“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 being asked to handle a much heavier load than any of us could imagine. He appeared on a Sri Lankan television show the week before the ceremony, and people started to ask for favors the moment they learned of his new status. His phone rings constantly with requests for the help he can now inspire as the Chief Sangha Patron of North America.
Bhante Sujatha was recognized at every stop on our trip around the country, including the cave temples of Dambulla and the sides of every mountain we climbed. It seemed that grateful fans were everywhere, especially in the middle of nowhere.
He wore his full monk’s robes and sandals as he gracefully led me up the crazy circular staircase on the side of the mountain leading to Sigiriya. The uneven steps and slippery slopes were a challenge for me in my gym shoes and shorts. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to do this climb in a cumbersome dress.
At the top of the mountain, a man from Holland bowed down before Bhante’s robes, and asked me to take pictures of himself and his family with our teacher.
These are the rich rewards of a life lived on purpose, and an example of the burdensome responsibility to use that life for good.
Tyler Lewke said it well. Shortly after the ceremony, he looked at Bhante Sujatha and said, “We just got a whole lot more work to do, didn’t we?”
Today, I made a videotape with Bhante Sujatha for the kick starter project to publish the book, My Wish. I noticed he was careful not to smile too much. He will not trifle with the world changing possibilities of his new title.
Impact. We all have it, whether we know it or not. I want a world filled with people who care enough to climb a mountain in a monk’s robes and sandals.
I can start by carrying those suitcases, gladly.