Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Good Bye Rio

View of Rio after takeoff from Santos Dumont airport


Hi friends,
After the last posting I had conducted two more weekend retreats at the Rio Buddha Vihara in March and April. I also made a trip to the vipassana group in Brasilia to give three separate short sessions of talk and meditation. While in the capital, Brasilia I paid a visit to the Thai Embassy where I described to the Ambassador and staff the renovations and stupa project going on at Wat Rio (the Rio Buddha Vihara). After Brasilia I went to Sao Paulo to stay a few days at the Casa de Dharma to conduct meditation sessions and a three day retreat. After the retreat I went on an excursion with three friends to the famous Foz do Iguacu (massive waterfalls at Iguacu). The waterfalls are more numerous and larger than even Niagara Falls. They are located on the borders with Argentina and Paraguay.
While at the Rio Vihara these last four months I had initiated two men as Anagarikas who stayed undergoing training to become familiar with monastic life. In June one of them will be going to Sri Lanka and the other to Thailand to get ordained as monks. There are two other Brasillian men who also intend to go to Sri Lanka in October to get ordained. Hopefully this will increase the numbers of the growing bhikkhu Sangha for the future of the Theravada monastic Sangha in Brasil.
On May 3rd we Celebrated Vesak, commorating the birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of the Buddha. We had been working hard the previous month to renovate the main entrance to the Vihara to give the arriving devotees and visitors a nice new greeting.

The entrance from the road to the steep staircase

The completely new entrance to the Vihara
The eight spoke Dhamma wheel

More steep steps up to the pond and main buildings

Current photo of the empty pond and main building

The proposed future new look

The new bell tower and flourishing Bodhi Tree

Anagarika Sujira and Fabiana with the new Mindfulness bell

                                   Preparing for Vesak
New roof over front entrance
Fabiana paints the lotus


Vesak day begins with a glorious sunrise
Offering the flowers in the shrine

Anagarikas are served next

devotees in the shrine

Enjoying the lunch and day

Sunrise meditation on a deserted Copacabana beach

from the other direction

The small red roof in the center left of the forest is the roof of the Vihara

With Upasaka Dhammasiri- a generous benefactor of the Vihara

  Trip to Iguacu Falls
The main cataracts at Foz do Iguacu with perpetual rainbow
Viewing platform amidst the mist of multiple waterfalls

The robe is soaking wet
Drying out with Angelo and Arthur
Views of the `smaller` falls
Small boats get up close for `thrills` we opted out

Chilling out in the bird park
With a fine feathered friend

and fine travelling companions

All around it was a very pleasant and productive four months for the physical grounds of the vihara itself and for the residents and many visitors.

On May 17th I departed from Rio de Janeiro, flying to Geneva to start the two month tour in Switzerland, Germany and Romania.

Taking off in front of the iconic `Sugar Loaf`` mountain

 The Panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro from the air


Good Bye Rio
Hello Switzerland with Mount Blanc landing at Geneva