Archive | 2013

Beautiful Lessons

Neil’s mother uses playfulness to teach her son one of the most important lessons in all of Buddhism. “You see, you cannot attain the happiness of enlightenment without seeing through two eyes, Chudipatha (precious little son), like this.  One eye is karuna (compassion).  The other eye is panna (wisdom).  Lalitha smiles and holds her right more »

Side Benefits

“I got it!” I was so happy that I shouted when I took this picture. I had finally captured the experience of being in our van, speeding past endless scenes of poverty as we drove around Sri Lanka.  We traveled the entire country in three weeks, leaving very little time for reflection, and I was more »

High Dive

Most of us know there is no rest at the top of the heap.  We expect people to use highly elevated platforms as springboards to help them dive farther down into the pool of humanity, where they can offer help to those who need it most.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffet made it to the more »

Frames (Alms for Americans)

“He should have left the air conditioning running!” I complained to a friend as we sat in the hot back seat of a van. We parked on a busy road in Sri Lanka so our driver could run into a store to buy us some fresh bottled water.  The water in the van was already more »

Impact (A Heavy Load)

“Guess who’s carrying that home?” I joked with a fellow Blue Lotus Sangha member, while we observed the plaques, statues and books piling up on the stage during our teacher’s ceremony.  We all knew the gifts were probably going into our extra suitcases, used for school supplies from the states. I knew Bhante Sujatha was more »


I was climbing in Colorado with my son’s father when I experienced my first paralyzing fear of heights as an adult.  We were on the side of a mountain, on an easy slope, when Robert called out to me, to show me a mountain goat nibbling on the greenery.  I turned to look and froze.  more »


The dancers showed off in a final, long performance that stopped our forward motion in the hot sun on a bridge over the Mahaweli River. Mike Fronzcak, Bhante’s best friend, turned to me and said, “Mary, this is THE bridge.” He was talking about a story from our teacher’s childhood, when Bhante Sujatha threatened to more »

Luck and Life

“I had extraordinary hair, you know. Most people where I lived, they do not have shiny soft hair like mine. My mom told me it was a gift. I don’t want to lose it. When they shaved me, I feel like I lost my world, you know? My whole world.” Bhante Sujatha is quiet. He more »

Chapter One-The Cobra

“Stop it, dog! You’ll trip me!” Lalitha is carrying a load of just-washed-in-the-river laundry up the hill to her small home in Peradiniya, Sri Lanka. It is early morning, and the heat is already here. Her hand under the basket is slippery with sweat and she shifts the load from her shoulder down to her more »

Biography of Bhante Sujatha

“What do you think about this concept of reincarnation?” The little monk is leading a class at Penn State University, where about 60 students have come to see him speak. He smiles at the student who seems interested in the concept of rebirth. “Oh, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter much.” The student tilts his more »

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