Resident Monk of Blue Lotus Buddhist Meditation Center - Florida
Coming into Saturday meditation in Venice, you meet a smiling Monk San and then settle in to listen to his gentle wisdom. Others may also know him as a psychiatric nurse or as the vice-president of the Blue Lotus-Florida Board of Directors.
For San, he knew he wanted to be a monk when he was just five years old, but his family resisted the idea. However, when he was ten years old, he joined the monastery after his grandfather, having commissioned Bhante’s astrological chart, agreed that to be a monk was the correct path for him, and the rest of his family concurred.
Monk San is from the island country of Sri Lanka, where the study and practice of astrology is intrinsic to the culture and integral to understanding and predicting events and circumstances.
Monk San completed his primary education at the monastery. He later earned two Bachelor’s degrees – one in Theology, the other in Buddhist Studies, as well as a Master’s degree in Theology. Monk San is currently finalizing another graduate degree as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and is working full-time in a psychiatric hospital.
Monk San came to the United States at the invitation of the Venerable Bhante Sujatha of the Blue Lotus Temple in Illinois. Leaving the “contained environment” of Sri Lanka behind expanded his world view. He studied hard to learn English by taking ESL classes and listening to presidential speeches. He was committed to speaking only English rather than his native language, Sinhalese.
He now lives and works in Clearwater but continues his travels to provide Buddhist teachings free of charge in Venice, North Port, and Sarasota. When he’s not driving I75, or studying in the early morning, or handling BLBMC business, you may find him enjoying the cooler weather with a slice of pizza. Most importantly to him, as the “Monk on the Go, '' he provides dharma talks along Florida’s Suncoast.
“It all goes back to gratitude,” says Monk San. “Since I was ten years old, the people in my village in Sri Lanka took care of me… kindly, with open minds, they raised me. At twenty four, the prime age when I should have been giving back to them, I left the country. Since we believe in Karma and rebirth, I know that whatever I do will (in turn) benefit those who raised me. My inspiration to teach comes only from that. It is purely based on gratitude. I am here only because they gave me that foundation.”