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.

Thursday, August 25, 2016




Sign up for this event

Sign Up Now!


I am writing on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invite you to the next day-long vipassana (mindfulness) meditation retreat on Saturday, September 3, 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, explore meditation practices from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, 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 during this retreat 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 (teaching of the Buddha) that will be discussed is the Mahasaccaka Sutta (The Greater Discourse to Saccaka) - Majjhima Nikaya #36. You can access the sutta online via Sutta Central - https://suttacentral.net/en/mn36 (this is the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation from Wisdom Publication's The Middle Length Discourses). Please print and 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, September 3. 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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Nikini Full Moon Poya Program will be held on Saturday, August  20, 2016 from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara.  We invite you all to join the program.



Nikini full moon (Poya) day falling in August,  one month after the commencement of “Wassana Kala“the rainy retreat; is of special significance for Buddhists due to a number of incidents that took place on this day.


Attainment of Arahatship by the Buddha’s chief attendant, Ananda Maha Thera, commencement of the first Dhamma Sangayana, convocation to settle the Buddhist canon and “Pasu Vas” or the commencement of the “Vas” period by those who had not started the period of sojourn on the Esala full moon day are some of them. For Sri Lankans this day is further more significant because of the world famous Kandy Esala Perahera which normally ends on this day.

Sign up for the program:


Sign Up Now!
MORNING PROGRAM

7:30 am – 8:30 am : Observance of the eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and Heel Dana.

8:30 am – 9:00 am : Tea & coffee break.

9:00 am – 10:00 am : Vipassana Meditation.

10:00 am - 11:00 am:  Sutra Discussion:  

11:00 am - 11:30 pm : Buddha Puja (MUST Start at 11:00 AM) 

11:30 am – 12:00 Noon: Dana offering to the monastics and those who observe eight precepts. Dana Sponsored by: Amarasinghe family

12:00Noon – 1:00pm Luncheon

AFTERNOON PROGRAM

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm : Discussion (base on Abhidhamma) by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm : Dhamma Class for Children  (In English) by Ven. Bikkuni Kalutara Sudinna 

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm : Tea & coffee break.

3:30-4:30 pm: Dhamma Desana by Bhikkhuni Kalutara  Sudinna  sponsored by Devout family  Indira & Meth Gunasekara Family

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm : Special Damma talk for Upasika by Ven. Bhikkhuni Kalutara Sudinna  

6:00 pm:  Atavisi Pujava and end of the program. 





Sunday, August 14, 2016


Life.....
By Jeewaka Manamendra.


It’s a very peculiar subject when you think about it.


Day in and day out everyone goes about their lives trying to accomplish something, meeting new people, or just finding a way to survive in this world. But one thing is certain for everyone who enters these doors, they will cease to exist.

Even though death is certain, human life is always harder to obtain, especially a life where the doors of Dhamma are wide open.

In fact, the Enlightened One had spoken about the rarity of obtaining a human life in the Kanakacchapa Sutta. “Bhikkhus, there is a blind turtle in the depths of the ocean. There is also a yoke of a cart that is floating on the ocean surface which is held in a way in all directions by tide, current, and wind. Thus these two go on throughout an immeasurable space of time. One day when the turtle comes up to the surface, the yoke arrives at the same precise place and time when the turtle puts up his head, and yokes on to it. Now, Bhikkhus, is it possible that such a time might come ordinarily?”, as described by the Buddha. With the same notion, as soon as one of us enters this world, we tend to forget the reason for our existence: the hope of ending our Samsara Cycle. Instead, it has become human nature to indulge in the six senses, and swing in the pendulum of hatred and greed. The ultimate question is how does one end their ride on the pendulum?

Fortunately, the Georgia Buddhist Vihara has always been a backbone in our Dhamma knowledge and for providing a balanced guidance in leading our lives. And the annual retreat is one of those priceless opportunities to explore Dhamma in a calm and concentrated mind setting, away from all the hustle bustle of everyday life.


Day 1 
For our first lesson of the retreat, Dr. Deeptha Jayaratne began to teach us the importance of Abhidhamma and how knowing and understanding Abhidhamma will greatly help us in our daily lives. However, in order to begin to understand the effect of Abhidhamma we learned various cittas including Kusula, Akusala, and Ahetuka. These 3 types of cittas are usually associated with the kamavacara plane, or otherwise known as the sensual plane of cittas. For instance, kusula (meritorious) cittas are derived when we have a good feeling or do something good, which in turn is referred to as alobha (non-greed), amoha (knowledge or wisdom), and adosa (loving-kindness). Thus by being selfless, knowledgeable, and compassionate we create virtuous merits, which results in good kamma for this current life and for future lives. Comparatively, akusala (unmeritorious) cittas occur when lobha (greed), dosa (anger), moha (delusion) arise in the mind, causing immoral cittas. Lastly, we are left with ahetuka cittas, or cittas void of roots (hetu), which include both kusula and akusula roots resulting in 6 roots. The best way to explain an ahetuka citta is that although these cittas do not interact with sensual roots, they occur due to our past kamma, namely kusula vipaka (result of meritorious thought) and a kusula vipaka (result of unmeritorious thought). Therefore, depending on whatever merit you committed in the past, unmeritorious or meritorious, it can still arise in this current life due to the kamma ensued. By understanding these mental factors and their results, one can begin to really live in the present since one realizes how and why certain thoughts emerge and watch over them (mindfulness). Another topic brought up in the discussion was the idea of Jhanas (concentration levels) which is associated with the rupavacara plane, or otherwise known as the plane of existence from insight. The rupavacara cittas are basically classified into five according to the five jhanas. Furthermore, within jhanas we can begin to burn nivarana or hindrances, which include greed, anger, lethargy, anxiety, and doubt. In order to combat this, the jhanas help us to realize concentration, joy, and happiness.

After the enlightening Abhidhamma discussion, Venerable Wajirobuddhi held an impressive sutta discussion discussing the Kimsuka tree sutta, which describes a monk in search of purifying his mind. In order to achieve this, the monk discusses with other bhikkus as to how to purify the mind and become mindful. In return, the answers he receives range from learning and comprehending the four elements to controlling the six sense doors. Dissatisfied with these answers, the monk visits the Buddha for an answer to his question. On hearing this the Buddha refers the monk to a kimsuka tree or more known as a riddle tree. The name riddle tree was given to this tree since the tree is known to change greatly over time. This monk quickly found out when he asked other residents what the kimsuka tree looked like, and he was given many different answers like before. Returning to the Buddha, the monk realizes the men gave different answers because of the time they focused on the tree and how it looked at that certain time. Moreover, the sutta goes on to say that our mind is like a fortress surrounded by six gates, gate guards. In using this simile, the Buddha referred to the six gates being our six sense doors, and how they bring in information. However, all gates need guards; these guards can be referred to as mindfulness, since they have to pay special attention to who and what (thoughts) enter the fortress/mind. If we have many guards to protect the gates, then our fortress will never be polluted with ugly surprises and bad things.

Day 2
Being a poya day we did not have a full discussion with Dr. Deeptha about abhidhamma and cittas or a sutta discussion with Venerable Wajirabuddhi Thero, however we did get a chance to discuss with Mr. Steve about how we should live with Dharma and act upon Dharma. For instance, many of us and others get angry at times which turns to heedlessness, and we begin to do things we will regret in the future. Thus, we can counteract this by staying calm in the direst of situations, which is parallel to being mindful. Furthermore, by living with compassion and loving kindness we begin to become nicer human beings and more helpful and understanding towards others. All in all, we as Buddhists must strive to be patient and kind in order to help us live a more balanced and all-around better life.

Day 3
Since today was the last day of the retreat, the schedule was cut short a bit, and in the morning we visited a Burmese temple. While at the temple we had gone through the usual lunch puja process, and got to meet some of the Burmese kids who were roughly the same age as us. In fact, the Burmese students reminded me of myself and others in the sense that they too had the hunger and potential of learning dharma. Furthermore, since the students were new to the dharma scene, we only had a lighthearted discussion based on an introduction to Abhidhamma. We discussed about the importance of Abhidhamma, and later on the other retreat students and I had to answer a volley of questions about what we learned in the past 2 days, in order to give an impression to the Burmese students. Some of these questions were based on various cittas and how they function (kusula, akusula, and ahetuka), as well as mindfulness and meditation.



Before the evening puja, we had our last lesson of the 2016 annual retreat by Venerable Wajirubuddhi. This lesson was based on a very important sutta in Buddhism, the Mangala Sutta. The Mangala Sutta was discoursed as a means of being a checklist for lay people and their daily lives, and how to lead an honest, hardworking life. Although the entire sutta is very important, I feel that some of the more important points included not associating with the foolish, to live in a suitable location to live and grow, to be generous to others, and to be respectful, humble, patient, and grateful. For us lay people, it is vital that we should always and only associate with those who are knowledgeable and wise, instead of those who live foolish lives, seeing as there is a possibility that they too can drag you down with them. Furthermore, it is basically a given to find and live in a suitable location with good neighborhoods and schools. If we live in unfortunate settings we can begin to live a life of anger, hate, and crime. Lastly, being respectful, humble, patient, and grateful will help us become more mindful, concentrated, and compassionate. However, I still encourage those who are reading this to read the Mangala Sutta, since just knowing it will help us all day to day in our lives.


Overall, the Annual 2016 Youth Retreat was a great experience for myself and others, and gave us a golden opportunity to expand our knowledge of dhamma by learning about it as well as living it. In truth, during the retreat we realized the answer to stopping the ride on the pendulum. Simply put, we can only end the ride by practicing, understanding, and implementing dhamma in our daily lives. In essence, by living in dhamma we can help ourselves to terminate or reduce our past bad kamma, and achieve the ultimate goal: Nibbana.



In conclusion, I would like to end by thanking Venerable Wajirabuddhi Thero for providing this wonderful opportunity of learning dhamma, as well as devoting his valuable time to teach and accommodate us. Thank you, for your patience, guidance, and unlimited kindness to make the retreat more inviting. Thank you Mr. Steve for being such a great friend in dhamma, as well as watching over us and making this a more enjoyable experience. Thank you, Dr. Deeptha, for spending your precious time and resources to teach us Abhidhamma. I would also like to thank all of the parents for encouraging us to attend this very rare opportunity around the world, as well as attending to our needs so we can pursue our dhamma goals. Last but certainly not least, thank you to Venerable Wajirabodhi Thero, Venerable Dhammaloka Thero, and all of our dear uncles and aunties in the Sri Lankan Community for providing dana and facilitating our needs. More Photos


With Metta,
Jeewaka Manamendra






Monday, July 25, 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, August 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. 
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,July 31. 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

Sign Up Now!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016






Devotees and Friends of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara,

We are happy to announce the dates for the Georgia Buddhist Vihara's 5th annual youth retreat. This year's youth retreat will begin at 7pm on Wednesday, July 21st with a brief orientation for all participants and conclude on the afternoon of , Sunday, July 24. This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to spend dedicated time learning about self-discipline, meditation, Buddhist teachings, and the Buddhist tradition. Young people will learn through first-hand experience the benefits of following the Buddhist path through a period of focused learning and practice.  

The retreat is open to any young person between the ages of 12 and 25 years old. If you are interested in registering for the youth retreat or learning more about the retreat, please contact the Georgia Buddhist Vihara at gbvihara@gmail.com or 770 987 8442.



Georgia Buddhist Youth  Retreat    

(July 21,22,23 & 24)

Daily Schedule


  • 5:00–5:30am – Wake Up, Coffee/Tea.

  • 5:30–6:30 – Group Meditation

  • 6:30–7:00 – Buddha Puja

  • 7:00–8:00 – Breakfast (self-service)

  • 8:00–9:00 – Vipassana Meditation

  • 9:00–9:30 – Break, Coffee/Tea

  • 9:30–10:00 – Meditation Instruction

  • 10:00–10:30 – Walking Meditation

  • 10:30–11:00 – Metta Meditation

  • 11:00–11:30 – Buddha Puja

  • 11:30–12:30pm – Lunch

  • 12:30–1:30 – Work Period

  • 1:30–3:30 – Abhidhamma session by Dr. Deeptha Jayaratne

  • 3:30–4:00 – Break, Coffee/Tea

  • 4:00–4:30 – Personal Reading and Reflection

  • 4:30-    5:30- Sutta Discussion     

  • 5:30–6:00 – Prepare for Temple visitation

  • 6:00–7:30 – Temple Visits

  • 7:30–8:30 – Atavisi Buddha Pujawa, Group Chanting (selected Sutra with English meanings) Metta Meditation

  • 8:30–9:00 – Journal Writing; Prepare for Bed

  • 9:00–Lights Out
------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Guidelines for Retreat Participants

What Not to Bring

  • Do not bring illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products.

  • Do not bring personal computers, personal gaming systems, cell phones, mp3 players, electronic musical devices, radios, musical instruments, newspapers, magazines and secular books to the center. Buddhist reading materials will be provided.

  • Do not bring clothing with distracting lettering.

  • Do not wear perfumes or deodorants with strong scents.

  • Do not bring pets.
What to Bring
  • Flashlight

  • Sleeping Bag, Pillow, Towel (shower facilities are available)

  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors)

  • Bring a cup (for tea/coffee and water), a plate, and a spoon and fork for eating.

  • Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper

  • Personal meditation cushion if you prefer (We have plenty of zafus, zabutans, and benches for everyone)

  • Modest clothing. (Even in the warmest of weather, tank tops and short shorts are not acceptable.) Do not bring t-shirts with commercial or political messages. You are requested to wear white clothing, if possible.

  • Work gloves, cleaning gloves, breathing mask (if working outside causes breathing problems) for the work period.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Family Sponsorship Form 


  • Each sponsoring family will need to arrive at the vihara by 6am on their designated day in order to prepare the morning meal for the monks and retreat participants.

  • Sponsoring families will also be responsible for preparing the lunch meal.

  • Sponsoring families will be responsible for preparing evening nutrition and leaving it for the participants to consume later in the evening.

  • It is preferred that sponsors adhere to the following guidelines for providing meals during the retreat period:

    • All meals should be vegetarian.

    • Food for the morning meal should be light and consist of cereal, oatmeal, muffins, bagels, fruit, yogurt, or pancakes.

    • Food for the lunch meal should be more substantial since this will be the primary meal until the next morning meal.

    • Evening nutrition could consist of homemade juices, milkshakes, soup, etc. Please be mindful that retreat participants have taken the 10 precepts which stipulate that no solid, substantial food should be taken after noon.


Saturday, July 16, 2016



The Georgia Buddhist Vihara cordially invites you to participate this year religious activities during  Vas period at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara. This yearKatina Ceremony will be sponsored  by  Weerasekara Family.

Up coming events;

Daily at 7.00 p.m. - Atawisi Buddha Wandana and Sutta chanting

7/31- Katina Sharamadana: "Bodhu Bathiyayi-Shrama Sawiyayi"  Sharamadana Campaign for Clayton, Cobb, Cherokee and Floyd County Devotees.

Organized by: Mr. Kithmin Samaraweera or Dr. Ajith De Silva


The Vas Aradhana was started during the time of the Perfectly Enlighten One, Buddha. Full ordained monastic community (Sangha) all over the world continue, up till the present time to observe this Rains Retreat for three months – from the full moon day in July to the full moon day in October. During this time, they dedicate their time to spiritual activities such as practicing meditation and studying damma thoroughly. This gives an opportunity for lay community to take care of the monastics by offering them food, medicine, cloth, and shelter, and also to participate in spiritual activities more often.

Article about Vas Season (Rains retreat).

https://www.facebook.com/gavihara/




Friday, July 15, 2016


Items to Donate


People often want to bring items with them to donate when they visit. Because people want to donate useful things, we provide this list of things that we use on a regular basis or need at this time.
Donate!

Household essentials:
Paper plates (Large)  -300
Dessert cups  (Small)  -300
Disposable cups – medium – 300
Disposable Gloves – 10 pkts
Ziploc bags  - 5 pkts (2 sizes)
Paper napkins – 3 pkts
Trash bags -30 and 45 Gal -200 each
Paper Towels – 10 boxes
Kitchen towels
Wash clothes
Glass  food storage container with lid -  10 (Medium size for store dana at the refrigerator)


Foods:
Water bottles –medium –  10
Water bottles – Small -10
Soft drinks -10
Biscuits -5 pkts
Medicines
fish Oil (Omega-3)
Glucosamine
Neosporn wound care
Sarna Anti-itch lotion





Electrical:
LED bulbs -20
LED series bulb sets -10
Wire cords – 5 (100 ft or over)
Rechargeable batteries – AA & AAA – 10 each
Sanitation:
Dishwasher detergent – 3 bottles
Washing Machine detergents (HE) – 5 gals
Shower gel –
Kitchen cleaners
Air freshener
Toilet cleaning items
Exterior Cleaning items
Wipes


Misc:
Exterior Paint – Please contact temple for details
Garage paint – 2 Gals
Lawn Weed killers
Lawn fertilizer
Storage Boxes (Heavy duty) – 10
Tea candles – 500
Push mover -1
Kitchen rugs

Rugs for outside

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Youth Retreat 2016

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