Friday, December 21, 2007

Dalada Maligawa (The Temple of Sacred Tooth)

One of the chief objects of interests in Kandy is the 'Dalada Maligawa' or Temple of the Sacred Tooth. This is the heart of Kandy, and the Tooth of Buddha is the heart of it. The relic came from India sixteen centuries ago, and moved from capital to capital always with the king. It is rarely shown and never leaves the temple. The temple and the 'Pattirippuwa', which is the octagonal building on the right of the main entrance, are enclosed by an ornamental stone wall and a moat. Upon entering, you pass through a small quadrangle and turn to the right, up a flight of stone steps, to the temple. The most striking features that attract one's attention are the unusual carvings, brightly coloured frescoes representing torments for various classes of sinners, and many images of Lord Buddha. The flower-sellers are ranged on either side and the atmosphere is heavy with the perfume of the white blossoms. Yellow-robed priests flit here and there, whilst the music of the temple bells and the rhythmic beat of the tom-tom fill the air with strange melodies that harmonize with the nature of the city. At the entrance to the sanctuary which contains the Sacred Tooth is an elaborate door, inlaid with silver and ivory, with two pairs of elephants' tusks on either side. Within this chamber is the huge silver-gilt, bell-shaped shrine that protects the Tooth. Inside this shrine are six inner shrines ornamented with precious stones of rare value.
The Octagon or the 'Pattirippuwa' was built shortly before the Kandyan Convention of 1815, by which Kandy was ceded to the British. After being a British military prison, it is now a library, mainly for ancient "olas" - manuscripts on palm-leaves- many of which are magnificently bound and are held in due reverence by pilgrims as containing the teachings of Lord Buddha. The finest thing artistically is in the small shrine beside the stairway of the Octagon- a crystal statue of the Buddha in a most attractive shrine-case.
Next door to the Tooth Temple is the Audience Hall where the Kandyan kings held court with all pomp and ceremony. The rich carvings on the pillars and the wall plates are excellent examples of Kandyan architecture. It was in this Audience Hall that the last king of Kandy used to receive British ambassadors; it was also here that the submission to Britain was signed and Sri Lanka's (then called Ceylon) independence in 1948 celebrated.

Natha Devale
Situated opposite the Tooth Temple. The stone sanctuary is the oldest building in Kandy, built five centuries ago when Kandy was founded; it is dedicated to the next Buddha to come to the world. The gateway from it to the north is old, with good sculpture. It has a dagoba and a bo-tree, sapling of that at Anuradhapura.

Mahavishnu Devale
Situated opposite the gateway. Dedicated to Vishnu as the Protector of Sri Lanka (but it is a Buddhist temple, not Hindu).

Hikkaduwa (Corals)

Main attraction:Reef Fish

In 1940, the Ambalangoda/Hikkaduwa Rocky Islets were declared sanctuaries and was limited to the land boundaries of these rocky islets. The intention was to afford protection to seabirds nesting on the islands.

In 1961, 110 acres of territorial waters off Hikkaduwa were afforded protection under the Fisheries Ordinance. In 1979, the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary was gazetted under the Fauna & Flora Protecton Ordinance. In 1998 it was upgraded to the status of a nature reserve and later to a national park. This was to protect the coral reefs. However human activity continues on the beaches of this park.

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

What Is Ayurveda?
The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words - Ayur meaning life, and Veda meaning knowledge. This traditional Indian life science is the oldest form of medicine known to man; its guiding principles are said to have been handed down from the Hindu gods, and written texts date back 3500 years. Ayurveda still forms the basis of much medical practice today in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where Orthodox doctors work alongside ayurvedic physicians. Following an Ayurvedic diet is considered to be an important way of maintaining health and preventing illness and disease.

Ayurvedic medicine is a complete healthcare system and involves detoxification, diet, exercise, use of herbs and techniques to improve mental and emotional health.

Your individual constitution and how it relates to your energies is the key to understanding Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurveda aims to prevent disease by working with your body rather than trying to change it.
Each of us has a unique constitution, determined by the balance of three vital energies in the body, known as the three doshas or 'tridoshas'. The three doshas are known by their Sanskrit names of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Everyone's constitution is governed by tile three doshas in varying degrees, but each of us is also controlled by one or possibly two dominant doshas, so that you are classed as either vata type, pitta type or kapha type or a vata/pitta, pitta/kapha etc.

You keep healthy when all the three doshas are in balance. Each one has its role to play in the body. For example, vata is the driving force; it relates mainly to the nervous system and the body's energy. Pitta is fire; it relates to the metabolism, digestion, enzymes, acid and bile. Kapha is linked to water, mucous membranes, phlegm, moisture, fat and lymphatics.

In Ayurveda good digestion is considered tile key to good health. poor digestion produces 'ama' a toxic substance believed to cause illness. 'Ama' occurs when the metabolism is impaired due to an imbalance of 'agni'. Agni is the fire which, when working normally maintains all functions. Imbalance agni is caused by irregularity in the doshas and such things as eating and drinking too much of the wrong food and repressing emotions. Agni affected by too much Kapha can slow the digestive process making you feel heavy and sluggish, while too much vata can cause wind, cramps and alternating constipation and diarrhoea.

Toxins which cause illness can be produced by emotional as well as physical factors. For example, fear and anxiety relate to vata and the large intestine, when held inside these emotions can cause bloating and intestinal pain.

Food allergies can also develop because of poor, emotional health. Failing to express your emotions can start cravings for foods likely to cause imbalance. Yoga and meditation can help you to understand and deal with negative emotions.

Is Ayurveda Safe?
Ayurvedic consultation, Panchakarma, Marma Therapy, Ayurvedic preparations are safe as long as they are prescribed by the qualified registered practitioner. Most members of the Ayurvedic Medical Association have completed 5-6 years full time training in universities or colleges in India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan and some members have qualified from colleges approved by the Association. All practising members are covered by professional indemnity and public liability insurance and come under a strict code of ethics and a code of practice

What Conditions Can Ayurveda Help?
Ayurveda is a complete health care system. It has an explanation for all modern conditions or diseases, how the disease process started, what caused it and how much help or control you can get from Ayurveda. Generally the Ayurvedic physician can treat : Gastro-intestinal problems; disorders of the circulatory system; metabolic disorders and disorders of the nervous system and other symptoms like insomnia; headaches; tension, anxiety, high blood pressure; blood sugar problems and injuries etc. Ayurveda does not offer cures for cancers, Aids and some mechanical lesions and conditions requiring surgery. Ayurveda will benefit the day old infant to the very elderly person.

What Are The Treatment Modalities In Ayurveda?
After an individual assessment, the Ayurvedic physician may prescribe a variety of treatment modalities according to the need of the patient. They may include Ayurvedic Herbal Preparations: all Ayurvedic preparations are herbal and mineral products. Most preparations prescribed in Europe are herbal products which are legally imported into the UK by well known government licenced producers in India. Ayurvedic preparations go through a very long manufacturing process that was set out 3000 years ago and prepared using modern technologically advanced techniques. Some preparations take up to one year to produce. These preparations are in the form of liquid, tablets, powders or paste. The practitioner may give or prescribe raw or powdered herbs that patients have to make a decoction each day. No chemicals are used in ayurvedic medications.
DIETARY ADVICE An individual diet may be prescribed to suit you and your problem.
LIFESTYLE The Ayurvedic physician may check on your life style and habits and advice will be given accordingly.
YOGA - EXERCISE Yoga forms a part of Ayurvedic medicine. 'Veda' the book of knowledge explains the benefits of yoga positions in controlling medical conditions and as an aid to staying healthy and preventing illnesses.

MEDITATION This is a very important area in gaining self control, confidence, overcoming anxiety, tension, stress, insomnia etc. It is always advisable for everybody to practice meditation both at the beginning and the end of the day.

What Will Happen On My First Visit?
Your first visit may take from 30 minutes to one hour depending on each individual. Your physician will go through your past history: lifestyle, your family history and present health problems. This is mainly to identify your original constitution type (Prakriti) and a very important part in Ayurveda to check your dosha levels. A physical examination involves checking your skin, hair, nails, tongue, eyes and other areas according to the need of each individual.

Ayurveda in Ulpotha, Sri Lanka
Ulpotha has recently introduced an exciting program of Ayurveda treatments since it possesses the ideal climate and environment for the practise of this deeply traditional art. Until recently, Ulpotha had offered non-specific and general native treatments such as steam and infused water baths. The main reason for the absence of Ayurveda in Ulpotha was that the founders wanted to wait until the right person crossed their path to carry out what is a very specialised therapeutic practise. Ayurveda does not rely purely on knowledge, but includes the spiritual and the intangible in a holistic approach to good health and healing.
Hence, when the founders of Ulpotha met Dr. Srilal Mudunkothge B.A.M.S., they believed they had found the person they could place their confidence and trust in to establish an ayurvedic practise in Ulpotha. They felt that his qualifications and credentials, combined with his understanding of the profound importance that a healthy and natural environment has to the process of healing, make him the ideal practitioner to re-introduce Ayurveda to Ulpotha.
As an integral part of the arrangements made with Dr. Srilal, a local Ayurvedic clinic was established in August, 2005, to treat local villagers free of charge. This initiative, which includes free medicines, takes us back to the traditional way Ayurveda was dispensed, where patients rarely if ever paid in cash for the medical care they received. Instead they would make a symbolic offering of betel leaves to the doctor at the time of consultation and make their own services in kind available to the doctor.

Ayurveda Treatment Programmes
The primary aim of ayurveda is to balance the body’s energies and thus restore one’s health and vitality. Ulpotha is a particularly suitable place in which to undergo ayurvedic treatment, as the food and the environment complement the therapies and serve to underscore the holistic approach of AYURVEDA itself.
Subject to availability, all guests may consult Dr. Srilal, Ulpotha’s resident ayurvedic doctor, to learn about their state of health from an ayurvedic perspective or to simply satisfy their curiosity. This first consultation is free.
If a treatment programme is desired, Dr. Srilal will prepare a personalized detoxification and rejuvenation treatment plan for each individual. Central to the drawing up of a program is the consultation. Through this the doctor will get a sense of what imbalances are present, what type of body type is involved and which of the therapies described below need to be administered.
The Ayurveda programmes begin with detoxification therapies, which consist of preparatory and specialized elimination treatments. Preparatory treatments are called oleation and fomentation therapies and consist of oil applications, massage, steam and medicinal bath therapies. Specialised elimination therapies on the other hand consist of emesis, purgation and inhalation treatments among others. All of these are used to bring the body’s energies into balance, though not all of them will be necessary in all cases.
Once a balance is achieved, nourishing therapies are administered to maintain that balance. These rejuvenation treatments consist of traditional ayurvedic remedies using organic ingredients.

What You Can Expect...
All treatments, regardless of the personalized elements of a treatment that stem from a personal consultation, contain preparatory and elimination therapies. The preparatory therapies are the ones everyone likes and most ayurveda is known for - massages, oil applications, steam baths, saunas and herbal baths. Elimination therapies on the other hand, are the ones that some - if not most - people will find a little bit more challenging to accept. They consist of what is more commonly known as panchakarma (ie. the five specialized elimination therapies): emesis (vomiting), purgation, inhalation, enemas and blood-letting.
If a treatment is short in length, say one week or ten days, then you only have enough time for preparatory treatments that would support inhalation as an elimination therapy. If you have two weeks, then you can also undergo purgation. For emesis, enemas and blood-letting you need at least three weeks and ideally four weeks. However, the consultation is critical to determine which of the elimination therapies are required. If someone is particularly weak, then they will be subject to much more of the preparatory treatments and very little of the elimination therapies regardless of how long a program they have chosen. In other words, while you need to be on a long program to get into say emesis or enemas, it's not necessarily the case that you will definitely be subject to them if you choose a three or four week program if the consultation determines otherwise.
For the one week and ten day programs, guests will receive treatments every day. Each day will consist of roughly two hours of treatments. The two week program will have one or two rest days, the three week will have two or three rest days and the four week will have three or four rest days.
If we take an example of a one week program, the first day will consist of a full head and face and body massage (superficial tissue, or relaxing massage) followed by a herbal bath. Guests will also be given appropriate remedies to take, starting the first day for each day of their treatment - these remedies are meant to facilitate the treatments being received. The second day will consist of intensive, deep tissue body massage (no head and face) followed by a sauna or steam bath. The third day will consist of a relaxing body massage followed by shirodara oil application. The fourth day will consist of an inhalation therapyaccompanied by a head and face massage and a face steam. The fifth day will be a sarvangadara oil treatment (from a layman's terms, this is a shirodara but one for the whole body) followed by a steam bath. The sixth day will be a full body massage carried out using poultices made of a special milk rice made using medicinal decoctions followed by a warm water bath. The seventh day is a herbal facial treatment consisting of cleansing scrub, face steam, massage and herbal pack.
Treatments will be scheduled either in the morning or in the afternoon. Guests will have the rest of each day to hang out and do other things, including the optional yoga classes. Guests having treatment will be able to attend at least one yoga class a day. Sometimes they may prefer to just relax after treatments which is fine. The doctor says the more relaxing the yoga the better, which means astanga yoga would be better avoided.

At present there are five different programme periods on offer at Ulpotha: One week, ten day, two week, three week, and four week treatments, costing £200, £300, £400, £600 and £800 respectively. On your arrival in Ulpotha you will be introduced to Dr. Srilal, who can book you in for a consultation. Depending on your suitability for treatment and availability, he will administer the programme length of your choice and/or needs.

A little History of Ayurveda in Sri Lanka
In ancient times, when Sri Lanka was called ‘Thamrapanee’, its inhabitants discovered that there were certain plants which, if boiled with water, crushed, powdered, or used internally or externally, relieved pain or had other beneficial effects on various disorders.
Through time, many other plants with medically useful properties were discovered and incorporated into therapeutic recipes. These properties were used to influence the functioning of various specific internal organs and to cure disease. The practice of this indigenous medicine was based on observation and clarity of recording, rather than theory and symptomology.
In the 6th century BC, Prince Vijaya came to the island from India with a group of people and became its king. He renamed the island Singhaladveepa and ruled for nearly 40 years. He was the first king of the island and was reputed to have been an expert in the Sixty Four Arts (Siwsata Kala), one of which is Ayurveda.
It was Prince Vijaya, together with his personal physician who came with him to the island, who introduced Ayurveda to Sri Lanka. Ayurveda is the codified, indigenous medicine of India that is based on Indian Samkya philosophy. It is a complex therapeutic and medicinal system encompassing philosophy, psychology and spirituality together with a deep understanding of the nature of disease.
Over the centuries, Ayurveda incorporated elements of native treatments indigenous to the island and this knowledge was honed and handed down through the ages.
In 1790, during the reign of the last king of Sri Lanka, King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, a son of the king’s personal physician became a monk and built a temple in a village called Neelammahara, where he practised indigenous Ayurvedic medicine. This was the beginning of the now-famous Neelammahara medicinal heritage, which specializes in the treatment of mental illness. Over the next two centuries the tradition was passed from generation to generation as its reputation grew throughout the island.

Our Doctor's Ayurveda Heritage
In 1942, a young boy by the name of Sooriya Arachchige Amaratunga went with his mother and brother to see the island’s leading practitioner of the Neelammahara tradition, Dr. Ven. Dehiwela Dhammaloka Thero, for the treatment of his brother. He was immediately captivated by the art and science of ayurveda as practised by the Thero. So much so that the Thero decided to take the young man under his wing and to become his mentor. After a long and illustrious period of study under the Thero, he went to study under another famous physician specializing in the Elvitigala tradition, which covers general indigenous medicine.
After obtaining honours in Neelammahara and Elvitigala traditions, Dr. Amaratunga came into his own, practicing the rare combination of the two. Dr. Amaratunga enjoyed a long and illustrious career as both a practicing physician as well as a teacher.
As his life matured, he looked for a suitable candidate to whom he could pass his unique knowledge. In 1997, Dr. Amaratunga anointed a third year student, who was studying indigenous medicine at the University of Colombo at the time, to carry on his rare heritage. That student was Srilal Mudunkothge. Srilal completed his formal studies by obtaining a Bachelors Degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery and thereafter registering as a general and special doctor with the Ayurvedic Medical Council of Sri Lanka in 2002 and 2003 respectively. He is also registered as a Pharmacist with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.
After practicing as an Ayurvedic physician in Colombo for the past four years, Dr. Srilal is now based in Ulpotha. He intends to establish a unique practise in the tradition of his illustrious ayurvedic forebears, Dr. Ven. Dehiwela Dhammaloka Thero and Dr. Amaratunga. To facilitate him in this, Ulpotha has set up a free Ayurveda clinic where Dr Srilal diagnoses and dispenses free medicines to over 100 local villagers weekly. The cost of this is paid for by the money raised from the ayurveda treatments paid for by guests to Ulpotha. Guests are encouraged to visit the free clinic during their time at Ulpotha where they can learn about some of the plants that are commonly used in Ayurvedic treatment. Many of the medicinal herbs and plants used in Ayurveda are grown in the compound surrounding the clinic.


Pinnawal - Elephant Orphanage


The term meditation refers to a variety of techniques or practices intended to focus or control attention. Most of them are rooted in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. These techniques have been used by many different cultures throughout the world for thousands of years.
Today, many people use meditation outside of its traditional religious or cultural settings as a form of mind-body medicine. Many claims have been made about its value in promoting or improving health and wellness. Research on these claims, as well as on how meditation might work, is important for NCCAM and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
To help clarify the state of existing knowledge, NCCAM funded a systematic review of available scientific literature on meditation practices for health. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently published this review, which was carried out by investigators at the University of Alberta's AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center. The report highlights strengths and limitations in existing meditation research. While the study found some evidence suggesting that meditation is associated with potentially beneficial health effects, it also found that "firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence. Future research on meditation practices must be more rigorous in the design and execution of studies and in the analysis and reporting of results."

Meditation for health purposes is a mind-body practice in
complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)A group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine..a There are many types of meditationA conscious mental process using certain techniques -- such as focusing attention or maintaining a specific posture -- to suspend the stream of thoughts and relax the body and mind., most of which originated in ancient religious and spiritual traditions. Generally, a person who is meditating uses certain techniques, such as focusing attention (for example, on a word, an object, or the breath); a specific posture; and an open attitude toward distracting thoughts and emotions. Meditation can be practiced for various reasons--for example, with an intent to increase physical relaxation, mental calmness, and psychological balance; to cope with one or more diseases and conditions; and for overall wellness. This Backgrounder provides a general introduction to meditation and suggests some resources for finding out more.

aCAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and by their allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses. Some health care providers practice both CAM and conventional medicine.

Key Points
People practice meditation for a number of health-related purposes. Resources for published research results on meditation are listed at the end of this Backgrounder.
It is not fully known what changes occur in the body during meditation; whether they influence health; and, if so, how. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and some other components of the National Institutes of Health are sponsoring studies to find out more about meditation's effects, how it works, and what diseases and conditions it may be most helpful for.
Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

What Meditation Is
The term meditation refers to a group of techniques, most of which started in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. These techniques have been used by many different cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. Today, many people use meditation outside of its traditional religious or cultural settings, for health and wellness purposes.
In meditation, a person learns to focus his attention and suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupy the mind. This practice is believed to result in a state of greater physical relaxation, mental calmness, and psychological balance. Practicing meditation can change how a person relates to the flow of emotions and thoughts in the mind.

Most types of meditation have four elements in common:
A quiet location. Many meditators prefer a quiet place with as few distractions as possible. This can be particularly helpful for beginners. People who have been practicing meditation for a longer period of time sometimes develop the ability to meditate in public places, like waiting rooms or buses.

A specific, comfortable posture. Depending on the type being practiced, meditation can be done while sitting, lying down, standing, walking, or in other positions.
A focus of attention. Focusing one's attention is usually a part of meditation. For example, the meditator may focus on a mantra (a specially chosen word or set of words), an object, or the breath.

An open attitude. Having an open attitude during meditation means letting distractions come and go naturally without stopping to think about them. When distracting or wandering thoughts occur, they are not suppressed; instead, the meditator gently brings attention back to the focus. In some types of meditation, the meditator learns to observe the rising and falling of thoughts and emotions as they spontaneously occur.

Meditation is practiced both on its own and as a component of some other therapies, such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gongA component of traditional Chinese medicine that combines movement, meditation, and controlled breathing. The intent is to improve blood flow and the flow of qi.. This Backgrounder focuses on meditation practiced on its own.

Meditation for Health Purposes
Meditation used as CAM is a type of
mind-body medicinePractices that focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health. Examples include meditation and yoga. (one of the four domains, or areas of knowledge, in CAM). Generally, mind-body medicine focuses on:
The interactions among the brain, the rest of the body, the mind, and behavior
The ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect
People use meditation for various health problems, such as:
Mood and self-esteem problems
Physical or emotional symptoms that may be associated with chronic illnesses and their treatment, such as:
Cardiovascular (heart) disease

Meditation is also used for overall wellness.
A large national survey on Americans' use of CAM, released in 2004, found that nearly 8 percent of the participants had used meditation specifically for health reasons during the year before the survey.

Examples of Meditation
Mindfulness meditation and the Transcendental Meditation technique (also known as TM) are two common approaches to meditation. They are also two types of meditation being studied in NCCAM-sponsored research projects.

Mindfulness meditation originated in Buddhism. It is based on the concept of being mindful, or having an increased awareness and total acceptance of the present. While meditating, the meditator is taught to bring all her attention to the sensation of the flow of the breath in and out of the body. The intent might be described as focusing attention on what is being experienced, without reacting to or judging that experience. This is seen as helping the meditator learn to experience thoughts and emotions in normal daily life with greater balance and acceptance.

TM originated in the Vedic tradition in India. It is a type of meditation that uses a mantra (a word, sound, or phrase repeated silently) to prevent distracting thoughts from entering the mind. The intent of TM might be described as allowing the mind to settle into a quieter state and the body into a state of deep rest. This is seen as ultimately leading to a state of relaxed alertness.

Looking at How Meditation May Work
Practicing meditation has been shown to induce some changes in the body, such as changes in the body's "fight or flight" response. The system responsible for this response is the autonomic nervous system (sometimes called the involuntary nervous system). It regulates many organs and muscles, including functions such as the heartbeat, sweating, breathing, and digestion, and does so automatically.

The autonomic nervous system is divided into two major parts:
The sympathetic nervous system helps mobilize the body for action. When a person is under stress, it produces the fight-or-flight response: the heart rate and breathing rate go up, for example, the blood vessels narrow (restricting the flow of blood), and muscles tighten.
The parasympathetic nervous system creates what some call the "rest and digest" response. This system's responses oppose those of the sympathetic nervous system. For example, it causes the heart rate and breathing rate to slow down, the blood vessels to dilate (improving blood flow), and activity to increase in many parts of the digestive tract.
While scientists are studying whether meditation may afford meaningful health benefits, they are also looking at how it may do so. One way some types of meditation might work is by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.
Scientific research is using sophisticated tools to learn more about what goes on in the brain and the rest of the body during meditation, and diseases or conditions for which meditation might be useful. There is still much to learn in these areas. One avenue of research is looking at whether meditation is associated with significant changes in brain function. A number of researchers believe that these changes account for many of meditation's effects.

Side Effects and Risks
Meditation is generally safe. There have been a small number of reports that intensive meditation could cause or worsen symptoms in people who have certain psychiatric problems, but this question has not been fully researched. Individuals who are aware of an underlying psychiatric disorder and want to start meditation should speak with a mental health professional before doing so.
Any person who is interested in using meditation as CAM should consider the following:
Meditation should never delay the time it takes you to see your health care provider about having a medical problem diagnosed or treated, and it should not be used as the only treatment without first consulting your provider.
Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.


Bambulla Ancient Viharaya

Dambulla is famed for its opulently painted and highly decorated cave temples that date from the culmination of King Valagambahu's fourteen-year exile in the First Century BC. When he returned to the throne of Anuradhapura he had temples constructed within the caves at Dambulla in which he had taken refuge, in gratitude for the hiding place that the rock had offered him. Original murals and carvings illustrate Mahayana influences on Buddhism at the time, while succeeding kings over the centuries carried out further restorations, re-modelling and additions.

Prepare to be amazed at how this unique temple complex has been preserved while you will surely be astounded by just how many murals and carvings can still be clearly seen. Of these five dimly lit magical grottoes, Cave Two or Maharaja Vihara ("Temple of the Great Kings") is the most beautiful, and is the biggest by far. It contains in its cool hall-like dimensions more than 1,500 paintings of the Buddha and a magnificent 150 statues.

The caves are a steep ten-minute walk halfway up a gigantic granite outcrop that towers 160m above the dry plains below. Climb slowly and appreciate the surroundings because if you do it too quickly, it will leave you puffing for breath! From the terrace, the panoramic view of the tanks, jungle and even Sigiriya 19km away is breathtaking. The caves been repaired and repainted quite a few times over the years and Dambulla was designated a World Heritage Site in 1991.