Monday, May 13, 2013

Update from Rio

The renovated staircase leading up to the Buddha Vihara

Hi Friends, Namo Buddhaya,
I have been in Rio De Janeiro staying at the Rio Buddha Vihara for the last three months. After the Carnival retreat (see previous blog post) there has been a couple more weekend retreats and Saturdays of Mindfulness. Every Sunday afternoon there is the regular Puja, meditation and Dhamma talk for the public. I also made a three day visit to the Casa De Dharma Buddhist group in Sao Paulo for an intensive weekend of talks and meditation practice and made another visit to Belo Horizonte for a 2nd weekend retreat there.
 In addition to the travel and teaching I have been helping to renovate and repair some of the buildings and grounds of the Rio Buddha Vihara. Some call it the  `new and improved` Rio Buddha Vihara. Some photos below show some of the changes. The Grafettti art on the staircase was done by one of the most famous of the Grafetti artists in Rio. A major renovation to the Vihara is replacing all the old cracked asbestos roofs with new metal and insulated roof sheets (for the heat). They have the form of spanish tiles and an orange color.

Staircase before

Staircase after

New roof sheets waiting to be installed in front of main shrine hall

 New roof on the women´s dorm

In mid Feburary there was a huge storm in Rio with lightening that caused two large trees to fall on top of the meditation deck. Fortunately (perhaps due to an unconscious premonition) we had decided to meditate in the main shrine room down below that evening when the storm occured. The trees broke the roof made of those wavy asbestos sheets right above the spot where I usually would have sitting for our evening meditation.

Meditation deck roof before the storm

 Sunrise view from deck

Deck after the storm

Where I would have been sitting during evening meditation-ooch!

New roof on Meditation deck

 And the views as good as ever

Drying out the umbrellas after a heavy rain

On May 5th we celebrated Vesak in Rio. It was celebrated early because the committee of the temple wanted to have a monk conduct the Vesak program, after many years of not having a monk here for the Vesak. I had already been scheduled to depart Brasil for Germany on May 15th.  May 12th was Mother´s day in Brasil and it was thought that many people would not come to the Vesak program on Mother´s Day because they would be visiting their mother. That is why it was celebrated so early. I will help celebrate the actual Vesak Day on May 26th at the Buddhistisches Haus in Berlin, Frohnau.

Preparing for Vesak

Welcoming banner in Portugues

Artistic logo of the Rio Buddha Vihara

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The Bodhi Tree

Procession of Flower offerings on Vesak

Visitors having lunch outside

Below are photos of other walks in the Rio area

With Ven. Mudito in front of Ipanema´s `Muscle Beach`

 Sitting under the palms on Copacabana beach

Relatively quiet Copacabana Beach

A walk up the mountain named, Dois Irmáos (two brothers) located near Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach with Dois Irmáos at the end of the beach (the two peaks)

Views on the way up of Pedra de Gávea mountain and São Conrado beach

The way up to the highest point on Dois Irmaós 

The packed houses Favela da Rocinha-the largest favela (slum) in South America

 The summit in sight

Views from the top-Ipanema below with Copacabana and Sugar Loaf mountain in the upper center beyond the lagoon 

 Corcavado-the Statue of Jesus Christ barely visible at upper left

Can´t get enough of those views

Photos from early morning meditation at viewpoint Dona Marta 
Statue of Jesus Christ in the predawn dark

Airplanes make a u-turn in front of the Sugar Loaf Mountain to land at Santos Dumont airport

Santos Dumont Airport on the waterfront in Rio 

 The only way to fly--in Rio city

Next Stop--Berlin

Here are links to two video talks on the subject of the Five Aggregates recorded in Brasilia