Perched on top of a hill with panoramic views of the sprawling valleys below, Paramita Meditation Centre is built on the site of a previous tea plantation. Its terraced hillside, thickly forested with old tea bushes, pepper vines, jackfruit, avocado, nutmeg and clove trees, attract rich native wild life as long-tailed Macaques live along side squirrels, indigenous birds and their human brethren. The Centre is designed as a spiritual home for the resident monastics and all visitors alike.
The purpose of our Centre is to provide a venue for people from all over the world to come and learn Buddhist meditation, as well as to deepen their practice by participating in group-retreats.
As Paramita Meditation Centre was implemented with the international community in mind, guidance by an experienced resident teacher who is available most of the year is provided in English.
Venerable Bellanwila Dhammaratana Maha Thero, or affectionately known simply as Bhante, was born in Sri Lanka and received his Buddhist ordination at the age of 13. In 1973, Bhante left Sri Lanka for Singapore at the invitation of Venerable M. Mahavihara to assist in making Buddhist teachings more readily available.
During this time he set up the Singapore Buddhist Library and the Buddhist Research Society, whose like-minded members quickly became his support base for the need of a meditation retreat centre for international visitors to practice in, away from the urban metropolis the city has become.
Finally in 1992, Bhante set out to look for the perfect location for the meditation retreat centre in various parts of Sri Lanka. He wanted to find a place that was well acclimated with pleasant weather conducive to the practice of meditation. He was shown several locations, and then along came an offer of a piece of land that used to be a tea plantation.
“Back then, there were no roads, no stairs, just the side of a mountain that was an abandoned tea plantation, thick with thorny forestation,” described Bhante. Buoyed by mere intuition, Bhante made the steep ascent on foot, supporting himself by grabbing bushes and bramble along the way up. By the time he reached the top of the hill, he was covered in scratches and leeches. But he was also rewarded for his efforts by what he saw next.
Upon reaching the precipice, he could see three flat plains that would work as the foundation for a meditation centre. Yet many warned him about the high cost of constructing a building atop a mountain. Undaunted, Bhante pressed on with his plans as he saw what the place could potentially be.
With Bhante’s tenacity and the unyielding support he received from his supporters, construction for Paramita Meditation Centre began in 1998 and was mostly completed in 2002.
The three flat plains eventually became the site for the Dining Hall (1998), Main Shrine and Meditation Hall (2000), and the Stupa, built later in 2008.