Janith Wickramasuriya

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.

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