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Mahamevnawa ~ Sanctuary for the wise and humble

Saturday, June 26, 2010 , at 12:16 AM

Most of us study hard and work hard relentlessly, due to this some are able to sit on their laurels as successful professionals some still do hard work of study without significant achievements, some have sadly died mid way due to various mishaps, yet most of us who are still fortunate to live, feel that there is something missing in our lives. With each achievement there will be this desire to go further, satisfaction seems elusive. It is as we are hungry all the time but for what? Fame? Money? May be both may be neither.

The fact is we don’t know. We are blinded by our perceptions. We have become slaves of our very senses. The eye is the master! We crave to watch television after work, for some of us the day is too long because of that. We go from one restaurant to another wherever our tongue demands us to go.

We buy CD after CD or better still download MP3s and listen to the IPods till dawn to dusk obeying the ears. Many steal and tell lies or even kill to please the tongue. Same goes to all other senses. Then we are so awed by the advances in modern science and what it had brought to our lives. Possibility of cure to cancer. Colonisation of the moon. But with all those background expectations we grow old and sometimes fall terminally ill. Then like a thunder struck we lose a beloved family member. We cry and wail accusing the world or the creator of the cruel fate or the neighbour, yet we do not realise that we suffer because we were born.

No one realise that till someone who from His own wisdom broke this shell of ignorance and shed light like the rising sun to a blinded world. Showing the stark reality of suffering to the wise and fortunate. He is none other than the Buddha who unmasked this mystery more than 2,500 years ago. Buddhism spread across Asia to Middle East shedding light to millions. But after about 1,000 years from the great passing away of the Buddha, it was systematically wiped out not only from India but from Mediterranean regions to Far East. From a great fortune due to its strategic geographical location and the effort of Maha Sangha who protected and transmitted Dhamma in its pure form generation to generation at times with the cost of their lives, we have inherited the rarest gift a man can acquire, Sri Saddharmaya (Buddha’s Teachings).

This is not just coincidence. If you are travelling to any part of Sri Lanka, there are ancient temples. It is claimed that the ancient Sinhala kings crowned the Sri Mahabodhi as the ruler of the land. Umpteenth Stupas which are sky high in North Central Province speaks volumes of the effect Buddhism had on ancient Sri Lanka.

In history even the traveller Robert Knox has praised Sinhalese as people who are compassionate, caring Buddhists who does not eat beef or consume alcohol. He has commented on the Sinhala women being exemplary. All these changed after Western invasions. The missionaries made every attempt to rid Buddhism and distance Sinhalese from the religion as they can. But Buddhism is so deeply rooted in Sri Lanka their attempt was partially successful. Sure their effort created a new breed who consumes alcohol as if there is no tomorrow and kill his own cow if he cannot buy meet.

But Buddhism prevailed among the dedicated Monks, unspoilt yet unavailable to the seekers of truth, due to the Teaching written in Pali. Then came a person born to a Catholic family to deliver a service to contemporary Buddhists to which he was destined for.

Mahamevnawa monastery was created 10 years ago by this visionary. He spent many years initially searching for Dhamma among temples, in forest monasteries and even in India. He extensively studied pure Buddhist Teachings. He has an immeasurable respect for the Buddha and His teachings. Ingenious is His ability to separate true Dhamma from contaminations through history. He had the courage and wit to swim upstream and show the world what the real meaning of Buddhism nearly after 2,600 years of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. He continues to be the best narrator of the Buddha’s Teaching the modern world has seen so far, he is none other than Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thera. Over the years Mahamevnawa has grown from strength to strength with over 50 monasteries all over the world and the devotees numbering a staggering three million and keep growing fast. This includes about more than 500 Buddhist Monks mostly in their prime youth. This complex organisation with a single vision which has brought these diverse range of personalities under one umbrella of shradda (unshakable faith) has a popular website as well. There are various reactions among the public locally and internationally regarding the rise of Mahamevna, a.k.a. “resurgence of Therawada Buddhism”. The million dollar question is why Mahamevnawa is spreading like wild fire?

It is the undeniable truth that Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thera spreads single handedly being responsible for this popularity, due to his unique and yet simple way of conveying the message of the Buddha to the masses. His translations of Sutra Pitaka from Pali canon to simple Sinhala booklets and the inexhaustible ability to teach these Sutras in its pure form day after day without adulterating from postulated theories has captured the truth seeking Buddhists from their hearts.

Mahamevnawa has become a target of traditional Buddhist Monks who believe the Buddha’s Teaching should be in Pali and shouldn’t have been translated. But as Dhamma is known to possess the quality called Opanaiko (should absorb by self through understanding), if it is incomprehensible, it will be of little use. Ironically more and more people especially youth began flocking in numbers to hear the sermons and they seem to grasp the essence of these Teachings.

A new breed is on the making, who are compassionate, caring, trustworthy and well-disciplined; reminiscent of ancient Sinhalese glory. Young couples who earlier spent time on film halls and botanic garden shrubs began to observe Sil with their partners. Then started helping with charities. They became respectable citizens as a byproduct of this endeavour. Some shed all their bindings to the mortal world and became Monks.

Few question the loss of productive youths to Buddha league, but there is no one to praise these youths dedicating their lives to rid social defilements. For many who continue to flock around Mahamevna in Sri Lanka and across the world, there is only one reason to do that, to understand the Buddha’s Teachings and follow his leads through Mahamevna to reach the ultimate goal, The Supreme Bliss of Nibbana which most of us postponed not knowing the Sandittiko property (realisable in current life upon practice) to a distant tentative Maithree Buddha reign.

May Mahamevna continue to shine and helps to free the wise men and women who are shackled to death by birth.

Nathena Dhammena Samanththikinchi...... Nothing compares with Gauthama Buddha Dharma.

Dr. S. Sooriyabandara
Consultant Radiologist,
Queen Elizabeth Hospital,
Adelaide, Australia


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Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the article, I would love to read about Abhayagiriya,(Information is hard to find), which was the great educational institute in the east, where scholars from far away as China came to learn!

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