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At the beginning of every Buddhist function, the participants recite the basic Qualities of the Buddha, which is the
Greeting the Buddha:
Then follows the recitation of the
9 Qualities of the Buddha – Buddha-guna
More elaborated is the reciting of the
14 Buddha's Knowledges – Buddha-òána
THIS ENGLISH SITE IS
|Buddhism in Central Europe||go to Buddha to the Heart of Europe|
Following is the very first text that I have jotted down upon my arrival to Europe in May 2000, and then written up a month later. This is a very personal record of my experiencing during one of the most important times in my life; I am describing the key events of my coming as Bhikkhu back to my birthplace, meeting my people and my trying to give them the very best what I know: the treasure of Dhamma that was kept alive in Sri Lanka for more than two thousand years.
At the Katunayaka Airport in Sri Lanka, immediately after getting the Buddha statue checked in, I phoned Manick Rodrigo to Barberyn and Berty Jayasinghe to Kandy to tell them that we made it and how very happy I was about it. Mahesha Yahampath, who has together with Gamini Hettiarachchi donated the Buddha statue, has been with me at the airport till I got the statue checked in, communicating via his mobile phone, he has sent through an airport clerk also the cheque to pay for the excess weight. At the counter, they allowed me to take only the Buddha statue and my handbag with the notebook and warm cloth – I had to send everything else back to Sambodhi Vihara. In my suitcase, there were all the bhikkhu–parikkhara–sets donated by Sylvia Ratnayake and her friends for the Czech samaneras, further there were in that suitcase also all the presents for my friends, and all my other personal things, too. Yet the powerful feeling of an auspicious start was surmounting all that.
In Moscow, I saw then how they bring the Buddha statue to the Prague bound aircraft – this sight made me to feel happily warm around my heart, despite of the fact that the outer temperature was only 2 centigrades above the freezing point. Nevertheless I have put on my socks and the brand new warm shoes donated just before the departure by Desamanya Nissanka Wijewardane and his wife; I have used the Aeroflot–voucher for a cup of hot tea, too. The hours of waiting at the Moscow airport gave me an opportunity for meditating. I was also reflecting my resolution to come to Czech Republic incognito and not to appear this time on TV or elsewhere in front of general public till the first day of Vesakh celebrations in the Czech Crystals Meditation Center.
Reviewing my whole Dhammaduta carrier, I have remembered first meetings with my teachers Sri Anagarika Munindra, Ven. Nyanaponika Thera, Ven. Piyadassi Thera, Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and Ven. Rewatadhamma Sayadaw who have trained me for more than thirty years how to teach Dhamma. In my mind I saw the picture of my home, the Forest Hermitage in Kandy, my old companion and mentor Ven. Siridhamma Thera there, and also all the other dear beings of my usual everyday space. I have recounted the speech of my preceptor Ven. Nyanaratana Thera, in which he quoted Buddha sending his pupils to go and spread Dhamma for the welfare of many. On that same day of my official parting from Sambodhi Vihara in Colombo, Chandima de Silva, the president of our Dayaka Sabha, compared my mission to Central Europe with that of Maha Mahinda Thera to Sri Lanka twenty three centuries ago. Yes, the teaching of Buddha was known in Sri Lanka, yet it needed to be ascertained by also establishing the continuity of Sangha. Seeing that my resolution was firm, clear, and well founded, I felt at ease.
In Prague, I was at first somewhat worried how I shall get through the customs. To counter it, I recited in inner speech all the gathas that could be helpful to positively influence all beings including the custom officers and I also intensively radiated Metta. Obviously they understood that they see a Buddhist monk and were very respectful. The checking of the Buddha statue was done in a very simple manner and I have passed through customs within less than three minutes. At the arrival hall of the Prague airport, three leaders of Buddhist groups, Karel Hájek, Vlastík Blahynka, and Petr Slamený have been waiting there – although I have informed only Karel about the time of my arrival, they somehow managed to find out about it and came. They handed over to me bread and salt, as is prescribed by the ancient Czech tradition for welcoming a foreign guest of high standing. Thus this has been my very first pindapata–dana in the country of my birth.
On the way from airport to Karel’s house, he asked me whether I could come to chant Paritta at the intensive unit of a cancer clinic where a friend, one of the Czech satitherapy teachers is dying. Of course, I agreed. So this hospital has been the very first house, which I have entered on the Czech soil. The patient’s body was very emaciated, yet there was good clarity of the patient’s mind. The patient understood the appropriate Dhammadesana well and passed away peacefully next morning. This has been my first bhikkhu service to my people in Czechia.
The week following my arrival to Czechia has been filled with preparations for formal handing over the Buddha statue at the Vesakha Celebration. The leaders of local Bodhi Groups came to see me at Karel’s house and we discussed the plans for Buddhist activities during this year as well as for the years to come.
The accounts and photographs of the Vesakha Celebrations are in another document.
My loving thoughts are with you, my dear friends.
With the Blessings of Triple Gem,
Bhikkhu Ayu Kusalananda
Āyukusala Central European