Bhante Sujatha, a Buddhist monk from Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock, Ill., leads a two-hour Loving-Kindness meditation workshop Saturday, Jan. 31 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Lake Zurich, 729 W. Route 22. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and bring a water bottle, yoga mat, and meditation cushion if you have one. Space is limited; call 847-989-7792 to register. The cost is $30 per person.
Why did you become a Buddhist monk?
I became a monk at age 11 after years of trying to persuade my parents to allow me to ordain. I felt something deep in my heart that this path was for me. My wish in this world is to help people find peace and happiness, and the teachings and path I’ve followed as a monastic have given me all I need to navigate the world and help as many people as possible. I have remained as certain as I was the first day and every single day since for more than 35 years that this is the work I was born to do; I am sure of it.
You travel all over the world to teach people meditation and how to be happy. What are some of the most memorable places you have traveled?
Sometimes I can’t believe my life—it’s like a dream. I grew up in a tiny village with dirt floors and not enough food to eat. Now I am this notable monk traveling all over the world, teaching people how to add love to their lives and to access the peace that’s already within all of us. I get the chance to go to islands and exotic locations and also to lots of church basements in unremarkable towns all across the world. What I have learned is that it does not matter where we are…the peace and happiness we all seek is within all of us and all that we have to do is learn to pause and open our heart and minds to find it. That can be done anywhere. My friends laugh at me all the time because no matter where I am, if I have meditation pillow, I announce I am “open for business.”
What can people expect at this workshop?
It’s very important to bring an open mind. I encourage people to set aside prayer prior to any workshop with me by saying, “Help me set aside everything I know, and everything I think I know for an open mind and new experience.” When you do this, anything is possible.
You should wear comfortable clothes and whatever you need to be happy. Rules don’t apply here—you can’t do it right or wrong, good or bad. Just an open mind and willingness to explore is good enough! The agenda is just like life: changing in the moment. We will explore deep silence and the benefits of practicing meditation. I will gently guide you through the Loving-Kindness meditation; it is my personal favorite and one that I believe offers the most good to the meditator and then as a result, the whole world. I promise it will be very casual and easy; I teach by telling stories and engaging in heart-to-heart conversation.
How can this workshop and regular meditation benefits one’s life?
The benefits of meditation are widely researched. I encourage everyone to simply google “benefits of meditation” and you will read for days. My personal experience, being dedicated to meditation for more than 35 years, is that meditation has the ability to rewire our brain and our heart. It helps us observe the wounded parts of our hearts and minds and then we slowly learn how to navigate in a loving way as to make the world and our personal lives better. My students always tell me that even after their first meditation, they can’t believe the love they can feel and the peace deep within themselves. They notice after a short time, their happiness has a sturdiness to it that is very notable.
What do you do to stay happy and content everyday?
I open my heart and recommit my life and actions to my simple goal: To add more love to the world. To achieve this, I surround myself with noble friends and I make sure to follow the teachings of the Buddha so that my life works and peace surrounds me as much as possible.
To learn more details about the workshop, click here.