Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery
Sixth Formers visited Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery in Chithurst, West Sussex as part of their A level studies.
The monastery was established in 1979 and is home to a community of Buddhist monks and nuns of the Theravada forest tradition.
We arrived in time for the daily meal and made our own ‘dana’: offerings from the lay community to the monks. As part of the blessing of the meal the monks led chanting in the Dharma Hall, in which members of the local Buddhist community took part. As it was the anniversary of the death of a member of the local community, her family placed her photo in the shrine and extra offerings and blessings were made. As the monks then had their meal we joined the members of the lay community who generously shared their food with us. We sat in the conservatory next to the shrine room, overlooking the beautifully kept grounds in the middle of the quiet countryside.
After lunch we were joined in the Dharma Hall by Ajahn Dhammarakkho, a senior member of the monastic community who had been at Cittaviveka for 15 years (Dhammararakkho means ‘guardian of the teachings’). He discussed the importance of meditation in Buddhist tradition before leading us in a guided samatha meditation. Following this the students were able to ask questions of Ajahn Dhammarakkho and discuss his answers with him. This was a fascinating session, covering such topics as: why it more suitable to use the term ‘awakened’ rather than ‘enlightened’, the concept of ‘anatta – no-soul’ and what it means to state that ignorance and craving are the causes of suffering.
On the journey home we reflected on our visit, and the students all agreed that it was a great help in their understanding of Buddhist teachings and the Buddhist way of life:
“The question and answer session with a Buddhist monk was very useful and will be very helpful as we prepare for our exams”
“I found the meditation session very interesting”
“It gave a me a greater insight into Buddhism and how it was practised in the real world.”
“I really enjoyed it and learned a lot.”
Overall this was a very successful visit, one that we will look to repeat in the years to come and we express our gratitude to the community at Cittaviveka for their warm welcome and friendly support.
Owned by: ldn | Last Published: 12/05/2017 15:24:36 | Next Update: N/a
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