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 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, December 29, 2011



The Duruthu Poya day program will be held on on Sunday, Jan 08, 2012, from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara,  We invite you all, to join the program.



MORNING PROGRAM

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

8:30am – 9:00am Tea, & coffee break

9:00am – 11:00am Vipassana Meditation.

11:00am Buddha Puja

11:20am – 12 Noon Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts. For more information please feel free to contact the Vihara at 770-987-8442.)

AFTERNOON PROGRAM

12nn – 1:00pm Luncheon

1:00 – 2:30pm Discussion will be base on Abhidhamma by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne

2:30 – 2:45pm Break.

3.00-4.00 Dharmadeshanawa

4:00 – 5:30 Sutra Discussion;Vammikasutta : The Simile of the Ant Hill  (English, Sinhala)

5:30 pm  Termination of the Sil, Gilanpasa Pujava

Tuesday, December 6, 2011




  • The unique event of bringing the Bo-sapling of the sacred Jayasiri Maha Bodhi (under which our blessed one, the enlightened one, attained the supreme bliss of Buddhahood) from India to Anuradhapura by Sangha Miththa Maha Rahath Therani (Emperor Asoka’s  daughter, Arahat Mahinda thera’s sister,  young beautiful, charming, princess Sangamitta, who entered the Bhikkuni Sasana at the age of 18 years).  Sangamitta Therani arrived in Dambakolapatuna port in Jaffna (after seven days of sea journey) with a right branch of the Sri Maha Bodhi in India accompanied by a retinue of several others who joined her in this voyage.  This Bo-Sapling was planted in the "Mahamevuna Uyana", the headquarters of Buddhism in ancient Sri Lanka. This event symbolises that Buddhism took deep root throughout the length and breadth of Sri Lanka.

  • The second most important mission or the purpose of Sangamitta’s arrival, was the establishment of Bhikkuni Sasanaya or order of the Buddhist nuns. Queen Anula, was the first to be ordained. Later thousands of ladies from all walks of life entered the Buddhist order as Bhikkunis.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Annual Kathina Maha Pinkama 


Katina refers to the offering of  a special robe (katina civara) carefully prepared by  pious laity and presented by them to monks who have completed the three-month period of retreat called Vas in Sinhala and Vassana in Pali (literally, ‘the period of rain’).  Katina literally means ‘firm’ or ‘solid,’ as the offering of a Katina robe helps one to earn good, solid karma. The Katina Ceremony has a history spanning more than 2500 years.  A special element of the Katina robe offering   is that it is not offered to an individual monk, but to the entire community of Sangha; to all noble disciples of the Buddha --  and not only to enlightened ones, but also to those monks yet to be enlightened.  The Katina robe can be offered only during a specified period at the end of the rains retreat, between the full-moon day of October and the full-moon day of November. It is a monastic tradition long preserved and observed by Buddhists all over the world, and is highly revered as a unique, once-yearly opportunity to acquire merit. Georgia Buddhist Vihara will celebrate Kathina on October 22nd 23rd. ( below is the full program)This year Kathina Pinkama is sponsored by devout devotee; Mr and Mrs. Janaka and Nishani De Silva. You are invited to attend this meritorious Pinkama.

SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY OCTOMBER- 22

7: 30 AM: Observance of the Eight Precepts (children and young adult welcome to observe Precepts)

8:15 am: Heel Dana

9: 15-11:00 am: Bhavana

11 am: Buddha Pujawa

1:00pm to 3: 00 pm: Abhidhamma lesson By Dr. Deeptha Jayaratne

3: oo pm: Break

3:15 pm to 4:30pm: Dharmadeshanawa

4: 30 pm to 5:30 Pm: Sutra Discussion (click here)

5:50 pm to 7:30 pm: Atavishi Buddha Pujawa, and Pirith chanting.


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SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY OCTOMBER -23

7:30 am: Buddha Pujawa, and Heel Dana

9: am to 10: am: Bhavana

10: 30 am: Pindapata

11: am: Buddha Pujawa

What should  you bring for the Dana Please click on this link {Click Here}

11: 30 am: Lunch (Dana) while monks are having Dana devotees will join into Kathina Robe procession.

12 noon: Offering of the Kathina robe by Mr. and Mrs. Janka and Nishani de silva.

Luncheon and Kathinanisansa Dharmadeshanawa.

2:30 to 3: pm: End of the program.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


The Binara Poya   program will be held on   Sep 10  2011, from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara,  We invite you all, to join the Binara Full moon day program.

MORNING PROGRAM

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

8:30am – 9:00am Tea, & coffee break

9:00am – 11:00am  Vipassana Meditation.

11:00am Buddha Puja

11:20am – 12 Noon: Daval Dana

AFTERNOON PROGRAM   

12noon – 1:00pm Luncheon

1:00 – 3:00pm  Abhidhamma Lessons by Dr. Deeptha Jayaratne

3:00-4:00pm   Dharma Deshanawa by Ven. B. Dhammaloka Thero

4:00 –5: 30pm  Sutra Discussion; Vitakkasanthana   Sutra  {Please click Here}

5:30 – 5:45  pm Break

5:45-6:30pm  Atavisi Buddha Pujawa

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011



   I am writing on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invite you to the next meditation retreat and noble day of silence on Saturday, July 16 from 7am to 7pm.  This one-day vipassana/mindfulness meditation retreat will held at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara.  For this particular retreat session, all meditation instructions, sutta discussions, and Dhamma talks will be conducted in English.  


Below is a tentative schedule of the day's events:


MORNING PROGRAM


7:30am – 8:00am: Observance of Refuge & the Eight Precepts, Buddha Puja ("offerings") and chanting.


8:00am – 8:30am: Breakfast (self-service)


8:30am – 10:00am: Meditation instructions and vipassana meditation


10:00am – 10:30am: Break (coffee/tea) & personal reflection/reading

10:30am – 11:00am: Metta ("Loving-Friendliness") meditation 



11:00am - 11:30am: Buddha Puja


11:30am – 12:30pm:  Lunch (self-service)

AFTERNOON PROGRAM
12:30pm – 1:30pm: Walking meditation

1:30pm – 2:00pm: Break (coffee/tea) & personal reflection/reading

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Vipassana meditation

3:00pm – 5:00pm: Sutta Discussion: Cula-dukkhakkhanda Sutta: The Shorter Discourse on the Mass of Dukkha (Suffering/Unsatisfactoriness/Stress) - Majjhima-Nikaya #14 - What mental qualities must be abandoned in order to free oneself of greed, aversion, and delusion? Can painful austerities be used to purify oneself and burn away the karmic fruit of past misdeeds? Through question-and-answer dialogues with the lay follower Mahanama and with a group of Jain ascetics, the Buddha lays these questions to rest.  Please visit the following link, read the sutta, and print the sutta to bring to the discussion: {Please Click}

5:00pm - 7:00pm  Observance of the Five Precepts & Termination of the Eight Precepts, Buddha Puja, and chanting.


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PLEASE NOTE:


Participants will need to bring (1) a small breakfast food that would go along with oatmeal which will be provided (for example fruits, bagels, etc.) and (2) a lunch dish (preferably vegetarian) to share with the monks and the participants in the retreat as a form of dana (generosity).  It is also customary to bring flowers, candles (tea light), or incense to place on the shrine as an offering. It is also customary to wear white clothing when observing the Eight Precepts, though this is not a requirement.


During this special time, please consider making a monetary donation to the vihara as a form of dana (generosity) so that we can continue to support the monks and to keep the vihara open so that all people are able to practice and learn about the Dhamma (the Buddha's teachings).


I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, July 16 at the vihara.  To confirm that you are planning on attending the retreat or if you have questions about our program, please contact me either by email (justinhowell2112@gmail.comor by phone at 404/375.0264


 You may also plan for future events at the vihara by accessing the retreat and event calendar on the vihara's website.


I hope that you will be able to join us for this day of quiet contemplation and deepening our knowledge of the Dhamma.  May you, your friends, and family members be well, happy, and peaceful……

With metta.....

Justin Howell


 

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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, June 30, 2011




Day 1:
When we started the retreat I had no idea that I would learn the amount I learned today. Meditating and sitting in one place sure was difficult but the valuable insight we got from the first day clearly outweighed the hardships. As the day progressed we meditated and discussed suttas. Through the entire day my favorite part was the Dhamma talk portion, because I loved hearing all of Bhante’s experiences as a monk. It was also the perfect time to get all my questions about Buddhism answered. Being a young adult born into Buddhism I have many questions regarding Buddhism as a whole and instead of following it because my parents told me to do so, I rather figure it out for myself. This program offered exactly what I needed to see and learn why Buddhism is so great. As we read the suttas about the Buddha’s life and his encounters, I was amazed by how he was able to answer all these puzzling questions nearly 2500 years ago. Throughout the day we had a guide, Justin, who would show us how to prepare the Buddha Puja, and the proper etiquette when being around the monks. Justin had a very interesting story about his life which I was surprised to hear. He said that he was raised in the South, and that he was a complete Christian American, but even as a child he was attracted to Buddhism and Asian cultures. He told me how his mother used to take him to the library and how he would check out books on Buddhism. Maybe in one of his past lives he was a devout Buddhist? After lunch we split up into groups and did chores around the house, Mathishka and I were sent to do garden work, which surprisingly was very enjoyable. Just listening to all the nature around you for once was a dramatic change in my busy school life and I absolutely enjoyed it. To end the day we went to bed at 9PM after having a milkshake that Bhante, so kindly prepared for us. I haven’t gone to bed that early since I was in middle school.
Day 2 :
Today was the start of our early morning meditation, and to my surprise waking up at 5 am wasn’t difficult at all; probably because we went to bed so early with not much to eat. When we woke up it was like everything in the world was still sleeping, the birds, the people and even the wind. We went to the shrine room and Bhante instructed us to sit down and we proceeded with the meditation session. There was no sunlight coming in through the windows as we sat down in the shrine room, everything was at a standstill. As the meditation began I felt my mind drifting, looking for things to be distracted to, but because everything was so quiet my mind was able to ease up and simply focus on my breathing. It was amazing, never have I ever felt that peaceful and content. As the meditation came to a close and our minds came drifting back into reality, I started hearing the birds chirping, I felt the sunlight on my body, and heard the cars zooming by… As if the entire world came back to life while we were calming our minds. After offering the Buddha Puja, we had breakfast and came back to the shrine room to talk about Satipattana Meditation, or Mindful Meditation. We discussed many things such as “Seeing the body as a body”, the nine type of feelings and even spiritual happiness/sadness. After lunch we all went to plant blue berry trees in the garden. Digging the holes was difficult but we managed to plant the two trees. It was good to be able to stretch our arms and legs and do some physical activity while on such a spiritual retreat. Later in the day we went to visit a Vietnamese temple. The temple was grand, with huge statues of the Buddha and other various forms which they believed in. They had an immense field for Buddhist celebrations filled with a stage, parking lot, and even peacocks. It was interesting to see that unlike us, the Vietnamese Buddhists also worshipped many other bodhisattvas, one being a female with the name “Kon yin”. Another interesting thing I observed was the mutual respect that the grand Vietnamese monk had with Bhante. Although two different sects of Buddhism, in the end it all was derived from one person, the Buddha, only to make ourselves better human beings.
Day 3:
Today was my last day on the retreat because I had to attend my university. Nuwan and I were assigned to prepared the Buddha Puja this morning which meant we had to get up a bit earlier than usual. After another soothing early morning meditation we had breakfast and then took part in the walking meditation which was very relaxing. We were told to walk anywhere we wanted but be mindful and observe the tips of your feet as they pressed on the various surfaces. After lunch we discussed the things that were essential to living, and Bhante also read us articles of well-known philosopher and their positive outlook on Buddhism. To see that our religion isn’t criticized by anybody and always spoken highly of is very motivating. After lunch we uprooted a tree and planted in a better location. The task was difficult and to my surprise even the monks assisted in this. Before everybody left to go on our daily temple visits, Bhante asked me to come to the shrine room to terminate my Das Sil. As I was terminating, I had a whole rush of feelings come towards me. I realized how peace at mind I was at the temple, meditating and focusing on my mindfulness. The retreat was an amazing adventure and opportunity for me and if I could I would do it again. I gained so much valuable knowledge about my religion that I can call myself a true Buddhist. I think this is a program that every Buddhist should experience at least once in their lives. The famous Buddhist quote “Come and see” would be the perfect way to explain this retreat.



Friday, June 10, 2011


Georgia Buddhist Vihara’s  Youth Retreat Commemorated the 2,600thAnniversary of the Buddha’s Awakening(May 28,29,30 & 31, 2011)

 

Well over 2000 years ago the Buddha urged Ananda his constant companion and a faithful disciple to become a lamp unto himself, and not to be distressed by the fact that the Buddha in the very nature of things, would pass away.  Difficult as it was  Ven. Ananda took the advice and he and  his disciples of the Buddha saw the dharma as the  unfailing lamp which would guide us all to the bliss of Nirvana We the resident monks in the Georgia Buddhist Vihara decided to  cherish and revere the memory of the Buddha by commemorating the 2600 anniversary of the Buddha’s awakening and –specifically on May 28 till May 31st. Six youth participated together with one adult committed themselves to observe the ten precepts in our Vihara for a retreat which lasted  four days. For the duration of those four days in our collective spiritual imagination we were all for those moments in the beautiful valley of the Ganges made more than real by the sense of the presence of the great path finder (The Buddha) Metta, loving kindness, Dharma discussions, and the practice of meditation was witnessed by all. The spirit of the Dharma was in the air.The six young men were text book examples of metta , karuna, muditha, which affected the considerable amount of people who visited the Vihara. The young men followed a simple regimen of attending to their daily and hourly needs. They were consistently disciplined and were examples to all who chose to be present. From all that we observed it was clearly transforming spiritual encounter to the participants. If their serenity and visible loving kindness was any indication they were no doubt the principle beneficiaries of a truly   beautiful lingering experience.  We in the Georgia Buddhist Vihara took heart and inspiration from the success of the four  day retreat.  In reality it  became an inspiration to all who were present who no doubt were themselves transformed  by witnessing the event. We hope that our dayakayas who generously and spiritedly supported were made happy by what they saw. Our success inspires us to nobly strive  t o do better than what we did on all future occasions.  Soon the word would get around that it is in the Georgia Buddhist Vihara that one might see a fleeting glimpse of the shores of nirvana- where  we will all know the peace and serenity the surpasses all understanding.

Conclusion of the 4 Day retreat    Diary of a Dhamma Brother

By Ranuka Manamendra


I got to the temple around 7:30. Within me I felt a sort of confusion, because I had no idea what would take place. It felt weird to have my parents bow down to me and in all honesty, when Bhante asked how we felt after taking the dhasa-sil...more


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By Janith Wickramasuriya


We practiced group meditation for the first time today. It was a very calming time for us all. After this we had a lesson about a wealthy householder named Anathapindika. He had built a temple in India that was named Jetavanaramaya. We also learned of a very interesting...more


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By Nuwan Perera


Today was the beginning of our Dhamma immersion experience, and I am not sure what to expect. We did not follow the entire schedule because we took Das Sil at ten,..More


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By Rajitha Siyasena


When we started the retreat I had no idea that I would learn the amount I learned today. Meditating and sitting in one place sure was difficult but the valuable insight we got from the first day clearly outweighed the hardships. As the day progressed we meditated and discussed Suttas ....More


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Monday, June 6, 2011



I am posting this message on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to remind and invite you to the next meditation retreat and noble day of silence on Saturday, June 18 from 7am to 7pm.  This one-day vipassana/mindfulness meditation retreat will held at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara. All meditation instructions, sutta discussions, and Dhamma talks will be conducted in English.



Below is a tentative schedule of the day's events:



MORNING PROGRAM7:30am – 8:00am: Observance of Refuge & the Eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and chanting.

8:00am – 8:30am: Breakfast (self-service)

8:30am – 10:00am: Meditation instructions and vipassana meditation

10:00am – 10:30am: Break (coffee/tea) & personal reflection/reading

10:30am – 11:00am: Metta (Loving-Friendliness) meditation

11:00am - 11:30am: Buddha Puja

11:30am – 12:30pm:  Lunch (self-service)

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AFTERNOON PROGRAM

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Walking meditation

1:30pm – 2:00pm: Break (coffee/tea) & personal reflection/reading2:00pm - 3:00pm: Vipassana meditation3:00pm – 5:00pm: Sutta Discussion: Maha-dukkhakkhanda Sutta: The Great Discourse on Suffering/Unsatisfactoriness (MN13) - This teaching of the Buddha discusses/investigates the allure and drawbacks of sensual pleasures, physical form, and feelings.  Please visit the following link, read the sutta, and print the sutta to bring to the discussion: {Click Here}


5:00pm - 7:00pm  Observance of the Five Precepts & Termination of the Eight Precepts, Buddha Puja, and chanting.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 


PLEASE NOTE: 

Participants will need to bring (1) a small breakfast food that would go along with oatmeal which will be provided (for example fruits, bagels, etc.) and (2) a lunch dish (preferably vegetarian) to share with the monks and the participants in the retreat as a form of dana (generosity).  It is also customary to bring flowers, candles (tea light), or incense to place on the shrine as an offering. It is also customary to wear white clothing when observing the Eight Precepts, though this is not a requirement.


 


 

During this special time, please consider making a monetary donation to the vihara as a form of dana (generosity) so that we can continue to support the monks and to keep the vihara open so that all people are able to practice and learn about the Dhamma (the Buddha's teachings).


I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, June 18 at the vihara. To confirm that you are planning on attending the retreat or if you have questions about our program, please contact me either by email (justinhowell2112@gmail.com) or by phone at 404/375.0264.


You may also plan for future events at the vihara by accessing the retreat and event calendar on the vihara's website: http://www.gavihara.org/calendar-2011/

 









I hope that you will be able to join us for this day of quiet contemplation and deepening our knowledge of the Dhamma.  May you, your friends, and family members be well, happy, and peaceful……With metta.....Justin 


 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Georgia Buddhist Vihara’s  Youth Retreat to Commemorated the 2,600thAnniversary of the Buddha’s Awakening (May 28,29,30 & 31, 2011)

Diary of a Dhamma Brother
By Ranuka Manamendra



Day 1

I got to the temple around 7:30. Within me I felt a sort of confusion, because I had no idea what would take place. It felt weird to have my parents bow down to me and in all honesty, when Bhante asked how we felt after taking the dhasa-sil. I felt confused.

I found out today that sitting in the same position will be my biggest trouble. It was hard meditating in a criss-cross position though I did gain some spiritual value from it. I was slightly disappointed that I couldn't eat after 12:00 noon.  The  work period was enjoyable because I helped Bhante reorganize the Buddha statues that were catching dust. Then we went to the Cambodian Temple. I learned  about the High Ordinance ceremony and learned what was culturally significant about the temple. It's red color stands for luck. One aspect I noticed in all Buddhist temples was that vast variety of fruit trees were planted.



Day 2

I wish I could have waken up at 6:30 instead of 4:30. It was very stressful on my eyes but the early morning meditation helped ease this.Today I realized walking meditation was my forte. It helped me concentrate on the task at hand, which was to block out my defilements. Metta meditation, ( loving-kindness meditation) helped clear my mind.  For today's work-period I helped Bhante plant a tree.  A tiring job, but I enjoyed using the ramrod to break up the dirt. For the personal reading time, I started reading You &Your Problems by Dr. K Sri Dhammaranda. A book explaining world-problems through a Buddhist perspective. We discussed about the different feelings humans experience as a result of our faculties. An example in Vedananau Passana (feelings) is sad  and happiness, neither sad nor happiness. When we have the object that we crave, we experience momentary pleasure, but since  all things in life are impermanent we will feel unhappiness as a result of it.

We visited the Vietnamese temple, today. It was by far, the most impressive temple I have seen. At the entrance is a huge lily pad pond, and a Laughing Buddha. Its amazing to see that a culture can transform a religion to fit there perspective. For an example the Buddha in the shrine room had oriental qualities to it. Something I noticed was that the Vietnamese temple kept the ashes of their dead in the temple. They also had a pen of peacocks in the yard. Something really peculiar they had was an albino peacock. A rare sight that my eyes don't get to see. After that we helped setup the Atavisi Budhdha Puja. Our timing has certainly improved. It was lights out after that. I really I can get some sleep this time.



Day 3

Waking up at 5 was slightly relaxing. The early-meditation this time was much better. I was able to concentrate on my breathing technique, though I had to stretch out my legs every 7 minutes. During Vipassana Meditation Bhante taught us the core concepts of meditation. I had another successful walking meditation period again today.

After lunch we helped Bhante plant another tree. Our sutta discussion today was really interesting. It was a discussion about poverty (Ina Sutta). We visited the Thai temple today. This is our last temple visit. The Thai temple was a lavish, comfortable group of log cabins. I learned the Thai tradition where laitys became monks for brief periods of time. The impact of cultural assimilation where one ethnic group adopts the religion or culture with there own changes is still evident today when you visit different Buddhist temples.

The Dhamma talk today was enjoyable. We discussed about what different philosophers said about Buddhism. I was felt bad when I heard that non Buddhist preachers would use Buddhists teachings without crediting the Buddha. After the temple, we did the Atavisi Buddha Puja. It was done in record time today and we finished the schedule thirty minutes ahead of time. I enjoy this lifestyle, it is a pleasing one because it is so simple, but I doubt I could follow it due to the sleeping schedule (9:00 pm. To 4:00 am.). It's hard to put in to words ,what I learned & felt .But for sure , now I have a much better perspective and a view regarding Buddhism. I don't think I could effectively explain everything I learned these 3 days. It was a great deal of Dhamma knowledge. I found a new respect regarding all the bhantes who follow this hard schedule.



Day 4

Yesterday Bhante picked me and Mathishka to prepare breakfast, lunch and the Buddha puja. So I had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. I took a shower and my routine procedures. Then me and Mathishka helped set up the plates. We sadly didn't do walking meditation today. It was an eventful day, because I did a lot of dish-washing and bathroom cleaning. After that we discussed suttas. We  finished the Dighajanu Sutta and the Sigalovvada Sutta. The Buddha's advice in financial areas is invaluable even though he did not pursue a life of prosper and wealth. How Buddha acutely explained every small detail in each sutta, amazes me. I feel as if we packed three months of Sunday school in four days.



Final Conclusions about the 4 Day retreat

-After listening to Bhante for these four days my respect for him has increased.

-I am proud to call myself a Buddhist.

-I kind of understand what kind of happiness you can gain by living a simple life.




Day 1

Today was the beginning of our Dhamma immersion experience, and I am not sure what to expect. We did not follow the entire schedule because we took Das Sil at ten, so we skipped what will probably be the hardest part, waking up at five! After we took Das sil we had lunch, where the parents served us and worshipped us. However, I felt more relaxed when everyone else left so that we could start the program in earnest. When we are surrounded by noise and distraction our mind naturally follows, and as everyone else left the temple my mind became calmer and more focused. In our Dhamma talk we discussed Sutra, including one featuring a common character in Sutra tales the wealthy householder Anathapindika. In the discourse the Buddha gave to his lay supporter, he outlined the pleasures and pitfalls that come with living the sensual life of a lay person, and as with the majority of the Buddha’s teachings, they were completely applicable 2600 years later. In the evening, we visited the Cambodian temple where Ven. Wajirabuddhi lived before he came to GBV, and undoubtedly the main attraction was the Sima  (boundary) , where monks attain higher ordination. The layout is very specific, with 8 balls placed around the building (Sima Malaka  Sima  to mark the boundary. Although we did not go inside, we could see the vivid colors and materials that they had in the shrine room, and we also saw the beautiful architecture and decoration of the exterior.

Day 2

I had a very good sleep today, one of the best I have had in a long time. Despite sleeping on concrete with nothing more than a sleeping bag, I woke up at five well rested and ready for the day, which didn’t happen often, even on the days where I would emerge from slumber past noon! We meditated at 5.30, essentially in the dark, and I did not fall asleep, which admittedly surprised me. There is something supremely spiritual about meditating at the dawn of the day, before the natural bustle of the world awakens. This first morning meditation session was my favorite and most effective of the entire day. We later did Buddha Puja and meditated again, this time we focused on Vipassana Meditation, and learned the theory behind the practice, such as focusing on the different body parts and on the different aspects of those parts.  During the work session after lunch, we planted trees. It felt good to be on a spiritual retreat and still do physical work. We purified and exercised the mind, but we did not neglect our body which added to the overall effect of the retreat. After the work period we had our Dhamma session and Sutra discussion, where we talked about how to righteously gain wealth, once again very practical advice that will help us live a Buddhist life in today’s modern world. We visited the Vietnamese temple today, and it was extremely impressive. It looked like it came straight off the internet, with everything from impressive towering statues of the Bodhisattva of compassion in a lotus pond to even peacocks! Architecturally, it resembled Japanese temples. We learned that they place an enormous emphasis on respecting and remembering their elders, much as most cultures from Asia do. They had a room in the back of the shrine room just for pictures of their ancestors. After we came back we had soup and milkshakes, which made not eating after noon surprisingly easy.



Day 3

Today was my and Rajitha’s turn to prepare Buddha puja so we had to wake up earlier than the others, though even this early still was not that hard.  Justin helped us with the puja. Justin has been a great help and an invaluable presence during the retreat, both as a companion and a trove of Dhamma wisdom. He always takes time to explain anything we don’t understand and makes sure we know what to do so that we stay on the schedule. We meditated again in the morning, then we had the Buddha Puja. Then we did more Vipassana meditation, and walking meditation which we have been doing for the entirety of the retreat. We had the Buddha Puja for lunch, then had our work period. We moved a large tree that took a lot of effort, but luckily the monks helped us. Under those robes they are very strong! We had our Dhamma talk and Suttra discussion, and we learned what famous and wise scholars and philosophers had said about Buddhism, and I think it helped to see that some of the most intellectual members of even so called western society appreciated the scope and message of Buddhism. We visited the temple where I used to do Dhamma School before GBV. It brought back some memories, but they were also renovating, building a new shrine room and living quarters for the monk along with another Sima I have noticed that many of the temples are either expanding or renovating, which has shown me that the interest and support of Buddhists in this area is growing. When we came back we did the Attavisi Buddha Puja which we have done every night of the retreat. This is where we do a Buddha Puja, except for all 28 Buddhas that Gotama Buddha mentioned. It is an impressive experience to chant in front of 28 Buddha Statues, all the Buddha’s that there have been in the eon! We then went to sleep after our soup and milkshake, and it just like the other nights it was not hard to go sleep even though it was early because we had accomplished so much during the day.

Day 4

Today was the last day of the retreat, and I have mixed feelings about the end of the experience. On one hand it will be nice to actually sit on a couch again, and eat whatever I want whenever I want. However, not eating meat which I thought was going to be a real challenge never really bothered me. On the other hand, I will miss the peace of mind that the retreat brought me. The idea of waking up and knowing what you are going to do for every part of the day is very comforting. The absence of outside distraction and the guided focus lets us just reflect on ourselves, which is extremely rare in today’s world. I doubt there is a similar experience outside of the temple, and I understand the peace of mind that monks have their entire lives. We only followed 10 rules, but they have 227! Through this experience, I think I have realized that I don’t want to be a monk, at least right now, but it has definitely reinforced the respect I have for monks. We did this for four days, but they do this day after day, a lifetime of introspection and meditation that I can only imagine doing. Another benefit of this retreat was that when we chanted, we chanted first in Pali but then again in English. It helped us all understand what we were saying, so that phrases that we had said memorized since we were little gained a new meaning to us, the true meaning of the phrases that the Buddha preached. This retreat was something that I think every Buddhist child should go through, so that they get an up close and personal view of their religion as we did. After the retreat, the statement” I am Buddhist” took a whole new meaning, one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.


Georgia Buddhist Vihara’s  Youth Retreat to Commemorated the 2,600thAnniversary of the Buddha’s Awakening (May 28,29,30 & 31, 2011)

Diary of a Dhamma Brother

Conclusion of the 4 Day retreat

By Janith Wickramasuriya



Day 1

We practiced group meditation for the first time today. It was a very calming time for us all. After this we had a lesson about a wealthy householder named Anathapindika. He had built a temple in India that was named Jetavanaramaya. We also learned of a very interesting conversation he had with the Buddha that consisted of the Buddha asking Anathapindika questions about things that were pleasing and agreeable for worldly pleasure and what four conduce them. We came to know them as “Saddha”, “Sila”, “Caga”, and “Pañña”.  Bhante taught us of the rules of becoming a higher ordained monk. Apparently there are 227 rules that higher ordained monks follow!  We also went to visit a Cambodian temple. It was interesting to see the differences of the temple structures and colors.

By the end of the day, I was tired and so sleeping at 9 o’ clock was not hard at all.

Day 2

Today we learned about Satipattana-the establishment of mindfulness. There were many sections that were

divided into many subsections, yet, it was still easy to understand. We also learned of a sutta dealing with sensual (sense) pleasures. It very clearly explained the steps to become a good, meritorious person (in regard to wealth). We also had the chance to listen to many different philosophers views on Buddhism.

We visited a Vietnamese temple today. There were endless differences from our own temple. From the large drums and bells used to signal the start of ceremonies to the projectors used in place of chanting books, this temple was vastly different from the traditional ones I have visited. It amazes me that even our religion can be practiced in so many different methods and have numerous traditions accompanying them.

Day 3

Today we learned more of the Satipattana Sutta, as many of the suttas of the Buddha take time to carefully read and comprehend. We also learned the Ina Sutta and the Vasala Sutta and what it takes to advance to and attain the Janik level. We learned more quotes of philosophers in which they spoke their thoughts on Buddhism. We also listened to the types of wives that are in this world. It was very interesting to hear about such a subject in Buddhism. It continued on to discuss the different types of marriages in regard to religion (chiefly Buddhism). The same sutta explained the qualities of a good marriage.

One of the main things that I realized was my craving for items that I had become so accustomed to. For example, the rule in which I had to abstain from using any technology such as a phone or iPod is a very eye-opening situation. We realize how much of an attachment we have to such objects and how hard it is to refrain from using or thinking about them. By the end of this day, I have realized and learned many things about Buddhism and about myself. I wonder what I will feel once Dasa Sil is terminated at the end of tomorrow.

Day 4

Today is our last day. We learned many suttas throughout the day because there were many that were very long and detailed and required additional time to cover. I realized that during these past few days I have improved my concentration very much. I seem to understand more things that I previously did not. For example, each of the rules the monks follow is made to help them understand and truly learn the Dhamma. I see now that the precepts that we have observed are ideal for us, as we have never experienced such a devotion to rules. By this I do not mean that all of us are rule-breakers but rather that following these rules attentively is a difficult task to complete.

The main thing I have learned these past few days was understanding that the Buddha explained the Dhamma in a simple and detailed manner and yet it is complicated at the same time. I do believe that it can be followed given the right motivation (Nibbana). I am very grateful of my parents for suggesting and encouraging me to take Dasa Sil and I am sure that I will observe these same precepts again one day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011



Commemoration of  the 2,600th Anniversary of the Buddha’s Awakening


Annual Wesak; celebrates three events of the utmost significance in the life of prince Siddhartha who became an enlighten Buddha.   Georgia Buddhist Vihara celebrates the wesak on May 21 2011. Wesak full moon day has been for centuries regarded as the Buddha Day. For it was on a Wesak full moon day, that the Sakyan prince Siddhartha Gautama was born, in Lumbini Park, on the frontier of Nepal, attained Enlightenment, under the Bodhi tree in Gaya, and finally passed away in Kusinara.   The Buddhists all over the world celebrate with devotion the Triple Anniversary of Wesak, please follow the Georgia Buddhist Vihara’s one day program to Commemorate the 2,600thAnniversary of the Buddha’s Awakening



Program for Saturday, May 21, 2011


Program for Adult


7.30 am   Observance of the Eight Precepts, for  adult  Buddha Pooja and Heel Dana


08.30 Break for Tea/Coffee


09.00-11.00  Bhavana introduction with Bojjangha  by Ven. Wajirbuddhi


11.00 Buddha Pooja   for  main shrine for adult Ven. Wajirabodhi (*Note: make two sets of Buddha Puja for both shrine)


11.20 Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts. (Parents and other devotees will contribute dishes for the Dana.) If you like to contribute for the Dana, please contact us at 770 987 8442.


12.00 Lunch


01.00 Pm Abhidhamma lessons by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne


02.30 Break


02.45  Dhamma  Talks by Ven. Dhammaloka


03.45. Group Discussion (Sutra) Anumana Sutra


05.00 Termination of Sil for adults, Gilanpasa Pooja, Pirith chanting and meditation on Loving Kindness.


05.00 Devotional songs, Speeches and decorating lanterns by Dhamma School Children.


Program for children:

May 21, 2011

7.30 am   Observance of the Eight Precepts, Buddha Pooja and   Dana

08.30  Break for Tea/Coffee


09.00  Dhamma talk by Ven. Wajirabodhi Topic: Great qualities of the Triple Gem


10.00  Bhavana (for children and Young)


11.00 Buddha Pooja


11.20 Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts. (Parents and other devotees will contribute dishes for the Dana.) If you like to contribute for the Dana, please contact us at 770 987 8442.


01-.2.00 Pm Dhamma lesson; wholesome deeds and unwholesome deeds


02.30 Break


02.45   Question and answer session; paper materials will be prepared about   wholesomeness and unwholesomeness


03.30. Talk on Ten Meritorious deeds


04.00 Termination of Sil for the children,


05.00 Devotional songs, Speeches and decorating lanterns by Dhamma School Children.






Wednesday, April 6, 2011



Dear Friends and Devotees,

Sri Lankan New Year celebration will be held on the   Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara, 3153 Miller Rd, Lithonia,  GA 30038.

10.15 am Lighting the oil lamp.
10.30 am Significance of the New Year
11.00am Buddha Puja
11.30 am Dana for the Maha Sangha
12. Noon Pirith chanting an offering of the sheaf of betel leaves to
the monks and parents.

12.40pm Luncheon for the guests
1.45 pm Cultural Events begins with traditional dancing.

Note: Parents should bring present for around $5 (wrapped and labeled with child’s name) for each of your children so that all the children will get a useful present.

Volunteers are needed to bring the material for each game and to organize and conduct the games.  Anyone who is willing to help, please contact the Vihara also, your generous donations for more children's gifts are appreciated.

Following food menu has been suggested and any variations are welcome.  Those who are interested may also bring curries to go with rice for Dana & lunch for guests.  Expected turn out is 100.  Three families can share bringing each food item. Please signup for food items form this link.



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

Following games have been suggested for the children and any changes are welcome.

Spoon & lime race
Sack Race
Three legged race
Duck race
Freeze statue
So what’s the secret
Balloon blowing
Donut eating contest
Pin the tail on the donkey
Wheelbarrow game
Pin-a ta
Any other

We are seeking your contribution in making this event a success.  Please feel free to forward this email to anybody who is interested to attend.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


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Games & Activities

Please feel free to sign-up for any game or activity that are not in the list.
We kindly seek volunteers to organize games.
  • Traditional New-year Games 
  • Bursting balloons (Children)
  • Bun eating competition (Children)
  • Placing the eye on the elephant (Adults)
  • OW, Na, Ba (open)
  • Musical chairs (Children)
  • Musical chairs (Female)
  • Musical chairs (Male)
  • Running in sacks (Children)
  • Running in sacks (Adults)
  • Pacing with a lime on a spoon (Adults)
  • Insert the thread through the eye of the needle (couple)

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Suggested Food Items

Milk Rice Katta Sambal Sinis Sambal
Rice Fried Rice Fish Ambulthiyal
Grem Beans Parippu Ala Curry/Baduma



Achcharu Cutlets Pol Sambal
Egg Palnt Curry Papadam Kola Mallum



Kavum Kokis Mungguli
Veli Thalapa Aluwa Mung Kavum
Sandwiches Cutlets Patties
Rolls Cookies



Ice Cream Fruit Salad Pudding
Chocolate Cake Jello Banana



Disposable Plates Disposable cups Napkins
Disposable cups spoons and Forks Paper towels
Botted Water Soft Drinks



Tea or Coffee Coffee Cream Sugar

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


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      Please sign-up for food items for Wesak program 2014.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Friends,




I hope this email finds each of you doing well.  I am writing on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to remind and invite you to the next day-long meditation retreat and noble day of silence on Saturday, March 12 from 7am to 7pm.  This one-day vipassana/mindfulness meditation retreat will held at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara. All meditation instructions, sutta discussions, and Dhamma talks will be conducted in English.




Below is a tentative schedule of the day's events:




MORNING PROGRAM

7:30am – 8:00am: Refuge, Observance of the Eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and chanting.
8:00am – 8:30am: Breakfast (self-service)




8:30am – 10:00am: Meditation instructions and vipassana meditation








10:00am – 10:30am: Break (coffee/tea)






10:30am – 11:00am: Metta (Loving-Friendliness) meditation




11:00am - 11:30: Buddha Puja




11:30am – 12:30pm:  Lunch (self-service)




AFTERNOON PROGRAM


12:30pm – 1:30pm: Group meditation and walking meditation

1:30pm – 2:00pm: Break (time for personal reflection and reading; coffee/tea)

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Vipassana meditation

3:00pm – 5:00 Sutta/Sutra Discussion will be a continuation of our discussion of the Maha-Sihanada Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar (MN12) that discusses/investigates the qualities of the Buddha (Please visit the following link, read the sutta, and print the sutta to bring to the discussion: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012.ntbb.html)



5:00pm - 7:00pm  Termination of the Eight Precepts, Buddha Puja, and chanting.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


PLEASE NOTE:

Participants will need to bring a small breakfast food that would go along with oatmeal (fruit, bagels, etc.) and a lunch dish (preferably vegetarian) to share with the monks and the participants in the retreat as a form of dana (generosity).




During this special time, please consider making a monetary donation to the vihara as a form of dana (generous giving) so that we can continue to support the monks 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, March 12 at the vihara.  If you have any questions/concerns or to confirm that you are planning on attending the retreat, please contact me either by email (justinhowell2112@gmail.com) or by phone at 404/375.0264.

 








You may also plan for future events at the vihara by accessing the retreat and event calendar on the vihara's website: http://www.gavihara.org/calendar-2011/




May you, your friends, and family members be well, happy, and peaceful…… 




With metta.....

Justin


========================================


Justin Howell


Cell phone: 404.375.0264



Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Courtesy: The Island

By Premasara Epasinghe

 

It was on the Medin Full Moon Day, the Blessed one, along with a retinue of about 20,000 disciples’ trecked from Veluwanaramaya, Rajagriha, to Kimbulwathpura to meet his father, king Suddodhana, relatives and friends of the Sakhya Clan (a tribe dwelling in Northern India, in which Gotama or Sakyamuni Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha). It can be said that the main theme of MEDIN POYA, deals with the Buddha’s journey from Rajagriha to Kimbulwathpura, seven years after this Abhiniskaramanaya to meet the relatives.

After attaining Buddha hood on Wesak Poya Day, and after delivering the Dhammachakkapawattana Sutta- the “wheel of Dhamma, on the Esala Full Moon Day he continued to reside in Rajagriha for sometime. King Suddodhana was afflicted with a great desire to see his beloved son- Gotama Buddha. However, on account of Royal Dignity, Suddhodana did not make the journey himself to meet his son- Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, but, dispatched emissaries after emissaries under the leadership of his Ministers pleading with the Buddha to visit Kimbulwathpuraya. These groups of emissaries however did not return, having become disciples of the Buddha.

In the meantime, King Suddhodana hatched a strange plan to induce the Buddha to visit him. He had a Minister by the name KALU- DAI Prince Siddhartha’s playmate whose birthday also fell on the identical day as Prince Siddhartha. He was sent along with nine other- Ministers to persuade the Buddha to visit Kimbulwathpura. He agreed to undertake the mission, provided the king granting him the permission to enter the Order. Accordingly, the Minister Kaludai, and his retinue approached Buddha, listened to the Doctrine and became the disciples of the Blessed One. By this time, the number of Buddha’s disciples swelled to over 20,000, out of which over 10,000 consisted of the members of the Sakya Chan. The disciples were from ANGA and MAGADHA STATES which numbered around 10,000 in number.

At this juncture, Arahat Kaludai, who had spent one week as a disciple invited the Gautama Buddha to visit his birthplace, the Sakya kingdom. He stated, His beloved father king Suddhodana is in great anxiety to see his son Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. By this time, Buddha had spent ten months after attaining Buddha hood or Enlightenment.

The entire environment of Kimbulwathpura assumed a pleasant atmosphere as to welcome the arrival of the Blessed One. People thronged along the road leading to the city to get a glimpse of the Thattagatha. The Buddha’s visit to Kimbulwatpura can be considered as the highest respect that Gautama Buddha paid to his beloved father Suddhodana and dear relations. This significant event took place on the Medin Full Moon Poya Day, which can be reckoned as an important day in the Buddhist Calendar.

Generally the kings, princes, and princesses of the Sakya clan were a proud lot. Therefore, those who were elder to the Buddha refrained from paying obssience to HIM and caused the younger ones to do so. However, in order to counter their pride Buddha rose up to the sky and displayed TWINFOLD MIRACLE- “YAMAMAHA PELAHERA “.The double miracle power said to have been possessed by Buddha causes a stream of fire from one part of HIS body and a stream of water from the other at the one and the same time, together from HIS eyes and nostrils.

It was on this occasion, King Suddhodhana, Worshipped his beloved son Siddhartha Gautama Buddha for the third time. There- after all the other Princes, Princesses, Nobles worshiped the Buddha. The Buddha expounded the Vessanthara Jathakaya to the multitude.

On the following day surrounded by a retinue of 20,000 disciples, Buddha went from house to house begging for alms. Having heard about this from Yasodhara, the King Suddodhana was greatly depressed and met the Buddha and informed that it was great blemish and an insult for the Sakyan clan to go on begging for food in this manner.

Buddha replied thus:

“Oh king, our clan is the Buddha clan. It is customary for our clan to beg for food in this manner. Royal lineage SAKYAWANSA is yours. Mine is the Buddha lineage BUDDHAWANSA.”

At the end of the discourse, king Suddodhana attained the “Path of Sakrudhagami (once returned) while Maha Prajapathi Gothami, attained the “Path of Sovan”.

Later, Buddha paid a visit to the abode of Yasodhara. She lay down at HIS feet and began to cry. It was greatly a moving scene. She came and clasped HIS ankles and placing her head on HIS feet and worshiped HIM.

Further, when Buddha retuned after partaking of alms at the Royal Palace, HE gave HIS bow to Prince Nanda, his step brother and heir to the throne, who is to be wedded on the following day, He accompanied Buddha to the temple. He was later ordained.

King Suddodhana was greatly disturbed on hearing of the ordination of Prince Nanda. The king immediately visited the Buddha, heart – broken and dejected. He pleaded with the Buddha in the following manner.

“Oh Blessed One, attachment towards the off – springs generally penetrate into the bones, flesh and marrow of their parents. To the parents, there is no other treasure dearer than the off-springs. Oh! Blessed one, please do not ordain any child, without the permission of the parents”.

The Thatagata, having acceded to the request, directed that in future, no child should be ordained in the Sasana, without the consent of the parents.

This illustrates the great quality of humility professed by the Buddha.

 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


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Tuesday, March 1, 2011





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