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

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