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.

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.

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