Founder's Day Celebrations at London Buddhist Vihara
To commemorate the 151st Birth Day of Anagarika Dharmapala, founder of the London Buddhist Vihara, and the 89th Anniversary of the Vihara, a Memorial Lecture, Pariththa Chanting and a Morning Dana programme was held at the Vihara premisses in Chiswick, London, during the Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September, 2015.
The week end programme commenced with a Memorial Lecture by Dr.Geoffrey Hunt, Professor of Philosophy at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, London. Dr. Hunt is the former Professor of Ethics at University of Surrey and the Founder of The New Buddha Way, a movement of meditators, founded in 2002, that meets regularly in Guilford and Working, and other venues in South East England.
Head of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera welcomed Dr. Hunt and said that "we are truly fortunate that he has been able to spare some of his valuable time to be with us in this very important day for our temple".
Dr. Hunt in his talk explained the value of bringing the Buddha Dhamma to the UK by Anagarika Dharmapala and said that "it is still under estimated today". He said that "Anagarika's immense and almost super human achievements in bringing the Buddha Dhamma to the Western World and saving the Buddhist Archeological sites in India shows that he was indeed a unique and exceptional human being".
After the lecture a lively question and answer session was also held. Leslie Dep, on behalf of the Vihara Management Committee thanked Dr. Hunt for delivering such an informative lecture. Mr. Niranjan Pathirathna from the Sri Lanka High Commission and many others attended the talk .
Day's evening Puja was conducted by Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera.
Pariththa Chanting ceremony commenced with more than 20 monks from various Sri Lankan temple in England taking part. This took palace in an elegant and beautiful Pirith Mandapaya ( pavilion) built on the main stage in the assembly hall.
Among the Nayaka Theras and the Bhikkus and Bhikkunis present at the Pirith Pinkama were Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka Of Great Britain, Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Nayaka Thera, Chief Sangha Nayaka of North America, Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera,Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera from London Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Keppitiyagoda Gunawasa Nayaka Thera, Chief Sangha Nayaka of Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya in Britain and Head of the Jethavana Vihara Birmingham, Ven. Mapalagama Soratha Thera from Jethavana Vihara Birminham, Ven. Eheliyagoda Dhammapala Nayaka Thera, Head of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Rambodagama Narada Thera from Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Vitiyala Indasiri Thera, Ven. Yatimadure Gnaanawimala Thera, Ven. Ilukkumbure Seevali Thera from Birmingham Maha Vihara, Ven. Makure Mangala Nayaka Thera, Head of the Lumbini Vihara, East London, Ven. Kirioruwe Dheeraananda Thera from Lumbini Vihara, Ven. Theldeniyaaye Amitha Nayaka Thera, Head of the Shanthi Vihara Nottingham, Ven. Pethigamuwe Somarathana Nayaka Thera, Head of the Redbridge Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Katiyape Amithasara Thera, Ven. madirigiriye Somananda Thera from Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre in Kingsbury, Ven. Dodangoda Sumeda Thera from Leicester Buddhist Vihara and Bhikkuni Khemaka from Amaraawathi Buddhist Vihara in Hamel Hampstead.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera welcomed the Maha Sangha and the devotees. Ven Thawalama Bandula Thera introduced the proceedings. According to the Sri Lankan customs a traditional lamp was lit by Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera with Leslie Dep and Pat Smith representing the Vihara Dayaka Sabha.
Ven. Ahaliyagoda Dhammapala Nayaka Thera and Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Nayaka Thera delivered sermons in Sinhala and English languages. Ven. Makure Mangala Nayaka Thera conducted the invitation to the Maha Sangha to perform the Pariththa Chanting.
A.P.Attanayaka, Panduka Wickramarathna and Aruna Shantha provided the traditional drumming.
Ven. Theldeniyaye Amitha Nayaka Thera, who is well known as a "Pariththa Bhanaka" or one with the ability to chant in a pleasant voice, led the Chanting.
On the 20th Sunday, morning Buddha Puja was conducted by Ven. Kassapa Thera. Morning Dhana to the monks were offered by the Dayakas present followed by the Transferring of Merits to Anagarika Dharmapala and all the monks and devotees who helped the London Budddhist Vihara during the last 89 years of it's existence.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera in his Anusaasana thanked every one who helped in many a ways to make this year's Founder's Day a great success.