A New Year's Message
A new year is here, and I am so happy. All my western friends and students have taught me about your tradition of setting New Years resolutions. I love it! Many times people come to see me and ask for suggestions for their resolutions or they write me with excitement about a new resolution they are making. It often seems like only one week later many people are back to old ways and habits and resolutions are the ambitious resolutions, forgotten. Allow me to ask you to make a commitment as you think about your resolutions this year, to get quiet and deeply consider, "why did my previous commitments fail?" "What is missing in your resolution that keeps you from succeeding?" Next reflect on three things necessary to succeed in any goal: 1. Determination 2. Effort 3. Action None of these work alone. You have to put them all in to practice. Together let's commit to all three things and make a strong resolution to meditate everyday. I know we can do it, one breath at a time!
When Venerable Bhante Sujatha was 10 years old, he told his parents he would throw himself off the bridge into the river below his childhood home in Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, if they did not let him become a monk. Since that time, he’s remained just as certain and determined to live a life dedicated to adding more love to the world and helping people heal their wounded minds.
Bhante has always known he was born to serve humanity and he wakes up everyday committed to this noble cause, teaching meditation and helping people access the deeper parts of themselves so they can feel radiant joy and peaceful happiness. With a single robe and some leftover food, Bhante left his home country and eventually found his way to America, where he learned a new language and culture and discovered the aching desire people have for a more meaningful life.
In a old leaky church basement, Bhante was given a small room to teach meditation. The first night, two people showed up. A decade later, The Blue Lotus Temple is a world-renowned Buddhist temple and meditation center that serves thousands of people locally and even more all over the world, under Bhante’s leadership as abbot and spiritual director.
Bhante leads more than 380 meditations a year, for which he travels hundreds of thousands of miles, often walking off a plane and onto a podium within minutes. He speaks to colleges and universities across the world, leads small group retreats, and consults with corporate giants, teaching them all that love is the way and peace is a constant practice.
Bhante’s humanitarian work spans the globe and most recently oversaw the re-fitting of five hospitals with significant need. In 2013, Bhante Sujatha was awarded the highest honor within his lineage, as a recognition for the incredible impact he’s made to spreading Buddhism across America, being named the Chief Sanhga Nayaka of North America.
To learn more about Venerable Bhante Sujatha or his humanitarian work, visit bhantesujatha.org
Photo credit: wikicommons.org