Friends of Godwin Samararatne

Learn to be your best friend and also to be a friend of others. Learn to forgive yourself and others and then heal any wounds that you are carrying.

Month: April, 2020



We have to be really open to uncertainty, so in a sense spiritual life is learning to be open to insecurity. This is also mentioned in the Buddha’s teaching. The danger of Western culture is that to a great extent everything seems to be under control and predictable. This gives a really false sense of security. In that way Sri Lanka and India are very good for practice! You never know what is going to happen: suddenly there’s a bomb blast! In the West transport is very convenient, but in Sri Lanka you don’t know whether there will be a bus or a train.

A Good Question


A good question in a difficult situation is: “What can I learn from this?” In my own life, life has been my best teacher. I have met gurus, I have met enlightened people, I have met masters, but my present position is: “My best teacher is life.” And what is interesting about life is you can never come to a conclusion about it. You can’t say: “Now I’m sure that in the rest of my life I will not have any problems.”



This ability to laugh at ourselves, to develop this humour towards life, to have this lightness, is something really beautiful. In life we are bound to have difficulties, we are bound to have problems, however much we meditate, however much we follow a spiritual path. We cannot avoid problems, we cannot avoid difficult situations. When you read the life of the Buddha it is surprising the problems and difficulties he had. He had problems with his relatives, his disciples gave him difficulties, followers of other religions gave him difficulties. Even though they were great people religious teachers like the Buddha and Jesus had difficulties, so who are we to expect to have no difficulties? Jesus Christ was crucified. Look what they did to a great man like Socrates. Problems will be there and we should be grateful for such situations, it is an opportunity to learn how to deal with our difficulties.

Laugh at Life


Another aspect of this model of perfection is that we take life so seriously. I always stress the importance of feeling light, of being playful and having the ability to laugh at life and ourselves. That is a really important spiritual quality!

One day I was talking to a very wise monk in Sri Lanka who lives in a forest hermitage. Suddenly he told me: “Sometimes I see life as a big joke. Sometimes it can be a very bad joke! But still it’s a joke.” Our problem is that we take this joke too seriously. We take this life as something that should be perfect. With that we loose this lightness and playfulness in our attitude to life and in our attitude to practice.

This idea about playfulness came to me one day when in Sri Lanka I was asked to teach meditation to a group of young Buddhist monks. They were around fifteen years old, wearing robes and living in a temple. Before we talked about meditation I had a friendly chat with them and I asked them: “What is it that you don’t like in this temple, and in the schedule?” They said: “Getting up in the morning for meditation.” I said: “I’m very happy, it is a very honest answer! Now tell me, what is it that you enjoy in this temple?” Everyone gave big smiles and they said: “Playing with the dogs!” Then I said immediately: “Well, you see, meditation is playing with your mind!” They liked this very much. I met some of them later on and they said that the meditation had become very light, especially focusing on breathing. They said that it was like playing with the breath: sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not there. So then there was a lightness to the practice.



I think that in Western culture one internalises the idea of perfection. I am surprised to meet so many people on meditation retreats who suffer from guilt. We project this model of perfection onto ourselves, onto other people and onto life. Please be open to your imperfection, please let go of your models of perfection and stay open to your humanness. Learn to see your imperfection and your humanness as learning experiences, then you will learn to relate to yourselves and to others in a much easier way. You will have fewer difficulties in your relationships because you know in what type of world we live.

We are Learning

I feel it is very, very important to combine awareness with loving-kindness. In this connection there is a very beautiful Mahayana statement where it says: Can you develop awareness like a mother watching her only child? Can we watch ourselves in the same way as a mother watching her child? You have to watch yourself in the same way when you are distracted, disturbed by what other people are doing, and when you are disturbed, distracted by what is happening outside yourself. Now how does one use both awareness and loving-kindness in relation to that?

For instance here, when you want to be silent, if someone is speaking, then what you can learn to do is to observe the anger, to be aware of that anger. Your tension, your anger is in relation to what is happening inside you, and not what the person is doing. It is because of your sensitivity that you developed that anger.

So this is where loving-kindness comes in. So you say to yourself: I am angry, I am annoyed, I am a meditator, but it is okay to get annoyed. It is okay to get irritated, because that person is giving me an opportunity to work with this situation now. So let me feel grateful to that person because he is creating this situation for me, so that I can learn to work with my anger: May that person be well, happy, and peaceful as I work with this anger.

In this way we are learning something very valuable, we are learning from our own mistakes, we are learning from our own reactions. So the emphasis is not on the person or the situation that is creating the reaction, but you learn to make that reaction the object of meditation.



If continious violence has happened to you and it has affected you, you carry a wound in relation to what the other person has done. And if you carry such a wound, every time you remember that man, what happens? You are angry with that man; you are hurt by that man. So in relation to what he did you can be suffering, and this can be a very destructive thing, this wound you are suffering from.

Because sometimes we humans assume that a person knows why he is acting in such a way, but if you get a chance to have a dialogue with him, perhaps he might say: I don’t know why I did it, it just happened to me. Don’t we in certain situations act in a certain way and we really don’t know why, we cannot find out the reason?

So this may be difficult, but it is really worthwhile, if you can heal the wound in this way, a burden that you may have been carrying for many, many years, it can give you such release and such lightness.

Maybe you have to stop any further connection with him, but still you may make a connection indirectly by wishing him: May he one day realise what he is doing, may he some day understand what he is doing, and through that let him not continue the same destructive behaviour as he had in the past.

The Last Chance


One other benefit of loving-kindness that is mentioned is that you can die with complete awareness. Why is dying consciously so important? One reason is that it is the last chance you have to become enlightened. So if you have missed it during your life, it is the last chance when you are dying.

So you can live peacefully, you can sleep peacefully, and you can die peacefully if you practice loving-kindness.

Friendliness and Acceptance


Another benefit that is mentioned among the benefits of loving-kindness is that your mind becomes one-pointed – I am not happy with the word “concentrated”, which is the normal translation, the Pali word that is used is samadhi. So for meditation loving-kindness is very, very helpful. It is through friendliness and acceptance that one can really meditate. Otherwise, by hating and by fighting and by controlling we can never relax and we can never feel peaceful. This is why I have very often been mentioning that you should just be friendly to what is happening around you, without resisting, without disliking.

Psychosomatic Illnesses


An interesting benefit of Loving-Kindness is that your face becomes serene. Your face becomes like the face of babies. So you don’t have to spend money for cosmetics. You can save the money and practice loving-kindness. But it is a very interesting benefit, because it shows that loving-kindness can even affect your face.

And if it can affect your face it can affect your body. There are what are called psychosomatic illnesses. I hear that there are special clinics only for psychosomatic illnesses. So if you can make your body sick with your minds, you can also heal your bodies to a great extent by loving-kindness. So in psychosomatic illness what is suggested is to examine the way you relate to yourself. The way you are relating to yourself is bringing up these illnesses, in other words find out how you are creating your own illnesses.