Paramita Meditation Centre consists of
- a Main Shrine and Meditation Hall (Sri Somaratana Hall),
- a Group Retreat Meditation Hall (Dhammaratana Hall),
- a Stupa (Chetiya),
- a Dining Hall,
- an extensive Library,
- a Bookstore,
- and 17 cabins (kutis).
In line with the Buddhist practice of seeing that all things are dependent upon one another, the Centre is built around core principles of sustainability and ecological preservation. As few trees as possible were removed during the construction of this site, thereby preserving the natural habitat of the native flora and fauna.
Paramita Meditation Centre aims to be clean, simple and spartan in design and construction, with open spaces to breathe, walk and meditate. While we have a few key staff, we depend on our visitors to keep the place clean and functional. As such, all visitors are responsible for the housekeeping of their own kuti during their stay and washing up after each meal.
Shoes or slippers are to be removed upon entering any building or kuti, especially the Meditation Halls, Library and Dining Hall.
Sri Somaratana Hall
Also known as the Main Shrine and Meditation hall, Sri Somaratana Hall was named by the Founder Venerable Bellanwila Dhammaratana in honour of his late teacher Venerable Bellanwila Sri Somaratana Nayaka Thera. It was also one of the first buildings constructed when Paramita Meditation Centre opened in December 2000.
Hibiscus and jasmine abound in the surrounding gardens and their blossoms are used for the puja services in the beautiful shrine hall each morning.
On full moon or poya days, throngs of locals stream in dressed in full white attire come to pay their respects to the Buddha, listen to Dhamma talks, practice walking or sitting meditation while observing noble silence.
So named as a tribute to the Founder by his followers, Dhammaratana Hall was officially opened in August 2015. The Hall is intended for group retreats, to have a private space away from the Main Shrine to practice in.
Able to hold up to 20 people comfortably, Dhammaratana Hall also has an outdoor patio with a breathtaking view under the open sky that is conducive to meditation in all four postures (sitting, standing, lying down, walking), or simply just being present with one s breath.
In July 2008, the Chetiya (Stupa) was officially opened to great fanfare. The Stupa is traditionally a structure containing the relics of the Buddha, so as to inspire all to walk the path he discovered. However, Paramita Meditation Centre’s Chetiya was designed and built with the added intention of providing practitioners with a room for meditation shielded from all outside noise and distractions.
The Chetiya sits tall on bed of sand, and marks the highest point of the Paramita Meditation Centre. A Bodhi tree sapling was specially brought in from Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara and planted in front of the Stupa as a reminder of the path the Buddha taught and what he was able to overcome.
The Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment meditating under a Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya in India. In the 3rd Century BC, the right-wing branch from the historical Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was subsequently brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta Thera, the daughter of Emperor Asoka, who was also the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.
Planted in Mahamewna Gardens in 249 BC by King Devanampiya Tissa, the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura is said to be the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known historical record. It is widely regarded as one of the most sacred Buddhist symbols in Sri Lanka.
32 saplings from this tree were distributed across the world and one of it was planted in Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara.
Today, a sapling obtained in 2012 from the tree at Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara grows strong in front of the Stupa at the highest point of Paramita Meditation Centre, reminding us of the path Buddha taught.
For those who wish to further their Buddhist studies and research, Paramita Meditation Centre offers excellent resources. The Library, through its relationship with the Singapore Buddhist Library and Buddhist Research Society has an extensive collection of Buddhist texts and publications about Buddhism. The texts include all traditions and schools of Buddhism.
We serve nourishing home-style vegetarian food, cooked using fresh local produce. Breakfast is often served simply, with lunch as the main meal of the day. As Buddhist monastics only observe two meals a day, a light snack and beverages will be served for those who require a third meal in the evening.
We do our best to cater to specific individual dietary requirements or medical needs where possible. However, please bring your own supplies, supplements and medications as necessary.
Noble silence is observed during meal times. The mindful act of consuming food reminds us of our dependence upon and the gratitude we feel towards the efforts of countless beings and conditions that have made each meal possible. Kindly also refrain from engaging in reading and other activities when you eat or drink.
It is in this same spirit that we ask you to kindly help clean up after each meal.
The cabins called kutis are equipped with modern toilets and showers, electricity and room fans. The beds have comfortable mattresses and linen is provided. They are all within convenient distance to the meditation halls, dining hall and the library.
On a space available basis, and earliest reservation date, single occupancy will be the preferred assignment. Two dormitories with multiple beds are also available for larger retreat groups.
In the spirit of generosity in communal living, please be kind, considerate, courteous, and not do anything that may cause an inconvenience to others. In accordance with the practice of mindfulness, all visitors are asked to maintain, clean up their kuti and dispose of their trash before they leave, in gentle anticipation of the next visitor.
During your stay, kindly note that complete segregation of the sexes is to be observed. Please avoid all physical contact except in case of emergencies. We ask that Paramita Meditation Centre be respected as a sanctuary for study and meditation, not as a hotel or a recreation centre for passing tourists.
The Centre has an on-site bookstore with a wide variety of books from many publishers. These are available at reasonable prices.
In the spirit of making the teachings of the Buddha widely accessible, visitors can also find books here that have been printed for free distribution.