The Sunday Times on the Web Plus
30th May 1999

Front Page|
Editorial/Opinion| Business| Sports |
Mirror Magazine

Front page
Mirror Magazine

From fun and frolic to new- found peace

By Ayesha R. Rafiq

Looking at Kavinga Wijayasekara it's hard to imagine he's ever known a life where Lord Buddha's teachings have not been the guiding factor.

Every word this young man utters centres around Buddhism, its teachings and values. If you're meeting him for the first time it would seem like his whole life is consumed by Buddhism, so intense is he when he talks about his religion.

But there is a story behind this new- found peace and happiness. A story of a young man whose life was filled with parties, cocktails, money and cars, in short no end of material things. But without the complete attainment of the one thing that can give a person complete happiness, true peace.

To anyone who has known Kavinga before this transformation took place, the change is almost uncanny. Even his closest friends find it hard to believe. A boy who once used to throw some of the best parties around town, now hosts meetings of a Buddhist society.

A house where once alcohol, sausage rolls, chicken pies and fish pastries would be served, now offers soft drinks and vegetarian meals. Invitations for parties have become less frequent, friends have been given up or distanced and no one offers him alcohol any longer. But does he mind? "No. There comes a time when these things can't give you happiness anymore, and you feel a sense of urgency, to seize the moment and start changing for the better, before it's too late. I'm doing that and I'm happy, and I no longer miss my past way of life."

Kavinga, along with a group of other like-minded young adults has founded a Buddhist society, Dhamma And Young Adults (DAYA) which also means compassion or care.

The society is one year old and growing. DAYA began with lunch table discussions on Buddhism and what young adults really felt about it. Lunch tables, over which a group of youth began searching for answers such as how can we change our lives to abide by the Dhamma, all originating from a quest for more peace and happiness in their lives.

The society now meets once a week at Kavinga's home to listen to talks given by those schooled in the religion or to discuss a Sutra chosen amongst them and talk about how they could incorporate it in their own lives. It aims at helping people form 'noble friends', the type who will always guide you on the right track and away from evil.

The idea is simple. Echoing a teaching, Kavinga says that learning Buddhism is like entering the sea. "You don't plunge right into the middle of it and drown. Instead the initiation has to be gradual. You first wet your feet, go in ankle high, then waist high and so on."

Small successes have been evident at DAYA. A girl who used to drink alcohol says she realised that every time she raised a glass of alcohol to drink she felt she was directly insulting Lord Buddha. She doesn't drink any more. A boy who used to shout obscenities at anyone who blocked his path while driving and come home and fume about it now hardly gives it a second thought. The peace and relaxation he feels is amazing, he says. Since joining DAYA 90% of its members have become vegetarian.

In Kavinga and this association, there seems to be inspiration and help for thousands of people struggling to find their way. He admits that giving things up is hard at first, but with time and help it certainly is possible. Indeed, the confidence and happiness he radiates is an encouraging example. You realise that you can practise the Dhamma without becoming a monk or a hermit. All it takes is a little self restraint.

He has also started on a book, a compilation of topics dealing with young people and Buddhist topics and addressing issues directly, of which he feels there isn't enough in the market.

His one aim in life now is to "Attain Nibbana and get out of Sansara ASAP," he says with a smile. And his one message is to "cultivate your virtue because it's the only thing you take with you through Sansara. Being born a human being is such a rare gift. Use it to help others and yourself."

DAYA will begin meeting at the NARADA Centre from June onwards. The activities will include Dhamma discussions, Sutra study, Pali study and Pali chanting. Those interested in the meetings can contact Kavinga on 854220.

Presented on the World Wide Web by Infomation Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

More Plus

Return to the Plus Contents

Plus Archive

Front Page| News/Comment| Editorial/Opinion| Business| Sports | Mirror Magazine

Hosted By LAcNet

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to

The Sunday Times or to Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.