Thousands or hundreds of thousands of people know the renowned Buddhist Monk Bhante Sujatha. They meet him for a intimate moment in the audience of a Dharma Hall, they listening to his talks on youtube, they fall asleep with his meditation CD’s and they read the book about his life; “My Wish, The story of a man who brought happiness to America”.
Many get the chance to feel his radiant smile and vibrant heart because he so freely offers both to everyone he comes in contact with.
If you are within his circle you can’t help but observe the impact he’s made on countless people– it’s every single day that someone calls or writes or shows up to pay gratitude and share a story of the incredible impact he’s made in their lives.
When we first started working together I assumed he was like so many people I know— one way “on stage” and another way “behind the curtain”. I could feel his authentic spirit and truth but I still assumed that he didn’t always “practice what he preached” ( literally preached in this case ).
Now, years later, I have come to know I was partly correct. He does teach and preach… allot. Every single day. He works non-stop to “help the people”. He is one of the most devoted people I have ever known. But he doesn’t always live up to the standards he asks us to achieve and he doesn’t always do what he teaches us to do. Instead, he does far more.
In our work, travels and play together I have seen a personal practice that humbles me. I asked him if I could share it with you all because it’s so profoundly simple we could really all do it if we “make a strong determination” like he’s always teaching us to do.
I begin to ask him questions but he quiets me instantly….
“Tyler, just let me talk and you type” he commands. I pull my computer out and am immediately grateful to Mrs. K for teaching me speed typing. I did my best to keep his broken, translated english in tact:
“People think meditation is the only way to gain wisdom and happiness, but it is not. There are three ways to gain wisdom and happiness. The most popular one is meditation but is not enough.
The three are this:
1) Listening — In and out. I had to first learn to listen inside me, then outside me. the order of this is very important. Many people get good at outside and forget inside.
2) Thinking — Thinking means when situation happen, have selective thinking. Select what you are going to think. Only when you think properly you can have wisdom.
3) Meditation — This is popular now but many people do without the first two. People think siting and meditating everything is solved. It is not.
You must have all 3 things to gain wisdom…listening, thinking and meditation.
This is my personal practice:
I try my best to do all 3 things every single minute. That way I can do lot, communicate with people lot. I can feel people and deal with situations very well. My productivity is higher because of it.
Everyday before I go to bed I think “maybe this is my last sleep”. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, still I did really good today. If I did some mistakes I refresh them and determine to not do them again. If I don’t wake up tomorrow, then who cares, I know I am clear.
When I do wake up, I always think I have brand new 24 hours ahead. This day I do my best, to help myself and to help other people. Then I am thinking life is beautiful. Life is beautiful for me because it is short. We can’t have guarantee how long we are going to live. When we see a short life, we become very positive and we see the value of this life. Then we hurry up and try to do more good, more wholesome and practice more and do more. I don’t want to use my time to consume nonsense, just sitting and doing nothing, killing time, those kind of things.
Sometimes people think I am a work-a-colic, I think that definition is wrong. I like to work, it’s not really work to me, I believe I am a servant to those in need. I know physically I am tired but end of the day whatever I receive with my mental practice I feel so content and happy, every night when I go to bed I don’t have any regrets about my day. For example, today I helped children, yesterday I helped children, I felt so happy about it. I touch even one teenager, one day they will think about it. When I come they are so excited they want to learn meditation.
What I am telling people, if you really want to enjoy your life and see the beauty of this life, what you have to do is see that life is impermanent. It is not negative thing.. it is the most positive, powerful experience we can have. The person who really understand it, they are doing really well as a business owner, as a parent, as a human. They know life is short so they really enjoy it, they have great family time, great personal time. I think the only way to do any of this is to practice those three things, listening, thinking and meditation. That’s what I do because no time to kill.”
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