Thank you, Axel.
I have heard very good things about Abhaya Theros retreats. Christian has posted some videos on testimonials from retreat attendees from the past retreats at, “Personal Experiences.”
I have met Abhaya Thero a couple of times in my visits to Sri Lanka in 2014 and 2016. Even though I did not get to meet Waharaka Thero (due to his illnesses), I was able to meet Abhaya Thero and Sudithadeera Thero. They provided me with many recorded discourses of Waharaka Thero and were very helpful. They have, of course, made those discourses available at “සදහම් දේශනා” (in Sinhala)
– When I first met Abhaya Thero in 2014 he was not yet ordained. He was an engineer. So, he has a good background in science as well.
– He has a unique ability to get others to samadhi with his unique style. Those who had cultivated jhanas in recent previous lives are able to attain jhana in a short time (during a retreat).
The only reservation I have about Abhaya Thero’s retreats is the emphasis on jhanas. It is, of course, a great thing to cultivate jhanas. But as I have discussed at length on this website, it is important to make note of the following two points.
1. It is not easy to distinguish between anariya and Ariya jhana. Only the person who experiences jhana would know whether kama raga are only suppressed (anariya jhana) or removed (Ariya jhana). As Waharaka Thero has also pointed out, one must remove kama raga to attain even the first Ariya jhana. I have a discourse from Waharaka Thero on that point in the post, “Parinibbāna of Waharaka Thēro.”
– I have also discussed these issues in detail at, “Samādhi, Jhāna (Dhyāna), Magga Phala”
2. Jhanas are not necessary to attain magga phala. Those who are not able to attain jhana in a retreat need not be discouraged. What is important is to grasp the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature. Abhaya Thero does a good job of explaining those concepts at the beginning of the retreats.
P.S. New post for this week is, “Vacī Saṅkhāra – Saṅkappa (Conscious Thoughts) and Vācā (Speech)“