Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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may.all.bliss
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Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by may.all.bliss »

Hi, I made some previous threads about ordaining in Sri Lanka, I tried going to Sri Lanka, and traveled there for a couple of weeks as well, and thought it may be helpful for others to write a review:

Ordaining in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka looks a lot like India from what I've seen, which makes sense because it's a relatively small Island near the coast of the big India. Still Sri Lanka has sort of their own culture I think.

Sri Lanka (kind of a travel review I guess).
-The biggest downside is that it's poor. Period.
You may not expect it like that, if you are as ignorant as I was, going by the quick look paradise looking youtube video and other commercial images.
The cities look exactly like a typical Indian city. It's not terrible, it's okay to very poor.

The people are still nice though, in general. The vibes are not that bad, but it was relatively stressful due to the poverty. Some homeless people on the street but not that many.
And yes, I was there in April when the crisis had already begun, due to the government corruption.
The smell in Colombo is also not that pleasant, I thought it smelled like poor dog or something, but apparently it was due to the shrimp fishing near the coast, but not terrible.
There are still cheap and good rated hostels or cheap hotels, ran by good people. The food is also pretty cheap.
And they aren't super focused on money either necessarily. A couple of times I wanted to tip, but they politely refused.

That said, you can definitely experience a monetary tension, many people have a strong desire to make enough money, obviously, and you can feel that. Which I thought was pretty hard and difficult to deal with, and I often gave a bit extra when they felt a bit desperate, I know I don't have to do that but I have a weak heart.
On the other side, hearing a westerner bargain over like 30 cents for a tuktuk makes me cringe, though yes, of course, not all westerners are wealthy of course.
Though on that note, I also met one really really atrocious, nagging insane young tuk tuk driver who followed me around after the Bandariaka airport, followed me around, and almost got in a fight, after 2 nights of not sleeping and flying.. it took finding army personnel to have him go away.
(I had trouble with my card, he was persistent, I explained to him my situation, I said I would give him my headset if I couldn't get the money, after a 2 min ride I wanted out, gave him my headset, and there that started, oh well. Just say no and ignore the the overly pushy (taxi) people, don't give them an inch).

But this sense of them being quite poor, looking for money, while you may have a small amount of money saved, was pretty stressful and I did not like that, and they had a good excuse, gas prices were through the roof, inflation was very high, etc.
That said, compared to my overly filled Europe, NL, where it's so crowded, many people living in flats, etc.
They do all almost seem to have some sort of shared villa, and a lot of nature, they are quite rich in that regard, perhaps unbeknownst to them.

Na Uyana
- The Place:
Speaking of nature, NU, located in the heart of Sri L, in the middle of the jungle.
F-k the myth that nature is some sort of god send and anything having to do with modern live and technology is somehow anti spiritual.
When you see how poor people are in general, how much they may have to work, and what the stress of money can do potentially (though I am not saying they are all stressed, not true either, certainly, but a similar vibe to India), you would really think twice about saying that.

Also prepare to have sleepless nights that really challenge your practice.. Because sometimes, without a fan or A/C in the humid jungle of Sri Lanka, it can be bloody hot in the night still, making it hard to sleep.
On top of that the air can be so humid still, it felt hard to breathe at times. Though others didn't seem to notice or mind it that much.

- The people:
The big plus side of arriving in the monastery as a previous tourist, is the peace.. decent nice atmosphere.. not having to think about what hotel/hostel you may be going to next, watching the money, etc.
Because even the local people, really did not want to be thinking, or going after your money either, that was a big relief.

-The food/hospitality was decent and good. I was able to stay despite my initial email not having arrived somehow.
The monks were decent and quite nice in general.
Happily namaste-ing each other always made me, and each other, happy.
And I found some nice Russian/Ukrainian/Sri Lankan friends.

-The head monk of the place was nice. Metta practice was often practiced there and recommended by him, which was consoling and I think contributed to a nice vibe, and I thought he was nice and knowledgeable over all. Also friendly.
The one overseeing the foreigners was a bit more spicy and controversial, but still an okay or good man from what I could tell.

-The monks, the I only 'problem' I had was after the week of the retreat, I had such difficulty sleeping during the night, that I would almost always try to get an extra few hours of meditation practice/meditative sleep in, skip breakfast and only take lunch, or take breakfast at the end of the hour.
I saw some monks do this before and it happened a few times before, that I thought it was a normal, but thus also missed the morning chanting towards the monks by the lay people.
Near the end of the silent retreat, some of the monks started to notice and probably talked about, and was somewhat rudely confronted on a few occasions, but when I didn't have a strong reaction, an angry reaction, or said I was practicing during that time, it was quickly forgotten by them.

I did find there was some sense of superiority by the monks, sometimes. There can be the idea monks are really special divine people, who you have treat in a special way, also by some of the lay people. Sometimes they would bow and go to their knees. And it's sort of normal to namaste a monk, depends on the vibe. Some would try to indicate, 'nah, it's okay, you don't have to do that'. In general I did not mind this, it was pretty joyous, and you certainly did not have to do it, though sometimes I guess you do feel expected to do it a little.
Likewise, most of the meditation chairs etc. near the stupa, are reserved for monks only, just like all chairs, which I thought was kind of stupid and annoying, but it is what it is.

-Work, was simple, one hour of sweeping in the morning.
Then 30 minutes of puja with the lay people. Westerners are not expected to join.
Then likewise in the afternoon, though westerners may not always go to this. Also they don't go to the pretty long (and in Pali or what it's called) evening chanting. I went once at the end, it was okay, but enjoyed the chanting in Amravati because they chant in English/Thai (?).
And the rest of the time, aside from lunch and breakfast, was open for practice. (Breakfast and lunch also take up some time, due to it being a pretty big place).

Yeah, the atmosphere was pretty nice, there were a few western monks, though you may not have too much interaction with them.

But it's also nothing special, it's just a jungle, some monkeys roaming around, hot, insects.
And it's certainly not as 'wOaH advEnTure' as you may expect only knowing the jungle from Animal Planet or National Geographic or something.
One time there were 2 snakes, non-toxic, mating with each other, and a few old monks walked past by, and they launched in sync towards them. That was about the most adventures moment of the whole thing. And there a lot of ants. And mold if you put your clothes in the wrong abandoned building, had to throw a lot of clothes away, some of it you couldn't wash out, oh well.

So yeah, that was a long review.
=I would say: it's a good place. The land and culture is still somewhat poor though. But you could ordain there, it is a good welcoming place.
I however, in all honesty, not trying to sounds superior, already did so much meditation, that I don't need it, and it did not match my preferences to do so much of nothing. Though I enjoyed it overall, I just don't need it at this time in my life.

=An okay country to visit, also the people are quite extroverted like Indians, if you like that, an adventurous tourist destination perhaps.
But it's poor which can be stressful because there is a pretty big and noticeable difference between you and the local people then.
I did not like the country so much as a whole that much because of that. Even though the people were quite nice.
I also got robbed by a knife at some point, which was rare but is another long story, by local tourist helper, was with him for hours, oh well.
Oh yeah, the police are quite useless though, when I wanted to report it, well, they were like.. yeah okay.. but they do-not-use-a-database. . .
Just group memory and phones perhaps. That should tell you something about how it's a bit behind on the rest of the world.
It's pretty safe overall, and the nature/ocean is pretty cool too.
may.all.bliss
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by may.all.bliss »

Some extra:
What I also did not really like, is the ordination culture in Sri Lanka, wherein when someone goes forward in the robes, it's expected they do not really return back to the normal life, this may be looked down upon I read, though I did not strongly get that sense either, as it was pretty friendly.

I am currently in Thailand and have been for some time, which I think is a great place, the people are truly very very friendly. Quite happy. Not as poor and well organized, more western. And Thai/eastern Asia is more introverted, which I love.

And it's normal for Thai men to ordain for a few years and then go back to lay life, I think that is very healthy, perhaps that's also because it's more organized and normal here, normal life in Sri Lanka may be more of a pain to be honest. Still not a bad place either, albeit, during the crisis, yeah, it can be unpleasant (but it's not unliveable either, it's still just safe overall, just hard to watch sometimes, bit more stressful vibes at some places, people bargaining for money with their sadness, perhaps).

I am also starting in Thailand, and doing some mindfulness/mental health/art work online, if a little bit of self-promotion is allowed: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDErO0 ... Bdl-mIfPqg

Thankfully, Thailand is also very affordable with a lot of space, currently living in Chiang Mai for 200 euro's a month, in 40m2 studio, sound proof, in a condominium with a nice collective pool closeby the city, that's quite awesome. You can find a house here for 300 a month, or a relatively big apartment.
Best wishes
:anjali:
BKh
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by BKh »

Wait, you go to a country experiencing its worst economic crisis in 70 years and then complain... about it being poor?

And you go to a tropical country and complain... because its hot?

Strange. There are plenty of cool climate places in Sri Lanka. Sounds like you didn't to much research or have realistic expectations.

But yeah, Sri Lanka is poor and hot. That's not news.

And a three wheeler driver being unhappy when they don't get paid, that's not news either.
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may.all.bliss
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by may.all.bliss »

BKh wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:02 am Wait, you go to a country experiencing its worst economic crisis in 70 years and then complain... about it being poor?

And you go to a tropical country and complain... because its hot?

Strange. There are plenty of cool climate places in Sri Lanka. Sounds like you didn't to much research or have realistic expectations.

But yeah, Sri Lanka is poor and hot. That's not news.

And a three wheeler driver being unhappy when they don't get paid, that's not news either.
It's a review, I am simply sharing that yes, it was very hot, normally that's not a problem for tourists, but there is no ac, and often no fan in a buddhist kuti, that can be good info.
You can know beforehand it may not be rich, but you don't know what that's like until you've been there, also seeing some homeless guy and dogs almost dying of thirst and heat in the street is hard.

And you go onto a forum and complain about someone who posts information?'

May all be well.

edit: no.. I did not want really want the tuk tuk in the first place, but he was so persistently following me out of the airport and constantly whining and talking about it, in the most persistent way possible.

I eventually said fine, I need to get to a place and get some sleep because I was heavily craving sleep, I did not feel comfortable at all.

The poverty of the streets and the driving shocked me. I said pull up at the first hotel and I'll give you my headset, like we had promised, because I had told him I had no guarantee I could pay him for this little ride to a hotel, because I had to call my bank and activate the card.

And given your 'do your research point', actually I was not able to leave my house, not have the guts and energy to actually go make the move, so at one point in the night I said fk it and did everything last minute, left a note, did not even say goodbye because I did not want to deal with any fuss.

Anyways, the guy.
I didn't trust the guy. He was also constantly saying: 'Sleepy? sleepy, are you asleep?' f*cking weirdo, yeah it pisses me off when I think about it, as if he was trying to manipulate or hypnotize me, though it could be because he was just stressed as well, the driving there is no fun.
And that was what my brain was thinking at the time, not having slept for 2 days, it was quite a bad experience actually, I became paranoid by the driving and the state of country, this was just before the bigger drama came about.

Anyways, I said pull over at the first hotel, after a 2 minute ride, and I'll give you my 17 dollar headset (which is way more than the ride would cost.), like I promised I would if I couldn't pay for the little ride, did not want to have anything to do with that guy.

Then he kept following me, demanding money, almost to the point of me breaking and fighting him off. He must have kept following me around for almost an hour. Constantly begging for money and being overly nice and manipulative in my face, trying to convince these hotel people I somehow owed him.

Eventually I was able to walk to a army point, and was able to show he indeed got my headset for it, and he got off angry,
real bad experience actually arriving in that country for the first time and not having slept.

And no, there are no cool climates in sri lanka.. but am I demanding the country turns cool?
Also the constant begging and people trying to sell you shit, the pervasive trying to convince you to take this or that hotel of a friend, do not recommend and that's my review.
And if you want news, go watch cnn, good bye.

And also, I actually have no regrets having been there and having seen it for myself, the people were relatively nice, overall pretty safe and handling it all decently well also due to their dhamma.
And the happiness and relief of coming into modern Thailand was fantastic, also something I had no clue about it prior, leaving in a similar fashion, barely knew what Bangkok was, pretty mind blowing to come out of the airport by train and seeing the mega city.
BKh
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by BKh »

And no, there are no cool climates in sri lanka..
I'm not writing this to the OP, but writing just in case anyone is reading this thread thinking it is an accurate source of information...

There are absolutely cool climates in Sri Lanka. In the hill country. It's so cool that many Sri Lankans refuse to live there.
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may.all.bliss
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by may.all.bliss »

BKh wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:59 pm
And no, there are no cool climates in sri lanka..
I'm not writing this to the OP, but writing just in case anyone is reading this thread thinking it is an accurate source of information...

There are absolutely cool climates in Sri Lanka. In the hill country. It's so cool that many Sri Lankans refuse to live there.
Ok, thanks for educating me on that, can you share what the temperatures are there?
That's interesting, I thought I went up some hills but didn't know it had mountains as well.
sunnat
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Fire element

Post by sunnat »

Fire element (eg anger) arising, due to conditions, can make a tolerable exterior temperature seem intolerable.
may.all.bliss
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Re: Fire element

Post by may.all.bliss »

sunnat wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:16 am Fire element (eg anger) arising, due to conditions, can make a tolerable exterior temperature seem intolerable.
Could be, but for Europeans, a very hot climate can be difficult, even native Indians etc. often want a fan or A/C.
It was tolerable with practice, but honestly what made it really difficult, was the humidity on top of it, making it sometimes hard to breathe, sometimes I would wake up with the sense that I could not breathe properly, that was the hardest part.

When it had rained that evening, things were a little bit easier, otherwise it was often too hot to sleep, having to regularly take water on myself from a bowl to keep a little bit cool. Doable but can be quite difficult.

Wet bulb temperature may have something to do with it, too.

When it is so humid, the sweat produced by your body no longer cools you off, can even be deadly at 35 degrees celsius after 8 hours or so I've heard on a science channel 'Just Have A think' (441k subscribers), though that didn't really sound or feel probably, either.
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NotMe
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by NotMe »

Howdy from Oklahoma!

I saw on your YouTube channel that you are a mental health coach. Out of curiosity, what was your training for this line of work?

Metta
may.all.bliss
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by may.all.bliss »

NotMe wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 4:23 am Howdy from Oklahoma!

I saw on your YouTube channel that you are a mental health coach. Out of curiosity, what was your training for this line of work?

Metta
Hi.

It's based on my past 10 years of extensive practice, study and sitting with numerous teachers.
Recovering from depression, anxiety, and even a psychotic mind in the beginning years of my practice, which started after certain experimentation and the loss of my father.

I don't have any official psychology related credentials, but in my view spiritual practice and study are more effective anyway.
I have a couple of friends who completed their university psychology degree, but am not under the impression I am missing anything very significant by not having done that course, though I am still working on expanding my knowledge and wouldn't downplay the usefulness of official training either.

I don't claim to be professional in that sense and am working on a donation basis as I live in Asia at the moment, but feel confident I may be able to help people, especially in the realm of anxiety, depression and meditation practice and I regularly attend samadhi states during the sleep cycle.

Thanks for your interest, best, David.
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NotMe
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by NotMe »

may.all.bliss wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:21 am
NotMe wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 4:23 am Howdy from Oklahoma!

I saw on your YouTube channel that you are a mental health coach. Out of curiosity, what was your training for this line of work?

Metta
Hi.
…..
Thanks for your interest, best, David.
Um, I’m .. uh… Lee.

DNS :anjali: is David, the one we all owe gratitude for allowing us the opportunity to share. A word to the wise - Retro is the one you do NOT want to mess with. Say yes sir and be done. Scary. He swings a mean tennis racquet, chops a wicked slice, then hits a drop shot that just leaves you behind the baseline bowing to his accomplishments. (wiping the brown off my nose) Lotsa good people to get to know around here, a brief intro.

Oh yeah, watch out JamesTheGiant - I think he is a sumo wrestler if I remember correctly from the old days.

Metta!

:anjali:
jinic
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by jinic »

may.all.bliss wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:21 am I don't have any official psychology related credentials
I don't think any Arahant ever had this and ariya would be diagnosed with some sort of personality disorders according to the standards of the field.

Thanks for the review.

It seems like most of these issues wouldn't apply if one was ordained and solitary living in a cave or the highland.
Last edited by jinic on Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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NotMe
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by NotMe »

jinic wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:03 pm
may.all.bliss wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:21 am I don't have any official psychology related credentials
I don't think any Arahant ever had this and ariya would be diagnosed with some sort of personality disorders …
No claims here but yes! This is confirmed through personal experience and the time spent in that one flew over the cuckoo‘s nest, I actually flew twice over it. Inside your mind you find amazing voices and in the loony bins you can find sane people. I’m just a dumb drummer don’t listen to me.
Know for yourself.

Edit to add: Oklahoma is my cave.

This guy, Michael Been was an Okie. He talks about 40 days in a cave.



Now I must let my day begin:
may.all.bliss
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Re: Na Uyana monastery / Sri Lanka review

Post by may.all.bliss »

jinic wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:03 pm
may.all.bliss wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:21 am I don't have any official psychology related credentials
I don't think any Arahant ever had this and ariya would be diagnosed with some sort of personality disorders according to the standards of the field.

Thanks for the review.

It seems like most of these issues wouldn't apply if one was ordained and solitary living in a cave or the highland.
Yeah, the psychology field can actually have adverse effects if you have an ill minded psychologist who wants to sell you drugs, keep you as his client, or is actually anti-spiritual.
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