Bricks, sand, cement, pirith and a shelter over their heads

Story and pics by Chandana Rukmal.

The present-day Rahulas are having a busy time with their little shaven heads glimmering in the sunlight. The young Samanera monks are building a roof over their heads at their temple in Ampara.

The Hingurana Temple in Ampara accommodates around 35 samanera monks though the temple lacks an Awasa geya --the residence building for the monks. Hingurana Siridhamma Thera, the chief incumbent of the temple said that when the building became a long due requirement, they decided to build one by themselves.

Now, the little hands that clutched dhamma books are busy mixing clay to make bricks. Clad in their robes, some are burning bricks.

They try to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that associates with their evening pirith while they are busy mixing cement and sand for the new construction. Sawing wood rhythmically has become another form of meditation.

"These little monks burn around 700 bricks daily" Siridhamma Thera said. Thus, brick by brick, they watch their new home built by their own hands. They intend to construct six or seven rooms in the new building.

Only one layman -a mason- assists the monks. Siridhamma Thera said that no helping hand had come their way and the little expectant faces of the samanera monks expressed gratitude to any support that could be given to them.

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