Sitting with a Monk.

Sitting with a Monk, by Susan Sklar, LMHC

I met Bhante Dhammawansha in 2006 when I was a therapist at an alternative treatment center for adults in Clearwater, Florida.Bhante Dhammawansha

Bhante ‘sat’ with clients twice monthly to talk about cultivating mindfulness and compassion and ending suffering. He would arrive early to the Center and walk to my office at the end of the hallway. I would leave my door open and his chair ready. Each visit, I had a question for him to answer. Once I asked him how my 2 older siblings could ignore my mother in her old age. I asked, “Doesn’t everybody have a conscience?”

He sat for a moment (as he always does) and smiled. “Susan…don’t advise. Lead by example.”

From that day forward I no longer put my attention to what my siblings did or did not do. I no longer yearned for an answer to that question.  All I had to do was focus on what I was doing.

I have maintained a dear relationship with Bhante. Nothing is more wonderful than getting a call or a text from a monk!  My entire way of thinking changed through meeting and sitting with Bhante, and studying about Buddhism.

I incorporate Buddhist principles in my therapy practice as I do in life.

Life is very different when focusing inward rather than externally, and reacting to the world.  Focusing inward helps me to respond, mindfully, instead.

It also empowers me to take responsibility for what does not benefit me under my own skin.   I understand that the quality of my experiences is always up to me. 

Everything I know now I owe to the monk.

balanced rocks


  1. Barb Sallee says:

    I never expected this to happen. Is this a circle or a spiral? I welcome the chance to meet this wise and gentle monk. I need to be reminded and learn.

    • Carol Cirabisi says:

      Hello Barb,

      We are so glad you are being called to join us. The day will unfold organically around the topics we have asked Bhante to reflect upon with us…

      Please call us or email us with contact your contact information, so we can reserve your spot.

      Looking forward to “sitting” with you…


    • Susan Sklar says:

      Hi Barb! SO happy you are coming to sit with Bhante and I look forward to seeing you. I am not sure what you mean by circle or spiral…this will be a healing experience for all of us…


  2. Barb Sallee says:

    I received an invitation from Susan Sklar and would like to join the group and am ready to buy a ticket.
    Lost track of the site she sent.
    I live in Bradenton, FL

    • Carol Cirabisi says:

      Hi Barb,

      I will forward your info to our admin person who will contact you, if not already, to get all your information.

      Thank you!