Thursday, March 23, 2017

Back in Brasil

Landing in Rio De Janeiro

Hi friends,
It has been awhile since my last post with the Buddhamas Carol, so I thought I would update.
I Flew from California to Rio de Janeiro on Feburary 16th. A sad thing happened at the Rio Buddha Vihara a few weeks before I arrived. The visiting monk and three members were robbed by a gang of three armed robbers. Since then by decision the Board of directors the Vihara was closed for any residential or functional usage. Ven. Mudito, the Brasillian bhikkhu who had been staying there for awhile, had henceforth gone to stay in Sao Paulo. Therefore I could not stay at the Vihara during my one week stay in Rio. Instead, I was put up in a hotel in the Flamengo beach area which was nice on that account. The Buddhist group nonetheless arrangd a couple of puja/meditation and talk programs in another location.
 During my week in Rio a SriLanka/Canadian couple, Nissanka and Hemanta also visited and stayed in the apartment of Fabiana Gomes nearby. Fabiana arranged several sightseeing excursions to the main attractions of Rio and well as some meditation sessions on the beach. So, all in all in wasn`t a bad visit to Rio.

The iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sunset at the Lagoa

With Fabiana, Nissanka and Hemanta and driver at a secluded beach restaurant.

 Nissanaka taking it all in

Sunrise from Mirante Dona Marta

A hike to Pedro Bonita for a view of Pedro de Gavia

Of course, Christ the Redeemer

From Rio I few to Sao Paulo where I lead the annual nine day Carnival Retreat for the Casa De Dharma group. About 55 people attended that retreat which was held at a Catholic retreat center in Vinhedo, an hour drive outside of the Sao Paulo Megalopolis. After that retreat I spent a few days in Sao Paulo at the Casa de Dharma city center. Following  that I travelled five hours by bus to the small city of Sao Lourenco in the hilly/mountainous State of Minas Gerais. Here I stayed at the house of Silvio Paintino, who is the leader of the Theravada/vipassana meditation group there. He had invited me there to lead a four day retreat for twenty persons. After two nights leading a few morning and evening sittings at his house we drove one and a half hours up to the small retreat center of, Antigo Mosteiro Serra Clara, located higher in the mountains for the retreat. The cooler weather high in the mountains was a welcome relief from the humid heat of Rio and Sao Paulo. This retreat center had been a former Catholic monastery but some years back fell on hard times and was sold to some lay persons who convertd it into a retreat center.
After the retreat Silvio drove me four hours to Belo Horizonte where I gave a Dhamma talk at a Yoga center and lead a weekend retreat for about 25 persons at yet another Catholic monastery. From Belo Horizonte I returned to Sao Paulo and stayed four days leading morning and evening meditations and talks at the Casa De Dharma. I capped off the whirlwind tour of Brasil with a weekend program in the Capital of Brasilia with  SociedadeVipassana de Meditacao (SVM).

Landing in the Megalopolis of Sao Paulo

Photos from 9 day retreat at Vinhedo
Interesting juxtaposition of the Buddha and Christ

Afternoon yoga

Meal reflection

Post yoga relaxation awareness

Closing sharing circle

In Sao Lourenco
With Silvio and friends in Sao Lourenco
Nice tree with orchids in the Water park of Sao Lourenco

Retreat center in old monastery near Itajuba

The meditation hall

Outdoor meditation

Early morning sun through window of meditation hall

Group at retreat in Belo Horizonte

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Buddhamas Carol, Ode to the Vipassana Yogi

Dear Dhamma friends,

I wish you all a Merry but Mindful Holiday season with Compassion and Metta for all those suffering at the hands and minds of Greed, Hate, and Delusion. 
I repost this link to the, Song of Meditation, for your reminder and reflection:

Here are the Lyrics:

Ode of a Vipassana Yogi
(Composed by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula)
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,
Perceiving the light that steadily glows,
Feeling the rapture from head to the toes.
Silent Mind, Tranquil Mind,
Thoughts are stilled, Body is light,
All the Five Hindrances have died down,
The Ego no longer is spinning around,
Mind is one-pointed not moving a bit,
Enjoying at long last the Jhanic Bliss.
Sitting in Rapturous Joy,
Sitting in Rapturous Joy.
Silent Mind, focused Mind,
All is calm, 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 shows.
The Five Aggregates appear empty as foam,
The Truth of No-Self is easily known.
Silent Mind, Wisdom Mind,
Awareness is strong, Wisdom is fine,
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’s 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, Holy 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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Departing Washington DC

View of the Capitol Mall at sunrise 

Dear friends,
 I completed the vassa period at the Washington Buddhist Vihara and we held the Kathina ceremony on October 16th. A full list of all the talks, sutta study, and meditation sessions is available at this link:

I attended the Kathina ceremony at the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery in West Virginia on October 23rd.
On my way to California I stopped in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and lead a weekend retreat at the Buddha vihara/ meditation center in Burleson.

See my Teaching Travel page for my schedule in the next six months.

Here are a few photos taken during my stay in the nation's capital.

 Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Statue of Abraham Lincoln inside Memorial

US Capitol

WWII Memorial

Rear Entrance of the White House

May all Beings be well, peaceful and wise

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Vassa at the Washington Buddhist Vihara

Dear Dhamma friends in the Washington, Baltimore, Richmond, USA area,

I am spending the vassa  (monks three month rains retreat) period at the Washington Buddhist Vihara on 5017 16th St. Washington, D.C. Here is the schedule of Talks, meditation classes and one day retreats that I will be conducting as part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Vihara this year. This was the first Theravada Buddhist Vihara or temple established in North America. This is also the same vihara where Bhante Henepola Gunaratana was the abbot before he moved to the Bhavana Society.

Bhante Rahula’s teaching schedule at Washington Buddhist Vihara during vassa 2016
During this Vassa season each week from July 22nd to Saturday October 8th, Bhante Yogavacara Rahula will be conducting the following programs at the Washington Buddhist Vihara.
Friday evenings from 7-9 pm a sutta study class followed by a meditation session;
  Saturday afternoons from 3-5.30 pm he will deliver a Dhamma talk followed by a meditation session.
On Sundays from 3-5pm he will give a guided  meditation followed by a Dhamma discussion
In addition, on the following Saturdays he will lead a Day of Mindfulness from 9-5 pm: August 13th, September 17th and October 8th.
Please note: Bhante Rahula will be away from the vihara during these  dates when the classes will not meet: September 9, 10,11; September 30, October 1,2

Friday, June 3, 2016

Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona

Hi Friends,
From April 11th-17th I went on a one week scenic car journey with Gino, an old meditation student/friend from Germany. Having spent a night with me at my mother's house in Riverside we drove through the Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, Hoover Dam, Death Vally and the High Sierra mountains with a view of Mt. Whitney at Lone Pine. I had not been to most of those places since I was a teenager on camping trips through the Southwest with my parents. And Gino had not seen most of these famous National Parks, so it was good fun.
Then back to work. Over April 22-24 I conducted the annual retreat for the Ventura Buddhist Study Group and then headed up to central California to continue a teaching tour spending five days at the Mountain Stream Meditation Center in Nevada City where there were a few talks and a Daylong meditation. Then over the weekend of May 6-8 there was a weekend retreat at the Vietnamese temple in Morgan City located about 15 miles south of San Jose. I also stayed a few days at the Dhammapala Institute in Milpitas and gave a talk there.
On May 9th I flew from San Jose to Portland Oregon where I gave a talk at the Friends of the Dhamma Center and another talk at the Unitarian Church. This was arranged by Mr. and Mrs Pinit who then also took me on a three day nature outing in Central Oregon before heading up to the Columbia River Gorge near Mt. Hood. I stayed at the Pacific Hermitage in White Salmon with three bhikkhus from the Ajahn Cha lineage and Abhayagiri Monastery. While at this small wonderful secluded hermitage we went out on the traditional almsround in the small town where we received ample alms each day. The three American monks staying there were Ajahn Sudanto, the abbot, and Ajahn Karunadhammo and Ven. Caganando. I had met all three of these bhikkhu in previous visits to Abahayagiri and elsewhere over the past years. I was quite impressed how they have built up quite a devoted following among the local residents of this small conservative of town of White Salmon situated on the bluffs overlooking the Columbia River. I lead a weekend retreat there held at the old Grange Hall with about thirty five participants. After the retreat we made a few trips with hikes in the surrounding mountains and along the Columbia River Gorge.

Following are some photos of the journey.

50 year reunion with old High School friends at Joshua Tree

The mountains of rocks at Joshua Tree

Chola Catus Garden

Ancient volcanic crater in the middle of the Mojhave desert

Gino and I walked a mile from the parking lot to the crater

Inside the crater were two muddy ponds from the recent rain

Famous road through Arizona

 More views of the Grand Canyon

Overcoming fear of Heights

The zig-zag Bright Angel trail leading to the Colorado river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon


 The brilliant Vermillion color of the Grand Canyon

 The beginning of the spectacular Grand Canyon River raft trips at Lees Ferry-- I did not go

Millions of years of eroded rocks

Views of Zion National Park

The Great White Throne

Main Cathedral at Zion

Hoover Dam near Las Vegas

Lake Meade behind Hoover Dam

Approaching Death Valley


Badwater Basin; elevation 282 feet below sea level; Lowest point in North America; White color is one foot of salt when the place was an ocean

The High Sierra Mountains of California

Mt. Whitney from Whitney Portal; highest point in the lower 48; elevation 14, 505 ft.

Photos from Central Oregon 
Three Sisters

Mt. Washington

Walking in the Painted Hills

Scenic Smith Rocks
Having Picnics on the Way

Photos along the Columbia River Gorge

Latoule Falls

Punchbowl Falls

Bridge over the Columbia River 

 The Bonneville Dam

Herman the 100 years old Sturgeon

View from Cape Horn

A cool windy afternoon outing

Sleeping Beauty Pinnacle near Mt. Adams, WA

Views from the top

Mt. St. Helens--the jagged rim from the 1980 volcano blast is barely visible under the clouds

Mt. Hood from White Salmon

Alms round in White Salmon, WA

The Retreat