ABOUT

How it all began...

The Sangha lead by the Venerable Siri Samanthabadra Maha Thero, has performed a tremendous service to the country and the society through Siri Sadaham Monastery for a period of more than a decade. Siri Sadaham Monastery is situated in Bellanthara, Colombo. In order to spread the message of eternal joy and peace to more people, they have extended the program to Umandawa.

Daily life at Umandawa...

Umandawa is a hive of activity with Buddhist monks and nuns in saffron robes together with volunteers and participants work to develop mindfulness. Both the Monks and Nuns enjoy periods of silence, sitting meditation, rest, relaxation and mindful work. Residents of the Monastery have to travel on foot, and engage in the daily activities of the monastery including, planting trees, maintenance, engaging in organic farming as well as preparing meals, thereby learning mindfulness by focusing on each activity. Both the monks and nuns together with the participants prepare the ingredients, adding spices and condiments and cook the meals. Wood-lit stoves and copper saucepans are used to ensure the nutritional goodness of the ingredients are preserved.

Generally, the nuns together with volunteers make various food items and beverages, which are not for commercial purposes. It is done to provide the knowledge and experience to those of all age groups that visit or participate in the retreats. Every day at dawn the monks and the nuns arrive in a disciplined manner, mindful of each step. They sit on the grassy lawn and engage in a discussion with Most Ven Siri Samanthabhadra Arahath Thero. Once the discussion is over, first the monks, then the nuns and finally the lay men and women serve themselves and partake their meals, all at the same time. This is a deviation from the norm where generally the meals are served to those who are ordained by the devotees. And, lay men and women eat only after the monks and the nuns have finished. But it is not so at Umandawa, as Most Ven Siri Samanthabhadra Arahath Thero explains; we are all humans and when it comes to food, all are equal. The mid-day Daane (alms) is served at the Kethumathi Prasadaya in a similar manner.