Samatha Meditation Retreat in Sri Lanka July 2022

  • Image
    view around Ambuluwawa Retreat Centre
  • Image
    Ambuluwawa Retreat Centre
  • Image
    view around Ambuluwawa Retreat Centre

Samatha Buddhist Meditation Retreat in Sri Lanka, July 2022

We are pleased to announce that there will be a seven day beginners Samatha meditation retreat (samatha.org) in Sri Lanka from Thursday 7th July to Saturday 15th July taken by Dr Rajith Dissanayake. This event will take place at the Ambuluwawa Retreat Centre, (elevation ~1500’) Gampola,that belongs to Sri Subodharamaya in Kandy. This will be the 9th course of this kind run in Sri Lanka. The first of these was in 2011/12 taken by the late Lance Cousins, and Western teachers took a few retreats following this in Sri Lanka. There have been meditation practices for millennia and some of these were used and developed by the Buddha. In particular, he advocated the use of breathing mindfulness as a technique that is suitable for most people and which, when cultivated and developed, is of great benefit. It helps to bring about both calm (samatha) and insight (vipassanā) which, when combined, bring about greater happiness and freedom and, ultimately, liberation. In this school of Samatha practice, the emphasis is primarily on developing ever-deeper states of calm through mindfulness of breathing so that insight might arise naturally. However, both calm and insight come into play and either may take precedence at any given time. So, in order to assist the development of the practice, meditators regularly report to a meditation teacher who can offer individual guidance. Alongside the practice of developing the sixteen stages of breathing mindfulness, meditators may also be encouraged to pursue other areas of development. These might include such things as walking practice, mindful work, Dhamma discussion and periods of silence.

Places are limited to around 10 in total due to accommodation constraints. One or more external participants from abroad may join at the cost of $180 (£145). The cost for locals would be $55 (to be converted to LKR at the prevailing rate). Prices include the possibility of a return transport to Colombo, though this cannot be guaranteed. Based on numbers of applicants, there may be a vetting process.

Flights can be booked locally to Asia or elsewhere, often cheaper than from the UK. Applications, inquiries and donations, please contact Rajith (rajith@mac.com).

Situation in Sri Lanka: The prevailing economic and political instability in Sri Lanka does not preclude the opportunity for a retreat given that the emerging resolution is largely peaceful. However, due to inflation and the fluctuating nature of fuel and prices, it may be better to transact in dollar equivalents. There could be power cuts, but it would be possible to work using other lights if necessary. Tourism is open and there may be many bargains for the intrepid traveler from abroad. Covid PCR tests are not needed, though you may need to be vaccinated. Please check official guidelines.

About the teacher: Rajith was born in London, England and started practising meditation in Samatha in 1989 from the University of Manchester. He considers himself extremely fortunate to have found a meditation class teaching the samatha/vipassana practice originally introduced to Britain in 1963 by Nai Boonman. He has learned meditation under Grevel Lindop, Lance Cousins, Fran Warren among others and participated in annual retreats. He has taught the Samatha practice to beginners since 2011. He studied Buddhism and other traditions. Having been educated in zoology (to PhD level) and botany and travelled extensively, he is interested in environmental issues and exploring the interface between monastic and lay practice. He works at the University of London and lives in Harrow UK.