anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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BlackBird
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by BlackBird » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:59 pm

Rob1980 wrote:The New Zealand monk was Bhante Guttasila, a great monk who ordained in the Dhammayut sect in Thailand, I think he has over 40 vassas. He visited Na Uyana quite a few times whilst I was there and I had some very insightful Dhamma discussions with him, a real privilege. I also met Ven. Nyanadipa who is another great monk who lives in Sri Lanka. There were a lot of senior western monks living in Sri Lanka whilst I was there and more seemed to be moving from Thailand to Sri Lanka to find more seclusion. Having senior monks, especially westerners, to talk to was extremely useful in my practice.
I don't know what the format was at Nissarana Vanaya but at Na Uyana during my four years there I probably saw the meditation teacher, on average, once every 2 months. One is given a lot of freedom there, so one needs to be self-motivated and have self-discipline, and to keep that going on a day to day basis can be difficult. So having a teacher can be useful, even if it is just for motivation and energy. The good thing about Na Uyana is that they teach Samatha, and it is not until one has very strong concentration that they will look to put you on the Pa Auk course or the vipassana that Pa Auk Sayadaw teaches. So I wouldn't worry about being around monks with a mahavihara bent. I expect you have read a lot of Ven. Nyanavira's work by the sounds of things.

I think that Sri Lanka is the most ideal place these days for monks looking for a balance between mediation and living as a forest monk. In Thailand the emphasis seems to be more on living and maintaining the discipline as a forest monk whereas in Burma the emphasis is on meditation and monasteries can seem like monastic meditation centers. Sri Lanka strikes a good balance if one finds a suitable place to ordain. I also think that Sinhalese culture is more amenable to westerners than Thai culture, but that is probably due to the influences left by the colonial powers.

I never went to Luggala, I never had enough stability in my practice to maintain such an extended period of seclusion. Solitude is not for the faint-hearted!

If you are in New Zealand there are some Ajahn Chah monasteries which look very tranquil places, Ajahn Chandako's place and another one near Wellington. Have you been to any of these?

With metta

Rob
Hi Rob, how could I forget the name of Bhante Guttasila. He was such a pleasure to stay with and talk to, clearly the product of many long nights of metta bhavana haha. Yes, re: Na Uyana these were the very points he raised, he felt I would have much greater freedom to do my own thing than at Meetirigala where Bhante Dhammajiva likes to meet with you weekly (sometimes even bi-weekly) and discuss your progress and instructions.

Some would really benefit from the much closer relationship with the teacher and the smaller environment ala Meetirigala, while some I think would benefit from the vastness of Na Uyana.

I think it was Bhante Guttasila who told me that Na Uyana would be ok for someone who follows Ven. Nyanavira's framework. He was a contemporary of Ven. Bodhesako in the days of the Island Hermitage so it was cool hearing some personal accounts of someone I hold in such high regard. While Pa Auk is taught at Na Uyana, it was made clear that if I didn't want to follow that framework that would be OK.

I totally agree about Sri Lanka being the prime rib of countries in which a recluse can lead the holy life, you sum up my thoughts nicely there.

Regarding NZ, Ajahn Chandiko's place in Auckland is a work-monastery as it is in it's infancy and there is much that needs to be done. There is very little time for meditation and it's not the place for ordination. Bodhinyanarama in Wellington on the other hand has been around for 30+ years, it's well established and I have spent about 3 months there over the last 5 years it provides a lot of space for temporary daily seclusion, although there is a lot of proximity to lay people who's practice is not always on very solid foundations, which in my experience did lead to some back sliding at times in myself by bad-association. However for one who does not seek out friendships of such nature it wouldn't be a problem. I would love to go and stay there now as the chief editor of the Path Press - Ven. Nyanasuci is living there. Bodhinyanarama would be my spot of choice at the moment but that may change in the 4 or so years it will take to be free enough to finally make the move.

Regarding Laggala and seclusion, you're right - It's not for the faint hearted, and perhaps my judgement is clouded by the fact that I try and meditate in a suburban environment with cars going by and a house mate who is always walking by opening doors shutting them sitting down next to me and clicking away on a laptop, all of which has helped equanimity, but it has led to a strong desire to be a free of such impediments too when the opportunity arises. Even in Meetirigala you had the noises of the forest - Monkeys were particularly noisy at times with their calls and booms, but no monkeys to be found in Laggala. I think while I was going through a very difficult time in Sri Lanka - My disillusionment with Mahavihara practices - The same practices that I had clung to so religiously- Coupled with my lack of being able to meditate effectively because I was so upset with being 'stuck' in a place where I couldn't practice as I wished, I looked towards the lay life as a solution to my problems and thus the justifications began. What's different now is that I have come to see the lay life as the antithesis of Dhamma, and I have discovered what true refuge is like, I defer to the Buddha in all things (as long as I'm mindful) and it is only being close to the Dhamma that makes me happy and easeful, so for me - I think Laggala in the warm dry forests of northern Sri Lanka would be perfect for me once I've graduated to Majjhima-bhikkhu status.

Good talking to you Rob :)

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

anupa
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by anupa » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:54 pm

Is vimmutti (Tan Ajahn Chandako's temple) still a working monastrry?How many hours of meditation for a day would I get if I were to go there now?

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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by melancholy » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:05 pm

konchokzopa wrote:Hi i would like to know about good monasteries for long meditation retreats and possible ordination in Sri Lanka. lineages? where is a good place for westerner where the abbot is qualified and speaks english? visa issues? etc...

your help is greatly appreciated :anjali:
i am a foreigner who is living in sri lanka for a long time. it is a complex matter answering your questions. i must confess years back i thought it would be like in the books but it was not trust me :). also people talk about long meditation retreats but depends on how good you are as a meditator. anyway what do you mean by “abbot is qualified” qualified according to the dhamma or by his own claims or the fame he has due to some reasons such as claims by his close followers?

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BlackBird
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by BlackBird » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:59 pm

anupa wrote:Is vimmutti (Tan Ajahn Chandako's temple) still a working monastrry?How many hours of meditation for a day would I get if I were to go there now?
Yes, you wouldn't get much time to meditate I don't think. You'll probably be working 6 to 8 hours a day.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by melancholy » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:52 pm

BlackBird wrote:Yeah Rob, I met Chandima towards the end of my stay in Sri Lanka (I think he posts here sometimes) and we went and visited a couple of monks in Laggala, including a very senior Kiwi monk who's name escapes unfortunately escapes me, but I enjoyed spending a night in Laggala, this senior Kiwi monk, Chandima and I stayed up 'till about 3 in the morning talking about Dhamma, New Zealand & ideas about ordaining - Bhante was really intent on getting me to go have a stay at Na Uyana, he even suggested we travel there together and he'd introduce me to Ven. Ariyadhamma, I would have taken him up if it were not for the lack of time I had (I think it was a Friday and I was leaving on the Tuesday) I was very grateful for both Bhante & Chandima's hospitality and although he hasn't responded to a message I sent a year or so ago enquiring about things, I hope he is succeeding in his endeavours. Laggala was beautiful, a perfect area of seclusion, there's about 6 or so self contained Kutis dotted throughout the hills, some only take 20 minutes to reach from the road, others (such as Senior Kiwi Bhante's) took us over an hour and a half of trekking through forest. It took Bhante 40 minutes or so to reach the point where people would bring Dana for him each morning, and he would just come and pick it up. Another thing that really appeled to me there was the climate, which was a good amount cooler than the low lands at night, even requiring a blanket to keep warm - So for a southern man who's used to the cold, it felt much better on one's constitution. Also being dry for most of the year (there is only one season of rains rather than two in Southern Lanka) there weren't any mosquitos hovering around all the time, I didn't get bitten once while there - Not even at the bathing pool. The only thing that put me off slightly was that there were orphaned juvenile and bull elephants roaming the area however who were quite angry and Bhante said he'd been charged on several occasions by the elephants, narrowly escaping on one occasion. Apart from that, I think Laggala would be perfect, and I really dream about being able to live there once I've finished 5 or 10 vassas.

Regarding Ven. Nyanananda. Ah well, if and when I return there I will seek some other place. I was talking with Bhante Mettavihari, who's digs I was staying at - He is an incredibly busy monk with his television network but he found the time to give me a bit of council and he strongly recommended I ordain in either Meetirigala or Na Uyana, but explaining that I just want the freedom to do my own meditation work without a teacher with a strong Mahaviharan bent (which is unfortunately the rule and not the exception in SL) he suggested that perhaps if things really didn't work out with Galduwa he said he sometimes ordained Westerners in his own Amarapura group. I know by and large Amarapura doesn't keep the greatest vinaya, but as long as those present at my ordination weren't parajika I'd be more than happy to ordain with them, because I know they'd largely leave me to my own affairs. Ideally I'd like to find a monk who would let me do my own thing with meditation and sutta study but would be strict on vinaya and would be good council in keeping me in the holy life and making sure I learn the subtleties of being bhikkhu. I imagine that actually this is probably much more easier to find within Thailand or in the Ajahn Chah tradition, but we'll see.

I'm still 3 or 4 years off being able to repay debts and thus to ordain so plenty of time to consider these things but Sri Lanka really is quite an ideal country in terms of support for one earnestly striving for Nibbana.

with metta
Jack
hi jack, appreciate your inclination :anjali:. why not ordain in ajahn chah tradition, probably in thailand, complete 5 rains with a very good training and then go to sri lanka to live as an independent monk. many foreign monks who ordained in foreign countries live freely in sri lanka meditating with the happiness of seclusion. for such monks the support from the donors is plenty.

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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by BlackBird » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:03 am

That is probably what I will do Melancholy once I pay off my debt. It will also allow me to have some time to adjust from a luxurious western lifestyle to the simpler life of a renunciant in the Sri Lankan Jungle.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by cooran » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:01 am

The Abbot of Dhammagiri Hermitage here in Australia trained in Sri Lanka, and most of the Lay Supporters here are from Sri Lanka:
http://www.dhammagiri.org.au/bhikkhu-dhammasiha.html

There are many Dhamma talks available to those interested - why not just work hard to attain Nibbana while you have this inestimable good fortune?

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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BlackBird
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by BlackBird » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:04 am

NyanasaraThero wrote:
I feel this would have great value to people studying the teaching of the Buddha in the west, by showing how Buddhism is practiced in the context of Buddhist culture. The forest tradition is much talked about but actually little known outside of Sri Lanka and rural Thailand. It would have been very helpful to me to have this knowledge when I was approaching the teaching of the Buddha. What do you think?
Hi Bhante

It's not my place to tell you what you should do with your time, so I won't, I'll just say what I would/will do myself. I think in the same situation I would wait until I had a few years under my belt as a Bhikkhu, a good grasp of what it takes to stick it out over the years long term before I took to teaching, or to making videos of others teaching, but that is a personal decision. Making videos of talks of other monks and sending them through your self described factory sounds like quite an involved process, and personally, it's something that I feel would greatly detract from my meditation and satipatthana time, which again as a putthujana one can never get enough of.

As much as I enjoy giving back and helping others to learn (that's in essence my day job) I love solitude just as much, and I think that when I ordain I have a duty to become an Ariyan so that I'm not, as the Buddha says: Eating the almsfood of a nation as a debtor. I think that when I decide to teach or to help others in a way as you describe, I want it to come not from craving (which is inevitably the lot of the non-ariyan, albeit a skillful craving), but only from stainless aneja compassion.

I think back over the bast 8 or so years that I've been doing this, and I can remember more times than I can count on one hand where I thought I'd made it to stream entry or beyond, when in fact I had just been led astray by deep concentration. My first inclination when that had happened was to start trying to share the goodness so to speak, I felt like I'd won it all in the lottery and I had so much to give. But in the end even though unlike being a monk, there is no rule against lay people making declarations of such achievements, I didn't do so publicly ever, and even then, when I came to my senses so to speak - I felt very foolish for having been so certain, but then again good concentration does supress the hinderances to an extent that they do feel like they're absent, and in that headspace it's not hard to be fooled by it. At any rate I feel I have long since come to the conclusion that declaring one's supposed attainment to anyone other than very close and trusted friends, is actually a hindrance not only to what one might wish to achieve in future, but to one's current life and ease.

As for transitioning to the Buddhist monkhood, I note that you expressed frustration about being treated as "the new boy" by some senior monk, when in your previous religion and tradition you were a 'guru' with your own followers. I feel it's too important to let this one go (in respect to the potential for a positive resolution) and I will only be able to judge in retrospect whether it will be right speech or not:

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to ordaining in the Buddhist sangha, no matter what position one has held in one's previous life, be it a king, or a minister, or a guru, compared to those who ordain you, the elder monks, the majjhima monks, and even those who have been a monk only a day longer than oneself - One IS the new boy. One isn't entitled to be respected as though they are a senior teacher, one must be humble and suck it up, and bow to everyone and nip any egoism in the bud - Because that's a very importance facet of the training that the Buddha laid out. That's our tradition, the way it's been since the Buddha's day: Brahmins (which is a comparible position to your own in your former occupation) in the Buddha's time quite often converted to his Dhamma, but they were told that they had to give up any notions of seniority or elder status, and start again fresh. Back in those days (and most of the time today) followers of other sects had to be put on probation for a good while before they were given the higher ordination. This in part was so that they learned the importance of the fact that in the Buddha's dispensation, they were like newborns again. This has so many benefits, not in the least is that it is so easy for humility to translate into concentration and wisdom. So if it were me converting, I'd try and see the submission as a good thing, not an affront :)

Again, do not think I am suggesting anything about your own situation or preaching to you because that's not the case, but since you asked for our thoughts, that is how I feel about my own, and my own if I were in your shoes (as for a bit of background info, I read your blog and the statements contained within it).

So anyway, It's not my position to judge you on your claims or to suggest to you what you should do - I'm just a fool, albeit one conscious of his own foolishness, which I guess as the dhammapada has it, is the lesser of two evils - So you can take what I have to say or leave it, and I have a feeling it'll be the latter, but that satisfies my urge in any case to offer what I can :)

With metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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pilgrim
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by pilgrim » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:10 am

Its unclear how much of a "new boy" Bhante Nyanasaro is, as he carries the title of Thero, meaning one with at least 10 vassas in the bhikkhu sangha.

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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by melancholy » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:22 am

pilgrim wrote:Its unclear how much of a "new boy" Bhante Nyanasaro is, as he carries the title of Thero, meaning one with at least 10 vassas in the bhikkhu sangha.
NyanasaraThero wrote:Hello All, :anjali:

I am a recently ordained Western monk in Sri Lanka, staying at a tiny forest monastery near Haputale. I built a kuti here before ordaining and now I stay mostly in reclusion, which I find quite suitable for meditation. However I would very much like to connect with other English-speaking monks in Sri Lanka ...
since he is recently ordained probably not having 10 vassas as a bhikkhu, unless relatively speaking with the length of the samsara! also possible he may not know the meaning of the word "thero".

i think the below sutta (an 6.14) answered about "very much like to connect with other English-speaking monks."
Then Ven. Sāriputta said to bhikkhus: “Friends, in which abiding, a bhikkhus death and his spending the time would not be
auspicious? A bhikkhu fond of delighting in crowd and company. Hence, he becomes fond of delighting in talk and conversation. . . .
sleep . . . company . . . association . . . proliferation . . . Thus, to this is said a bhikkhu indulges in the self does not dispel it for the
rightful destruction of suffering.”
Last edited by melancholy on Mon May 05, 2014 3:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
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seeker242
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by seeker242 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:28 pm

Venerable Bhikkhu Samahita is in Sri Lanka. He is very easy to get hold of. A regular contributor here and other Buddhist forums.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/memberlist.p ... file&u=111

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... u_Samahita

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BlackBird
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by BlackBird » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:49 pm

Hi Pilgrim

Bhante stated in two of his posts he is recently ordained. Yes, generally Thero is a title reserved for 10 plus vassas, but some groups it seems lately use thero just to signify a fully ordained bhikkhu (quite without precedent). Furthermore, since Bhante is advanced in years and thero means 'venerable elder' (iirc) it is possible he just likes the title. :)

In any case, it is clear that such appropriation of a term usually reserved for an elder Bhikkhu is liable to cause confusion as we have seen here.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Aloka
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by Aloka » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:25 pm

pilgrim wrote:Its unclear how much of a "new boy" Bhante Nyanasaro is, as he carries the title of Thero, meaning one with at least 10 vassas in the bhikkhu sangha.
I think Nyanasaro Thero was quite recently known by the name of "Buddha Dave" on the internet.(see memberlist)

http://www.dhammawheel.com/memberlist.p ... ile&u=6403


.
Last edited by Aloka on Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:03 pm

melancholy wrote:i think the below sutta (an 6.14) answered about "very much like to connect with other English-speaking monks."
Then Ven. Sāriputta said to bhikkhus: “Friends, in which abiding, a bhikkhus death and his spending the time would not be
auspicious? A bhikkhu fond of delighting in crowd and company. Hence, he becomes fond of delighting in talk and conversation. . . .
sleep . . . company . . . association . . . proliferation . . . Thus, to this is said a bhikkhu indulges in the self does not dispel it for the
rightful destruction of suffering.”
When a junior bhikkhu seeks to make contact with other bhikkhus (as opposed to, say, drinking pals, Boston Red Sox fans or whatever) would it not be more charitable to assume that his aim is kalyānamittatā, not delighting in crowds?

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melancholy
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Re: anyone know about Sri Lanka?

Post by melancholy » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:22 am

BlackBird wrote:...
Hi Bhante

It's not my place to tell you what you should do with your time, so I won't, I'll just say what I would/will do myself. I think in the same situation I would wait until I had a few years under my belt as a Bhikkhu, a good grasp of what it takes to stick it out over the years long term before I took to teaching, or to making videos of others teaching, but that is a personal decision. Making videos of talks of other monks and sending them through your self described factory sounds like quite an involved process, and personally, it's something that I feel would greatly detract from my meditation and satipatthana time, which again as a putthujana one can never get enough of...
first, i must say sorry to BlackBird. i got the wrong impresson that you are having a go at NyanasaraThero, but reading his other post http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 53#p269753 justified what you wrote. lord buddha said humble buddha-pabbajita's (ordained when old) are rare.
Dhammanando wrote: When a junior bhikkhu seeks to make contact with other bhikkhus (as opposed to, say, drinking pals, Boston Red Sox fans or whatever) would it not be more charitable to assume that his aim is kalyānamittatā, not delighting in crowds?
i prefer facts rather than assumptions. in this sasana for what reason a monk should seek kalyānamittatā?
NyanasaraThero wrote:It was hard to find a suitable teacher who had knowledge of my background.
if he really wants to follow the nobel eight fold path does it matter to find a "teacher who had knowledge of his background". if the glass is empty then the teacher can pour the dhamma into it very easily.
NyanasaraThero wrote:I have gradually set up a small video production facility, working toward the ability to have an online Dhamma channel. I would like to visit various forest monasteries, taking video of Dhamma talks by senior monks in English and Sinhala, documenting the life and practices of the monks and so on.
this is kammaramata. to practice the path we don't need a video production facility and an online dhamma channel ... etc.
NyanasaraThero wrote:I have done lots of wilderness camping, and am right at home with nature and solitude. In fact I prefer it. Nevertheless the gift of Dhamma is the greatest gift, and to this end I would like to document the life of the upcountry forest monks and their insights into the Dhamma.
So according to him gift of dhamma is more important than practicing in solitude. arn't there so much Dhamma available already? even those arahants at the lord buddha's time didn't have this much!

:anjali:
Last edited by melancholy on Mon May 05, 2014 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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