In the heart of Colombo is a serene place where professionals, businessmen and women, fathers, mothers, grandparents and children gather to follow an age-old discipline—meditation.
The Nirodha Trust City Center (NCC) declared open just over a month ago at 15/1A – 1/1, Duplication Road, Colombo 4 is aimed at English-speaking Buddhists and non-Buddhist meditation enthusiasts in and around Colombo who want to receive proper, in-depth training in meditation. Its founder who goes only by the name of Dhammaruwan is a meditation expert who has undergone professional teacher training in the US.
The Nirodha Center is a project of the Nirodha Trust (www.nirodhatrust.org), again founded by Dhammaruwan, a non-profit organisation whose goal is to foster, preserve and spread the authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The NCC conducts programmes on guided meditation, Dhamma workshops, Sutta discussions, Dhammapada teachings, Yoga and animated Dhamma talks for children.
“We are here in this human form for a very short time. In this precious little time we have, why do we want to live in pain and suffering? Why do we want to live with difficult emotions like anxiety, fear and jealousy? We’re a nation that has gone through a war for 30 years. Why do we want to live with all that when we can come to the Dhamma and practise meditation, come to understand ourselves and deal with these emotions,” asks Dhammaruwan explaining the motive behind the project.
About 15 years ago he did some teaching in Sri Lanka, after which he took part in a teacher training programme conducted by the Insight Meditation Society, a pioneering meditation centre in the US. There Dhammaruwan trained under Chief SanghaNayaka of the US Siyam Maha Nikaya, best selling author Ven. Bhante Henepola Gunaratane thera and popular American meditation expert Joseph Goldstein.
While in the US, Dhammaruwan was temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk. Showing the Sunday Times a picture of himself in saffron robes with his colleagues in the US, he tells us that his stint as a monk was probably the best period of his life.
Other trustees of Nirodha are Ananda Jayasuriya, Ajith Dharmaprema and American Richard Branca. The Anusasaka, or advisor to the NCC is Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi, the founder of the Nedimala Buddhist Cultural Centre. Long meditation sessions at the NCC are conducted by Ven. Olande Ananda Thera and several public lecturers take part in addition to other trainers and a yoga instructor.
The NCC’s many meditation programmes vary according to participants’ age, level of experience, etc. “Right from the start” is a workshop on meditation basics intended for beginners as well as for experienced practitioners. “Dhamma for Kids” is a programme developed to share the teachings of the Buddha with young people using innovative methods. There’s also personal meditation session conducted by Dhammaruwan called Meditation Counselling and Interviews which offers participants the chance to get meditation lessons on a one-on-one basis.
A special programme titled Cillax is now underway for teenager to help them develop concentration skills and perform better in exams in addition to becoming good, well rounded human beings.
The NCC can be contacted on 071 8691799, 0113 199320 and via e-mail on [email protected] It is located opposite the House of Fashion on the second floor of “The Drapers” building.