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GEORDIE Williamson has shown an acute insight into the love affair between Nugget Coombs and Judith Wright (‘‘Love blooms in the afternoon’’, April 20-21). The piquant irony: two public intellectuals who cleaved to the highest realms of truth but were not prepared to compromise their distinguished status in a scandal. Divorce and remarriage would have not have been politically or socially expedient. Yet it was not hypocrisy, for they were entitled to grasp as much private deceit as any ordinary people trapped in the same loveless circumstances. From my study, I view the new development of Wright and Coombs in Canberra’s Molonglo Valley. Albert Camus wrote: ‘‘Ploughed earth, and the fields began to steam.’’ I understand his prescience. Our urban planners are subtle; the adjoining suburbs of Wright and Coombs are now metaphysically locked in an eternal embrace. Mike Fogarty Weston, ACT GEORDIE Williamson gives perceptive appreciation to the remarkable documentary essay Love & Fury, centred on the 25-year relationship between Judith Wright and Nugget Coombs, which he identifies as ‘‘an ABC television documentary’’. However, he doesn’t name its director: John Hughes, one of Australia’s most distinguished filmmakers, whose highly innovative and elegant work in documentary goes back more than 30 years. In reviewing a book, would Williamson name the publisher but not the writer? Sylvia Lawson Newtown, NSW THE words Buddhism and Buddhist first appeared in India about 500 years after the death of the Buddha, when his main teaching of vipassana — insight meditation — was lost to that country. The Buddha taught a nonsectarian technique by which humans could free themselves from suffering and lead peaceful and harmonious lives. He did not found a sectarian religion, and it is incorrect to refer to Emperor Asoka as a Buddhist (‘‘The king who proclaimed peace’’, April 20-21). Asoka practised the Buddha’s teachings, and was so impressed by the results that he promoted the practice throughout his realm and sent monks to teach it in neighbouring countries, including Burma. This had longrange benefits for us today. The Buddha’s main technique of vipassana meditation was lost from all countries but Burma. The elders there, seeing how vipassana had become corrupted in India, taught it only to highly spiritual monks, each of whom was to teach it to three or four disciples. There was a tradition in Buddhist countries that the teaching would be revived 2500 years after the Buddha’s passing, estimated to be 1954. To facilitate this, a 19th-century Burmese monk, Ledi Sayadaw, wrote books and pamphlets explaining the Buddha’s teaching, and began teaching vipassana to monks and lay people. In the 1890s, he asked a farmer, Saya Tet, to become the first lay teacher. Before his death in 1944, Saya Tet charged his disciple Sayagyi U Ba Khin to return the teaching to India and from there spread it to the world. U Ba Khin was accountant-general of Burma from 1947 to 1967, but the regime would not let him travel abroad. In 1969, his student SN Goenka travelled to Bombay to teach vipassana to his parents. Before he died in 1971, U Ba Khin charged Goenka with the task given by Saya Tet. Vipassana is now practised in most countries. This is Asoka’s greatest legacy. Michael Cunningham West End, Queensland To be considered for publication, letters must contain an address and telephone number for verification. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.