Nissarana Wanaya, Meethirigala Forest Hermitage
Hidden among the lush greens of Meethirigala and spread among a 425 acre forest is the 44 year old Buddhist hermitage of Galduwa strict forest hermitage tradition with nearly 20 meditating monks seeking salvation from a never ending cycle of life.
Initiated in 1968 by Asoka Weerarathna, the founder of the German Dharmaduta Society and the Berlin Buddhist Vihara in Germany, who equipped the monastery with all the facilities required to the meditative life. He also found an accomplished meditation master, Ven. Matara Sri Gnanarama Mahathera , the author of ‘Seven stages of Purifications’ and ‘Seven Contemplations’, to direct the meditation training. Having accomplished his mission, Weerarathna himself entered the Buddhist order under the name Meetirigala Dhammanisanthi.
Due to his enormous influence on the revival and study of meditation techniques Ven. Gnanarama Thera was appointed as the chief meditation master of a chain of forest monastery throughout the island called Kalyāṇi Yogāsrama Samsthava or Galduwa collection. Ven Gnanarama Thera was one of the first meditating masters in the country to incorporate the Burmese Vipassana techniques into Sri Lankan meditation traditions and balance them in the teachings of samatha meditation.
The present incumbent of the hermitage and the chief meditation teacher Venerable Uda-Iriyagama Dhammajeewa Thera is an articulate teacher in English and Sinhala. Apart from the years of training under Ven. Matara Sri GnananandaThera he had been training several years under Sayadaw U. Panditabhiwansa in Burma. Ven. Thera has travelled extensively to Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Singapore, Burma, United States, Germany and Canada teaching the practical path to Nibbana. He had taught at centres related to Ven. Bhikku Bodhi, Ven. Ajahn Brahmavanso and Ven. Henapola Gunaratna, some of the other leading meditating masters of present time.
The Nissarana Vanaya Meditation centre holds meditation retreats for male and females throughout the year under the guidance of Ven. Dhammajiva Thera. The monastery maintains the old traditions alive and has operated from its inception on the principle of Generosity.
A yogi is encouraged to practice both insight meditation and concentration meditation in the form of anapanasati bhavana ,mindfulness of the in-breath and the out-breath as well as establishing mindfulness in daily activities encouraging the development of inner peace as well the accountability to otherwise mechanical daily activities.