The cleaner

A recent dhamma talk by Bhante Sujatha offered some candid insight into the human nature, including his own. Beside sharing his experiences of the recent humanitarian efforts he just returned from, he also exposed the unhappiness that he often experienced both in Sri Lanka and again on his return to the United States.
Bhante explained how there is so much poverty in Sri Lanka, even seeing pregnant Mothers who have to sleep on the floor because of overcrowded conditions, and the lack of funds to care for them. Visiting a recently established elderly monk care center, where so many helpless aged Monks had to lay in their own filth.
Yet regardless of these hardships, Bhante told us how they all were grateful for what they had. He visited these, and so many other places like this, only to see smiling faces. Human beings in the worst of conditions, but happy and grateful for what they had.
In contrast, he thought of the people back here and how abundant life is for most of us, yet we are so unhappy and dissatisfied. Even the very wealthy seem to have equally dissatisfactory lives.
The difference, he sees clearly, is one of mindfulness. Whether we possess a lot, a little, or nothing at all, it is our mind that we must master.

Bhante shared that he too experiences these feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. But he is a good “cleaner”. He has developed his mind so that he does not need to suffer these for days or weeks. Mindfulness that cultivates wisdom and acceptance is the way to purify your mind. A clean mind is a purified mind.

As wonderful as it felt to hear Bhante Sujatha reveal his humanity, I found it even more revealing just how cluttered my own mind is. I am not a very good “cleaner” at all. But I do have an image now of purifying the mind when I think of this process of cleaning. Like clutter in your home or office, we all need to straighten things up, throw out all the things that are unnecessary, and feel that peace and clean openness within ourselves and our minds.
Perhaps a little “Spring Cleaning” is a good way to look at our practice and meditation every day. Get rid of the junk, because it does neither of us any good.

Thank you Bhante, for your humanity, your compassion, your humanitarian work that helps so many, but thank you most of all for being my teacher and such a beautiful example of the living dhamma.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.