it into Hindi. The students are very sweet and I began to draw them out, first laying out a definition of gender, than telling a compressed version of my life, with excursions into points of dharma. Tomorrow we will begin with Mahapajati and the historical circumstances of women.