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,

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