Friday, 23 December 2011



In Sri Lanka where there are many Meditation Centres Pallekelle Devanapethis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre  is a Meditation Centre of the Theravada tradition of Buddhismis very much different from others.
Its founder the Late Venerable Amatha Gavesi wanted a Meditation Centre where the Strict methods of Meditation in terms of the Buddha’s discourses are followed. He was a meditation instructor at the Kanduboda Buddhist Meditation Centre, but he left that Centre as he disagreed with the choice of the up and down movement of the abdomen as an object of Meditation by the Centre, as it is out side the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha had recommended , and he himself used the in and out breath as the object of meditation.

After leaving Kanduboda, he went to the Daham Medura, Embuldeniya, Nugegoda where he started conducting 14 day retreats on a unique method developed on his own keeping strictly within the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

He had a firm belief that women are spiritually more caring and the Buddha Sasana will continue its existence through the piety and devotion of the Buddhist Women.
Therefore, he sought the assistance of these lay women Upasikavo in white robes. In 1996 he invited Chandra Manio from Pothuhera, Kurunegala, who was an ordained yellow robed Sil Matha to head the Order of Nuns, he intended to establish later.

The contribution of Venerable Amatha Gavesi to the Buddhist Meditation in Sri Lanka is unique, as he initiated the establishment of the Order of Dasa Sil Manio- lay women, who had given up their homes to live a monastic life keeping ten precepts, and uplifting their status among the Buddhist laity,  giving them the responsibility of teaching the method of Meditation he founded based on his own personal experience.
(Dasasil Manio the Nuns at the Centre Going for alms)

His objective was to give the true Dhamma, with instructions for meditation to the poor villagers from remotes parts of the Country. He reduced the complexities of the teachings, and made meditation accessible to the devout villagers who are  satisfied making generous donation of alms to the Buddhist monks,to acquire wholesome kamma (kusala kamma) but  apprehensive to take to meditation.

He was very successful in his endeavour and the villagers from remote areas of Sri Lanka came to the Centre for Meditation, and now they have become the main providers of alms to the Priests , the Nuns and the Lay meditators of the Centre. This allows the Meditation Centre to give free meals and accommodation for any one who comes for meditation.

The Meditation in the Centre is based on the teaching of Loving Kindness, extended to all living beings, and contemplating on the loathsomeness of the 32 parts of the body.

The Venerable Amatha Gavesi Thero the founder of the Centre who was Born in Walana, Panadura on the 19 December, 1918 passed away on the 11 June, 2003.
He was succeeded by Venerable Mahawatte Panditha Pemalankara Thero, who also died in 2009.

The Centre is now managed by the Venerable Chandra Loku Maniyo.
Chandra Loku Manio is the very embodiment of the dhamma practiced at the Centre. She remains to-day the guardian of the principles laid down by her teacher the Late Venerable Amatha Gavesi Mahathera to keep the practice of Meditation strictly within the teachings of the Buddha.

She needs the support of all Buddhists who would appreciate the continuation of this Meditation Centre perhaps the only one of its kind in the World, for the dispensation of the true teachings of the Buddha in its simplicity for the ordinary people coming from the far corners of Sri Lanka, and those who come from foreign countries such as Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, or those without any knowledge of meditation, but with the desire to learn Buddhist Meditation

Its Situation and its History

Pallekelle Devanapathis Samatha Vipassana Bhavana Centre is situated in Pallekelle, Near Kundasale.

The Venerable Amata Gavesi was ordained a Monk at the Kanduboda Meditation Centre, where he was a meditation Instructor. Later when he left Knaduboda Meditation Centre and was looking for a place to start a Meditation Centre of his own, the present land and the buildings from the Pallekelle Gam Udawa project of the late President R.Premadasa were presented to him in 1991.

Later many benefactors came forward from Sri Lanka and Singapore to help construct additional buildings, providing separate “ kuti” or rooms for woman and men meditators, Shrine Rooms, a kitchen and a dining hall.

The Late Venerable Amata Gavesi Thero commenced conducting Meditation retreats in the Centre in February, 1994, since then there have been regular 14day Meditation retreats without interruption, and are continued even today to the benefit of thousands of devotees from Sri Lanka, Singapore, Canada, Australia, USA and Japan. Now there is even a resident Japanese Nun in the Centre

The Centre is self contained with its own electricity power plant, water pipes, and buildings. It has about 30 resident nuns. There is accommodation for about 50 meditators. The meals are provided by the donors, who have previously registered their names. They come to the Centre the evening before to prepare the breakfast and then the Lunch. No meals are served after that other than offering plain tea at four and seven in the evening.

In addition to alms giving by the laity, there are also those who make financial donations to help the maintenance of the Centre. A lay meditator is not required to pay for accommodation or meals, these are provided free.

(women meditators participating in a Dhamma discussion)

The Meditation instructions are given by the resident "Nuns", who have now gained considerable experience instructing those who come to them to get instructions for meditation from various walks of life , from simple villagers to local and foreign laity , University Scholars and students,

The Meditation Centre is situated a good distance away from Kandy. One who has to go to the Centre should take a bus from the Kandy Bus Stand at the Clock tower to Pallekelle or take any bus that goes to Digana or Kundasale and ask to be dropped at Pallekelle Gamudawa Meditation Centre.
(photo of Meditation Centre)

The Method of Meditation followed at the Centre

The Method of Meditation at the Devanapathis Samatha Vippassa Meditation Center is the practice of Kayanupassana (meditation on the 32 parts of the body) and Metta Bhavana (meditation on Universal love to all beings, directed to the 10 cardinal points). The former, against attachment to self and the latter ,against aversion. This is followed by the meditation on the in and out breath as it touches a spot under the nostrils (anapanasati bhavana) to attain Samadhi ( deep concentration) and allow the mind to absorb into four jhana states through noble effort with determination. Mindful observation of nama (mentality) and rupa( materiality) and hetu (cause) and phala (effect) and the attention turned towards rising and falling away of thoughts conditions the mind for Vipassana Meditation. Thereafter careful practice of Kammatthana( instructions) given by the nuns(Manio) a meditator may ascend the path in stages to attain freedom-nibbana.
Zen Buddhism speaks of a Buddha citta the original mind, that every being possessed before it became cluttered through continuous belief in a self and developing various habits in the process of cultivating the self. Bringing this mind back to its original purity is the development of the mind without distortion.

This in essence is what the Maha Thero did in developing a method which is simple in its application and remarkable in achievement. He applied the Theravada teachings strictly adhering to the Sutta Pitaka, making it simple for ordinary people to understand and practice. His discourses made in unpretentious simplicity

Other Activities of the Nuns at the Centre.

The Nuns- Manio as they are called, not only dispense the Buddha Dhamma related to Meditation to those who attend the regular 14 day retreats at the Centre, but also visit the Open Prison at Kundasale where they conduct Meditation Sessions for the benefit of the Prisoners.

They also give sermons-Dhamma desana and conduct meditation classes in the temples near by and in Kandy High School, Pushpadana Girls School and Mahamaya Collage in Kandy.


It would be a great experience for the expatriate Sri Lankans or foreign tourists to Sri Lanka to pay a visit to this Centre when ever visiting Sri Lanka.
Foreign visitors who are interested in Meditation should write to the Centre to get registered for a retreat. Venerable Dhammadinna Manio gives meditation instructions in English
(Ven.Dhamma Dinna Manio)
Free accommodation and meals are provided for those who follow a retreat . The Centre strictly forbids any commercial exploitation. Further information could be obtained by writing directly to the Centre. If you are in Sri Lanka and paying a visit to Kandy, take a Bus from the Kandy Bus Stand near the clock tower and ask the bus conductor to drop you at the Meditation Centre( Gamudawa)
Devenapathis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre,
Telephone number:   08 12420050
alternately if you so desire, you may contact me

What is Different in the Pallekelle Meditation Centre and how is a day spent as a meditator ?

Before I went to the Bhavana Centre at Pallekelle I had written about in my website. I was meditating at Nilambe Bhavana Centre, which was in charge of my friend late Godwin Samararatne. I did several retreats there but the atmosphere in the centre was not to my liking. It was predominantly a Meditation for the Western Meditators.

My friend who was then conducting meditation was more often invited to conduct meditation retreats abroad and the centre when he was away was Managed by the Western meditators, who had been residing their for a long time and developed a sort of vested interest in the Centre.

They had their own ideas of conducting meditation retreats which were not what I had expected it to be. However, I followed a meditation retreat there conducted by an American Buddhist monk Yogavacara Venerable Rahula, which was interesting and gave me an added interest in the practice of meditation.

When I was meditating there at Nilambe Meditation Centre I met some people who spoke to me of the Meditation Centre at Pallekelle, and invited me to visit that Centre. I went their with my brother and met the High Priest Venerable Amatha Gavesi, who was the founder of the Centre. He was a very kind person and he invited us to follow the next 15 day meditation retreat . We accepted the invitation and that was how I began my meditation practice in that Centre.

It is a different place from Nilambe. There were ordinary Sinhala Buddhists from villages, some of them very old, but were very devoted and pious. And the atmosphere was quite the opposite from what it was at Nilambe and I liked the place for its real monastic atmosphere and the calm environment. I do not want to say more about the Centre as all details have been given in the website or at

Each retreat that begins after the full moon day of the month lasts 14 days. The day at the Centre begins at 4 in the morning. All the meditators, about thirty selected from those who have been registered on individual requests, get together at the main hall at 4.45 in the morning. The Instructions are given by Nuns who had been trained to give meditation instructions. These Nuns conduct the morning offering of flowers, light lamps before the Buddha Statue in the shrine room in the Hall . Then every one sits down to join in prayers, chanting of verses, and few Suttas.

At the end every one is offered a cup of potage of rice and milk, mixed with medicinal herb, before they meet again in the Hall to follow a conducted meditation in loving kindness (metta) and then contemplation of the 32 parts of the body. Then all the meditators sweep and clean the premises. They are then invited for the morning alms giving (breakfast).

After that the meditators divided into groups of 4 or 5, go to the Nuns allocated to a group to take meditation instructions. You are treated as a new comer to meditation even if you have practiced meditation before. The meditators are required to follow the instructions given by the Teacher in the Centre. After taking instructions the meditators may go to any quiet place in the Centre, or in the garden under a tree or under a pillar in the Hall and meditate on the in and out breath( anapanasati bhavana) and do walking meditation in between, which cuts the monotony of the sitting meditation and helps develop concentration , until it is time for lunch. After lunch the meditator may take a small break before continuing to meditate.

In the evening every one is served with a plain cup of tea and no food what so ever is allowed after lunch .

A meditator may continue to meditate late into the night. The following day after the breakfast the meditators meet their respective teachers and give a complete report of the previous days meditation experience, their personal problems, difficulties in following the meditation instructions, and any matter concerning meditation, and personal problems met with in the course of meditation.

That is how a day is spent in the Meditation Centre.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Meditation Retreat at Pallekelle Devenapatis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre


Pallekelle Devenapatis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre has 14 day retreats beginning every following day after the Full Moon each month.

In order to follow a retreat at the Centre please write to the following address or give a telephone call to the Centre to find out whether  the Centre could enrol you for a meditation retreat. Please givie the month and the year in which you hope to do a retreat.

Venerable Dhammadinna Manio gives meditation instructions to English speaking meditators. However, if you want instructions in Sinhala  you will be directed to a Manio when you once arrive at the Centre. The Centre is administered by Buddhists Nuns (Manio)

The address of the Centre is: 
Pallekelle Devenapatis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre,
Pallekelle, Kundasale(via Kandy)
Sri Lanka.
·       The telephone number of the Centre is: 08 12 42 00 50- the Office is open from 8.30 a.m to 1.00 pm(Sri Lanka time)

If you are opting for meditation instructions in Englishe please address the letter to:

Venerable Dhammadinna Manio.


Once enrolled for a retreat, accommodation, morning breakfast, lunch and tea are provided free of  charge.  (If you would want to make a financial gift  at your departure, it is entirely at your discretion.  The Centre does not demand any payment for the diseminationof Dhamma or providing meditationn instructions. )

A meditator takes a precept not to take any untimely meal, therefore the Centre will not provide you with anything to eat after lunch.

You have to wear white clothes during your stay at the Centre.  Your dress would therefore be a white blouse/shirt, a long white cloth wrapped round the waist falling up to your ankles (Sarong or Lungi), or a comfortable long and white pair of trousers.  You will put a white cloth around your upper body.

A square or rectangular piece of cloth will be handy to  put over your food which will be served in to your plate at the dinning hall.  A thick serviette will be useful to spread on the ground  to sit down, or  to spread on the ground when you pray at the Stupa or the Bodhi tree.

Take a serviette( a bath towel), a bed sheet and a pillow cover.  A torch and an umbrella will be useful. Eucalyptus spray may help to drive away the mosquitoes. Also do not forget small personal medication for unexpected cuts and bruises, headaches or mosquito bites etc.

You should also have with you a plate and a cup- those aluminium plates and a cup with a handle are ideal (they could be bought in Sri Lanka, they are inexpensive)


When you arrive in Sri Lanka you go to Kandy.  In Kandy there is a bustand by the side of a Clock Tower.  From there take a bus that goes to Kundasale, or  Digane, ask the conductor in the bus to drop you at the  Gam Udawa to go to Pallekelle Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre. Be careful of any volunteers who may offer to help you.  The direction to the Centre is indicated on sign posts near the bus stop.


If you have been informed that you are enrolled for a retreat, and arrive at the Centre you will be asked to attend a meeting with the Manio in Charge of retreats.  You will first  be given a key to your Kuti.  Thereafter there will be an introductory talk where you are informed of the discipline expected of you, and the conduct of meditation during the retreat, how you should take your meals, how you should be dressed and your attendance to the  daily programme.  The meditators present will be divided into groups and  each group will be put in charge of a Manio.  She will be your teacher, spiritual friend and meditation instructor through out the retreat.

Thereafter you will meet your teacher every morning after breakfast.  Dhamma talks are normally in Sinhala and there are no discourses delivered in English. Your primary interest is in meditation and therefore you should devote  your time for meditation.  Normally if you are a keen meditator  you will do 8 to 10 hours of meditation per day.  That would leave little time  for you to listen to discourses, read or write.  It would not be an ordeal- a trying experience , believe me it would be a great joy sitting for meditation after the preliminary initiation.

Extending a retreat or cutting short a retreat is a matter you should discuss with your teacher once you have been admitted for a retreat.


The Centre has no internet facilities.  Therefore it is best you write to the address given above.

If you would like to get meditation instructions in English, please telephone the office and ask for the telephone number of Venerable Dhammadinna Manio.  The Nuns in the Office are very kind and will help you with any further information.  If you speak to them in English please speak slowly and distinctly, as not all of them are fluent in English.
Office and Dining Hall

I am always at you disposal for any  more questions on retreats.

Wish you a very happy Meditation Retreat in Pallekelle Devenapathis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre.

Form demanding a meditation Retreat at Devenapathis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre, Pallekelle, Kundasale (via Kandy) SRI LANKA
(Please make a photo copy of this form and send it to the address given in the form)

Name:  First Name……………….Last or Family Name:………………….


Sex: Male/ Female:  Age:.......................

Full address:............................................................................................................


Meditation Instructions will be provided in the English Language

Month..................and year........... when you propose to attend the Meditation Retreat.

Number of Persons accompanying you.  Each person should fill a separate form.

Hospitals and Doctors are far away from the Centre , therefore the Centre cannot accept and take responsibility for any one with an illness that requires regular medical attention.

Applications should be from those who are interested in meditation as an extension of a Buddhist religious practice or interested in Buddhist Teachings and expect to experience mental development in Meditation. It should not be for an investigation of its value as a religious practice, or for an ultimate use for any commercial purpose.

Signature and Date

The following space is for the use of the Meditation Centre

The month ..............during which you propose to attend a Meditation Retreat is unfortunately complete, but the Centre would be  pleased to accept you for a Meditation Retreat during the period……….to……..of the Month of……………, 20……..

If it suits you please confirm your  acceptance, and  be present at the Centre by 3 PM on……………..

If not please request for another alternative date.

If the applicant requests Meditation Instructions in English, please address the letter to: Venerable Dhammadinna Manio, Pallekelle Devenapathis Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre, Pallekelle, Kundasale, SRI LANKA

The telephone number of the Center is: 08 12 42 00 50.

The Instructions for a Retreat at the Centre is attached.  Please read the  page above in the Blog for details.

Signature on behalf of the Meditation Centre, and Date

Venerabel Kiribathgoda Gnanananda's discourses on Sathipatthana i Sinhala

Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnananda  makes a complete sermon  on the four foundations of mindfulness( Sathara Sathi Patthana) It is in Sinhala.  It is very useful for all those who wants to know about the Buddha's teachings on  Meditation.   To listen to the Video please cut and paste  onto the search engine the following URL.

It lasts four hours. It is an important  sermon which should be listened to the very end. Please profit from this great discourse of the Buddha

Following is another interesting Dhamma discussion alittle more thanone hour in Sinhala

with metta