A year ago last December, on the other side of the world, I stepped off the Adam’s Peak pilgrimage path and into the back of a van, collapsing from exhaustion. The little monk who climbed with us looked over at me and said, “empty, empty, happy, happy” and then fell sound asleep.
My feet throbbing from the miles of stairs, I couldn’t sleep. But I didn’t care. I too was “empty empty, happy happy.”
A year later we again found ourselves exploring ancient land. “Can you do something for me?” the monk asked.
I have yet to see someone say no to him.
Somewhere in the middle of a great big book I’ve written and am now revising; this monk got me to stop and write a whole new little book. It’s funny how things work out like that. He turns 50 this summer. And our Temple turns 15. We’ve been considering reverence and honor around these milestones, and he asked me to “share stories with the people.”
Thankfully, the book was mostly already written because almost every time we were together, I would leave and find a quiet spot and write stories of our adventures, of his teachings and of the countless dharma talks he has given all over the world. I have hundreds of them. You’ve read numerous ones here if you’ve been following posts from the path.
Here’s the idea of the book in a nutshell;
Bhante believes people seek a spiritual life in only two ways;
1) by searching far and wide, bolstering their intellect, reading volumes and studying all great wisdom. This is something he calls head dharma.
2) by going deep and narrow. Taking a few core principles and concepts and working them to the bone. Truly integrating them into daily life, directly to the heart of your actions. This is what he calls heart dharma.
Bhante Sujatha will meet you wherever you are. If it’s far and wide, he’ll go along with you. But if it’s deep and narrow, he’s ready to dive. It’s the second he prefers, “A few simple practices, repeated and practiced over and over for a lifetime, that is all you need.”
This simple monk wants you to to do, not say.
To feel, not just to know.
In preparation for writing this book, we have walked for hours and hours discussing and contemplating what Bhante’s basic core principles are. I asked so many questions, often over and over again and Bhante never got tired of answering. “What do you stand for?” I’d ask. “What matters most to you?” “Why do you believe that.” “Tell me more,” “tell me more,” “tell me more”…. I’d ask, and then he’d talk, and I’d take bullet point notes that eventually turned into all this.
This book is an attempt to share Bhante’s gift to the world, the absolute core essential teachings, told through story, that we can dwell within, work on, live with and have. They are written in the first person, something I spent considerable time debating. Bhante’s English is broken and adorable but not always understandable at first take. I eventually decided on cleaned up but not perfect English, so that any reader can feel him and still understand the story. I have done my best to write and retell these stories…. to have you experience the magic of his words and his smile through this limited word bound format… it’s flawed and incomplete, that is for sure, however, within these stories the essential wisdom of Bhante Sujatha resides and the peace and happiness we all seek awaits.
Our hope is for these stories to aid us all in our practice and commitment to be well, happy and peaceful.
Consider ordering yours today! 100% of the profits will go directly to serving the world.
Officially released May 20th!