Friday, February 27, 2015

Back in Rio again

Back in Rio

With Ven. Uganda Buddharakkhita at Aprador rock in Rio de Janeiro with Ipanema beach and the iconic Dois Irmãos and Pedra da Gávea rocks in the backround.

Hi friends,
I have been at the Rio Buddha Vihara in Rio de Janeiro since January 16th. When I arrived it was fortunate that the Ven. Buddharakkita from Uganda was also there at the Rio Buddha Vihara. He was finishing up a two week visit with them. Then he moved on to visit some other centers in Brasil. He taught the yearly `Carnival retreat`for the Buddhist group´in São Paulo while I taught the Carnival retreat in Rio. Ven. Buddharakkhita had lived at the Bhavana Society for several years while I was there before 2010.

I came to Rio to spend for months until mid May. I spent the first month in Rio helping to spruce up the vihara for this active four month period. The Carnival meditation retreat is in fact a retreat from the loud colorful Carnival Holidays (similiar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans) that help make Rio famous apart from the obvious georgeous physical beauty of the mountains and sea. The fact that the average temperature at this time of year is 27-30 degrees C, while in northern Europe and the USA-Canada it is often freezing, makes it an appealing destination.

There is a growing group of mostly young Brazilian Buddhists who support and run the Rio Buddha Vihara. I had trained up a small group of dedicated young lay practioners two years ago to carry on the weekly Sunday puja, meditation and Dhamma talk. And they had been continuing it successfully.

Here are a selection of fotos from the last month and the retreat. At the end of these fotos I will post a link to the facebook page of the SBB (Sociedade Budista do Brasil) and a web page where many more of the Dhamma talks, chanting and fotos can be seen.

Stairway to the Rio Buddha Vihara in Santa Teresa

Bodhi tree and main building at the Vihara

Site of future renovated pond and stupa

Men´s dorm above main building

Mens dorm and meditation deck above

stairs to upper meditation deck

Upper Meditation hall


Dhamma asana and altar

Daytime view

Sunrise at end of morning meditation


Night time view when meditation is over
Christ statue from vihara
Talk being tramslated into Portugues

With group of Vihara friends after Sunrise meditation at Aprador rock

Morning view of Leme and Copacabana beaches and skyline

Sugar Loaf rock from Urca beach

Reflecting on the ocean of samsara

With Joao and Anna on Copacabana beach

Minfully treading through the roots of greed, hate and delusion

Fellow traveller in Samsara

Various views of Rio taken from Urca hill

Christ statue

Sugar Loaf rock

Guanabara bay with Santos Dumont airport

Guanabara bay harbour

Panorama view from Vista Chinesa

Sunset at Aprador

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By the way, if any dhamma practioner wants to combine a Holiday in Rio with staying at the Rio Buddha Vihar and joining the meditations pujas and meeting Brasilian Buddhists that is possible. There a some beds available in dorm rooms (men and women separate) where you could stay on a donation basis. You must follow the five precepts. See the SBB website or facebook for contact.
One of the board memberes of the SBB, Fabiana Gomes, also rents out a room in her apartment in Flamengo for visitors. It is listed on She can be contacted diectly on her facebook page below.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Cambodia, Laos,Thailand

Here is a link to a recent Dhamma talk by me given at a Sri Lankan Vihara in the LA area:

In Front of ancient Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Hi Friends,

I flew from Mumbai to Bangkok on November 3rd and met two friends from India who arrived on a later flight. That evening we took an overnight bus to the Cambodian border and got a taxi to Siem Reap. Siem Reap is the tourist town situated 10 kilometers from the ancient temple sites of Angkor Wat. We stayed at the Happy Guest House for five days while exploring the many temples scattered around this large, sprawling archeological museum. This time coinsided with the annual water festival that is celebrated in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. So there were more tourists, foreign and domestic, than usual and for the first two nights there were lots of  loud fireworks displays. We used the conspicuous tuk tuks to get around. 
Typical motorcycle tuk tuk in Cambodia

View of Angkor Wat from across the wide moat

Crowd of tourists taking photos of the sunrise over Angkor Wat

 Taking a break while walking around the large area

...and enjoying refreshing coconut water

My two Indian friends, Deepak and Jeetesh

Head of the Buddha on the archway over the road

More heads of the Buddha on the temple of Bayon

Three Heads

The tiny white spot in the upper doorway is me

Lions and Elephants guard the corners of some temples 

Cambodian monks chanting at an outdoor shrine in Siem Reap

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Pickled cobra and scorpion
A boat excursion to the large lake of TonLe Sap

Boat hotel on Tonle Sap

The temple eating trees at Ta Prom

We flew from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang in Norther Laos

Sunset from the airplane

Ornate Buddhist temples in Luang Prabang 

Having lunch beside the Mekong River in Luang Prabang

Boat excursion up the Mekomg River

Filling station for boats

Nice scenery

Riverfront at Luang Prabang
Other views of Luang Prabang

Visit to the aquamarine water at the Huang Xi waterfall pools

Couldn't resist a refreshing swim

We took a bus south from Luang Prabang over the mountains of Northern Laos through Vien Vieng to Vientiane. From Vientiane I flewflew back to Bangkok then lead a weekend retreat for a group of Thai friends near the Khao Yai National Park.

Sunrise at Vien Vieng

Panoramic shot from the rooftop of our guest house

Monks on morning alms round in Vien Vieng

Chaitiya or stupa on top of Wat Saket in Bangkok

Inside the stupa where 'relics' of the Buddha are enshrined

Unusual eleven headed Buddha beside the stupa

With Ven. Dhirapanno in front of the temple at Wat Rattanawan at Khao Yai

Inside the temple with Ajhan Nyanadhammo, the Austrailan abbot of Wat Rattanawan 

Paying respects at a shrine dedicated to Luang Ta
 Mahabua Nanasampanno

At the house where the retreat was held

Retreat participants

I am now back in Southern California visiting my mother over the Christmas/New Year Holiday period.
I am reposting the text to the Buddhamas Carol for your New Years contemplation.

The Buddhamas Carol
The Ode to the Vipassana Yogi

Silent Night, Peaceful Night,
All is calm, Stars are bright,
Round the hall Yogis sitting still,
Keeping their backs straight, exerting will,
Enduring pain without any ill-will,
Pervading Metta all throughout space,
Wishing Good-will to the whole human race.
Silent Mind, Peaceful Mind,
thoughts are few, Pain is slight,
Focusing mind at the tip of the nose,
Knowing each breath as it comes and it goes,
Percieving the light that steadily glows,
Feeling the Rapture from head to the toes.
Silent Mind, Tranquil Mind,
 Thoughts are stilled, Body feels light,
All the Five Hinderances have died down,
he Ego no longer is spinning around,
Mind is one-pointed not moving a bit,
Enjoying at long last the Jhanic Bliss,
Sitting in Joyful Peace, Sitting in Blissful Peace.

 Silent Mind, focused Mind,
Awareness is strong, Mind is bright,
The Spiritual Faculties are prepared,
Vipassana-Insight has Mara scared,
Scanning the body from head to the toes,
Anicca, Anicca, each moment goes,
Anicca, Anicca, Impermanence flows,
 The Five Aggregates appear empty as foam,
The Truth of No-Self is easily shown,

Sitting in insightful Joy, Sitting in insightful Joy.

Silent Mind, equanimous Mind,
Awareness is clear, Wisdom shines,
The six sense-impingements arise and pass,
No desire, no clinging, no ego to grasp,
No holding to present, future or past,
Mara has vanished he took his last gasp,
This body-mind house is empty at last,
Sitting and walking the whole night through,
Greeting the dawn completely anew.
Silent Mind, Wisdom Mind,
Now is the time, Conditions are prime,
The Enlightenment Factors are developed well.
The Four Noble Truths become clear as a bell,
The Eye of Dhamma is opened wide,
The three lower fetters are broken in stride,
Tonight the Yogi enters the Stream,
Tomorrow Nibbana no longer a Dream .
(Composed by Yogavacara Rahula)

     Wishing all of you and all beings a Mindful and Peaceful
                                            New Year