Meditation Retreat


I hope this message finds each of you doing well. I am writing on behalf of the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invite you to start the new year by joining community members for a special day-long vipassana (mindfulness) meditation retreat on Saturday, January 2, 2016 from 7:30am to 5pm. This one-day meditation retreat will be held on-site at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara (3153 Miller Road, Lithonia, GA 30038). This one-day retreat is a great way to strengthen and enrich your spiritual development, cultivate wholesome qualities of mind, or just to explore the benefits that mindfulness meditation has to offer. 

All meditation instructions and discussions will be conducted in English. This retreat is open to everyone - those who are new to meditation as well as those who are experienced meditators.

Following is a schedule of the day's events:


7:007:30am - Arrive at the vihara and prepare the space for breakfast
7:30–8:00am: Observance of Refuge and the Eight Precepts and traditional Buddhist chanting

8:00–8:45amBreakfast (as a group) and clean-up

8:45–10:00am: Guided vipassana ("mindfulness") meditation 

10:00–10:30am: Break (coffee/tea)

10:30–11:30am: Metta ("Loving-Friendliness") meditation 

11:30am–12:00pm: Preparing lunch & traditional Buddhist chanting
12:00–12:45pm:  Lunch (as a group) and clean-up


12:45–1:30pm: Walking meditation

1:30–2:30pmVipassana meditation

2:30–3:00pmBreak (coffee/tea)

3:00–4:30pm: Sutta Discussion led by Ven. Wajirabuddhi Thera. The topic of the discussion will be the Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprint) - Majjhima Nikaya #28. You can access the sutta online here - (this is the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation from Wisdom Publication's The Middle Length Discourses). Please bring a copy of the sutta to the Dhamma discussion.
4:305:00pm:  Conclusion - Termination of the Eight Precepts by observing the Five Precepts and concluding chanting

Participants will need to bring (1) a light breakfast food (e.g., fruits, bagels, etc.) and (2) a lunch dish (preferably vegetarian) to share with the resident monks and the retreat participants as a form of dana (offering).  It is also customary to bring flowers, candles, or incense to place on the shrine as an offering. It is traditional and customary to wear white clothing when participating in a meditation retreat, though this is not a requirement for attendance.

During this special time, please consider making a monetary donation to the vihara as a form of dana (an offering to the monastic community) so that we can continue to support the monks who make the teachings available to us and to keep the vihara open so that all people are able to practice and learn about the Dhamma.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, January 2 at the vihara as we bring in 2016 engaged in self-reflection and mental cultivation. I would ask that you RSVP (by email) in order to let us know that you will be joining us so we can adequately prepare for those who will be participating in the retreat. To confirm that you are planning on attending the retreat or if you have questions about our program, please feel free to contact me by email at

I hope that you will be able to join us for this auspicious day. If you are unable to make this retreat, please know that we will be having regular, day-long  vipassana retreats throughout the year.  

Additionally, I would like to encourage you to join us for meditation and Dhamma discussion on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  
May you, your friends, and family members be well, happy, and peaceful…wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

With metta,
Justin Howell
Cell phone: 404.375.0264

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever."  -M. Gandhi

"You can't lead the people if you don't LOVE the people. You can't save the people if you won't SERVE the people."  - Cornel West

Undu Vap Poya

Undu Vap  Poya Program will be observed on the Sunday, 
Dec 20, 2015 from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at the 
Georgia Buddhist Vihara.  We invite you all to join the program.

Morning Program
Observance of the eight Precepts, Buddha Puja and Heel Dana
Tea & coffee break
Vipassana Meditation By Ven, Panamwela Wajirabuddhi Thero
Sathipattana Meditation Discussion
Buddha Pooja
Dana offering to the monks and those who observe eight precepts
Afternoon Program
Discussion (base on Abhidhamma) by Dr. Deepta Jayaratne
Tea & coffee break
Sutra Discussion 

Termination of the Sil and Gilanpasa Puja

The Significance of Unduvap Poya Day

The arrival of the great Arahat Bhikkuni Sangamitta to Sri Lanka and the found chon of establishment of the order of the nuns (Bhikkuni Sasanaya) took place on Unduvap Poya Day. Further on this Unduvap Poya Day, she brought with her a sapling of the Sacred Jayasrimaha Bodhi tree from Buddhagaya. Where Prince Siddhartha attained Enlightenment. The Bo-sapling was brought to Sri Lanka from India through the Expressway or Highway constructed from Dambakola Patuna, a sea port in the North of Sri Lanka, to Anuradhapura, with all pomp and glamour with respect of honour befitting to this event. The Bo-sapling was presented to the ruler of Sri Lanka, Devanampiyatissa.

The advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka took place on Poson Poya Day with the arrival of Arahat Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka and the foundation for the establishment of the order of nuns began with the coming of Arahat Mahinda’s sister Arahat Sangamitta Thera to Sri Lanka.

Pretty, pleasant and charming Princess Sanghamitta at the age of 16, married a Prince namely Aggribrahama. They were blessed with a son. They named him Sumana. Emperor Asoka’s brother Prince Tissa entered the Buddhist order. He was followed by Prince Aggribrahama. After he entered the Buddhist order, the little Prince Sumana too entered the Buddhist order at the age of seven (7) years.

The turning point of Sanghamitta’s life was, that she too decided to enter the sasana as a Bhikkuni. She entered the order of nuns, under the guidance of two elderly nuns, namely Ayupali and Dhammapali. At the age of 61 years, during the reign of King Uttiya, Arahat Therani Sanghamitta passed away. Sri Lankans are ever grateful to these two Arahat Mahinda and Theri Sanghamitta, who were responsible in making Sri Lanka the “Dhammadeepa”.

These two events changed the entire course of Sri Lanka’s history. With these two significant events, there sprang up a new society, economy, culture, arts, crafts and a proud Buddhist civilization and Buddhist Literature. Mahamegha Park at Anuradhapura-Mahavihara became the citadel Buddhism, which was to be official religion of Sri Lanka. The present day the city of Anuradhapura and its ruins, the massive stupas, edifies, the tanks are a silent tribute to Arahat Mahinda and Sanghmitta Theri. No visit by an foreign delegation, envoys, diplomats has created such an impact on the lives of Sri Lankans as the visits of Arahat Mahinda and Arahat Sanghamitta. It was the dawn of a new social, cultural and spiritual revolution in the island. After Sanghamitt’s arrival, Buddhism was deeply rooted. This took place on Unduvap Poya Day, and the Buddhists pay homage to Sanghamitta specialisation this day. Anuradhapura is the centre of attraction on this Unduvap Poya Day. Many devotees observe sil at the Jayasri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanveliseya premises. (for full story)
By Premasara Epasinghe

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