"The Triratna sangha in the tropical island of Sri Lanka might be tiny for a country having millions of people calling themselves Buddhist, but it does remain lively - something I've just encountered again following my recent visit.
"Over a week late March Saddhavira, Supadma (visiting from Wardha, India) and myself held a series of meetings and talks around our base in central Colombo and Dhammamitra Renuka’s hospitable South Ceylon guesthouse in Unuwatuna - right on the beach! For about the first time I used a non-Triratna book as basis for the study: the excellent One Dharma by Joseph Goldstein, which I find a good example of unified ‘Ekayana’ Buddhism now also becoming popular outside Triratna. In Colombo we attracted a total of 15-20 people over the three days we were there, whilst in Unuwatuna we saw a few each night and no less than 20 for the day retreat – a record in recent times!
"The reason for this deserves some special attention, as it may also serve as a guideline for other outposts and an invitation for any Triratna community member who wants to help spread the Dharma. Back in Winter 2010 we had already had a one-month stay by Colchester mitras Anne and Ian, which stimulated quite a few local people (esp. women) between Galle and Matara to become more active. This winter these two small heroes, both semi-retired, made it to the island for a full three months. During their time with us they simply kept in close contact with Saddhavira, and decided to run a weekly Saturday meditation morning class; a discipline which normally, due to Saddhavira’s semi-nomadic lifestyle, is hard to sustain. And it worked! - their attendance grew from 2-3 to 5-10 people every Saturday, and culminated with our ‘huge’ day retreat late March. Now Saddhavira has a stable basis to build upon, and we’re looking forward already to the next visit of these and maybe other foreign mitras!"
The photo shows the Unuwatuna day retreat, with Anne and Ian in the back row next to Ujukarin. More photos are on Facebook here.