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Sri Lanka – Buddhist Art Painting Retreat
THIS COURSE WILL BE HELD AGAIN IN 2019
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An amazing 11 day thangka course including 4 day sightseeing
Guan Yin – the female Buddha of Compassion
Organized by The Buddhist Library in Singapore – TBL Members get a S$210 discount
NOTE (5 jan.): This course is almost full, if you want to take up one of the few last places please register soon, before jan. 19, 2017 (final closing date for registration). Participants come from all over the world: Singapore, The Netherlands, England, Belgium and United States. Carmen can bring you in contact with other participants if you want to travel together.
In this Buddhist Art Retreat you will learn to draw & paint Guan Yin according to the tradition of Buddhist Thangka (scroll painting).
This painting retreat is extra special, because it includes a sightseeing tour where we will visit the most beautiful Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka, and look at the ancient artwork, Buddha paintings and murals. Our own buddha drawing & painting practice will make this an even deeper experience and offers a better understanding of Buddhist art.
Check out the complete schedule here
Participants will be coming from all over the world, and this course offers a wonderful opportunity to combine it with a longer vacation in Sri Lanka or elsewhere in Asia.
Guan Yin, also written as Kuan Yin or Guanshiyin, may be depicted as either a male or female manifestation of Compassion. Many Buddhist agree that Guan Yin came from the male Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
When Buddhism traveled from India to East-Asia and became especially popular especially in China, Korea and Japan, many Buddhists transformed Avalokitesvara into the female deity named Guan Yin, and we will be working with this female manifestation. She’s also known as the Goddess of Mercy. The name Guan Yin is short for Guan Shi Yin, meaning “Observing the Sounds of the World,” which indicates her compassionate ability to listen for pleas of help of those who need her. She is also associated with vegetarianism, due to her great compassion, that goes for animals as well.
In this retreat we will work with 2 different forms of Guan Yin, standing and sitting, and you will learn all about this beautiful deity (through slideshows & talks), and will also make contact with her energy of compassion through the meditations that we will do in the morning.
You can either choose to draw and color Guan Yin with colored pencils or paint your drawing and learn how to work with the special thangka (tibetan scroll) painting techniques. Drawing and painting experience is not necessary, enthusiasm is!
OPTIONAL: instead of Guan Yin you may also choose to draw/paint Buddha Shakyamuni or Avalokitesvara. If you prefer this, please let contact Carmen well ahead so she can prepare this for you.
You can also use this retreat to complete the thangka drawings and paintings that you’ve previously made in a course with Carmen.
Paramita International Buddhist Centre
The painting course will be held at the Paramita International Buddhist Centre, in central Sri Lanka, a beautiful place to stay. You will share a room with another thangka student. More information can be found here under the pink bars.
Sightseeing tour to the most famous Buddhist sites
The sightseeing tour will be after the painting retreat, where you will stay in 3-star hotels, in double rooms (a single room is possible for a supplement). The complete schedule of the retreat and the sightseeing tour can be found here under the pink bars. At the bottom of the page some pictures of the places we will be visiting.
> The A4 Flyer for the Sri Lanka Retreat can be downloaded here
More Info, Schedule & Registration
Thu Feb 23: arrival, getting settled & introduction
Bus transfer from Colombo Airport to the Paramita International Buddhist Centre at 4.40pm. (also on the 22nd)
After that the bus will make a stop in Colombo city or Negombo for the people who arrived before the 23rd (time and place will be announced soon).
Those who missed this transit can take a cab from Colombo Airport directly to Paramita International Buddhist Centre, No. 7 Kandy Road, Kadugannawa.
Arrival at Paramita Center: get settled in your room and get shown around the center and the green gardens. We will get to know each other and share out first dinner together, after which the first evening starts with a lecture & introduction of the painting course & its subject Guan Yin.
Fri Feb 24 – Wed March 01: Buddhist drawing & painting course
All days start with a guided meditation in the morning (optional) and drawing sessions in the morning and afternoon.
Later in the week we will turn to coloring and/or painting sessions, and you will learn how to apply the special thangka painting techniques.
There will be a lot of individual guidance. In the evenings there will be free time, a lecture on buddhist art or a film.
Sunday afternoon (Feb. 26th) is free time and you can go for sightseeing (to Kandy or to the temples nearby for example) or relax and enjoy the nature & surroundings.
In the evening of Wed March 1st we will pack our bags and get ready for the exiting second part of this course: the 4 day/3 night sightseeing tour.
After your own Buddha drawing and painting experience you will be guaranteed to look with a different eye and appreciate the centuries old buddhist art even more.
Thu March 02: KADUGANNAWA – ANURADHAPURA
We are picked up and leave for Anuradhapura, one of the greatest and oldest civilizations in the world, that used to be the greatest city of ancient Sri Lanka. We’ll visit the Sri Maha Bodhi – the sacred Bo sapling extracted from the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment – standing more than 2200 years in its pride. You’ll stroll through the sacred trails of the venerated city to adore the legacy that interweaves Ruwanweliseya – the gigantic dagoba resting alongside the Basawakkulama Tank – shading the Samadhi Buddha Statue & Isurumuniya Rock Temple that empower the culture, heritage and supremacy of arguably the strongest kingdom in Sri Lankan history.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner and overnight stay at the 3-star Hotel The Heritage.
Fri March 03: ANURADHAPURA – POLONNARUWA
After breakfast at our hotel we will leave for a Historic City Tour of Anuradhapura, after which we will visit the city of Polonnaruwa – the medieval capital & crown jewel of King Parakramabahu I. This city remains superior proof of ancient culture & heritage blended with religious beliefs.
Walk across its scattered walls of the World Heritage Site – blessed by stupas, resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures – while observing the relic house – Watadage – which boasts of beautiful stone carvings.
Take a close glance and you will realize a subtle Hindu influence on architecture and statues found in Polonnaruwa. Or sit by the side of Galviharaya and observe the absolute beauty gushing out of every bend of its huge Buddhist statues. Nissankamalla Council Chamber is however, a head-spinning beauty to just sit back and observe with its swaying pillars reminding the aesthetics of a powerful kingdom which rests beside Parakrama Samudraya – sea of Parakramabahu & masterpiece of irrigation.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner and overnight stay at the 3-star Hotel Sudu Araliya.
Sat March 04: POLONNARUWA – DAMBULLA
After breakfast at our hotel we will leave for Dambulla and visit the very famous Dambulla Rock Temple.
In the city of Dambulla lies a hub which has been treasured by many kings since the 1st century B.C. Today, an icon in the face of Sri Lanka, Dambulla Rock Temple houses some of the most unique drawings in magnificently constructed 5 cave temples flanking the golden temple of Dambulla. Observe how exquisitely cave paintings are done along walls that shelter 150 statues of Lord Buddha. As you enter the retreat, look straight up to the gigantic Buddha statue glittering in gold over a land, which today houses an important junction in the country’s economic and cultural uplifting.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner and overnight stay at the 3-star Hotel Kassapa Lions Rock.
Sun March 05: DAMBULLA – COLOMBO – KELANIYA – AIRPORT
After breakfast at our hotel we will leave for Colombo, the main city of Sri Lanka, and have lunch at a local restaurant.
We’ll visit the Bellanwila Temple and the Kelaniya Temple. Kelaniya draws an illustrious significance towards the country along the channels of both culture and religion. Blended with an absolute importance following the visit of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, the Kelaniya temple thrives today drawing thousands of heads from all corners of the world. Built during the 3rd century B.C. today, Kelaniya lights up the entire city with its annual pageant ‘Duruthu Maha Perahera’ held in the months of January studded with fire dancers, majestic elephants and drummers that add to the glory of the religious and cultural fortress.
Dinner at a local restaurant and (optional) transfer from Colombo to the Airport for departure.
Some people of the group will be staying in Colombo for a few more days and/or will continue their vacation in Sri Lanka (for example the beach areas), or elsewhere in Asia (Southern India for example).
Thangka Course fee, 7 nights stay & all meals in the Paramita International Buddhist Centre +
Sightseeing tour incl. 3 nights in hotel, all entrance tickets, all meals & transfers
SGD Course S$645 + Sightseeing S$499 (for the sightseeing part a single room supplement is available for S$160) = TOTAL S$ 1144
NOTE: TBL members get a S$210 discount on the course fee and pay only S$ 934
USD Course $465 + Sightseeing $360 (for the sightseeing part a single room supplement is available for $115) = TOTAL $ 825
EURO Course €427 + Sightseeing €328 (for the sightseeing part a single room supplement is available for €105) TOTAL € 755
Flights: You have to arrange your own flight to Colombo Airport, the main city of Sri Lanka.
Visa for Sri Lanka can be purchased online beforehand, or on arrival at Colombo Airport.
If you fly in from Singapore you can fly together with other students if you like, the Buddhist Library can introduce you to ach other.
If you fly in from The Netherlands and would like to travel together with other Dutch participants, Carmen can introduce you to ach other. She can also do that for people from other countries. Dutch participants may pay directly to Carmen to avoid money transfer costs.
Free transport from Colombo airport to the Paramita Centre and vice versa will be provided on Thu Feb 23rd and Sun March 5th.
Materials to bring
You can choose if you want to draw & color (advised for beginner students) or draw & paint (for advanced students):
For drawing (preferred for beginner thangka students):
2 large (A2 or larger) drawing paper, long 50cm ruler, (mechanical) pencil and eraser.
good quality colored pencils (such as Prismacolor Premier, Caran d’Ache Luminance or Faber Castell Polychromos)
For painting (for advanced):
A sturdy paper that is suitable for painting or a piece of prepared canvas (surface as fine and smooth as possible), a long 50cm ruler, a (mechanical) pencil, an eraser, gouache paints or acrylic paints and brushes (fine and medium). Download here the List of Materials
Easiest for traveling is to put the paper in a tube.
If you still have any questions regarding the Buddhist Art Course that you cannot find here, you can contact Carmen
Paramita International Buddhist Centre
No. 7 Kandy Road
Kadugannawa is a town located in the Kandy District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is situated approximately 100 km away from the Country’s Capital – Colombo, along the A1, Colombo-Kandy Road. Paramita Meditation Centre is also situated along this route, and within 100 metres of the famous landmark Kadugannawa Rock Tunnel, known locally as “Gala widapu thena”.
Website: Paramita International Buddhist Centre
Please register a.s.a.p. with The Buddhist Library to be sure of your place – Before Jan. 19, 2017 (closing date of registration)
This can be done by sending an email to Koon Teck: , calling (+65) (Tues-Sat: 12:00 noon – 9:00pm /
Sun: 10:00am – 9:00pm / closed on Mondays), or by filling in the form below:
See you in Sri Lanka!