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Sasana Ramsi Vihara
83 Booth Road
Colindale
NW9 5JU
+44 (0)208 205 0221

Closest station: Colindale

Find peace in London

Hidden in an average London house, Sasana Ramsi Vihara is a Burmese Buddhist monastery where all are invited to learn the art of meditation and Buddhist philosophies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the heart of the commercial city, never stopping for a second, it's hard to find time to attain inner peace. But you can learn to incorporate moments of peaceful thinking into your busy daily schedule. The venerable U Uttara and the other monks at Vihara Buddhist monastery can teach you the techniques.

Loving Kindness meditation

The monks practice and teach a kind of meditation called the 'Loving Kindness meditiation'. Instead of aiming to clear the mind of all things, as conventional meditation requires, this technique asks you to concentrate your entire mind on a person.

U Uttara asks beginners to start by concentrating on themselves and people they love or respect. After much training, they will eventually be able to learn to love people they hate.

The health benefits of meditation include reducing the likelihood of stress-related illnesses, by lessening anxiety and blood pressure. It also helps channel the energy usually put into stressing, into thinking more positively.

This helps people to concentrate highly and allows them to self-train to be calmer and more content.

About the monastery

Sasana Ramsi Vihara is home to a towering Buddhist shrine, where worshippers can leave offerings of fruit or flowers. Three Burmese monks live in the monastery, and are willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn.

The metal bell above the staircase is rung when prayers are about to begin. The resonating hum of Burmese chanting can be heard throughout the house, sending listeners into an almost trance-like state of tranquility.

On the day of our visit, the monks and their Burmese followers were celebrating the birthdays of two important politicians in Burma. This explained the abundance of tasty Burmese noodles, rice and curry, which the friendly worshippers made sure we had plenty of.

Later, a man knocked at the door. On opening, he looked a little dazed, and asked for U Uttara, the head monk.

"I want to learn meditation," he says.

The man was let in and a few minutes later, he was served a bowl of noodles, which he slurped ravenously. It seemed that he had easily made himself at home.

As the monastery is a home converted into a Buddhist monastery, it retains a homely and welcoming feel. And with the added humility and warmth of the monks, one really can find peace there.

Jody-Lan Castle