Nirosha Perera's Journal

Nirosha Perera’s 2 Day Retreat Journal

Most teenagers wouldn't willingly commit to a retreat devoid of all technology—no laptops, television, and cell phones meant there would be no contact with the outside world and many of us teenagers just cannot face that type of reality. I have to admit, I was not ready to face that type of environment either. These conditions (that were to be imposed at the retreat), almost seemed like a punishment for something—waking up at 5 am, sitting motionless for hours at a time, and having to live without our normal daily comforts seemed like the life of a prisoner. And so, I experienced this life for two short days. I soon realized that although it seemed like a “prison” to most people, it was actually a quite liberating experience. By being taken out of conventional life and away from general society, we were able to truly explore our own minds and discover our own potential.

I was only able to attend the retreat for two days due to my school graduation ceremonies taking place during the early days of the retreat, but in those two days, I was exposed to an array of Buddhist teachings that truly impacted me during that short time. For 17 years, I had been chanting various suttras without fully understanding what I was reciting. But in those two days at the retreat, I was able to end the mindless recitations and transform them into meaningful comprehension, as I learned the meanings of many pali chantings that I hadn’t truly appreciated earlier and thus recited them with a newfound confidence.

I also embraced new approaches to Buddhism as we explored Abidhamma with the guidance of Uncle Deeptha. In the Abidhamma classes, I was able to challenge, develop, and embrace, old and new beliefs about Buddhism. We even discussed topics such as abortion and thus I appreciated the depth and gravity of topics that we discussed in the class. So, I would like to thank Uncle Deeptha for providing us with these classes.

Our visit to the Cambodian temple was also an eye opening experience. It was interesting to compare the structures of their temple to ours, and I was surprised to see that many parts of their temple were exceedingly ornate— I had always thought that as Buddhists, we sought to refrain from lavishness so I was a bit confused. But I was interested by what I saw and I’ve been stimulated to further investigate my question.

In retrospect, I have to admit that the retreat was physically and mentally challenging at times. However, it was a challenge that proved advantageous as it enabled me to explore my views of Buddhism and reawakened my pride in the Buddhist lifestyle.

I would like to deeply thank Venerable Wajirabuddhi and Venerable Wajirabodhi for giving us the opportunity to experience this enlightening retreat. I would also like to thank our parents and friends, and Mr.Steven, as they supported the retreat, brought Dane, and helped in any way they could. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank my Dhamma brothers and sisters for participating in the retreat—I learned many things from all of you and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together.

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