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, 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 


 

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The Georgia Buddhist Vihara is run by a non-profit tax-exempted organization. All your donations are tax deductible.

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