January 1, 2003

Anagarika Munindra, 1914 – 2003

Anagarika Munindra passed away October 14, 2003. Affectionately known as ‘Munindraji,’ he was one of the significant teachers of IMS founders Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, playing a pivotal role in the transmission of Buddhism from East to West.

Sharon Salzberg recalls, “When I went to India, at the age of 18, Munindraji was one of the first teachers I met. At one point he said to me, ‘The Buddha’s enlightenment solved the Buddha’s problem, now you solve yours.’ I found that the most inspiring statement, because it implied that I could in fact solve my own problem – the unhappiness and confusion that had brought me to India to begin with. The teachings of the Buddha say that no one else will accomplish our freedom from suffering for us, and that no one else need to, because we ourselves can actually do it.

“Once, someone asked Munindra why he practiced meditation. His students gathered around, expecting to hear an exalted, lofty answer. He simply replied, ‘I practice meditation to notice the small purple flowers growing by the roadside, which I otherwise might miss.’ When we start to notice the small purple flowers, we come to not only enjoy them for ourselves, but to wish that others might also see them, for their solace and enjoyment.”