Up in the mountains outside of Kandy, Sri Lanka is this off the grid mountain retreat center, Nilambe, that’s been serving up silence and wisdom for generations.  The longtime steward of this sacred place is Upul and he’s childhood best friends with Bhante Sujatha, the revered monk and Chief Sanganayaka of North America ( the ambassador to Buddhism for the West ).

Bhante Sujatha and Upul as kids in Sri Lanka
Bhante Sujatha and Upul as kids in Sri Lanka

These two men have made a profound dent in the world, adding more love than is measurable but what’s most profound is their unending friendship– a relationship that extends 10,000 miles and allows for significantly different approaches to compassionate action and service.

Both understand no right way to live this life exists other than doing something to add love to whatever situation arrives.

In any situation
In any occasion
And
with whomever
and wherever
Also in front of
Whatsoever challenges
We have
Only two choices
No third one.
Either suffer
Or not to suffer.  

~Upul Nishantha Gamage

Here’s some stories from my time at Nilambe and Upul: