Placing of the Sacred Pinnacle (Koth Wahanse) Ceremony (Thursday, November 23rd, 2023 - 7:00 AM)

 Dear Devotees of Georgia Buddhist Vihara and Friends,

We would like to invite you for the Placing of the Sacred Pinnacle (Koth Wahanse) on Thursday, November 23rd, 2023, at 7:00 AM at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara Stupa/Pagoda.

May you all rejoice in this powerful meritorious deed and realize the Four Noble Truths in this Gautama Buddha's Dispensation!

Katina Ceremony (October 8th, 2023)


Dear Devotees of Georgia Buddhist Vihara and Friends,

Georgia Buddhist Vihara Katina Ceremony 2023 will be held on October 8th. We warmly invite all of you to participate in this wholesome event. The merits you can generate from this special event are enormous. Therefore, we hope you will make the best out of this opportunity.

Katina Ceremony Day Schedule: (October 8th, 5:00 AM - 5:00 PM)

5:00 AM - Bringing of the Katina Cheevara to the Vihara and Offering to Maha Sangha

6:00 AM - Morning Buddha Puja and Heel Dana for Maha Sangha and Devotees

8:30 AM - Enshrining of The Lord Buddha's Sacred Relics

The sacred relics of the Lord Buddha will be enshrined in the new Pagoda.
For those who missed the enshrining ceremony of the stupa, there is the opportunity to donate any small items you wish to be enshrined until the Katina Day.

9:00 AM - Cheevara Pandu Peweema
Katina robe coloring using tree barks and medicinal herbs.

10:00 AM - Besajja Pindapatha
Please sign up for the Besajja Pindapatha and participate in this great meritorious deed using the link below:

10:30 AM - Afternoon Buddha Puja Followed by Dana for Maha Sangha
We kindly request that you bring the food items that you have signed up for no later then 10:00 AM so that we can prepare Buddha Puja and Dana.

12:00 PM - Lunch for Devotees
In appreciation and gratitude for everyone's support during the Katina Season, the Katina hosting family and friends will be providing lunch for all devotees.
However, we have some items that we need you to generously provide. Please use the following link to confirm your participation and contribution:

1:30 PM - Katina Perahera

2:30 PM - Katina Cheevara Puja Ceremony

5:00 PM - End of Program


If you would like to bring items to place under the Kapruka, below are the much-needed items for the temple:
Paper towels, paper cups, water bottles, Ziplock bags in assorted sizes, Tide/All detergent, dishwashing liquid, hand washing liquid, aluminum foil, kitchen towel, dishcloths, broom, dustpan & brush, tea candles, oatmeal, almond milk (nonperishable), cleaning liquid, air fresheners, Clorox wipes, paper plates, disposable spoons, trash bags (large and 13 gal).

If you would like to offer Pirikara for the participating Bhantes, you are most welcome to. We will have approximately 16 Bhantes attending the Katina.

Overnight Pirith Chanting & Stupa Enshrining Ceremony (September 23rd - September 24th, 2023)


Dear Devotees of Georgia Buddhist Vihara and Friends,

You are cordially invited to participate in this meritorious occasion!
An Overnight Pirith Chanting Ceremony will be held at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem upon all beings! Followed by a ceremony next day morning to Enshrine Buddha Statues inside the new Pagoda.
It will take place from Saturday, September 23rd 6:30 PM to Sunday, September 24th 7:00 AM, followed by the offering of the morning dana to the Maha Sangha and all participants.

The schedule is as follows (September 23rd):
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM – Dinner
7:30 PM - 8:00 PM  – Atavisi Buddha Pooja
8:15 PM Onwards – Pirith Chanting

(September 24th):
7:00 AM – Morning Dana for Maha Sangha and Attendees
8:00 AM – Enshrining Ceremony

To confirm your participation and contribution to dinner, snacks, or morning dana please use the following link. Please indicate as a comment if you are only participating for the morning Dana & Enshrining Ceremony.

The Pirith Chanting will also be live-streamed via GBV YouTube channel:

GBV Overnight Pirith Chanting (September 23rd, 2023)

 Dear Devotees of Georgia Buddhist Vihara and Friends,

You are cordially invited to participate in this meritorious occasion!
An Overnight Pirith Chanting Ceremony will be held at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara to invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem upon all beings!
It will take place from Saturday, September 23rd 6:30 PM to Sunday, September 24th 7:00 AM, followed by the offering of the morning dana to the Maha Sangha and all participants.

The schedule is as follows:
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM –  Dinner
7:30 PM - 8:00 PM  –  Atavisi Buddha Pooja
8:15 PM Onwards – Pirith Chanting

Please use the following link to sign up to confirm your participation and to indicate if you wish to provide dinner and snacks:

The Pirith Chanting will also be live-streamed via GBV YouTube channel:

Upcoming Events - Katina Season 2023

GBV Stupa/Pagoda Fund


Atthi Dinnan: for those who believe in giving

Dear Devotees and Friends, 

We were given a very rare and once in a lifetime opportunity to construct a Stupa or Pagoda in our Georgia Buddhist Vihara temple with blessings of the resident monks (maha sangha). The merits gained are enormous, in addition to the 18 benefits, by donating to such a noble project. 

This project was initiated since 2015, when we finished our second Katina, and throughout 8 years we have donated over $80,000 in cash to initiate this project. In addition, the Kotha (Pinnacle) was built in Sri Lanka and brought over to the temple.

We were blessed to get the most difficult part of hiring the experts such as qualified architects, structural engineer and a site engineer to draw the plans and get it approved from city and county authorities in a very short time. We were fortunate enough to find a very reasonable contractor who agreed to complete the footing, foundation and inner walls, accessibility landings, and stage 1 & 2 of the Stupa/Pagoda with the funds provided.

Rejoice the merits of this project's progress through the following page.

To complete the rest of the project we need to raise another $60,000 as soon as possible. Therefore, we look forward to your kind participation, generosity and support.

You can also donate your effort through shramadana (gifts of labor) whenever you have time to contribute to the building of the stupa. Even moving one brick will produce enormous merits.

To complete the rest of the project we need to raise another $60,000 as soon as possible. Therefore, we look forward to your kind participation, generosity and support.

Tiles will be laid on the stupa's upper level (Salapathala Maluwa) by September 25th, 2023. Anyone who wishes to have their name engraved on a tile can donate before September 20th, 2023.

Please fill in the following form to sign up for contributions and donations made to GBV Stupa/Pagoda Fund. Donations can be made by:

  • Checks by mail to 3153 Miller Rd, Stonecrest, GA 30038 to be received before 20th September 2023
  • Cash or checks provided in-person, please enclose it in an envelope and write "GBV Stupa/Pagoda Fund" and hand it to Bhante Wajirabuddhi Thero or the resident monks. 
  • If using Zelle, please send it to

With the blessings of this enormous meritorious deed, may you attain the ultimate bliss of awakening as you wish!  

This retreat helped me to reduce stress and anxiety.

 Kalana Karunanayake

These past few days have been good because I learned a lot
about Buddhism. I learned the importance of being mindful
and present in the moment. It helped me to be more aware of
my thoughts and feelings. I also realized how good meditation
is and its ability to help reduce stress and anxiety. On the first
day, I barely got any sleep but it was okay because the nice tea
helped it out. The candle meditation was good because I
learned that even if you don't like someone, you still have to
wish them that they have a good day without problems. Also, I
saw that it felt much better when I did the meditation because
it cleared all my useless and distracting thoughts. After the art
class started, I learned about the importance of
impermanence. Impermanence is the awareness that you and
everything will disappear someday and you cannot do
anything to stop it. The whole world is not permanent, you are
not permanent, I am not permanent. Everything you think will
disappear one day. Even your thoughts are not permanent.
Our group was supposed to represent a Buddhist topic and
draw something to represent it. We drew pictures of
something that represents impermanence. I drew a waterfall.
It represents impermanence because the waterfall is changing
every minute. I think someone in my group drew a candle that
burned out. It represents that the candle will always burn out
just like everything will burn out too.

    When I was eating lunch, I heard the Bhantes saying to pick
some food that you don’t like and you like. So I got rice
because I don't like it and I got yogurt and a ton of fruit. I was
so full but I knew I was not going to eat dinner so I ate it all.
Also, the Bhante said not to waste food so get the right
amount that you need. I was grateful that I chose to eat all of
my food because I was not hungry the rest of the time.
Then I had to leave the retreat because I got sick. I think it was
because I slept on the ground. After all, I do get sick from the
dust. I will have to come back another day. So the Bhante said
the 5 precepts to remove the 8 precepts so I could go home.
I missed the second day but I came back on the last day. I was
kind of disappointed because I missed it. Sadly, I missed the
meditation too. The Bhantes did the 8 precepts so I can
observe them again. For art class, I saw that they drew on
rocks when I was gone. I was asked to draw on a rock, so I did.
You were supposed to draw a Buddhist symbol. I drew the
Buddha meditating under A tree. Afterward, I was told to draw
a table and things on it. It had some items on it, I remember
there being an orange cloth and an oil lamp.
When the retreat was over, I think back and notice the change
from the beginning to now. When I first came here I thought
about what is the purpose of doing this retreat, then in the
end, I learned that the purpose was to clear your mind and
learn more about Buddhism. When I cleared my mind I was
able to focus much better. I think this can help you a lot with
schoolwork and other things you need to focus a lot on. I
recommend people to meditate more often, especially during
school because it helps more than you think. Also, I have
become a lot kinder because I meditated. I think I got a lot of
merits from paying attention and listening and even learning. I
learned so much from this and I hope everyone had the same
experience as I did. If you didn’t have the same experience,
you may not have paid attention. So you could focus and clear
your mind because your mind is going here and there. Next
year, I recommend you listen more. It might get hard to focus
but it is worth trying to. If you didn’t get the same experience
as me, you should continue meditating more at home and be
mindful of your surroundings. Thank you for reading about my

GBV Pagoda Keystone Laying Ceremony


My mind was surprisingly peaceful.



 Kaveesh Rathnayake

Overall the Dhamma retreat was a very mind-cleansing thing. That's not to say there weren’t a

lot of problems. The first day I had trouble sleeping because the lights in the room we were

sleeping were on and kept changing colors. Not to mention I was hungry because I was used to

eating dinner before I went to sleep. I went to bed and tried to go to sleep but I could not go to

sleep as there were RGB lights on in the room the entire time. I got up the next day with 0 sleep.

Luckily they had coffee during morning break and I drank the entire cup. I still found it hard to

focus during the meditation classes but by the time Breakfast had started, I was usually already

wide awake. Our schedule was mostly full of breaks, meditation, and a reading period. Luckily

the 2nd day they gave us smoothies in the afternoon so by the time it was time to sleep my

stomach was still full and I was able to get some sleep. The 3rd day was followed by the exact

same thing. I noticed that I started to get lots of cramps as I wasn’t used to sitting down in one

place for so long. After I drank the smoothie and went to sleep that day my stomach was

surprisingly full considering the fact that I drank the smoothie about 3 hours ago. That night I fell

asleep instantly and woke up refreshed in the morning. On the final day we did our usual

proceeding then it was time to go. We bowed down to our parents and chanted to conclude the

Dhamma Retreat. Something I noticed about the Retreat was that I found it much easier to

concentrate on things and my mind was surprisingly peaceful. Overall I think that the Dhamma

Retreat was a good life experience even with some of its cons.

My favorite part of the day was art class and the walking meditation....


 Senithu   Senanayake


When I had to wake up at 5:00 A.M. it was not that easy. After we got ready for the day, we were given a candle and proceeded to the shrine room to begin a long day. 

We meditated while listening to Bhante’s words and also did the walking meditation. After we offered food to the Buddha, we served ourselves breakfast and ate in silence. 
After, we participated in a session that discussed the Mangala Sutra and the Ratara Sutra. My favorite part of the day was art class and the walking meditation with Bhante Deepankara. 
We would walk outside with no shoes or socks. I liked that we could focus on what was going on around us since I usually don’t think about that. 
This meditation is good for being aware of your surroundings. The meditation really helped me because it made me more mindful and helped me be more aware of what’s around me. 
Then we proceeded with the Buddha Puja and had another silent meal afterward. Before we had meals, we would chant a gatha that basically said “I will not waste this alms given to me” and “I will only take as much as I can take”. 
This taught me to be more grateful of not only the food that I am given but also things like clothes and shelter. Next, I visited a Laos temple and a Cambodian temple. 
The Cambodian temple was interesting because their Buddha statue had different features than ours. 
In art class, we had to draw something on a paper that is related to Buddhism and teaches a moral. We also drew something related to Buddhism on a rock. 
The dhamma discussions we had taught me about a lot of things like being mindful and grateful. Throughout this retreat, I learned many useful things that I can use in my life for now on. Thank you to all the Bhante’s for teaching me and I will be back next year.

This has already made me a better disciplined person.........

 Mihini Senanayake 

When I arrived at the temple for this year’s retreat, I felt different than I did at my first retreat in 2019. What I recently felt was a feeling of excitement and joy to be experiencing this wonderful program again. Not everyone gets to participate in such a thing, and I was grateful to be able to be participating in this year's retreat. The last retreat I went to, I was not the most excited since I knew it would be awfully hard for me to withstand such a punctilious schedule. This year, I was more invested in the Dhamma discussions and meditations. And so, I would like to talk about what I learned and my thoughts throughout the days of this retreat. 

    I never would have thought that waking up before 5 in the morning would be so easy. Whenever I woke up, I felt bliss in the air, and my mind was so peaceful and calm. I never felt groggy or had the desire to sleep more. The environment of the temple is part of the reason it was so easy for me to wake up at 4:30 a.m. After waking up, everyone would have a cup of tea and then start the morning meditation. I found the meditation so calming that my mind would stop thinking, and it would listen to the Bhante’s words. Some things that I found difficult at first was staying still, as my legs would start to hurt, or my back would start to lean forward without me noticing. My mind would start to wonder, and I would easily become distracted. Throughout the retreat, I found it easier for me to sit still and observe my surroundings and be able to stop my restless mind from thinking intrusively. 

    One of my favorite parts of this retreat was the Walking Meditation. The most important concept about it is being mindful and I really liked that I could concentrate on practicing it for the next three days. This meditation builds on itself and on you in a way that you become aware of everything. Of course, that level of meditation would take lots of practice, but what I learned what that it is most definitely possible for anyone if they really tried. At this retreat, everyone learned to become more aware of what actions they committed, what words that they spoke, and what thoughts they reminisced about. While doing this meditation I thought about the body parts, internally or externally, that would move. For example, when I inhale, I am aware that the air is entering my nostrils, going through my body to my lungs, and expanding my lungs. As I exhale, the air leaves without oxygen and is now carbon dioxide, and my lungs contract and wait for another breath. The idea of this is to be aware of the sensations you feel, not enjoying them nor disliking them. Just knowing that this is what is happening and that is how it is. At first, I thought I should concentrate on keeping my thoughts away, but what I learned from Bhante Deephankara is to let them happen. If you are aware of thoughts happening, you are practicing the concept of being mindful in this meditation. I could go on about the many different parts of this meditation, but I also want to talk about the principles we had to apply in this retreat. 

    There were several ideas that we had to be more aware of, such as talking too much or singing and dancing. For me, it was not hard to sing or dance but sometimes I would get too comfortable with a friend and talk too much. What I observed is that when I would be aware that I have the desire to share something with someone else, I realize that what I want is a useless thing. It enhanced my ability to internalize my thoughts and just be mindful of what is happening.  

Breakfast and lunch also helped me to internalize my thoughts. Being in the moment was one of the things we talked about in discussions, and I would apply that to this. While we ate, we were advised not to talk and to think about what was happening in the moment. I was learning to be mindful that I was consuming food and that I should be grateful that I have such a luxury in my life. Loku Bhante told us to not think about the past or the future, but to sense the feelings you are feeling at the moment, the thoughts that go through your head, and being mindful of every bite that is placed in your mouth.  

    I am so glad and thankful to have participated in this year’s retreat and will make sure to leave with the principles that I have practiced and the morals that I have learned. I will not let myself forget about the precious time I spent at the temple and will make sure to continue those practices in my daily life. This has already made me a better disciplined person and this experience will help me lead a peaceful life. Spreading loving kindness to everyone is something I want to do more of after this retreat. Practicing mindfulness and getting rid of attachments and selfishness will allow one to be happy, so I am glad that I know what I can do to become happy. There is more to these terms as they mean more meaningful things and so I hope that I will have a deeper understanding of Buddhism as I attend future retreats.  

    Before I can conclude my journal, I would like to thank Taniya Auntie, and all the Auntie’s and Uncles that provided help to make this retreat possible for us. Idesha Akka was also a big part of this retreat, and I cannot thank her enough for helping us make this retreat a great experience for everyone. And I cannot forget about my parents who work so hard so that I will be able to participate in incredible programs like this. I am incredibly thankful to everyone who made my participation a beautiful and blissful experience.  

With loving-kindness, 

Theruwan Saranai. 

Upcoming Events - Vassa Season 2023

 Upcoming Events - Vassa Season 2023

Dear Devotees of Georgia Buddhist Vihara and Friends,

Several religious and meritorious activities will take place during the Vassa season. We would like for you to join us to rejoice these merits. Additional information related to these activities will be conveyed via separate emails.


1.      Daily Atavisi Buddha Puja: Every Day (6:30 PM - 7:30 PM)
Kindly sign up for the Daily Atavisi Buddha Puja (in person only) using the link below. If no one has signed up for the Atavisi Buddha puja on the day of your dana, if possible, kindly bring flowers, candles, and fruit juice for puja.

2.      Saturday Dhamma Sermons: Every Saturday (8:00 PM - 9:00 PM)
Every Saturday there will be a sponsored sermon. Look for an email from the sponsoring family for further information.

One Day Retreat: August 5th (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
A discussion on the Satipattana sutta focusing especially on Dhammanupassana.
Lunch and tea is provided by the hosting family Prassana and Sanuja Bopitiya.

4.      Kiri Ammawarunge Dana: August 19th (5:00 AM)
Sponsored by Kumara Ratnayaka. More information to come.

5.      Pirith Chanting: September 23rd (3:00 PM - 11:00 PM)
To invoke blessing and protection to all devotees, there will be a Seth Pirith Chanting.

6.      Shramadana (Volunteer Support): September 30th (9:00 AM)
In order to get the temple premises ready for the Katina Ceremony, we highly appreciate your participation.

7.      Katina Ceremony: October 8th (6:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
The Katina Ceremony will conclude the Vassa Season for 2023. Kindly join us to rejoice the merits gained throughout the Vassa Season.

With Metta,
Venura, Iedisha, Sharani Jayaratne and Parents

For any questions or concerns please contact Taniya Jayaratne at 770-870-9897 (text preferable) or

I don't have to depend on my sister, I can do things by myself. 

 Damsas Dharmawardhana,

    This was my first ever Retreat, but because I only stayed for half of the Retreat I was not able to get the full experience that everybody that started from Friday, but I will still share my feelings and experiences. As many would think, one of the huge problems would be the time that everybody wakes up. Not everybody wakes up at 5.00 every day, but as we went on through the retreat, waking up early got easier. The first few days many people were solely surviving off of the coffee or tea given in the morning though. We also had morning meditations with candle lights. That was a very calming meditation and it would wake mostly everybody up.

    What I was very sad about was that since I was a day late, I didn't get to visit the Cambodian temple that they went to. Another hard thing for me to do was stay awake in some meditations as some meditations were very long and I was not used to this many meditations and especially when they were like 30 minutes long every time. Another hard thing to do was keep my back straight because I would usually forget to keep it straight and I would slouch on the chairs we were sitting in.

    As this was the first day of my Retreat, I was really relying on my sister, but as the days went by I didn't really need to rely on my sister that much because I knew what to do.

    After we started, Deepankara Hamuduruwo's discussion was very interesting but since I didn’t sleep much that night I was very sleepy during it and soon managed to fall asleep. As for the parents, it might have been a little sad to leave them but because of you accomplishing things alone, personally, it felt very great to do something that you would usually have to get help from your parents. Doing any task independently feels very amazing. Managing something like that all by yourself seems to make you proud or feel grown up.

Theruwn Saranai.

Retreat helped me to become a better Buddhist person.


Navina Weliwita

    Coming into this retreat, I wasn’t the most ecstatic about it. I’m used to the comforts of my own home and staying overnight and being away from all the luxuries of my regular life and having to be disciplined seemed like a grand challenge. However, I still went into the retreat with a positive mindset and hoped to find the good in it. But upon reflecting on the retreat, I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Being away from distractions allowed me to be focused on what I was doing and see it through with maximum effort. I tried my best during this retreat and it’s clear to see that I had learned and experienced so much throughout it. Waking up early wasn’t much of a challenge for me, and it was refreshing to be up before sunrise and be productive so early in the morning. In specific, the candlelight meditation was extremely beneficial for me as it allowed me to clear my head and get rid of any negatives that I had thought about perhaps the night prior or in the morning. It led the way for the rest of the day and showed that this retreat would be a positive experience.

    The focus on mindfulness during the discussions helped me think back on many places where perhaps I had not thought clearly and it also helped me think about how I can improve on myself in the future. Deepankara Bhante’s Dhamma discussions were incredible and taught me a lot of things about morals and how I should act. I realized that a lot of the things that I have said and done were not in the right conscious and how I can fix these issues in the future. The silence during meals helped me appreciate and focus on my food more and it made me think about how truly fortunate I am to be well-fed day in and day out. Overall, I really enjoyed this retreat, and it deepened my connection with Buddhism and helped me become a better Buddhist and a better person.

2023 Georgia Buddhist Vihara Youth Retreat Reflection -

A Fruitful Retreat for My Monkey Mind


Thenulya Jayasinghe

    “Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.”- Supreme Buddha

    Mindfulness is an essential component for anyone’s life to become a better person every day. It is very fascinating to experience what is stated in the aforementioned quote during the 2023 youth sil retreat at Georgia Buddhist Vihara Atlanta GA. Among the enormous amounts of experiences I gained, I would like to share a very few of my thoughts and feelings as follow.

    During this year’s Sil retreat, I came to realize a lot of things. First of all, I began to realize I wasn’t as patient as I thought I was. Sitting in one place during the meditations wasn’t hard, but during the later parts of the meditations I begun to understand how truly distracted my mind really is. While practicing walking meditation, I would often break out of my focus due to a loud sound or the sight of someone in the corner of my eye. However, throughout the retreat, I slowly began to get used to concentrating on one thing at a time and living in the present moment.

    Second of all, I didn’t have a good enough understanding of the true power of the Dhamma and our actions before the retreat. Growing up in a Buddhist family and going to Dhamma school helped me reach a certain understanding of the Buddha’s teaching. Yet I never grasped the full impact it could and has been doing on our lives. Even though some of the sutra translations and stories were hard to take in, it helped me be more aware of the true impermanent nature of things. During dhamma talks with the resident monks, it helped me answer some of my questions about living while having the knowledge of the Dhamma, and how we could realize the momentary nature of things, from our feelings and thoughts to the world around us. Thirdly, I slowly discovered and learned about the reality of the world. As I’ve said before, I realized a lot about the short-lived permanence all things have. It also helped me realize more about my own self, and how as I grow older and transition into higher grades, I need to be more careful about my surroundings. I feel that even though I thought was mentally preparing myself for the workload and expectations, I forgot or even pushed aside any ideas or thoughts about being mindful. However, as my time at the retreat went on, I began to regain my mindfulness. I did make mistakes and stumble a bit at first, due to my mind struggling to adjust to the new setting and schedule. Despite that,

    I managed to make at least a little bit of progress on the long journey of becoming mindful with the help and advice of all the aunties, resident monks, and all my peers. Even though I am not completely mindful of my actions and although I may still stumble from time to time, I am very grateful and positive about my experience at this year retreat. I have hope that by applying what I have learned from this valuable experience I will grow into a

    knowledgeable and more mentally aware person and that all the others that shared this wonderful experience with me feel the same. Overall, I hope to come back for the years to come and am looking forward to learning and bettering myself and my understanding about

The triple gem!

Theruwan Saranai,

The walking meditation helped me focus my mind and remain mindful,


Santhushi Dharmawardhana

In the 2019 Retreat Journal, I wrote down everything day by day, but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to do that this year. Instead, I’m going to write one big journal with how I feel and what I learned and found interesting at the end of the retreat instead. Since I had done the retreat before, I knew what to expect and I wasn’t too worried about it. However, I thought waking up would still be a bit difficult and that I would feel too drowsy throughout the day. Unlike what I thought, I woke up at 4:30 or earlier on all 4 days and I didn’t feel drowsy in the morning at all. I was able to get ready relatively quickly and drink a cup of tea calmly and alertly. The morning meditation with the candle lights in the dark was also a serene and calming time in the day and I felt very rejuvenated after the meditation. 

What I found most difficult was sitting down in the proper posture for meditation. I usually have a hard time sitting still and I constantly move my hands and legs around, and I had to remind myself that I had to try and stay still. The idea of noble silence was also a little bit difficult for me, because I tend to talk a lot. The morning walking meditation was probably the meditation I found the easiest for me. Because I struggle with staying still,  the walking meditation helped me focus my mind and remain mindful, while also moving around. 

My brother was at the retreat this year as well, and while I am happy that he was there, I struggled with focusing on myself only during discussions and meditations, because I’m so used to checking on him. I had to remind myself that he had to learn to keep track of himself and that I couldn’t do that for him. 

During one of our discussions, Deepankara Hamuduruwo reminded us that we are supposed to eat the food without really preferring one food over the other and picking favorites. Food is supposed to be a necessary thing for our body, and not much more. Taking his advice, I tried to get some foods that I don’t usually eat and I tried not to think about the taste of the foods too much. 

Compared to the retreat in 2019, I did a lot more cleaning up around the temple and helping with the preparations for everything. Interestingly, I didn’t dislike doing that. I like keeping busy and helping clean up. Also to be honest, the fact that there weren’t many parents around all the time, made things easier too. I feel like when there are parents around all of the time, the other kids don’t help out and sometimes the parents don’t let us help out. There just tends to be a lot more dependence on the parents. However, without the parents, more kids stepped up and did more around the temple out of their own will and that was better for everyone. Some level of independence is important to have, and the fact that there weren’t many parents around helped that. Not that having parents help is always a bad thing or anything like that, its just nice to get things done without the help of parents.

The discussion I found most interesting was the discussion about the Chula Vyuha Sutta which was a sutta given by the Buddha about how to decide the truth. The basic message of the sutta was that things like oral transmission, logic, transcripts, etc., cannot determine the truth alone. Truths aren’t really universal and they tend to be personal. Finding out the truth for yourself requires questioning you hear or see for yourself. Its important to know that because people have personal truths, disagreements are common. While I may believe something to be true, someone else may not, and that is something that I have to respect and understand.

The discussion about taking care of yourself was also deeply relatable and something that everyone was interested in. The basic message of the discussion was that fulfilling yourself or taking care of yourself isn’t selfishness, its more of a spiritual requirement. I can’t be mindful towards others without being mindful of myself first. During a different discussion with Bhante Wajirabodhi, I also found advice Venura gave about procrastination helpful. I talked with some others, and this advice was very helpful to many of us who struggled with procrastination. I tend to see tasks and activities as daunting and too big to handle at the time, so I always push it off to later. If I can break up the activities and tasks into smaller and more doable looking ones, I can get the overall task done one step at a time. I will definitely try this when I get home.

Lastly, I am very grateful for Taniya Auntie, Kisa Nanda, Auntie Duli, and my mother for helping out with the retreat. Taniya auntie was at the temple every day and helped out a lot. I would also like to thank Idesha Akka for everything she did. She was a part of the retreat, and she also helped prepare and clean everything and organized tasks for everyone else. She gave guidance to all of us and made sure we were doing the right thing. Of course, I’m thankful to the Bhantes as well, for teaching us and trying to show us the right path. Many of my questions were answered and I feel like my knowledge of the dhamma greatly increased thanks to the retreat. Many of my bad habits were fixed as well. I hope that the retreat will go successfully next year as well. 

Theruwan Saranai.

Summer Youth Retreat of 2023

    The retreat taught me to be more mindful about my mind and body.

Thinudi Wickramage

 There are several things I learned from my first retreat. Waking up very early was surprisingly not difficult for me and we washed up. Everyone got their own candle, which we brought to the shrine room and meditated on loving kindness and our loving parents. I also remember Bhante saying how the candles were a metaphor for the light of Dhamma dispelling the darkness of delusion. 

Once we went to breakfast, I found it slightly difficult to keep my mind focused on my thoughts. It got progressively easier over the days, though. Then we had a Sutta discussion with Bhante Wajirabodhi thero, analyzing the Mangala, Ratana, and Karaniya Metta Suttas. The Mangala Sutta was about loving-kindness and blessings, and the Ratana Sutta is a protection chant. Although there were English translations, Bhante said the actual Pali words were more deep and meaningful than that. 

After another Buddha Puja, we had lunch. While I was eating, I tried not to savor or attach to the taste of the food but instead concentrated on nourishing my body and thinking about the people who made or brought the food for us. 

After lunch, we had a work period, which I enjoyed because I felt helpful cleaning. During the working period, I helped clean the kitchen, dishes, bathrooms, and outside. I noticed that everyone else who was working all took on different responsibilities to work faster. 

Then, we had an art session with Bhante Piyananda thero. The first day, my group and I chose a Jataka story and drew different scenes of the story, The Monkey King and the Crocodile. We never did anything with it, and that confused me a bit, but the session was calming. The second day in art we designed rocks for our parents, and the third day we drew a still life image of a flower vase and microphone. 

We had a break since the art session was two hours, and then we had a walking meditation with Bhante Deepanakaro thero. Before we walked, he spoke about the impermanence of everything, that one day everything we know will not be here. Then during the walking meditation, I felt how the different terrains felt. For example, the parking lot’s pavement was kind of coarse and rough and became very hot when the sun shone on it. 

Then we went inside for a Dhamma discussion, where Bhante Deepanakaro thero spoke about impermanence and mindfulness, among other topics. It was difficult to sit there and listen for so long without doing anything else, but I tried to and it was quite rewarding.

We had another break, and some of us prepared to go to another Buddhist temple. On the first day, we went to a large Cambodian temple with a big shrine room with several paintings of major events in the Buddha’s life. They also had a Laughing Buddha statue. The second day, we visited a Laos temple with a bell, but no one was there. Both temples had very detailed carvings and statues. It was interesting seeing how other cultures and types of Buddhism perceive the same religion. 

When we came back to our temple, we had the Atavisi Puja in the evening and prepared to sleep. At the beginning, I had trouble sleeping because we were on the concrete in the shrine room. I tried not to move because I didn’t want to wake anyone up, so I stayed awake for a few hours. Eventually, I fell asleep though.

The retreat taught me to be more mindful about my mind and body. I hope to apply these to my daily life, and I will definitely be there next year! I thank all the adults and parents for preparing and bringing food for us. My gratitude also goes to the Bhantes for taking time to organize this and teach us. 

Subscribe for Events

* indicates required

Support GBV

Youtube Stream


Blog Archive

Recent Posts

Blogger Credits

This website is hosted on Blogger. Blogger Theme by and the template is altered from its original form to Georgia Buddhist Vihara requirements.

Your kind contribution

The Georgia Buddhist Vihara is run by a non-profit tax-exempted organization. All your donations are tax deductible.

Total Pageviews