The revered Theravada monk Venerable Bhante Sujatha will visit the Penn State Mont Alto campus of Pennsylvania State University on 27 April. Bhante Sujatha has been visiting the university each year since 2010 in the hope of helping students to integrate meditation and spirituality with their daily lives.
According to Penn State Mont Alto’s website, Ven. Bhante Sujatha will be on campus from 10:10 a.m.–1:10 p.m., and the public is able to attend two of his talks. The first will take place from 10:10–11 a.m. in the General Studies building, Room 201. The second will take place from 12:20–1:10 p.m. in the campus library.
The event is one of many cultural enrichment programs that Penn State Mont Alto hosts each year.
Ven. Bhante Sujatha was born in Sri Lanka and undertook his monastic training at the Subodharama International Monk Training Center in Kandy, which is part of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. He began his monastic training at the age of 11 under the school’s ordination teacher, Ven. Dhammawasa Thero, and credits the strict monastic training with teaching him how to get along with different types of people. The monk said it also showed him that having a grasp of his own issues was an effective way of coping with the personalities and issues of other people.
The Theravada tradition arrived in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) in 250 BCE, and it has a firm foothold in many Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.
His training and Dharma teaching has taken Ven. Bhante Sujatha all over the world. In 1993, he went to Brisbane, Australia, to teach meditation and Buddhism. In 1997, he was invited by one of his former teachers to live and teach in the US. He subsequently moved to the Midwest in order to help establish the Great Lakes Buddhist Vihara in Southfield, Michigan.
Afterwards, he earned a psychology degree from McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois, and began teaching a meditation class at a Unitarian church in the area. The class eventually developed into the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple and Meditation Center.
Ven. Bhante Sujatha teaches more than 380 meditation classes each year, and his busy schedule requires him to travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers. At times, he has said, he finds himself giving a Dharma talk only moments after stepping off the plane. In addition to his upcoming talk at Penn State Mont Alto, Ven. Bhante Sujatha has engagements at colleges and universities across the world, leads small group retreats, and offers teachings at large corporations. In each of these venues, his focus is on helping people to understand that love is the way and peace is a lifelong practice.
Ven. Bhante Sujatha also performs a great deal of humanitarian work all over the world, which he describes as “love in action.” These humanitarian projects include helping to refit hospitals, organizing donations for people with COVID-19, and creating food drives for people in need.
As a result of his work, Ven. Bhante Sujatha was named Chief Sangha Nayaka of North America—the highest honor in his Buddhist lineage.
Ven. Bhante Sujatha is the author of three books: Sitting on the Toolbox (Blue Lotus Press 2018), Morning Coffee with Bhante (Blue Lotus Press 2020), and Empty, Empty, Happy, Happy (Redwood Publishing 2019).
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