Monday, November 2, 2015

Three months at NaUyana Forest Monastery

With Ven. Uganda Buddharakkhita at the giant stone Buddha

A secluded kuti at NaUyana Forest Monastery

Dhamma friends,
My three months personal retreat at the NaUyana forest monastery was very peaceful and beneficial in many aspects. It helped experience even deeper and subtler aspects of consciousness and to maintain it for longer uninterrupted periods.
On November 1st, the Kathina ceremony day there was an ordination ceremony of five men as samaneras or novice monks. One of those ordained was a young Brazillian man whom had stayed with me in the Rio Buddha Vihara getting some initial orientation to his future monastic life.
Ven. Uganda Buddharakkhita had also come to the NaUyana Forest Monastery to witness the ordination. One of his aspiring (for ordination) students from Rwanda was also getting ordained in that group.
After leaving NaUyana I went to the Nilambe Meditation Center to conduct a seven day retreat. A group of eight German students had come from Germany to participate in the retreat. Altogether about 23 persons attended. The Nilambe Meditation Center was the place where I had begun teaching 10 day retreats way back in 1981. So this was kind of like a homecoming retreat. The center has changed a lot since then. The kuti that I had built in 1984 with the help of some meditators had been neglected and now has been engulfed by the forest. A testament to Impermanence (Anicca).
 This is the monsoon period in Sri Lanka and it has been raining most every day. Because of the wetness there were many leeches on the pathways which made one to be very mindful and get them off quickly to prevent a trail of blood.
After the retreat I took a group of eight Germans on a six day tour of some of Sri Lankas most important/beautiful historical places. Much of Sri Lanka is already like a natural botanical and historical Park. Though it continued to rain a lot we enjoyed the tour nevertheless with umbrellas in hand.

My assigned kuti at NaUyana Forest Monastery

The sleeping room is upstairs.
The room below is a sewing room and doubles as a place for walking meditation during heavy rain.

Enjoying the forest view from the top of the stairs

Forest friends come for a drink

Others enjoy their ball of dung

Samanera Upekkhananda in a more spartan dwelling

Dwellings to suit different monks

Nice manicured walking paths

Different styles for different minds

 A strong wind knocks over a tree with shallow roots,
But a yogi in deep meditation wavers not

Anagarika Mettuya days before his ordination

Chaitiya/Stupa at NaUyana

 Novice ordination (Pabbaja) at NaUyana 

Six candidates request pabbaja (going forth)

Preceptor tying robes around the neck

Mettiya receives his robe from Preceptor Meegoda Sanghasobhana

Dressed in their new robes they receive a new monastic name

Mettiya recieves the new name of, LokaVijaya--Victory over the world (of Ignorance/suffering)

Preceptor Bhante Meegoda Sanghasobhana delivers an inspiring talk on monastic life to the new novices

The Mahathera and the smiling new novice, Loka Vijaya

The Rwanda student of Ven. Buddharakkhita (at left) receives the name, Sangharakkhita (protector of the Sangha)

New Yoga for Vipassana Meditators video

Dhamma friends,
Here is a link to a video showing the basic routine that I have been teaching in most of my meditation retreats. I integrate these bending and stretching exercises co-ordinated with deep rhythmic breathing with the practice of body centered vipassana meditation. This helps the meditator to more easily develope relaxation and awareness of breathing as well as subtler body sensations that is the beginning of vipassana meditation. Being grounded in the breathing body and connected to the subtler sensations helps to observe the stream of intentions, urges and thoughts and the flow of impermanence which is the deeper level of vipassana meditation.

This video was made at the end of a short retreat I conducted in Romania in July 2015, just before going to Sri Lanka to spend the three months vassa (rainy season retreat). A report of my time at the NaUyana Forest monastery and Sri Lanka will be posted shortly.

This link is to a Interview I gave in Romania, with the title, The Mind and Mindfulness: