Lord Buddha once said “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.” Civil Engineering is felt when we take the construction to our own hands. The Civil Engineering Society of UOM organized ‘Piyaman’ in order to support building a new Aranya in Horana by Isipathana Aranya Senasanaya near Horana Hagallawatta spiritual health care hospital. The project was to help the construction process with our engineering skills and labor. From site clearance, to erecting structural piles we aided the construction process.
Our first step (Phase 01) was on 9th March with the participation of about 25 undergraduates. Our main task was the preliminary site clearance processes. Boulders were dug up and large rocks were broken down. Then the broken rocks and boulders were transported to the site of construction in wheel barrows. Each step of the project brought us closer to buddhism and to ourselves. Wrapping up the phase one of “Piyaman” for the day the undergraduates returned to University both accomplished and exhausted. Sometimes a little effort can get you closer to peace.
Prof. Wasantha Mampearachchi, being our mentor for the program coordinated the second phase for the project. 60 students and 3 of non-academic staffs took part in this day.
The Chief Thero was very cooperative and engaging throughout the day. On that day, concrete piers were installed; pits were excavated; stone borders were built; rafters were brought to the working place; wooden fence were made; the chamber area was cleaned around; boulders were carried; the roof sheets of “Budu Madura” were renewed and concrete was mixed. With the increased work force, our contribution was very obliging. The experience got interesting with the female undergraduates preparing lunch for the working crowd.
“How blissful it is, for one who has nothing. Attainers-of-wisdom are people with nothing. See him suffering, one who has something, a person bound in mind with people.” The Chief Thero taught us the importance of mindfulness and practiced “Anapanasathi meditation” with us. All the exhaustion of the day vanished in to twilight with the peace in mind we achieved.
Being a 3rd time lucky, in the evening of 26th April we departed toward the 3rd Phase of “Piyaman” with five students from level four and some non-academic staffs members. When we reached the site, nuns and young monks were already working. We joined the labor and worked with them. The villagers provided evening refreshment with tea and biscuits.
Since Vesak Festival is only a couple of days away, we had to cut down some trees for tents. Then we lifted sand bags up to the place of construction to make their work easier. Dinner and transportation back to the university were provided to us since it was around 10 pm when we wound up for the night.
Buddha once said, “Those which are produced from causes are not produced. They do not have an inherent nature of production. Those which depend on causes are said to be empty; those who know emptiness are aware.”
We believe that “Piyaman” would bring us closer to that awareness. With the guidance of Prof. Wasantha Mampearachchi, and the help of the non-academic staff the 3 phases were an utter success.