Venerable Sayadaw U Silananda Visits Jamaica
In fulfilling the invitation of The Theravada Buddhist Association of Jamaica (TBJ), Venerable Sayadaw U Silananda visited Jamaica in January, 1999 for two weeks. This is Sayadaw’s third consecutive year to visit this Carribean island nation since 1997.
About thirty Myanmar families live in Jamaica and the majority of them live in the capital, Kingston. Others live in Montego Bay and other cities. Despite a small number, Myanmar Buddhist devotees there are very active in community religious work in trying to propagate Theravada Buddhism in the Carribean region.
Sayadaw stayed in Kingston for about 8 days and gave dhamma talks and retreats. Sayadaw continued his journey to Montego Bay and spent about 6 days there performing his dhamma duties. In Kingston, Sayadaw gave three nights of lectures and instructions on the Principles and Practice of Vipassana Meditation at the Coutleigh Hotel. More than a hundred interested people attended his meditation sessions. The turn out in Sayadaw’s dhamma sessions was overwhelming due to the well organized program of Theravada Buddhist Association of Jamaica.
Advertisements of his retreats were made in the newspaper prior to his visit and flyers were distributed. TBJ gave out free instruction cassette tapes and handouts and complimentary refreshments were served in Sayadaw’s dhamma sessions. Besides Myanmars and Jamaicans, other attendees included Sri Lankans, Indians, Americans and Swedish.
In addition to that, Sayadaw also spoke on Live Radio Talk program at the Jamaican Power radio station and discussed on Buddhism. Sayadaw also appeared on JBC Live TV program and talked about Theravada Buddhism and performed demonstration on how to practice Vipassana Meditation. Actually, the success of this trip was led by the great success of the first visit to Jamaica in 1997. That trip was the first official visit by a Theravada Buddhist Monk to Jamaica. During his first visit Sayadaw had an opportunity to meet the Honorable Governor General of Jamaica.
Theravada Buddhist Association of Jamaica was officially formed in 1998 and now has over a hundred members. They have honored Sayadaw U Silananda of Half Moon Bay, California and Sayadaw U Tejobhasa of Sanford, Florida, to be their spiritual leaders and executive committee members of the association. Although TBJ is still young, all its members are trying their best to spread Theravada Buddhism and to make Jamaica a fully functional Theravada center in the region. Their next goal is to establish a monastery and they are actively seeking support, advice and monetary donations from all donors. In supporting this goal, Sayadaw U Silananda donated Dhamma books to TBJ Library and U.S.$ 2000.00 to the association.
Anybody willing to support TBJ should contact: Theravada Buddhist Association of Jamaica, #13, Cactus Way, Bluecastle Close, Mona, Kingston-6,Jamaica.W.I. Tel: 1-(876) 977-3356, 977-3223, 927-1186, Fax: 1-(876) 702-4618, 977-2029. E.mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.