My greatest teachers have strung their pearls of wisdom on a single common thread of simplicity. Their humble gifts inspire me with a wellspring of happiness and are quite easy to adopt. A favorite of mine came from Samdach Vira Dharmawara Bellong Mahathera, also known simply as Bhante Dharmawara by his beloved students. He was a Cambodian-born Theravada monk and teacher who died at the age of 110. I had met him when he was 102.
Bhante reinforced the importance of meditation for me in the 90s and taught me that thoughts, foods and liquids are the fuels that run our lives. He said that too many people are more concerned about their cars then their body vehicles. He helped me to become more conscious about what I do to the physical body I reside in. He taught me to quietly observe my thoughts as I sat in his peaceful meditation room flooded with green dichromatic light—one of his favorite things.
Almost any question asked of this sage by a student would be answered with a Cheshire cat smile, a giggle and his favorite mantra, “Everyday, in every way, I’m getting better and better!”
I have learned to trust this simple saying and to give it a place of power in my life. The love of this teacher encourages me to partake in my daily sadhana of yoga and meditation and inspires me to maintain my incredibly vibrant sattvic-vegan diet.
Bhante taught me that we are immortal and that love is eternal. He spoke often about the vessel of the flesh as fleeting and the need to care for our bodies at every level and in every possible way. He showed me how powerful the mind is. A great lesson that he imparted to me is that the daily practice of maintaining positive loving thoughts takes a great deal of focus and that it is far more work to do so than having a mind filled with negative thought.
The most important gift this wonderful being shared with me is humor. He taught me how to laugh at myself and to ease into everything. “Nothing ever need be forced” he would say. “Everything is flowing and full of grace.”
This floods my vivid life with a rainbow of colors and provides me with plenty of space to connect with the elements of nature and with the Divine. This makes me happy and gives me the ability to pass this happiness onto others.