Poson Poya

Poson Full Moon Poya  Program and  Dhamma class will be held on on Sunday, June 30 , 2013, from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara.  We invite you all to join the program.


7:30am – 8:30am: Observance of the eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and Heel Dana.

8:30am – 9:00am: Tea & coffee break

9:00am – 10: 00am: Vipassana Meditation.

10:00am-11-am:  Sutra Discussion: Maha-Saccaka Sutta: The Longer Discourse to Saccaka (English)

11:20am – 12:00 Noon: Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts. The Daval Dana will be kindly provided by Mr. & Mrs. Weliwita (Uditha & Ruwani), in memory of Ruwani's Father, to the Ven. Maha Sangha & to all the people observing Sil on Poson poya day.


12:00Noon – 1:00pm Luncheon

1:00 – 4:30 pm Discussion will be base on Abhidhamma by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne

1:30-4:00pm  Dhamma Class

2:30 – 2:45pm: Break.

5:30 pm:  Termination of the Sil Gilanpasa Pujava

GBV Youth Retreat 2013

Georgia Buddhist Vihara’s Youth Retreat 2013
(July 12th, 13th, & 14th,  2013)

Retreat Application Form for Youth Summer Retreat

You must print and complete the following forms to apply for the summer retreat program. Please note that space is limited for 15 participants on a first-come, first-serve basis. This retreat is for males and females who are between 15 and 25 years of age.  

All forms must be completed in full and must be submitted on or before June 25, 2013. You may deliver the forms in person to the Georgia Buddhist Vihara, you may mail the completed forms to the Vihara (3153 Miller Road, Lithonia, GA 30038), or you may scan and email completed forms to Justin Howell (justinhowell2112@gmail.com). An email confirmation will be sent once your application has been received.

Participant’s Name: ______________________________________________

Participant’s Age: _______________________

Parent’s/Guardian’s Name: __________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________

Parent’s/Guardian’s Email Address: ___________________________________________

Home Phone: __________________________ Cell Phone: ___________________________

Business Phone: ____________________________________

Emergency Contact: __________________________ Phone:_____________________________

 By signing below you are giving permission to participate in all activities related to the weekly retreat at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara. By signing below, you (as the participant) understand all requirements to participate in the retreat. By signing below, you are giving permission for the retreat participant to be transported in temple and/or personal vehicles of those who are acting as retreat coordinators while attending a retreat at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara.

 ________________________ ______________________
Signature of Participant Date

_________________________ ______________________
Signature of Parent/Guardian Date

(if participant is under 18 years old)

Medical Information

Does the participant have any medical or health issues that we should be aware of? If so, please describe: ______________________________________________________________________________


Allergies: ___________________________________________________________________________

Chronic disability or illness (past or present): _______________________________________________

Name of Family Doctor: ________________________ Phone: ________________________________

Insurance Plan Name: _______________________ Group Number: ___________________________

Member Number: _______________________________

Dietary Restrictions

Describe: _____________________________________________________________________________


I would like for the participant to be given the following medications:

Name of medicine: ____________________ What is the medicine used for: __________________

Quantity of be given: __________________ Times to be given: _____________________

All medicines should be clearly labeled with the participant’s name, name of medication, what it is to be used for, quantity to be given and time to be given. The Georgia Buddhist Vihara does not assume responsibility for administration of medicine beyond oral medications. In case of emergency, I hereby give permission to the physician named above, or, in his or her absence, to any other physician, to provide treatment.

_________________________ ______________________

Signature of Participant Date

_________________________ ______________________
Signature of Parent/Guardian Date

(if participant is under 18 years old)


Georgia Buddhist Youth  Retreat    

(July 12,13 &14)

Daily Schedule

  • 5:00–5:30am – Wake Up, Coffee/Tea.

  • 5:30–6:30 – Group Meditation

  • 6:30–7:00 – Buddha Puja

  • 7:00–8:00 – Breakfast (self-service)

  • 8:00–9:00 – Vipassana Meditation

  • 9:00–9:30 – Break, Coffee/Tea

  • 9:30–10:00 – Meditation Instruction

  • 10:00–10:30 – Walking Meditation

  • 10:30–11:00 – Metta Meditation

  • 11:00–11:30 – Buddha Puja

  • 11:30–12:30pm – Lunch

  • 12:30–1:30 – Work Period

  • 1:30–3:30 – Sutta Discussion

  • 3:30–4:00 – Break, Coffee/Tea

  • 4:00–4:30 – Personal Reading and Reflection

  • 4:30-    5:30-      Abhidhamma session by Dr. Deeptha Jayaratne

  • 5:30–6:00 – Prepare for Trip

  • 6:00–7:30 – Temple Visits

  • 7:30–8:30 – Atavisi Buddha Pujawa, Group Chanting (selected Sutra with English meanings) Metta Meditation

  • 8:30–9:00 – Journal Writing; Prepare for Bed

  • 9:00–Lights Out

General Guidelines for Retreat Participants

What Not to Bring
  • Do not bring illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products.

  • Do not bring personal computers, personal gaming systems, cell phones, mp3 players, electronic musical devices, radios, musical instruments, newspapers, magazines and secular books to the center. Buddhist reading materials will be provided.

  • Do not bring clothing with distracting lettering.

  • Do not wear perfumes or deodorants with strong scents.

  • Do not bring pets.
What to Bring
  • Flashlight

  • Sleeping Bag, Pillow, Towel (shower facilities are available)

  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors)

  • Bring a cup (for tea/coffee and water), a plate, and a spoon and fork for eating.

  • Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper

  • Personal meditation cushion if you prefer (We have plenty of zafus, zabutans, and benches for everyone)

  • Modest clothing. (Even in the warmest of weather, tank tops and short shorts are not acceptable.) Do not bring t-shirts with commercial or political messages. You are requested to wear white clothing, if possible.

  • Work gloves, cleaning gloves, breathing mask (if working outside causes breathing problems) for the work period.


Family Sponsorship Form 

  • Each sponsoring family will need to arrive at the vihara by 6am on their designated day in order to prepare the morning meal for the monks and retreat participants.

  • Sponsoring families will also be responsible for preparing the lunch meal.

  • Sponsoring families will be responsible for preparing evening nutrition and leaving it for the participants to consume later in the evening.

  • It is preferred that sponsors adhere to the following guidelines for providing meals during the retreat period:

    • All meals should be vegetarian.

    • Food for the morning meal should be light and consist of cereal, oatmeal, muffins, bagels, fruit, yogurt, or pancakes.

    • Food for the lunch meal should be more substantial since this will be the primary meal until the next morning meal.

    • Evening nutrition could consist of homemade juices, milkshakes, soup, etc. Please be mindful that retreat participants have taken the 10 precepts which stipulate that no solid, substantial food should be taken after noon.

What is Buddhism by Bhante Wajirabuddhi

In This Issue:

1. Conversation with a Buddhist Monk
2. New homes for shrines to Buddhist tradition Church finds families for antique altars
3. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week:
 The Seattle Buddhist Temple
4. Book/Movie Review: Graceful Simplicity: The Philosophy and Politics of the Alternative American Dream
 ...by Jerome M. Segal


1. Conversation with a Buddhist Monk

By: Donna Parker-McNeil, Staff Reporter, Atlanta, Georgia


In an effort to provide our readers with a personal portrait of Buddhism The Message sat down with Ven. Panamwela Wajirabuddhi a.k.a. Bhante of Georgia Buddhist Vihara Inc. Bhante is a Buddhist Monk residing at Lithonia, Georgia. He is a humble man of medium stature, shaven head, and clothed in the traditional garment - an orange colored robed. On this day Bhante is willing to share his faith, beliefs, culture and customs with us and to teach us about the life and lessons of the Great Buddha.

We feel especially privileged to have access to such insightful knowledge and trust that sharing it with you, our readers will assist us in the process of building a strong, cultural bridge.

Buddhism is an ancient philosophy that dates back to 500 BCE. It is based on the teachings and thoughts of a man, born into royalty, but who left his noble lineage behind in order to attain enlightenment and became the Buddha (enlightened one). In North America there are an estimated 1.3 million Buddhists. Most Buddhists in North America are Asian immigrants. However, there are some Westerners who practice this faith in order to escape from materialism and also to seek enlightenment. 

The Message (M): Who is Buddha?

Buddhist Monk (BM): The Buddha was a normal human being, who was a prince and due to succeed his father king Suddhodana. They belonged to the Shakyan clan, a warrior group in a place close to the border of modem Nepal and India. He grew up in the luxury of the royal family, but he soon found that the  worldly comfort and security does not bring true happiness. At the age of29, he renounced the princely lifestyle and left the palace to find an answer to human pain and suffering and the cause of birth and death, all of which every human being dislikes to face. In the first part of the next six years he went to different renowned teachers without obtaining an answer. He also subjected himself to extreme modes of living, which also brought no adequate answers. Then he abandoned the extremes life styles and tried to remain in the middle (call the middle path). At the end of the period, he suddenly came across the answer to the so far unknown tragic recurrent cause of birth, suffering, pain and death of every human being on earth. This finding is called enlightenment and the person is called "Enlightened One" or "Buddha".

The ex-prince lived for another 45 years as a mendicant, begging his food, having no personal belongings. He taught his discovery of salvation, the Dhamma (doctrine) throughout northern India. Even though the Buddha was born as a normal human being, he later became an exceptional human being, because he developed his mind to the maximum level possible through meditation and self-understanding. At the age of 80, the Buddha passed away not to be reborn again call Nirvana (see below) at Kusinara (in modem Uttar Pradesh in India).

The Buddha taught all different classes of men and women, Brahmins and outcasts, wealthy and beggars, ascetics and robbers, kings and peasants, without making any distinction between them. In order to teach the Dhamma (teachings), he had

to face a big challenge to overcome the existing harmful dogmas of their society. The society was rigidly controlled according to caste, color, religion, sex, belief and hierarchical customs.

After Buddha was enlightened, he expressed the invalidity of the caste systems and other discriminatory practices against any type of human beings. Politicians, wealthy people, high rankers and others carried out these harmful practices. He treated every human being equally by using specific features, which varied in accordance with the impermanence of all living beings. Buddha's comment was, "No one becomes an outcast by birth, no one becomes a Brahmin (the higher ranking and spiritual advisers at that time) by birth, one becomes an outcast or Brahmin only by deed." If someone can maintain five precepts: abstaining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and taking intoxicant alcohol and dangerous drugs, he is the higher-ranking person. Whosoever is not maintaining those five precepts then that person is the outcast (Vasala) and not those who are born in specific families and labeled as outcasts.

M: Why are there images of Buddha that look so differently?

BM: When different countries created images of Buddha, the basic structure was similar because it was derived from the history of Buddhism, pertaining specially to the figure of the living Buddha in different postures, such as sitting cross legged, looking down with half closed eyes with his hands resting gently on his lap. The latter is called. Samadhi Muddra (meditation posture), which is quite common and found everywhere. There are other different types of the Buddha's statues with walking posture, preaching posture and sleeping posture. Furthermore, you may have noticed also different looks in the Buddha's face. These differences are a result of the different cultural backgrounds in different countries. The images created by the artists follow the basic structure of the Buddha while the general features correspond to those of the local peoples' faces and the rest of the body. His compassionate looks tend to produce in us peace and calm within.

M: Do Buddhists worship the statue of Buddha?

BM: No! In his teachings Buddha has clearly stated not to worship him. We use the statue as a symbol of virtue and morality. All religions use symbols to express various concepts. In Christianity the presence of the cross is used to symbolize his sacrifice. In Sikhism, the sword is used to symbolize spiritual struggle. We do not worship the statue of Buddha. But we admire his virtues and the associated practices may tend to look like worshipping him. There are many such virtues as loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic delight, equanimity, charity, generosity and patience. So we put Buddha's image in front of us and recall his great qualities into our mind, and also it is object of meditation.

M: Did the Buddha believe in a god or gods?

BM: Actually Buddhism does not go along with the concept of an absolute creator or god. Before Buddha's era, people used to worship many gods; people thought the natural objects such as mountain, water, sun, moon and other powerful people were taken to be gods; e.g. Indra and Prajapati were considered to be gods. Later the concept of multiple gods became part of their belief and it revised the concept of a single god. Then they began to believe that there was only one creator or god. Then the Maha Brahma concept arose. People then believed he was the only god who had executive powers. Buddha did not accept any of those concepts.

The Buddha said, "Many who are scared seek the protection of rocks, forests, trees, groves; seeking their refuge. No one can achieve liberation by beliefs only. By seeking their refuge, no one can overcome suffering" - (DP.II8). Buddha did declare the presence of the deities and other beings living at different levels of enlightenment. The deities are claimed to be some sort of living creatures operating at a higher state than humans. In his teachings the Buddha says that human beings can develop their minds to the maximum potential, because no other being can attain the higher levels of enlightenment and reach Nirvana (state of no rebirth and no suffering). Otherwise man creates heaven and hell himself through his own body and mind. The Buddha pointed out that you should beable to find your salvation by yourself.

M: What does the concept of Salvation mean in Buddhism?

BM: In Buddhism salvation means to gain one's liberation from recurring agony, disquieting mental pain, anguish, repeated rebirth, etc. Every human being is affected by these qualities and by practicing Sila (morality), Samadhi (meditation) and Pañña (the knowledge gaining insight) is only way to liberate from the sufferings. Salvation may be obtained by each individual through the practice of morality, meditation and wisdom. An outsider cannot take someone into Nirvana, where there is ultimate happiness. A teacher is able to show the path to salvation, but the individual has to follow the required path. Similarly if someone wants to swim, that individual has to train and practice in a swimming pool.

M: What does Buddhism mean to you?

BM: Buddhism is a way of life to me. It is a very simple way of living. Easily I can be satisfied with whatever I get, and I expect to do some service to others. I don't harm others intentionally, I respect  others and live very peacefully. Those are some benefits I get by practicing Buddhism.

M: Do you have dietary restrictions?

BM: Yes! I take 2 meals a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, I take only liquids such as soft drinks, milk and water in the afternoon. I depend entirely upon food offered to me by others. I am expected to take any foods offer to me; I generally get vegetables, but rarely devotees offer non-vegetarian foods. I am obligated to eat any foods given to me and should not refuse anything given to me. According to the Buddha's teaching, the only foods we can refuse are animal derivatives, where the animal has been intentionally killed to provide material specifically for our consumption.

M: Do Buddhist pay tithes?

BM: No! Buddhists are not compelled to offer any amount of money or help in other ways. All contributions towards the temple are voluntary. If there are special needs such as capital expenditure for construction and other maintenance work, then the devotees provide them voluntarily. The existence of the temple is met exclusively by voluntary

efforts of its devotees.

M: Is it difficult to practice Buddhism in America?

BM: No! Buddhism is derived from what happens in nature. The ordinary happenings and the other apparent aspect of nature have been critically analyzed to derive its conclusion. Therefore it is not difficult for anybody to practice wherever they are.

If we maintain its simplicity, then it is not a hard to practice Buddhism in America. However if we are looking for more worldly pleasure and joy, which incidentally are considered to be transient, they lead to pain and suffering. If anyone is after transient qualities, though pleasurable, such acts make it difficult to practice Buddhism anywhere. The main purpose of Buddhism has been to find out the consequences of adherent to transient and pleasurable activities.

Even in the USA we wear our regular robes and go from place to place and state to state as part of our services. Incidentally, passers-by look at us as being strange and sometimes ask questions. I have had some funny experiences though. Once when I was living in Los Angeles, I was walking down the street and a Mexican gentleman asked me, "Hey man! Why are you wearing a blanket?" I laughed and briefly explained to him that this blanket was my robe. Usually when people ask questions like that I don't go into detail about who I am and what I practice.

M: What is the significance of the color of your robe?

BM: We actually wear brown, orange or yellow. The color helps us to remember the season of autumn. The falling down of leaves and changing color of the leaves in Autumn indicate the impermanence of life and all other things, living and non living, which we naturally assumed to be permanent. Similarly, a beautiful red flower one day becomes brown or exhibits other fading shades and then becomes a dying object. No one is able to prevent these changes by any means. Similarly and also shown scientifically day after day all things are changing and nobody can stop such change, which is a good indication of impermanence.

Buddha said there are three characteristics of the life. The first is 'Anicca,' meaning impermanence; everything on this earth is changing continuously. The second is 'Dukkha,' meaning suffering such as birth of a child, getting old, becoming sick, etc. The third is 'Anatta,' meaning no-self or absence of a true self entity. The conditions in life are always changing and are in a transitory state. Therefore neither living beings nor physical objects can be considered to be permanent.

M: What Does Buddhism offer to the world?

BM: Buddhism offers much to the world: peace, happiness, living without fear and worry, being compassionate to every living beings, not harming any living things including plants (e.g. unnecessarily cutting down and destroying plants are also unwholesome acts), expression of love and kindness to every individual; also encouraging people to abstaining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicant alcohol. If the people were to observe the previous five precepts, most of the unwholesome acts or evil behavior will disappear. For a start, we can gain peace and happiness by practicing the five precepts.

Only through special type of meditation discovered by the Buddha can Buddhism offer

solutions to human problems. It can help to eliminate greed, hatred and delusions (misinterpretation of things and of acts presumed to be wholesome at the common level of the mind's operations). By practicing meditation one can gain peace, calmness, happiness, humbleness, selflessness and elimination of egotism.

During the early stage of meditation one must set aside a certain specific time so as to calm one's mind. During this special time once must look into one's mind and notice what comes and goes into and out of it. Then one can critically analyze the subject matter. Over a period of many sessions, one discards harmful unwholesome thoughts, retains and fosters good wholesome thoughts and ignores those which have neither of the other two qualities. Through this demanding process of training of the mind and gradually improving it in stages, one will be able to extend the practice of meditation to all times, even while having a conversation, washing dishes, etc.

However when one is doing risky acts like driving or using tools one should be mindful only on the subject concerned and nothing else. This is referred to as full awareness or mindfulness, which was introduced by the Buddha. The development of mindfulness is the ability to focus on what one is doing. If one has no training in concentration to be mindful, as explained above, then it is difficult to pay attention to what is really happening at that specific moment. We start the meditation process using the breath as the tool to stay with the present moment. At our Vihara we have meditation practice for beginners and advanced meditation every Saturday afternoon. 

M: Are there different Sects of Buddhism'?

BM: Partly yes, partly no, because there are some differences in the modes of practice to suite various cultures and localities. We of course meet and mix very well and support each other. Similarly, the following analogy illustrates the point.

There are many different rivers, some famous and others not so famous, some wide and

some narrow, some beautiful with huge waterfalls and others without. But the water of all rivers flows to end in the Ocean. Then the river waters mix with the salt water to give the single taste of salt.

Similarly, in Buddhism, Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Vajrayana, etc., are sects of Buddhism, but all of them abide by the same primary fundamentally Buddhist way of life. As the taste of the multiple river-water in the ocean became the single salty taste, the fundamental practice of Buddhism in the various sects is similar. Thus the fruits of the Buddhism from different sects impart the same expression of calmness, of loving kindness, of joy and of peacefulness and ultimately lead to the same attainment of Nibbbana  (the ultimate eternal happiness).

Published in the March and November 2002 issues of ‘The Message – North America’s only Multi Faith Newspaper.’ P.O. Box 1322, Powder Springs, Atlanta, GA 30127 – Tel: (678) 363 6190



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