Iedisha Jayaratne's Journal

I felt like a whole new person

By Iedisha Jayaratne

When Ammi first told me about the retreat I was excited and told her to immediately sign me up. After finding out about the schedule I was a little put off, but the excitement was still there. And when we finally went to the temple around 7:30, I got really nervous, but after saying the ten precepts and observing sil, my emotions calmed down. On the first day after starting with the meditation I finally just decided not to think hard about the what ifs to calm my body and mind. At first meditating was hard because my mind was filled with unwholesome thoughts and sitting there for thirty minutes felt like an eternity. And as the day went on it became much easier for me. The visit to the Vietnamese temple helped me to learn more about the different ways that Buddhism is viewed in other countries and the traditions associated with it. The second day started with the normal schedule; waking up at five, being at the shrine room by five-thirty and so on. But because none of us were really used to the time management we were all over the place and some of us were late in getting to the shrine room on time. But Venerable Wajirabuddhi patiently waited for us and started meditation after all we all got there. At first since I was still not fully awake it was a little hard to concentrate but after putting more effort my concentration became better. As the day went on my body and mind seemed to be calmer and much more relaxed than it was the first day and unwholesome thoughts slowly faded away from my mind. And then thaththi taught us Abhidhamma lessons which taught me more about the psychological aspects in Buddhism. On the last day, we did better on the time management and I am proud to say that I finally actually sat in a lotus position without movement and good concentration for more than thirty minutes. I was able to stay that way because Venerable Wajirabuddhi taught us how to concentrate on the pain of our sitting position, thus removing the pain. I was somewhat sad that it was ending quite quickly, but I learned a lot through this experience and I like how we did everything according to a schedule while being away from technology and family. It helped me feel more responsible and in charge. I felt like a whole new person. Going on this retreat, no matter how short it is, made me realize more about life and how to relate it to Buddhism. I would like to thank Venerable Wajirabuddhi, Venerable Wajirabodhi, Shrima aunty, Mr. Stevens, my family, the other parents and my friends for making this retreat possible and for the help and guidance they provided during the retreat.

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