Clture and Religion

Nilambe Meditation Centre

The teacher, until his death in March 2000, at this centre was Godwin Samararatne, a layman with extensive experience of teaching both in Sri Lanka and abroad. Godwin's style was firmly within the Buddhist tradition but with an emphasis on metta (loving-kindness) and mindfulness in daily life. The emphasis at the centre under teacher Upul Gamage continues to stress these aspects. The centre is in beautiful surroundings above a tea plantation outside of Kandy. On Poya (full moon) days there is an optional Group Meditation through the night. On the quarter and half moon days there is an optional extended Group Meditation until midnight.

The centre is easily reached by bus from Kandy. Buses for Galaha pass Nilambe Office Junction (about 17km). From there it is a steep walk (or rickshaw ride) through tea plantations to reach the centre. Alternatively, taxis or autorickshaws are available from Kandy. Autorickshaws are generally available from the bottom of the office junction, at Nilambe. It is a good idea to contact the centre in advance to let them know when you will be arriving. Advice can also be sought from the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy.

Meditators stay from one night to several years, and the centre can help long term meditators with visa extensions. Accommodation at the centre is in single or shared rooms. The centre has no electricity supply, and conditions are adequate but basic. Although this is a lay centre, often there are members of the Sangha undertaking personal retreats at Nilambe.

The centre charges 500 Sri Lankan rupees per day (about USD 4.50, EUR 3.50 ) to foreigners to cover accommodation and food. Sri Lankans may offer donations instead. The majority of longer-term meditators are Westerners, but many Sri Lankans also use the centre (particularly around Poya days). Teaching is available in English and Sinhala from the resident teachers. There is a good library of books and tapes in English and Sinhala.