Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Lion of Wisdom Meditation Center

The new Meditation Center on the hill

Hi Friends,
Since leaving Brasil I have been staying at the new, Pannasiha, 'Lion of Wisdom' Meditation Center, a forty five minute drive from Washington DC. It is a large seven bedroom house on three acres of land amidst the rolling hills and farmland near Damascus, Maryland. It was purchased by Bhante M. Dhammasiri and the Washington Buddhist Vihara. I was asked to be the director and the principal meditation teacher there. The combined Vesak and opening ceremony of the new center was held on May 21st. However, the house still needs some repair and renovations before it is suitable for holding short retreats and accomodating overnight guests. Starting next April hopefully I will begin conducting A Day of Mindfulness, as well as short weekend retreats. We hope to be able to accomodate persons for personal retreat periods also. It is still a work in progress. There is a new website for the You can keep checking it from time to time for updates. At some point in the future there may be a facebook page.
Below are some photos of the center and the Vesak/opening ceremony.

View of house and deck from the back

Panorama of the house with dilapidated horse stable and woods

  Secluded woods in the far corner of the property

Small meditation tent in the woods

The mason monk at work

The statue and sign were covered to have the official unveiling at the opening ceremony

Awaiting the procession of vehicles from Washington D.C.

Sri Lankan boys awaiting their performance

Vehicles escorting the sitting Buddha statue 

Pick up carrying the Buddha 

Devotees greeting the arriving Buddha 

Awaiting arrival of the Buddha

Carrying the Buddha to the house

Bhante Dhammasiri and the Hon. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to cut the ribbon

The Buddha with the 'teaching mudra' installed in the meditation hall

Preparing to unveil the standing Buddha 

 Explaining about the mudra of Fearlessness

Invited government reps unveil the sign

Monks having the noon dana

 The afternoon Vesak Ceremony

Giving the Vesak address with government representatives behind

There is no meditation without Wisdom,
No wisdom without meditation,
One who both meditates and is wise,
Is close to peace and freedom (Nibbana)
                                                                                                                     Dhammapada 372

Meanwhile, I am off on a four month teaching tour to Germany and India. 
May all beings have the opportunity to hear the Dhamma and practise meditation to help free their minds from confusion and suffering.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Back in Brasil

Landing in Rio De Janeiro

Hi friends,
It has been awhile since my last post with the Buddhamas Carol, so I thought I would update.
I Flew from California to Rio de Janeiro on Feburary 16th. A sad thing happened at the Rio Buddha Vihara a few weeks before I arrived. The visiting monk and three members were robbed by a gang of three armed robbers. Since then by decision the Board of directors the Vihara was closed for any residential or functional usage. Ven. Mudito, the Brasillian bhikkhu who had been staying there for awhile, had henceforth gone to stay in Sao Paulo. Therefore I could not stay at the Vihara during my one week stay in Rio. Instead, I was put up in a hotel in the Flamengo beach area which was nice on that account. The Buddhist group nonetheless arrangd a couple of puja/meditation and talk programs in another location.
 During my week in Rio a SriLanka/Canadian couple, Nissanka and Hemanta also visited and stayed in the apartment of Fabiana Gomes nearby. Fabiana arranged several sightseeing excursions to the main attractions of Rio and well as some meditation sessions on the beach. So, all in all in wasn`t a bad visit to Rio.

The iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sunset at the Lagoa

With Fabiana, Nissanka and Hemanta and driver at a secluded beach restaurant.

 Nissanaka taking it all in

Sunrise from Mirante Dona Marta

A hike to Pedro Bonita for a view of Pedro de Gavia

Of course, Christ the Redeemer

From Rio I few to Sao Paulo where I lead the annual nine day Carnival Retreat for the Casa De Dharma group. About 55 people attended that retreat which was held at a Catholic retreat center in Vinhedo, an hour drive outside of the Sao Paulo Megalopolis. After that retreat I spent a few days in Sao Paulo at the Casa de Dharma city center. Following  that I travelled five hours by bus to the small city of Sao Lourenco in the hilly/mountainous State of Minas Gerais. Here I stayed at the house of Silvio Paintino, who is the leader of the Theravada/vipassana meditation group there. He had invited me there to lead a four day retreat for twenty persons. After two nights leading a few morning and evening sittings at his house we drove one and a half hours up to the small retreat center of, Antigo Mosteiro Serra Clara, located higher in the mountains for the retreat. The cooler weather high in the mountains was a welcome relief from the humid heat of Rio and Sao Paulo. This retreat center had been a former Catholic monastery but some years back fell on hard times and was sold to some lay persons who convertd it into a retreat center.
After the retreat Silvio drove me four hours to Belo Horizonte where I gave a Dhamma talk at a Yoga center and lead a weekend retreat for about 25 persons at yet another Catholic monastery. From Belo Horizonte I returned to Sao Paulo and stayed four days leading morning and evening meditations and talks at the Casa De Dharma. I capped off the whirlwind tour of Brasil with a weekend program in the Capital of Brasilia with  SociedadeVipassana de Meditacao (SVM).

Landing in the Megalopolis of Sao Paulo

Photos from 9 day retreat at Vinhedo
Interesting juxtaposition of the Buddha and Christ

Afternoon yoga

Meal reflection

Post yoga relaxation awareness

Closing sharing circle

In Sao Lourenco
With Silvio and friends in Sao Lourenco
Nice tree with orchids in the Water park of Sao Lourenco

Retreat center in old monastery near Itajuba

The meditation hall

Outdoor meditation

Early morning sun through window of meditation hall

Group at retreat in Belo Horizonte