Mahamevnawa Sunday Dhamma School at Mahamevnawa Buddhist Meditation Centre (MBMC) – Melbourne was inaugurated with the blessings of the patronage of the Group of Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monasteries, the Most Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero in February 2016. The key focus of this invaluable initiative was to teach and develop wholesome qualities such as compassion, appreciative joy, honesty, patience, forgiveness, generosity and wisdom of children based on the teachings of the Supreme Buddha. To achieve the effectiveness of learning and increased engagement of children, all teachings and activities are conducted in English. The well-structured learning curriculum was developed by a panel of lay devotees, who learn and practice the original teachings of the Supreme Buddha for a significant period at MBMC-Melbourne. This panel was chaired by the Chief Monk at MBMC and the lay devotees of the panel obtained necessary guidance and support from the Chief Monk to develop the class lessons maintaining high standards aiming the key objective of establishing this dhamma school.
In 2016, Mahamevnawa Sunday Dhamma School commenced its activities with only 60 students and just within a year, this number has increased to 160 (almost three folds) by demonstrating an excellent progression of the school. Dhamma teachings and the activities of the school are conducted in three key sessions. The first and the last sessions are conducted by a designated resident Buddhist monk, who is fluent in English, as a common session, which includes teaching and learning of worshipping to Supreme Buddha, a lesson based on Buddhist teachings and practising meditation. During the second session, the students are grouped according to their age/grade into smaller classes and around 10 volunteers trained teachers, who were also in the panel of developing the curriculum, conduct teachings and other dhamma activities for the individual classes.
Theravada Buddhism addresses deeply philosophical questions regarding the nature of reality and the Buddhists respect all life encouraging nonviolence and kindness. The teachings of the Supreme Buddha is essential to the children and the young kids in the present era to overcome the mental stress and develop their peaceful life. However, the ultimate goal of teaching Buddhism is to encourage its followers to reach enlightenment by understanding the four noble truths.
The Buddhist population living in Victoria uses this monastery as a Meditation and Counseling Centre for the benefit of the community while advocating non-violence and promoting universal human values, the well-being of people as individuals or as a society. MBMC – Melbourne was originally established in Glen Waverly in 2010 and then moved to Narre Warren in 2011. Currently, the Monastery is located on a seven-acre beautiful property in Mount Evelyn, Victoria. The member base of MBMC – Melbourne has increased over six folds since 2010 and the organisation currently conducts many programs aiming the spiritual development of the community through the teachings of the Supreme Buddha. These programs provide spiritual help as well as training in meditation emphasizing its multidimensional benefits.
The constitution of MBMC – Melbourne (previously, Mahamevnawa Meditation Centre) was adopted in March 2011 and the organisation is registered with Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) as a charity. MBMC-Melbourne has expanded its services to the thousands of local Buddhist community, originally migrated from Sri Lanka and their families across Victoria. Apart from conducting the Sunday Dhamma School for kids every Sunday except the first Sunday, the monastery organises monthly dhamma sermons in several suburbs in Victoria, short and long-term residential meditation sessions (retreats) for adults and youth, a monthly “Seela Bhawana” program to observe eight-precepts and meditation/dhamma discussions, monthly dhamma programs for Youth in Sinhala and English, meditation sessions for non-Sri Lankan Buddhists, a wide range of community projects such as blood donation through Australian Red Cross (largest community group in Australia), tree-planting and park cleaning (Australia’s biggest community-based tree-planting National Tree Day in 2014), organising donating hospital equipment to the rural hospitals in Sri Lanka, etc.
By conducting all these programs, MBMC hopes to advance the Supreme Buddha’s teachings of generosity, morality and meditation and to enhance the spiritual life of our members and the general public through cultivating friendship, compassion and wisdom. The services of this organization are open to any member of the public interested in learning and practising Theravada Buddhism with the intention of inculcating virtues and to be free from suffering.
At present, Mahamevnawa Group of Monasteries has established five monasteries in four States in Australia (one each in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide) and a Nuns’ Centre in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne (Hoppers Crossing).