For the past 20 years the Kendal Buddhist Society group has had the pleasure of hosting visits and lessons from Venerable Piyatissa who brings over 50 years of knowledge and experience to the group.
Venerable Piyatissa, who began his journey into Buddhism at the University of Sri Lanka, and spread his teachings on meditation, Buddhist culture and the Dhamma precepts and teachings of Buddhism.
The five precepts of Buddhist teachings include:
1) I assume the training rule of refraining from killing living beings.
2) I assume the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not given.
3) I agree to abide by the training rule to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4) I agree to the training rule of refraining from false speech.
5) I undertake the rule of training to abstain from drugs and drinks which tend to cloud the mind.
Venerable Piyatissa has been bringing lessons to Kendal for twenty years. The group was founded in 1999 and works closely with the Keswick Group and various other organizations across the UK.
Venerable Piyatissa has been based at the Ketumati Buddhist Vihara in Manchester since 1999.
Before Covid he traveled to Kendal monthly to spread his teachings but since lockdown the group has adapted using online forums.
He has also taught at Stoke, Wolverhampton and various other groups across England.
He said: “Kendal is a very nice place and watching the people I notice they are always local.
“When you meet people in Manchester they come from all over, but in Kendal almost everyone you meet will be from the area.
“When teaching our principles, meditation is very important in the teachings as it is a good way to heal the mind.
“We also strive to help people get rid of disturbing thoughts. It’s not just about letting them down, but dealing directly with their thoughts and feelings.
“I aspire to continue with these important principles, as well as to develop community meditation, to learn about kindness and ways to give more.
“Buddhism is not just a religion. Buddhism is the way of life which means the spirit can live and all different types of people can join.
“From the environment to the sunrise, all of these things are held within us.
“The moral precepts we teach are about respecting all forms of life, not just human beings, but other creatures and animals.
“We must respect life, not destroy it or hurt it.
“When dealing with other people’s goods and properties, we must respect them and their family life.
“The principle leads us to be honest, trustworthy, not to lie and not to abuse.
“Finally, when it comes to any form of alcohol, we have to be very careful because they can cloud the mind.
“It is the basic moral code of the Buddhist people and everyone can understand their importance and how we can be the best we are, and make it a better society.”
Jacquetta Gomes, co-founder of the Buddhist group BGKT in Kendal in 1991, said: “We are very privileged to have her in our center and to allow her to spread her teachings. We are delighted to have him as a guest and how his visits enrich the group.
“As we are a Lai group, we are very committed to being a Lai group and what that entails.”
Venerable Piyatissa added, “My own experience of living in this country with the British people, when looking at Buddhist principles, I can see that their conventional laws are similar to the Buddhist way of life.
“I think a lot of people can benefit from their lives by reading some of the teachings of Buddhism and gain a lot from their guidelines and moral codes.”