Writings

Here you can find various articles by Bhante Sujato and Bhante Akaliko. These are reflections on different aspects of facing up to the climate crisis as it unfolds. Posts with the title “Harbingers” form a loosely-themed series by Bhante Sujato, which includes analytic articles as well as personal reflections and short stories.

On Happiness and Where to Find it
Where do we look for happiness?
For the changemakers
This is one for all those who want a better world, and wonder why it seems so hard.
Petalody
Learning about life and death in Grand-Mother Nature's garden.
Puddytat
Since the internet has devolved into essentially a delivery device for cute cat memes, I thought I’d add my own spin on the genre. Except it’s a tiger!
A Buddhist Literary Scandal; the Curious Case of ‘The First Free Women’
A critique of 'The First Free Women; Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns' by Matty Weingast, which is being marketed and sold as a translation of the historical collections of enlightened bhikkhuni poems, the Therīgāthā, but in fact is no such thing.
Forest Poems 3—Death and Other Indignities
Part Three of the collection Forest Poems written during 2016–2018 whilst residing at Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, Western Australia. Death and Other Indignities explores the repulsive and unattractive side of nature through the cycle of life and death.
Forest Poems 2—Tears of a Monk
Part Two of a collection of poems written during 2016–2018 whilst residing at Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, Western Australia. Tears of a Monk explores beauty and sadness in the melancholy world of samsara, and the hope for an end to suffering for all beings.
Forest Poems 1—Faux-kus
Part One of a collection of poems written during 2016–2018 whilst residing at Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, Western Australia. Inspired by the poems of the senior nuns and monks from the Therīgāthā and Theragāthā, as well as the later Chan and Zen literary traditions, these poems are a homage to the ideal of the rustic solitude of a forest monastic. They explore themes of impermanence, death, melancholy, as well as the joys and struggles of meditation.
Harbingers—I’d rather be a Doomer than a Boomer
Young people, we are told, are increasingly falling into the fallacy of climate “doomerism”, a disaster supposedly as bad as denialism that threatens their mental health and undermines action. But a lack of supporting evidence raises the possibility that anti-doomerism is just a moralizing stance. Might rejecting the mainstream environmental advice that “we must have hope” be, rather, a prerequisite for moral realism? Empowerment is a modern invention that depends on the brittle assumption that we do, in fact, have power. Acceptance may prove a more resilient basis for a new morality.
Fairy castles
A fable by Bhante Sujato on living in a world of alternate realities.
(Dis)[Inter]Connecting Selves
In spiritual circles, people often talk about experiencing a feeling of being one with everything; existing in a state of interconnectedness with all living beings and the whole cosmos. Do such experiences reveal a truth that we are usually disconnected from or do they lead to wrong views?
On a Mountain of Bones
The covid-19 pandemic presents us with an opportunity to see more deeply into the nature of our reality, especially to come to terms with the inescapable truths of old age, sickness and death.
Things as they are
A Buddhist monk’s view of the climate emergency
Harbingers—It’s Nice to Have a Choice
The climate crisis is slow-moving and dispersed. It seems abstract, as if action can always be delayed another day. But its impacts can be sudden and specific. Those who survive do so in a diminished world. It is hard enough to lose those who we love; it is harder still to have our capacity to do anything about it taken from us, bit by bit.
Harbingers—The Far Side of the Sky
I have always been suspicious of hierarchical moralities that, through a process of seemingly careful and fair-minded reasoning, somehow place the reasoner at the very pinnacle. Buddhists are as susceptible to this as anyone else. We are not what we pretend to be, nor are we who we think we are. But when all things come to an end, perhaps we shall reveal who we were all along.
Harbingers—The Marsh’s Edge
Even after all things are lost, it is in the small moments that redemption may be found.
Harbingers—The Other Chris
A man survives the end of the world alone, only to finally meet a friend. It is a short story about how views shape the world.
The serpent Gurrangatch and the hunter Mirragan
This essay was presented by Bhante Sujato at a plenary session of the Sakyadhita 2019 conference in Leura, NSW. Global warming is an unprecedented threat to the survival of our civilization and culture, indeed our very lives. The aboriginal myth of Gurrangatch and Mirragan tells of a time when the land of the Blue Mountains was shaped in the struggle for life, a struggle marked by both passion and restraint. While the future has never been more uncertain, our wisdom traditions offer us ways of talking about and responding to change as conscious individuals able to reflect on and choose our own responses.
Harbingers—A Fireside Chat
This short story was inspired by the resilience and wisdom I saw in women of a certain generation. “Sharon” is a prototypical Aussie woman’s name; “Leslie” is one of the strongest women I know; and “Katy” is named after a leading character in a story by Joanna Russ, the first line of which somehow stuck with me for four decades.
Harbingers—The Right Thing to Do
Hope is an inadequate virtue for the times in which we live. The real question we must ask ourselves is this—regardless of how things turn out, what kind of person do we want to be?
Harbingers—How to read about the end of the world
Media accounts of the climate crisis aim to present a balanced perspective—the crisis is urgent, but we still have hope. When examined closely, however, the crisis is described in terms of facts, while the hopes are described in terms of wishes and fantasies.
THE END IS NIGH!!!
While we might not think of Buddhism as an apocalyptic religion, there are a number of Suttas that speak of massive global climate breakdown. Now we see the future the Buddha prophesied becoming our present.
Harbingers—Gods & Monsters
A very short story about a very big story—how the world ended, and how we, who ended the world, will be seen by our children.
A Buddhist Guide to “Surviving” the Apocalypse
Practical advice from the Suttas on how to deal with a crisis as vast as the global climate elergency.
The End of the World as We Know It
A video to bring the climate crisis back home.
Interview with Bhante Sujato
Discussing the Monastery at the End of the World as well as, well, the actual end of the world.
Harbingers—as the oceans heat up
While we dally and debate, the world is heating at an incredible rate. Most of the heat is absorbed by the oceans where we cannot directly feel it, but that does not make it any less dangerous.