Rob1980 wrote:Na Uyana is a place that foreigners in Sri Lanka can ordain at. There is a strong emphasis on meditation.
There is some information on their website: http://www.nauyana.org
Best of luck with your search.
Rob1980 wrote:Anyway, it was enough for me to be extremely disillusioned with monasticism in general and I disrobed in August 2011, just before the end of the vassa.
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?
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
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?
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.
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