Earlier this year it was a tremendous joy to find out that Venerable Sayādaw U Jotika happened to be spending one month in Bangkok and that the quiet residence which his lay-supporters had organized for him to stay was coincidentally in the same condominium building as mine. How remarkable in a city of ten million inhabitants! Although he was not broadcasting his presence here and was appreciating a contrast to his busy duties in Burma, his sense of welcome was unequivocal.
Once again it is the enormous good fortune to welcome Sayādaw U Jotika back to Thailand. Next month he will return to Thailand and spend some time here on retreat—a stepping back from the responsibilities and duties he carries in Burma. Hopefully I and others will have the honour to spend some time with him during this time.
In preparation for his visit I include some words of wisdom from his book ‘Snow in the Summer’:
A lizard is climbing the tree in front of my kuti and a dove is cooing behind my kuti. What more do you want to know about my life?
I am not a follower, because that would mean I am not taking complete responsibility for my life. Neither am I a leader, because that would mean I am taking responsibility for others, which would mean taking away from them responsibility for themselves. I am a friend. I am forever an explorer.
More and more people are looking at me as if I’m a wise monk. Sometimes I feel that as a burden. They won’t allow me to be foolish sometimes. It’s so nice when nobody is around. I’m not faultless, and I don’t aspire to be perfect. It’s easier when I allow myself to be foolish. A good reputation is a prison.
I don’t want to put myself into a pigeon-hole; it is too limiting. I want freedom from a name, a label. I am what I am. I don’t need to be categorized. Do you know the root of the word ‘category’? It comes from Latin and Greek (L. catēgoria, Gr. katēgoriā), and one of its original meanings is ‘accusation.’