Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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StormBorn
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by StormBorn » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:37 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:37 pm
any link.
The book, and a discussion about it.
Volovsky wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:37 pm
advising me to search by myself somewhere among several thousands topics of this forum
Just now I searched here for "Na uyana". It gave me 186 matches only.

On the 2nd page of this very thread, a member talks about the venerable abbot told him to leave if not meditating based on his instructions, but on the 3rd page another member brags about: I go there without waiting anything about teacher. I build my meditation mainly by my own (and books)...So, I want to say, we should dont care too much about teacher.

Seriously? :rofl: Perhaps, some ought to go to Na Uyana to learn a different lesson.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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Volovsky
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by Volovsky » Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:03 am

StormBorn wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:37 pm
The book, and a discussion about it.
Thanks. I will have a look in it.

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Volovsky
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by Volovsky » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:20 pm

StormBorn wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:37 pm
The book, and a discussion about it.
I've read the book. Some accusations are indeed very serious (e.g. parajika). But the book is clearly quite biased and overly critical. Moreover, quite often the author reports not what he saw himself, but what he heard from the other people. It doesn't mean, of course, that all there is fake or exaggerated, some of his points might certainly be valid. But I don't know him and cannot say therefore how trustworthy he and his sources are, especially considering that he is clearly very preconceived.

My experience of staying in Na-Uyana (~5 months) was very positive. I found Ven. Ariyananda to be a good teacher and a kind person. The Vinaya there (from what I can judge as a lay person, who read BMC-1,2) is strict, and is taught systematically.

They indeed teach meditation in a more 'flexible' way then in Pa-Auk Myanmar, which I personally find to be rather an advantage of Na-Uyana, since it's easier for beginners. There are also more elements of 'folk Buddhism' in Na-Uyana, then I saw in Pa-Auk Myanmar.

Anyway, even if there are indeed some disturbing issues, they won't affect a foreign yogi. I think foreign bhikkhu also can quite easily stay just minding his own business, away from intrigues if there are any. Though after reading the book I don't think I would like to ordain there, but I still think it's a nice place to meditate in.

daptrius
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by daptrius » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:18 pm

Hi,

I can report some information on Mahamevnawa. I find it unfortunate there isn't much about them in english on the internet.

First, from what I've heard there, Mahamevnawa is the biggest order in Sri Lanka. There are some 40 branches in the island and a bunch around the world [1]. While it is a forrest tradition, some monasteries can be quite busy, but others are extremely secluded, ideal for those ready for deepening their practice.

The chief monk there is ven. Kiribathgoda Ñanananda [2], who translated the entire sutta pitaka to modern sinhala in the last couple of decades. He is highly and widely respected for his work on restoring Buddhism in Sri Lanka, where I was told it was common for monks to play with horoscopes to see if someone would go to heaven, hell, or have merits to attain arahatship... things like that.

So, in Mahamevnawa, you will hear that the suttas are the greatest authority. Commentaries are seen as commentaries, and the Abhidhamma contents, as far as I saw, were seldom a subject of conversation.

One important thing also is that they are quite rigorous about vinaya. I find it particularly important that monks are not allowed electronic gadgets: notebooks, pads, smart phones. Only a handful of monks were authorized to use the computers in the Polgahawela monastery for very specific tasks.

The ideal first step for ordination in Mahamevnawa is to be familiar with one of their temples, if you are lucky to have one near by. Then, they can get to know you (you get to know them) and it's easier for them to help with permanent visa to Sri Lanka. Otherwise, you will have to get a tourist visa to stay in the monastery in Sri Lanka, and from there, they can help with visa extensions and permanent visa application. However, be reminded that, as of now, you must leave Sri Lanka and come back to perform this visa operation from tourist to resident. Not only that, but also it seems Sri Lanka's immigration policy requires the person to go back to the country of origin before returning to Sri Lanka with a permanent visa.

Of course, contact them through email before going and plan with them your visit. They are very kind and quick to respond, and very interested in learning about you and answering any questions you might have through email.

Once in the monastery, probably the headquarters in Polgahawela, you will have to live there for a few months as a candidate along with many dozen of other candidates. In the Polgahawela monastery, there are usually 80 to 100 monks. Day to day activities include chores, pujja cerimonies and classes (dhamma/sutta classes, dhamma talk classes and chanting classes). These are in sinhala, but they work to provide the english speaking candidates with classes as well. There are very few westerners in Mahamevnawa, but there's always people (candidate and monks) around who can speak english, so it's not overly isolated for those who can't speak the local language as it could be in other monasteries around the world.

As a candidate, they also encourage you to meditate whenever there's free time. There are always monks to help you, but for the most part, questions of individual practice are usually directed to the ven. Ñanananda who is always available and, of course, is very experienced.

Naturally, once there, you should try your best to learn Sinhala. There are some english books in the library to learn sinhala, and people there can put a lot of effort to help you too.

Once ordained as a samanera, I believe it takes around one year or so until one is eligible for higher ordination. Also, as a samanera, one has a lot of free and individual time in their hands, though there are still classes available for ordained ones, including Pali classes.

Also, monks rotate quite frequently in Mahamevnawa. Every six months, they are assigned to different monasteries in Sri Lanka. More experienced monks also travel overseas. This is a great policy, as it prevents monks from forming intimate ties with the lay people, and prevents them from getting attached to place and people. It also puts one in contact with different monks. Similarly, Mahamevnawa monasteries also frequently receive guest monks from different countries and different traditions.

Finally, Sinhalese people are very warm, kind and friendly folks, which is great news for those coming from other countries. The food is very good, though it can be very spicy. But there's always not-so-spicy options too.

In a gist, I believe the general spirit of Mahamevnawa is of a sincere attempt to stick to the Buddha's words and implement what he taught. As I was told and witnessed, it's a community that sees each other as kalyana mitta. They are genuinely interested and always remind you that everything there is to help one to attain the fruits of the path, always in light of the words of the Buddha preserved in the Pali tradition. This also means they take a much more carefully crafted road, providing the monks with a solid foundation and education, instead of sending them right away to a cave; too much experiences with watching people get deluded and disrobe in a few months. In other words, they take the perspective that this is an education for the rest of your life, and that it takes a lot of patience to develop the qualities and skills for climbing the wisdom mountain.


Hope this helps! Godspeed!

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_M ... a_branches
[2] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiribathg ... anda_Thero

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Volovsky
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by Volovsky » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:36 pm

daptrius wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:18 pm
I can report some information on Mahamevnawa. I find it unfortunate there isn't much about them in english on the internet.
Thanks for this useful information. I think I've read on their web page, that foreign yogis can be accepted only for a week or so. Is it so? Is it possible to stay for couple of months for a lay yogi?

daptrius
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by daptrius » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:34 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:36 pm
Thanks for this useful information. I think I've read on their web page, that foreign yogis can be accepted only for a week or so. Is it so? Is it possible to stay for couple of months for a lay yogi?
If you are going to meditate only as a visitor, I think they have specific programs for that. But if you are looking for getting to know them and possibly ordaining, in principle, I don't know of any general rule preventing someone visiting to stay longer. I recommend you write an email to them telling about your intentions and checking their availability..

fornoxe
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by fornoxe » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:31 pm

Thank you for sharing.

Just a question for me : What kinf of meditation they use? Or emphasis on.

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StormBorn
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by StormBorn » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:20 am

daptrius wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:18 pm
Hi,

I can report some information on Mahamevnawa. I find it unfortunate there isn't much about them in english on the internet....
Several years ago, during one of my occupational travels to Sri Lanka, a friend took me to Mahamewna head branch and also to a regional branch. The monks at both places emphasized how their leader, Kiribathgoda Gnanananda spending months in seclusion at the Adams Peak branch. Later we happened to visit the last town before the Adam’s Peak (a pilgrim mountain that considered to be contained the Buddha’s footprint). At the town, in a friendly chat with the villagers we inquired about Mahamewna Adam’s Peak branch. Contrary to what being advertised by their branches, the villagers said, since several months Kiribathgoda Gnanananda was busy building a pagoda, and various structures for worship. And the villagers even unhappy about the loud singing like chanting (Mahamewna is well known for) coming from the Adam’s Peak branch speakers!
My friend said, Mahamewnawa is simply a missionary movement without a firm base and direction, but well know to jump to trends. Their latest product is “hungry ghosts.”

This video, a criticism in Sinhala on Mahamewnawa by another Sri Lankan monk.

Some points of criticism from video (with evidences). Translated to me by my Sinhala speaking friend:
- Containers of fruit offering to an ancient pagoda which is about a 7 hour journey from Sri Lanka’s main city Colombo.
- Offering 24,000 clay alms bowls of water (from a stream in Adams Peak) to an ancient pagoda in Polonnaruwa (about 6 hour journey from Adams Peak). Offering of 84,000 oil lamps to the pagoda and dropping hundred thousands of flowers from helicopters. Recipients of all these offerings said to be 84,000 arahants!
The irony here is that both these ancient rural areas well known for droughts, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and many kidney patients due to drinking of heavy metal water (long term farming with Monasanto chemicals). And these Mahamewna Buddhist cult gives no care to help them.
- Statues of Enlightened Ones which depicts females and sensuality rather than a non-sensual mind (images included in the video).
- Providing public diagnosis for diseases at public Dhamma talks (?) where most of the time Kiribathgoda Gnanananda says, “This caused by a hungry ghost that went to the tummy through the rectum!”
- Making public predictions such as “the world gonna end on 21st December 2012. Those who follow me will be saved.”

Kiribathgoda Gnanananda is the most popular religious figure at the moment due to his singing like chantings and heaps of rituals which shows the sad state of the Sri Lankan Buddhist mentality.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

fornoxe
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by fornoxe » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:19 am

Thanks for you sharing.

Can you tell to us if you know, on the contrary, some monk or monastery or hermitage or tradition who have good reputation ?


:sage:

SarathW
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by SarathW » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:37 am

a criticism in Sinhala on Mahamewnawa by another Sri Lankan monk.
That is Ven. Samanthrabaddra. He also another notorious monk.
He is the one who made a statue of himself as Buddha.
He was summoned to Sangha disciplinary for his misbehavior.
Having said that his criticism about Mahameunawa is correct.
=================
Friends keep Dhaama as your teacher. Otherwise, you will be a very disappointed person like me.
Arahanting is a useless exercise.
Find the Arahant within not without.
SarathW


“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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StormBorn
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by StormBorn » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:30 pm

fornoxe wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:19 am
Thanks for you sharing.

Can you tell to us if you know, on the contrary, some monk or monastery or hermitage or tradition who have good reputation ?


:sage:
I’m afraid no, sorry fornoxe. It seems there’s no “whole” monastery or hermitage or tradition that can rely on since their head monks tend to be the most corrupted! :evil: But surely the world still has good people, so does individual monks who are honest and faithful to the Buddha and his words. :sage: But such characteristics are the ones tend to make a monk not famous, hence no far-reaching reputation. :spy: If a monk becoming famous in a too sooner time with a large following, that’s a good warning sign to avoid them. :toilet:

Having said that, I found this writing from this forum. And, it is very impressive and unexpected from a typical Sri Lankan monk. :rolleye: My Sri Lankan friend said that the name suggests a local yet he never heard of. I asked my friend’s help regarding the Sinhala writings on the home page, but he got half impressed (exposes many popular wrong views :thumbsup: ), half confused (not the traditional Sri Lankan Buddhism that he knew... phew! :cry: ).

Since my friend is not deep enough in Buddhism to give me an opinion on the Sinhala articles here, can Sarath kindly do so? :namaste:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by StormBorn » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:33 pm

SarathW wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:37 am
a criticism in Sinhala on Mahamewnawa by another Sri Lankan monk.
That is Ven. Samanthrabaddra. He also another notorious monk.
He is the one who made a statue of himself as Buddha.
He was summoned to Sangha disciplinary for his misbehavior.
Having said that his criticism about Mahameunawa is correct.
=================
Friends keep Dhaama as your teacher. Otherwise, you will be a very disappointed person like me.
Arahanting is a useless exercise.
Find the Arahant within not without.
SarathW
Gosh! Thanks Sarath for that detail and great advice. Seems like the whole lot is rotten yet points finger at each other for competition. :toast: Isn’t the Buddha said, the Dhamma will be the Master after my passing away? Yet, people too much occupied in hunting big-name gurus which closely followed by disappointments.”
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

fornoxe
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by fornoxe » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:30 pm

I made a bouddha statue of himself. I could not find any word.

That why I 'm thinking to find a western monk in Sri Lanka in fact. 18days left before leaving.

But thanks for links StormBorn. And Sarah obviously :anjali:

BKh
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by BKh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:57 pm

StormBorn wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:20 am
The irony here is that both these ancient rural areas well known for droughts, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and many kidney patients due to drinking of heavy metal water (long term farming with Monasanto chemicals). And these Mahamewna Buddhist cult gives no care to help them.
You do realize that Mahamevnawa, through its TV station, is building water treatment centres in the villages you mention?
https://www.shraddha.lk/water/

Best to do a bit of fact checking before posting.

It is believed that the stupa in Polonaruwa contains the largest collection of relics of arahants who lived in ancient Sri Lanka. If I recall correctly, most were collected around the time of severe famine and drought that lead to the suttas being written down at Aluvihara. That is who the puja offerings were for.

It's perfectly fine to not get any benefit from devotional practices, but it's not helpful to criticize others for doing them. It is something very valuable to many, and people are quite happy to have the chance to participate in these large events. If you ever have the chance to attend one, be sure to have someone next to you to translate what is being said and chanted. You may be surprised at how much Dhamma people can learn through events like this.

It's also fine to complain about loud speakers, but they are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka and certainly not unique to Mahamevnawa. They are so common in fact that it would be hard to tell exactly which monastery they are coming from. Unlike most temples, the Mahamevnawa branches, for the most part, only use the loud speakers at events, not to just play chanting all day long.

Also, for clarification, there are two Mahamevnawa branches around Adams peak. One is in Siripagama and is not open to the public.They don't even do an Uposatha program there, they do it in a temple at the bottom of the valley. It is more like a hermitage and does not encourage visitors. They do not have a stupa or Bodh Tree, two of the three objects necessary for traditional devotional practices. That is often where Ven. Gnananada will stay to get a break from the rather busy headquarters in Polgahawela. But even then he does still travel around the island, so it would not be surprising that people would assume he was there, even though he may make day trips, etc, to other branches. He is the head monk after all.

The other monastery around Adams Peak is in Eratana and it offers a day long Uposatha program to the public. Still, it is out of the way and doesn't get many visitors.

I found this post by Daptrius remarkably accurate... viewtopic.php?f=30&t=31785&start=45#p485042

I would request that we are careful not to post things we have heard second hand. Gossip is easy to come by and it makes it easy to slip into slander.
ReadingFaithfully.org Daily Practice with the Suttas | becomeabuddhist.org
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StormBorn
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Re: Na Uyana or Mahamevnawa?

Post by StormBorn » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:12 am

fornoxe wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:30 pm
I made a bouddha statue of himself. I could not find any word.

That why I 'm thinking to find a western monk in Sri Lanka in fact. 18days left before leaving.

But thanks for links StormBorn. And Sarah obviously :anjali:
Ah, the common mistake: Western monks are better than Asians! A local friend at Immigration Dep. Made a funny remark that they already kicked several Western monks out of the country having caught unmonkish interactions with females/nuns.

Let me share with you one last experience. Last year I visited the Hillside Hermitage in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Locals are very impressed with these “foreign monks” as they come to the village for alms. The monks also tried to impress us with some “deep forest Dhamma” while their pet dogs trying to climb to their bodies. But I was put off by the number of well groomed fat dogs and puppies there, where the kids from their alms round village seems to be suffering from malnutrition! Also, the monks appeared to be into body building. Later, I visited their Facebook page and goodness heavens, I found images of large Amino Acid supplement bottles (to increase muscle mass) along with kettlebells caught on camera while they photo shoot their dogs! That time their photo count was around 4,000, which was about 10+ per day. But I checked now and all the posts before June 2018 were deleted. There seems to be some attempt of a whitewash.

In the May of 2017, the abbot says that "they also receive funding from kind people who follow their activities on Facebook.": https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/weste ... nkan-wilds

There’s no refuge other than the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Ariyas.

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