COVID-19 in Uganda: What it teaches us?

COVID-19 in Uganda: What it teaches us?

Uganda has so far found 89 positive cases and no death of COVID-19  so far registered, and 52 have been reported to have fully recovered. People are encouraged to stay home. Public transportation as well as private means of transportation have been stopped. Churches, bars, night clubs and other congregational places have been closed down. Businesses, except food markets have been closed, and venders in these markets are advised to sleep at their places of work.

Towards the end of March, I camped at the Buddhist Centre in Entebbe so I can use my days of quarantine in a more meaningful and enlightening way. 14 days past….and now another 21 days of perfect peace and tranquillity. My life here has continued to be very benefiting.

The forest behind the center is blossoming with beauty, teaming with monkeys and squirrels.

Groups of monkeys come every day to visit us. It feels as though we are in a zoo. The air is fresh and clean…the night roses all over the compound are so fresh and aromatic. Birds singing every night and day…I enjoy the serenity here.

The government asked us to stay home…we are encouraged to exercise from home and observe generous social distancing. What a rare opportunity to take an inward journey! …as the Chinese say ‘every crisis caries an opportunity’.

Practicing meditation and breathing techniques here has given me a sort of inner resource that allows me to be comfortable and content in my simple surroundings.

In my little room, I sometimes feel seated under a tree listening to the Buddha giving his original meditation instructions. What he taught over the last 2,600 years ago, are still original and valid instructions for practitioners like us today to quickly experience the positive and profound uplifting of our mind.

When we read and practice meditation, we find the Buddha’s promise of transformation of suffering, stress, depression and confusion into joy, peace and wisdom that is so healing and liberating.

Life under the lockdown is teaching us quite a lot…For instance , there is more to life than spending whole night in a night club. It has reunited us together with our families. At the Uganda Buddhist Centre, we are able to meet frequently to discuss how we can best practice and promote Dhamma in our community. Ultimately, COVID-19 is a sharp reminder of the Buddha’s teaching of interdependence—what one does as an individual, can affect their communities and the entire universe. This sort of awakening is very transforming and fulfilling.

Let’s use this time to meditate or practice yoga as methods of personal growth and profound spiritual attainment. Also, this time can be used wisely to write or read a book for growth and learn new skills.

The qualities that underpin the Sangha community are unity, harmony, and support. Let’s stay connected and support each other in this very chaotic and challenging situation. Remember: all conditioned things are of the nature of changing, and COVID-19 is no exception to this natural law. Finally, challenging situations are moments for us to reflect on our potential to make choices for the benefit of all sentient beings.

May beings be safe, happy and peaceful!

Andrew Bakaki


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