Sitang Kirtland

The present moment is the only moment that can change your life…

My spiritual journey began when I was still a little girl, living in the middle of Bangkok, in Thailand. With my mother and father out working in the day and with only a selection of dusty books to keep me company, my school holidays and most weekends were usually spent reading at home, or in the home of relatives.

That’s where I discovered a book called ‘Got Heng Gam’, an 800-page book about  the Law of Karma. I read it from cover to cover (several times!). 

Even though I was only seven years old, that book made me think long and hard about what life was really about. I found myself asking the same questions over and over again:

Why is happiness so temporary?  

What happens when we die?

How can I stop myself and those I love from suffering? 

Like most Thais, since I was very young I’d heard many stories about famous master monks who’d devoted most of their lives to meditation and developed all kinds of ‘magical’ powers and supernormal knowledge. I thought that perhaps practising meditation was the answer.

So, at 16 years old I attended a silent one-week meditation course. That week helped me to understand some of the basics, like how to make my mind more peaceful and powerful, but it wasn’t enough. That type of meditation only helped me to feel peaceful temporarily; I quickly realised that it couldn’t stop suffering and bring true happiness.  

Soon after that, I entered university and studied Law, which took up most of my time and left little space for spiritual pursuits. After another few years at university and a couple of high-powered jobs, I finally met my husband, Rick. At that point, I should have been happy.

It seemed I had tried everything that society teaches us will bring us happiness. I’d done all of things that everyone else does: I was married, had degrees from the best universities in the country, and had a good job. But I knew deep inside that it this still wasn’t the type of happiness I was looking for.

It was also at that time I realised two important things:

1.   The outside world can only provide short-term happiness, a fake kind of happiness…  

2.   Lasting, permanent happiness (True Happiness) can only be found in the inside world, within our own mind…

From that point on I decided to commit myself to finding out everything I could about it. I read literally hundreds of books, sought out the best monks and teachers I could find, and practised meditation and mindfulness diligently for thousands of hours, year after year, until I finally found the answers to all my questions and understood the way to True Happiness.

I then started sharing what I knew.

I’ve helped thousands of people discover how to improve themselves, improve their lives and finally find happiness — I’d love to share it with you, too.

Rick Kirtland

A formal education is great, but there’s a whole lot more to explore that you’ll never be taught in school.

Growing up in Cambridge, England, I led a pretty normal life. I was a normal kid who went to normal schools, had normal friends and did all the normal things that boys normally do.

But I was also always interested in paranormal things, and then later I got very interested in spirituality.

Despite having university degrees, being a professional educator and thinking my way through all kinds of issues, I still had loads of questions that no-one seemed to be able to answer — until I met Sitang, at which point my journey into Buddhism and spirituality really began.

Over the last two decades I’ve learnt a great deal through my work in education and teaching in a wide range of schools, through reading widely and deeply, through attending various retreats, spending countless hours in meditation and enjoying endless conversations with Sitang and others.

However, much of my deeper understanding comes from the month I spent in the jungles of northern Thailand after ordaining as a wandering forest monk — a phra tudong.

But that’s a story for another time.

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