For more than two years I’ve helped my best friend write a book about my other cherished friend and teacher.  One, a crazy single mother thriving paycheck to paycheck and writing in coffee shops and cafe’s, awake all night madly trying to complete something of value.. the other, a tiny buddhist monk, who’s dedicated his entire life to adding more love to the world and filling people with joy.

I’ve traveled the world with these two friends, helping where I can, grateful to be on the journey.

The book was officially released last night at The Blue Lotus Temple and Meditation Center and as I sit today, I shut my eyes and just imagine the lives and impact this wisdom will make in our world.  We talk so much and often do so little.

My monk friend calls it, “thunder, no rain”.

This book is pure Rain, like my tears of joy and gratitude as I read each page:


“I can see people right away.  I can see what they can do before they can!  I remember watching people walk down the hall to my first temple here, in my small apartment.  Right away, I would notice their gifts.  Somehow I get to see what’s possible for people.  I can use these gift to help people. My teachers at my Temple in Sri Lanka did that for me. They knew I should be a monk.”

His happy face softens, and I see the furrowed brow of a concerned man.

“You know, there are so many people to help.  I have these gifts.  I have to be so mindful of my ego and make sure I use my gifts to help people, not boost my ego.”

“Bhante, how did you choose me to write your story?” 

“You smiled so kindly while I told you the beginning.  You brought a beginner’s mind to my life.  And you have a good heart.  I knew you could do it.”

I think about how we operate in the West, always checking credentials and setting expectations.

What if we were all like Bhante, checking each other’s hearts instead of our brains? What if we just asked each other to do our best and then let it happen? Maybe we investigate skill sets too much and hearts too little?  What if we saw possibilities in a person rather than probabilities based on their past? What if we judge our capacity for loving kindness as the thing to expand, rather than our wallets or our status?  What if our children were taught to practice extreme kindness? What if self compassion beat out self esteem as an essential skill for a happy life?

In Bhante’s philosophy the results of our actions are indicative of our motivations, our thoughts and our practice.  If we are not practicing meditation, we cannot detach from our emotions and remain calm and centered in the most stressful of circumstances.  If we are motivated by greed rather than giving, or competition rather than cooperation, merits are likely to remain out of reach, no matter how much worldly success we experience.

~ Page 59 of My Wish:  to fill the people with joy |  The story of a man who brought happiness to America.  The thus far life story of Bhante Sujatha, written by Mary Gustafson.

Order your copy HERE

reach out to Mary HERE

or to Bhante Sujatha HERE.

and, just like Bhante says:  do it now.

To read about our adventures around the world researching this book, check it out here: