Forest Meditation Monastery
We started out thinking we were going to rent a cottage in the jungle and meditate. Leaving Negombo, we drove south around Colombo and east, high into the mountains. Then down off the highway and deep into a jungle valley. By the stone cottage wasn’t ready. The water didn’t work, and so many things were broken.
Then a friend found a monastery through his sister that was open to us. We drove up higher into the mountains, way back into a verdant valley, and visited the place. After meeting the monks and chief incumbent, we were invited to stay. We spent one night in a hotel, then the next day we stored our stuff with the friend’s sister. We brought a minimum of things with us to the monastery—mostly white clothes.
We entered the monastery just before noon. The monks were very friendly and extremely helpful getting us settled. We stowed our belongings in a duplex kutir and went down to meet the chief incumbent monk. He seemed genuinely interested in us, asking many detailed questions about our spiritual life as our friend translated.
I was overwhelmed with the devotional mood. People think of Buddhism as dry and impersonal, but the deep mood of meditation brings out the love in everyone’s heart. I spent the afternoon in a mood of deep gratitude for being in contact with such nice monks.