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In Search of a Bo Tree



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I remember how Dr Piyal Walpola, who became my kind doctor and friend, in Toronto, asked me to meditate on my way to see him. It took about one hour for me to reach Piyal’s clinic. There were times, when I was in pain. However, he told me: "Bandula, just meditate on your way. You will be fine. Don’t think about your illness". I did just that and fell asleep. I woke up only when the chauffeur told me that we reached Piyal’s clinic. The Good Buddhist Mahoshada Pandit took care of me after that. That’s what I called Piyal affectionately. He and his wife, Indi, who is also a doctor, are still in touch with me. And now, I have been surprised by doctors practicing western medicine, in Sri Lanka,. They have faith in meditation, Bo Trees and the Dhamma and religion.


Some friends brought me meat, especially liver, asking me to eat it. I ate it, thinking it would help me. When I told this to Dr Upali Weragama he said, "You shouldn't have done that. We cannot try to improve our health by eating the flesh of animals". He is right. I felt ashamed, for eating liver twice. There has to be kindness and Metta towards every living being. When Buddha preached "May all living beings be happy and healthy" he meant not only human beings: All living beings. Then several doctors asked me to sit under a Bo Tree and meditate or just sit and relax.


They said the pointed Bo leaf


provided oxygen and it was very healthy for me.


The doctors didn't ask me to go to the temple to worship or to have long chats with the Buddhist monks or to listen to their sermons, but look for huge Bo Trees which would give me energy. They also told me that there should be white sand around them (Sudu Veli). You wouldn't believe what I had to go through when I went in search of a Bo Tree in Colombo.


I am not going to mention the names of all the temples I went to.


However, I was disgusted to find how commercialized the temples have become. I refused even to enter some temples, when I saw their riches and vast areas the monks have acquired. The areas, surrounding the Bo Trees in the temples, I visited, were full of concrete. There were various additions too. To me these weren't the real temples we used to visit. A neighbour, Leslie Ranasinghe, asked me to go to a temple he had visited five years ago. He said "It would suit your purpose". He was shocked to hear what I had to say about that temple. All I wanted to do is to sit calmly and get the energy of the Bo Tree.


After a long search, thanks to former Army Commander General Daya Ratnayaka, I found a nice Bo Tree at a temple close to where I live in Colombo. That temple didn't have security; its gates were wide open. No one asked me what I was doing there. I am sure it was obvious to them why I was there and what I was doing. The Bo Tree was huge and it gave everyone shade. There were benches all around the Bo Tree. I could sit there peacefully. It is a real temple.


I also received a call from Venerable Buddangala Ananda Thera (formerly, Major General Ananda Weerasekara of the Sri Lanka Army) all the way from Ampara. It is interesting what he told me. He said "Malli, please look for a good and a learned monk. Don’t go to just any monk please. Learn the Anapana Sati Bhavana (Anapana Sati meditation). It would help you." He did emphasise that I must learn it from a good monk. I am sure many mislead us today. Until then, I am thankful to that wonderful human being from Ottawa, in Canada, Asoka Weerasinghe. He e-mailed me all necessary information about the Anapana Sati to me, in July 2015, and I am trying to use it.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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