Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Rio Buddha Vihara

Sunrise from the meditation  deck at the Rio Buddha Vihara

Hi Friends,
I am now staying at the Buddha Vihara in Rio De Janeiro until May 15th. It is very warm here south of the equator. There is a small but enthusiastic group of Brasilians who are living at this Vihara which is in the area called Santa Teresa perched on the side of a mountain not far from the famous statue of ``Christ the Redeemer``. As the photo shows it commands the classic view  of the iconic Sugar Loaf rock towering over the Guanabara Bay.
I have already conducted their annual `Carnival retreat` held for the first time at the newly renovated and expanded vihara. And last night a group of 12 held a meditation on the Beach near Ipanema. It was stil 75 degrees F at 9 pm.
A few days ago Ven. Piyadhammo from Wat Sacca in Berlin was also here. He had been staying here since December 28th. And Ven. Mudito, a native Brasillian bhikkhu was also visiting here for several days. So there was a record three Theravada bhikkhus here at the Vihara for the first time ever. The Brasillian upasakas emphasized that point.

This Buddha Vihara was first built and opened in 1972 by a Sri Lankan monk named Anuruddha. In the nineties and until 2003 a Sri Lankan bhikkhu named Ven. Vipassi lived here. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana had come here several times during that time to teach the Dhamma and meditation. It is maintained and run by the Sociedade Budista Brasil or SBB. Nowadays no one monk resides here. They invite different non-Brasillian bhikkhus to come teach and lead their annual Carnival retreat usuially once a year during January-March. This is the sixth year that I have come to Brasil since 1996.
Currently there is only one bhikkhu from Brasil in the Theravada sangha, Ven Mudito. But he is still undergoing his further training in Thailand and does not stay in Brasil. Three young men are currently preparing to go to Thailand to get ordained at Wat Pah Nanachat so that someday there will be a sangha of native Brasillians speaking Portuguese to help lead the Brasillian Buddhists in their study and practice of the Dhamma. And this Vihara will probably grow to be the hub of the Theravada monastic sangha in Brasil.

The sala: below is the main shrine room and just above is the female dormitary.

Male dormitary with the new meditation deck above

The new monk´s kuti

View to the right:classic Rio

View to the left: greater Rio

Discussion with Ven. Piyadhammo

The core group of Upasakas

The Corcavado mountain with the Statue of Christ

A crane comes to breakfast on the fish in the pond

A stroll on Ipanema Beach with Ven. Piyadhammo. Dois Irmãos mountains are in the background

 Looking across an unusually deserted Ipanema Beach towards Arpoador

Three bhikkhu watching sunrise at Arpoador point

The new meditation deck

Scenes from the retreat

The offering of the noon meal

Breakfast with a view
For more photos from Rio click this link:https://picasaweb.google.com/sbbcursos/TresMongesTheravadaNoBrasilFev2013