Na Uyana Aranya

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Nā Uyana Aranya Senāsanaya
Na uyana aranya cave kuti.jpg
Cave kuti in Na Uyana Aranya
Information
Denomination Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha
Founded 1954
Founder(s) Wigoda Bodhirakkhita Mahathera
Director(s) Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera
Address Nā Uyana Aranya Senāsanaya, Pansiyagama 60554, Sri Lanka
Country Sri Lanka
Coordinates Coordinates: 7°44′16.25″N 80°30′59.67″E / 7.7378472°N 80.5165750°E / 7.7378472; 80.5165750
Website http://nauyana.org

Nā Uyana Aranya Senāsanaya (Sinhala: නා උයන ආරණ්‍ය සේනාසනය, meaning ‘Ironwood Grove Forest Monastery’) is a Buddhist forest monastery in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, associated with the Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha. It spreads over more than 5000 acres of forest on the ‘Dummiya’ mountain range, and is residence to about 100 Buddhist monks. Na Uyana is so named because of the old Ceylon ironwood forest that forms part of the monastery.

History[edit]

The white coloured stupa of Na Uyana Aranya is in the foreground. Tall Ceylon ironwood trees, which has given the monastery its name, can be seen in the background.
Stupa of Na Uyana Aranya, surrounded by Ceylon ironwood trees

Ancient cave dwellings with Brāhmī inscriptions as well as ruins of a small Stupa complex have been found at Na Uyana which date back to 3rd century BCE. The new stupa of the monastery is built on the location of this complex. One inscription states that King Uttiya has donated his pleasure grove to the Sangha. As Uttiya was the successor to King Devanampiya Tissa, during whose reign Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka, the ancient monastery at Na Uyana seems to have been one of the first in the country established outside Anuradhapura.

The ancient monastery was rediscovered by Ven. Wigoda Bodhirakkhita Thera in 1954. Sayadaw U Nandavamsa and Sayadaw U Javana, senior Burmese disciples of Mahasi Sayadaw, visited the monastery in 1956.[1]

Ven. Angulgamuwe Ariyananda Thera moved to Na Uyana in 1997 with a group of monks and started a revival that has made it the largest monastery in the Yogasrama Samstha. It is also one of the main international monasteries in Sri Lanka, with about 25 foreign monks. Ven. Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera, the Spiritual Director of Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha, also resides at Na Uyana.

Layout[edit]

A long shot of the Dummiya mountains range, home to Na Uyana Aranya.
The Dummiya mountain range, home to Na Uyana Aranya. On the right side is the Pansiyagama section, on the center the ‘Mountain’ and on the left the Matale section.

Na Uyana has 4 main sections: Pansiyagama (or Kurunegala), ‘Mountain’, Matale and Aandagala, each about 30 minutes of a walk apart from the other. Pansiyagama section is the ancient monastery within the ironwood forest, and contains the uposatha hall, meditation hall, refectory, library and offices in addition to about 80 kutis (monks′ residences). ‘Mountain’ is the newly developed area on the main hill of the monastery, which has about 80 kutis and the main meditation hall. This area is being reforested. Matale section, which has about 20 kutis and a smaller meditation hall, is situated among grassy hills with less forest cover. Aandagala is a remote, densely forested area in the monastery which is not in direct contact with others, and is reserved for the most austere dhutanga practitioners. There are 4 mud huts in this area, and the occupants must go on almsround to the nearby villages. Meals are provided separately for the first three sections, yet some monks prefer going for alms.

Meditation[edit]

The first floor of the Mountain meditation hall, with a white marble Buddha statue in front. The floor and walls are white coloured.
The first floor of the meditation hall in the ‘Mountain’ section

Na Uyana is one of the two principal meditation monasteries of the Yogasrama Samstha, along with Nissarana Vanaya. The main meditation method taught is ‘Pa-Auk Samatha Vipassana’, and the senior meditation teacher is Ven. Ariyananda Thera. It is possible to have interviews with Ven. Ariyadhamma Mahathera, although he is less engaged in active teaching now. Practitioners may join the group sittings conducted in the two main meditation halls, or continue on their own in their individual kutis.

Ven. Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw undertook a long-term personal retreat at Na Uyana Aranya in 2007, staying in seclusion and suspending his teaching schedule throughout the year.[2]

Directions[edit]

Take the road to Madahapola at the Melsiripura junction (between Kurunegala and Dambulla) on the A6 highway. At the Pansiyagama junction on the Madahapola road, take the road to Galewela. About 1 km on this road is the Na Uyana road, which leads to the monastery.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera (2006) [1978], History of the Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha - Part 1, Sridevi Printers, p. 90 
  2. ^ Biography of the (Pa-Auk) Sayadaw, retrieved 13 October 2010 

References[edit]

External links[edit]