Menadi Dharmabandu

 It was pleasant to be able to combine Buddhism and art

Menadi Dharmabandu

     I woke up around 5 A.M for each day. It wasn’t particularly easy waking up, but I felt refreshed afterward. Then we did the Buddha Puja and morning walking meditation in the shrine room. We served ourselves breakfast and quietly ate. 

I remembered the Bhantes told us not to have attachments or thoughts about the food, only to be mindful of what you are eating. I found it hard not to savor the food since I was eager to eat, but after a few times, it was easy to not feel either good or bad about the food. Then we had Dhamma discussions throughout the three days. We talked about various suttas, including the Karaniya Metta Sutta, Mangala, and Ratana Sutta. We also talked about each of our biggest problems and a way to fix them. My problem and another friend of mines problem was procrastinating our work. Bhante Wajirabuddhi  Thero told us to try and be more mindful of our work. Our peer told us that we can break a big task into smaller tasks, and it will make the work less daunting. Next, we had the Buddha Puja again, then lunch, and again we practiced not savoring or having an attachment to the food. We visited two temples, a Laos and a Cambodian temple. It was interesting to see how different countries and cultures presented Buddhism. We had tea and then had an art class. It was pleasant to be able to combine Buddhism and art. My group drew different colored pieces of the Jataka story where two women claim to be the mother, so the Bodhisattva does a test to see who the true mother is. Each scene was a different color of the rainbow. We also got to draw and color Buddhist symbols onto rocks. I enjoyed the walking meditation with Deepankara Thero. It was easier to focus when walking because it allows you to not let your mind wander since you have more to focus on. Then we had more Dhamma discussions. It was a bit difficult to sit in one spot for so long and pay attention, but I still did my best. I learned many things about Buddhism during this retreat, like how to be more focused, to be mindful of everything we do in our daily lives, and cultivate loving kindness even outside of meditation. My experience at the retreat was tranquil and helped me develop more of an ability to focus for longer and be more mindful.

Thank you to the Bhantes for taking their time and teaching us! I will be coming back next year. 

2023 Youth Retreat

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