Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Good Bye Rio

View of Rio after takeoff from Santos Dumont airport


Hi friends,
After the last posting I had conducted two more weekend retreats at the Rio Buddha Vihara in March and April. I also made a trip to the vipassana group in Brasilia to give three separate short sessions of talk and meditation. While in the capital, Brasilia I paid a visit to the Thai Embassy where I described to the Ambassador and staff the renovations and stupa project going on at Wat Rio (the Rio Buddha Vihara). After Brasilia I went to Sao Paulo to stay a few days at the Casa de Dharma to conduct meditation sessions and a three day retreat. After the retreat I went on an excursion with three friends to the famous Foz do Iguacu (massive waterfalls at Iguacu). The waterfalls are more numerous and larger than even Niagara Falls. They are located on the borders with Argentina and Paraguay.
While at the Rio Vihara these last four months I had initiated two men as Anagarikas who stayed undergoing training to become familiar with monastic life. In June one of them will be going to Sri Lanka and the other to Thailand to get ordained as monks. There are two other Brasillian men who also intend to go to Sri Lanka in October to get ordained. Hopefully this will increase the numbers of the growing bhikkhu Sangha for the future of the Theravada monastic Sangha in Brasil.
On May 3rd we Celebrated Vesak, commorating the birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of the Buddha. We had been working hard the previous month to renovate the main entrance to the Vihara to give the arriving devotees and visitors a nice new greeting.

The entrance from the road to the steep staircase

The completely new entrance to the Vihara
The eight spoke Dhamma wheel

More steep steps up to the pond and main buildings

Current photo of the empty pond and main building

The proposed future new look

The new bell tower and flourishing Bodhi Tree

Anagarika Sujira and Fabiana with the new Mindfulness bell

                                   Preparing for Vesak
New roof over front entrance
Fabiana paints the lotus


Vesak day begins with a glorious sunrise
Offering the flowers in the shrine

Anagarikas are served next

devotees in the shrine

Enjoying the lunch and day

Sunrise meditation on a deserted Copacabana beach

from the other direction

The small red roof in the center left of the forest is the roof of the Vihara

With Upasaka Dhammasiri- a generous benefactor of the Vihara

  Trip to Iguacu Falls
The main cataracts at Foz do Iguacu with perpetual rainbow
Viewing platform amidst the mist of multiple waterfalls

The robe is soaking wet
Drying out with Angelo and Arthur
Views of the `smaller` falls
Small boats get up close for `thrills` we opted out

Chilling out in the bird park
With a fine feathered friend

and fine travelling companions

All around it was a very pleasant and productive four months for the physical grounds of the vihara itself and for the residents and many visitors.

On May 17th I departed from Rio de Janeiro, flying to Geneva to start the two month tour in Switzerland, Germany and Romania.

Taking off in front of the iconic `Sugar Loaf`` mountain

 The Panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro from the air


Good Bye Rio
Hello Switzerland with Mount Blanc landing at Geneva

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 Airbnb.com. She can be contacted diectly on her facebook page below.