Theravada Buddhist Temple and Vipassana Meditation Center

Theravada Buddhist Temple and Vipassana Meditation Center

The Georgia Buddhist Vihara is dedicated to the promotion of the Theravada Buddhist teachings through the practice of meditation, study of Buddhist scriptures, dhamma school for children and regular religious ceremonies. The Vihara was established in June 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016





I am writing on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invite you to the next day-long Vipassana (mindfulness) meditation retreat on Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 7:30am to 5pm. This one-day meditation retreat will be held at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara (3153 Miller Road, Lithonia, GA 30038). This one-day retreat is a great way to strengthen and enrich your spiritual practice, receive meditation instructions, and explore firsthand the benefits of mindfulness meditation. 

This retreat is open to everyone - those who are new to meditation as well as those who are experienced meditators. All meditation instructions and discussions will be conducted in English. 

The following is a schedule of the day's events:

MORNING PROGRAM
7:007:30am - Arrive at the vihara and prepare the space
7:30–8:00am: Observance of the Eight Precepts and traditional Buddhist chanting
8:00–9:00amBreakfast (as a group) and clean-up
9:00–10:00am: Guided vipassana ("mindfulness") meditation 
  10:00–10:30am: Break (coffee/tea)
10:30–11:30am: Metta ("Loving-Friendliness") meditation 
11:30am–12:00pm: Preparing lunch & traditional Buddhist chanting
12:00–12:45pm:  Lunch (as a group) and clean-up

AFTERNOON PROGRAM
12:45–1:30pm: Walking meditation
1:30–2:30pmVipassana meditation
2:30–3:00pmBreak (coffee/tea) 
3:00–4:30pm: Sutta Discussion led by Ven. Wajirabuddhi Thera. 
  • The sutta that will be discussed is the Mahāsāropa Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Simile of the Heartwood) - Majjhima Nikaya #29. You can access the sutta online at Sutta Central here - https://suttacentral.net/en/mn29 (this is the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation from Wisdom Publication's The Middle Length Discourses). Please bring a copy of the sutta to the Dhamma discussion.
4:305:00pm:  Conclusion - Termination of the Eight Precepts by observing the Five Precepts  
and concluding chanting
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PLEASE NOTE:
Participants will need to bring (1) a light breakfast food (e.g., fruits, bagels, etc.) and (2) a lunch dish (preferably vegetarian) to share with the resident monks and the retreat participants. It is also a common practice to bring flowers, candles, or incense to place on the shrine as an offering. It is customary in the Theravadan tradition for those observing the eight precepts to wear white clothing to signify purification of morality, though this is not a requirement for attendance.

During this special time, please consider making a monetary donation to the vihara as a way of helping to support the monks who make the teachings available to us and to keep the vihara open so that all people are able to practice and learn the Dhamma.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 6. I request that you RSVP (by email) in order to let us know that you will be joining us so we can adequately prepare for those who will be participating in the retreat. To confirm that you are planning on attending the retreat or if you have questions about this program or other programs offered by the Georgia Buddhist Vihara, please feel free to contact me by email at justinhowell2112@gmail.com

I hope that you will be able to join us for this auspicious day. If you are unable to make this retreat, please know that we will be having regular, day-long vipassana retreats throughout the year. 

Additionally, I would encourage you to join us for meditation instruction and Dhamma discussion on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  
May you, your friends, and family members be well, happy, and peaceful. 

With metta,
Justin

========================================
Justin Howell
Cell phone: 404.375.0264

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever."  -M. Gandhi

"You can't lead the people if you don't LOVE the people. You can't save the people if you won't SERVE the people."  - Cornel West

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Significance of Duruthu;



Duruthu Full Moon Poya a very important  Day for Sri Lankan. It marks Gautama Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka. Twenty-five centuries back, nine months after his Enlightenment, the lord Gautama Buddha one visited Mahiyangana, in the Province of  Uva  in  Sri Lanka. His main intention was to restore peace and harmony, to create a state of freedom from war or violence. The old chronicle Mahavamsa records and states "To free the beautiful land from the evil doing Yakkas". On his first visit to Sri Lanka, the lord Buddha  one, arrived at a spot, where now stand the Mahiyangana stupa. When the great teacher - the Buddha was to depart after the conversion of the Yakkas of Bintenna, Mahiyangana area, for which purpose he had arrived, Sumana - a titular deity who posses a certain title or position but no real authority of this region, requested the Buddha to give him - Deity Sumana, a souvenir to which he could pay his offerings and homage. Thereupon, the Gautama Buddha, the Great Master, offered Deity Sumana, some locks of his hair. He placed it in an urn as a valuable Relic in the Mahiyangana Stupa.

The battle gangs were sounded the battle drums beaten. The Yakkas poised for combat when they noticed a stranger in yellow robes - Lord Buddha appearing in the midst. The Yakkahs fled to the nearby jungles. Later, a few of them returned. They listened to Buddha’s Discourse. They laid aside their battle axes and paid reverence to Gautama Buddha. Having preached his message of PEACE, restored calm among the Yakkas, the incomparable one, returned to Jambudipa or India.
The focus of Duruthu ceremonial is centered round Kelaniya, the hollowed ground where the annual Duruthu Perahera is conducted by the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya. The historic vihara stands on a small mount just by the Southern Bank of Kelani river.

After Buddha passed away at Kusinara, in India, the Arahat Sarabhu Maha Thera, brought the collar-bone Relic of Gautama Buddha, and deposited it in the Mahiyangana Thupa. The Prince Uddachulabhaya, brother of King Devanampiyatissa, further enlarged the stupa.


Duruthu Poya Program will be observed on the Saturday, 
Jan 30, 2016 from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at the 
Georgia Buddhist Vihara.  We invite you all to join the program.

Please Note: Lunch Dana will organize on behalf of the  departed Ms Tamara Jayatilake at the Vihara on Jan, 30.   for further details, please contact Kisa and luminda family (770) 516-2923


Morning Program
7:30
8:30
a.m.
Observance of the eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and Heel Dana
8:30
8:45
a.m.
Tea & coffee break
8:45
10:00
a.m.
Vipassana Meditation By Ven, Panamwela Wajirabuddhi Thero
10:00
11:00
a.m.
Sathipattana Meditation Discussion
11:00
11:30
a.m.
Buddha Pooja
11:30
12:00
noon
Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts
12:00
1:00
p.m.
Luncheon
Afternoon Program
1:00
3:30
p.m.
Discussion (base on Abhidhamma) by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne
3:30
3:45
p.m.
Tea & coffee break
3.45
5:30
p.m.
Sutra Discussion 


5:30
p.m.
Termination of the Sil and Gilanpasa Puja

Friday, January 1, 2016


A New Person
My 2015 youth retreat experience

Dunisha Panditaratne
"it felt as if a huge wind (my mind) had blown me away. "
I had left all comforts of home behind, and all simple pleasures that had blinded me from the truth were gone. I was going to learn more Dhamma, gain a vast amount of merit, and seek more wisdom.
When I arrived at the temple a new way of life was set out for me. I was to follow the daily five precepts with an additional three. After I had taken the eight precepts, Bhante Wajirabuddhi had said that I was going to be a new person and not be the same way I was at home. Me being my ignorant self, I didn’t understand what he meant at the time. What did he mean by a “new person?” I was still going to be the same Dunisha, wasn’t I? The end of the day was approaching, so I proceeded to help with the Attivisi puja, still thinking about Bhante Wajirabuddhi’s words.
The next day I woke up with determination to become mindful and to not break any of the eight precepts. But as we all know, saying something in your head is a lot easier than doing it. During morning meditation, my mind was my worst enemy. One moment I was thinking about breathing and the slow inhale and exhale of every breath, the next moment my mind went in all different directions. The aching and cramping of my legs was no help whatsoever as well. Each time I went back on the path of breathing, it felt as if a huge wind (my mind) had blown me away. I found it impossible to focus for even one minute without my mind wandering somewhere else. At the end of the meditation session I vowed to do better the next day.
After the meditation it was time for the breakfast dhanna. While I ate, I focused on the process it took for me to digest the food. I thought about how the food had to go through the whole entire digestive system to soothe the hunger inside me. After work period, I prepared for sutra discussion. That day we had studied the Mangala sutra, which focused on the discourse on blessings. Such as associating with the wise and not with the foolish, to restrain from intoxicants, abstain from evil, etc.
A little while later the sutta discussion ended and I proceeded on to Abbhidharma where Venerable Deepaloka talked about the thought process and of the mind and how there are seventeen minds that make up one form of a thought. The first mind is past bhavanga, which is the revert state of mind. Next comes the vibrating bhavanga and then the arrest bhavanga, which is the end of the revert state of mind. After the arrest bhavanga are the seven impulsion minds. The fourth and fifth impulsion minds are the strongest impulsion minds. For example, if a good deed is done with either the fourth or fifth impulsion mind, the person doing the good deed would receive a quantity of merits. However, if a bad deed is done using either the fourth or fifth impulsion mind, the person doing the bad deed would get immense bad karma. This includes all of the minds: nine through fifteen. Once the impulsion occurs, the mind creates consciousness for two minds.
The day started off with meditation, and I guess my vow to do better had actually motivated me. I could concentrate for longer amounts of time, not nearly a minute, but there was always room for improvement. I paid no attention to my leg during the meditation, so I couldn’t feel the pain and cramping that I had felt the day before. The only thing stopping me from concentrating on breathing was my mind. My mind constantly fought for my thoughts, and I struggled to focus on breathing. I felt myself concentrating for a few moments, more time than the previous day, but I still couldn’t keep that concentration going for a minute. Although I had done better than the previous day, I still wasn’t happy with myself. I made the same vow as the previous day, except I said it with more determination.
During sutta discussion, we talked about the four evil actions such as gambling, indulging in intoxicants, going to the streets at unseemly hours, and going to shows. Bhante wajirabuddhi went into detail of the consequences for every evil action. For instance, one consequence for indulging in intoxicants is loss of knowledge and a consequence of going to shows is that one gets a bad reputation. A consequence for going to the streets at unseemly hours is that one and their family are unprotected, and a consequence of gambling is that the loser loses his/ her wealth.
Soon after the sutta discussion we had an Abbhidhamma lesson with Venerable Deepaloka. He talked about the three consciousnesses. The immoral mind (unwholesome), the moral mind (wholesome), and the rootless mind ( having neither moral or immoral minds).The immoral consciousness could be a prompted or unprompted unwholesome action. For example, if one steals something without being told to do so, that would be an unwholesome unprompted action, which would result in the most demerits. However if someone was told to steal something it would be considered an unwholesome prompted action, which would give them the least amount of demerits.
I awoke to a beautiful sunrise and a blissful morning meditation. I had more determination than ever before, and I was going to do better. That morning I had concentrated for nearly a minute. At first I would have short moments where I concentrated, then a long period of time where I didn’t. It was hard to focus but I thought of the whole respiratory system; like how the air came through my nose and went through my lungs in a quick moment, and the heaving of my chest which meant my lungs were contracting . By focusing on the respiratory system I had almost concentrated for a minute. At the end of the meditation session I felt I had a done a little better than the previous day.
Sutta discussion started a little later with the Sigalovada Sutta. This sutta talks about the foes in disguise of friends or “fake friends”. A foe in disguise as a friend is someone who wants something from the friendship. Another example is a “lip service friend” who only says they would help you, but don’t do anything in the time of need of the friend. One who flatters should be recognized as a “fake friend”. They only flatter you to have your trust; they are not really your friend no matter how many times they compliment you. A “fake friend” is also someone who helps you go to hell. They do bad things and influence or peer pressure you into doing bad things. These types of friends only drag you down with them. These “fake friends” are not ones you want to associate with.
A little while after sutta discussion, Abbhidharma class was in session. We continued the discussion from yesterday about the mind. We talked about the moral minds and how they are all accompanied by knowledge. There are immoral consciousness without roots which include the nose, ear eye, body, consciousness, an investigating consciousness, and a receiving consciousness. These are all accompanied by indifference, except for the body consciousness, which is accompanied by pain. The same thing with the moral minds except the body consciousness is accompanied by happiness and the investigating consciousness is accompanied by pleasure. There are also functional consciousness without roots. They are the five sense door consciousness and the mind consciousness, which are both accompanied by indifference Furthermore, the smile consciousness is accompanied by  pleasure.
Before I realized it, the retreat was coming to an end and I had a sensation of sadness because I felt bliss and peace during the retreat and I wanted to stay longer.  But as I was thinking about the retreat experience, I had I finally realized what Bhante Wajirabuddhi had meant by a new person. I wasn’t a new person physically. I looked the same. I hadn’t grown or anything like that. I had changed into a new person mentally. I had more knowledge, merit, and wisdom. I wasn’t the same ignorant Dunisha. I knew how to properly keep my concentration. I knew more Abbhidharma and I knew the foe in disguise of friends, I knew the discourse of blessings, and most importantly I knew more dhamma. To whomever may be reading this you are blessed to have found this religion of Bhuddism, so don’t waste your time on foolish things because you never know  when death is upon you. It is important to get the most merit you can in this life and to attain nibbana. I am so lucky to have been introduced to the dhamma at such a young age and I hope to get more merit in the future. I’d like to thank Venerable Wajirabuddhi  thero,Venerable Wajirabodhi thero, Venerable Deepaloka (Deeptha Jayaratne), Bhanthe Mangala (Justin Howell), and Bhante Ananda (Steve Reidy) who helped me get more knowledge about the dhamma. Also, thanks to all the parents who helped during the retreat. May the triple gem bless us all. More Photos

Friday, December 25, 2015




Greetings,

I hope this message finds each of you doing well. I am writing on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invite you to start the new year by joining community members for a special day-long vipassana (mindfulness) meditation retreat on Saturday, January 2, 2016 from 7:30am to 5pm. This one-day meditation retreat will be held on-site at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara (3153 Miller Road, Lithonia, GA 30038). This one-day retreat is a great way to strengthen and enrich your spiritual development, cultivate wholesome qualities of mind, or just to explore the benefits that mindfulness meditation has to offer. 

All meditation instructions and discussions will be conducted in English. This retreat is open to everyone - those who are new to meditation as well as those who are experienced meditators.

Following is a schedule of the day's events:

MORNING PROGRAM

7:007:30am - Arrive at the vihara and prepare the space for breakfast
7:30–8:00am: Observance of Refuge and the Eight Precepts and traditional Buddhist chanting

8:00–8:45amBreakfast (as a group) and clean-up

8:45–10:00am: Guided vipassana ("mindfulness") meditation 

10:00–10:30am: Break (coffee/tea)

10:30–11:30am: Metta ("Loving-Friendliness") meditation 

11:30am–12:00pm: Preparing lunch & traditional Buddhist chanting
12:00–12:45pm:  Lunch (as a group) and clean-up

AFTERNOON PROGRAM

12:45–1:30pm: Walking meditation

1:30–2:30pmVipassana meditation

2:30–3:00pmBreak (coffee/tea)

3:00–4:30pm: Sutta Discussion led by Ven. Wajirabuddhi Thera. The topic of the discussion will be the Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprint) - Majjhima Nikaya #28. You can access the sutta online here - https://suttacentral.net/en/mn28 (this is the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation from Wisdom Publication's The Middle Length Discourses). Please bring a copy of the sutta to the Dhamma discussion.
4:305:00pm:  Conclusion - Termination of the Eight Precepts by observing the Five Precepts and concluding chanting
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PLEASE NOTE:
Participants will need to bring (1) a light breakfast food (e.g., fruits, bagels, etc.) and (2) a lunch dish (preferably vegetarian) to share with the resident monks and the retreat participants as a form of dana (offering).  It is also customary to bring flowers, candles, or incense to place on the shrine as an offering. It is traditional and customary to wear white clothing when participating in a meditation retreat, though this is not a requirement for attendance.

During this special time, please consider making a monetary donation to the vihara as a form of dana (an offering to the monastic community) so that we can continue to support the monks who make the teachings available to us and to keep the vihara open so that all people are able to practice and learn about the Dhamma.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, January 2 at the vihara as we bring in 2016 engaged in self-reflection and mental cultivation. I would ask that you RSVP (by email) in order to let us know that you will be joining us so we can adequately prepare for those who will be participating in the retreat. To confirm that you are planning on attending the retreat or if you have questions about our program, please feel free to contact me by email at justinhowell2112@gmail.com

I hope that you will be able to join us for this auspicious day. If you are unable to make this retreat, please know that we will be having regular, day-long  vipassana retreats throughout the year.  

Additionally, I would like to encourage you to join us for meditation and Dhamma discussion on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  
May you, your friends, and family members be well, happy, and peaceful…wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

With metta,
Justin
========================================
Justin Howell
Cell phone: 404.375.0264

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever."  -M. Gandhi

"You can't lead the people if you don't LOVE the people. You can't save the people if you won't SERVE the people."  - Cornel West

Thursday, December 10, 2015









Undu Vap  Poya Program will be observed on the Sunday, 
Dec 20, 2015 from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at the 
Georgia Buddhist Vihara.  We invite you all to join the program.



Morning Program
7:30
8:30
a.m.
Observance of the eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and Heel Dana
8:30
8:45
a.m.
Tea & coffee break
8:45
10:00
a.m.
Vipassana Meditation By Ven, Panamwela Wajirabuddhi Thero
10:00
11:00
a.m.
Sathipattana Meditation Discussion
11:00
11:30
a.m.
Buddha Pooja
11:30
12:00
noon
Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts
12:00
1:00
p.m.
Luncheon
Afternoon Program
1:00
3:30
p.m.
Discussion (base on Abhidhamma) by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne
3:30
3:45
p.m.
Tea & coffee break
3.45
5:30
p.m.
Sutra Discussion 


5:30
p.m.
Termination of the Sil and Gilanpasa Puja

Tuesday, December 8, 2015






The arrival of the great Arahat Bhikkuni Sangamitta to Sri Lanka and the found chon of establishment of the order of the nuns (Bhikkuni Sasanaya) took place on Unduvap Poya Day. Further on this Unduvap Poya Day, she brought with her a sapling of the Sacred Jayasrimaha Bodhi tree from Buddhagaya. Where Prince Siddhartha attained Enlightenment. The Bo-sapling was brought to Sri Lanka from India through the Expressway or Highway constructed from Dambakola Patuna, a sea port in the North of Sri Lanka, to Anuradhapura, with all pomp and glamour with respect of honour befitting to this event. The Bo-sapling was presented to the ruler of Sri Lanka, Devanampiyatissa.

The advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka took place on Poson Poya Day with the arrival of Arahat Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka and the foundation for the establishment of the order of nuns began with the coming of Arahat Mahinda’s sister Arahat Sangamitta Thera to Sri Lanka.

Pretty, pleasant and charming Princess Sanghamitta at the age of 16, married a Prince namely Aggribrahama. They were blessed with a son. They named him Sumana. Emperor Asoka’s brother Prince Tissa entered the Buddhist order. He was followed by Prince Aggribrahama. After he entered the Buddhist order, the little Prince Sumana too entered the Buddhist order at the age of seven (7) years.

The turning point of Sanghamitta’s life was, that she too decided to enter the sasana as a Bhikkuni. She entered the order of nuns, under the guidance of two elderly nuns, namely Ayupali and Dhammapali. At the age of 61 years, during the reign of King Uttiya, Arahat Therani Sanghamitta passed away. Sri Lankans are ever grateful to these two Arahat Mahinda and Theri Sanghamitta, who were responsible in making Sri Lanka the “Dhammadeepa”.

These two events changed the entire course of Sri Lanka’s history. With these two significant events, there sprang up a new society, economy, culture, arts, crafts and a proud Buddhist civilization and Buddhist Literature. Mahamegha Park at Anuradhapura-Mahavihara became the citadel Buddhism, which was to be official religion of Sri Lanka. The present day the city of Anuradhapura and its ruins, the massive stupas, edifies, the tanks are a silent tribute to Arahat Mahinda and Sanghmitta Theri. No visit by an foreign delegation, envoys, diplomats has created such an impact on the lives of Sri Lankans as the visits of Arahat Mahinda and Arahat Sanghamitta. It was the dawn of a new social, cultural and spiritual revolution in the island. After Sanghamitt’s arrival, Buddhism was deeply rooted. This took place on Unduvap Poya Day, and the Buddhists pay homage to Sanghamitta specialisation this day. Anuradhapura is the centre of attraction on this Unduvap Poya Day. Many devotees observe sil at the Jayasri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanveliseya premises. (for full story)
By Premasara Epasinghe

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