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Buddhist teachings tackle stress of finals

By Jason Tham, University Chronicle, April 26, 2010

St. Cloud, Minnesota (USA) -- Sponsored by Ayubowan Sri Lanka Organization, Society of Buddhist Red Lotus and Theravada Buddhist Student Association, a Buddhist discussion and meditation session took place at 4 p.m. on Friday in Voyageurs North of Atwood Memorial Center.

“[The objective of the session was] to deliver an opportunity for the SCSU and local St. Cloud community to learn, understand and make use of meditation and Buddhist teachings,” Charitha Hettiarachchi, president of Society of Buddhist Red Lotus, said.

“The purpose of this meditation session was to help all those who attended to find relief from any negative thoughts they may be having – depression and stress,” Charith Rozairo, president of Ayubowan Sri Lanka Organization, said.

Since semester final exams are close at hand, many students experience depression and distress due to their work load, Hettiarachchi said.

“In order to remove all these negative feelings without medication, it is vital to practice meditation,” Hettiarachchi said.

The session was led by Venerable Maitipe Wimalasara from Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles, Calif. Wimalasara lectured on how other countries have introduced Buddhism in to their religions and how Buddhism helps them to lead happy and relaxed lives.

A 30-minute meditation session followed the lecture “Avoiding and Overcoming Depression without Medication.”

“Meditation and mindfulness go to the heart of a person’s depression or obsessive negative thoughts,” Hettiarachchi said. “It enables a person to experience deep relaxation as well as being able to recognize and control repetitive negative thoughts.”

“This event also helped each person to have more control of their minds and bodies – dwell in positive thoughts always. Events such as these teach valuable lessons about life,” Rozairo said.

Though meditation is usually recognized as a largely spiritual practice, it also has many health benefits, Hettiarachchi said.

“In order to avoid many life-threatening diseases as well as mental illnesses, it is important to know about meditation and have a proper practice,” Hettiarachchi said.

A “Pirith Nula,” known as the “blessed string” was tied on the wrist of participants.

Rozairo said that participants were not only benefited by practicing Meditation, they also learned how Buddhism has inspired many lives.

“In SCSU, the main religion is Christianity. However, there are so many Buddhists here from Sri Lanka, India, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal,” Rozairo said.

Rozairo said this event allowed these students a chance to pay respect to their religion.
“I think what can be done is to organize more events such as this and bring out the Buddhist community from the shackles,” Hettiarachchi said.

“I am a Roman Catholic but I still promote Buddhism by organizing meditation sessions and temple visits so that Buddhists can perform their religious rituals,” Rozairo said.

“This [event] was not only for the Buddhists because such events as this teaches important lessons that are very beneficial,” Rozairo said.


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