sri express

Vesak was celebrated at the Berlin Vihara (Das Buddhistische Haus in Berlin – Frohnau, Germany) on Sunday May 22, 2016 under the patronage of Hon. Karunatilaka Amunugama, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany and in the presence of a large gathering of Buddhists drawn from various nationalities. It comprised mainly members of the Sinhalese community from Sri Lanka living in Berlin and other parts of Germany, the Germans, Thais and Cambodians, among others.    

The highlight of this year’s Vesak celebration was the handing over by Ambassador Amunugama of gifts donated by President Maithripala Sirisena to the Berlin Vihara namely a large handsomely crafted gold coloured Relic Casket and Palm (Ola) Leaf Book.

Ven.  Kongaspitiye Santharakkhitha Thero, senior resident monk at the Berlin Vihara, accepted the gifts on behalf of the Sasana.

Ven. Santharakkhitha, presiding over the proceedings at the public meeting held in the afternoon, administered pansil and delivered a sermon welcoming the distinguished invitees and guests. He explained the significance of Vesak and the manner in which the observance of Vesak needs to be conducted in a meaningful and deep - seated way. Ven. Santharakkhitha over the years has acquired fluency in German and now conducts retreats and classes in all three languages namely German, Sinhala and English, according to the requirements of the listeners.  

A Dutch Buddhist Nun named Sanghamitta from Netherlands was also associated with the conduct of the proceedings.                  

Ambassador Karunatilake Amunugama in his speech expounded on the importance of celebrating Vesak overseas particularly in western countries. There was a marked presence of the members of staff of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin, at this function.

Rodrigo Gonzalez, German Buddhist and instructor on Buddhism, spoke on the value and benefits of gaining an understanding and knowledge of Buddhism for people of Europe. Tissa Weeraratna, representing the German Dharmaduta Society, delivered the Vote of Thanks as the co – ordinator of the event. In his address Tissa Weeraratna drew attention to the recent floods and landslides that have affected people in several parts of Sri Lanka and appealed to Sri Lankan expatriates and German well - wishers to support emergency flood relief assistance in Sri Lanka, in whatever way they can. He thanked all those who had assisted in making the Vesak celebrations a success.

The members of the Sinhalese community in Berlin, participated in the Vesak Day related organizing activities with much enthusiasm. They were instrumental in decorating the Berlin Vihara premises with Buddhist flags, and illuminating the site with Vesak lanterns thereby bringing the spirit of Vesak to Berlin.  

Throughout the day the large meditation room in a separate part of the premises was filled with devotees. The day’s programme which commenced at 8.00 a.m. was conducted within the fold of traditional Buddhist spiritual activities relating to both Amisha (offerings or Dana) pooja and Prathipaththi (Seela and Bhavana) pooja. 

A Dansala that was organized by the Sri Lankan community provided both lunch and afternoon tea to all those who visited the Berlin Vihara on this day thereby enhancing fellowship and communion among the visitors.  

Das Buddhistische Haus (Berlin Vihara) is maintained by the German Dharmaduta Society which was founded by Asoka Weeraratna (Ven. Mitirigala Dhammanisanthi Thero) in Colombo in 1952.  

German Dharmaduta Society

See also

Das Buddhistische Haus  

http://das-buddhistische-haus.de/pages/en/

German Dharmaduta Society

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Dharmaduta_Society

Photos                                                                                                                         

  • The Relic Casket (left) and Palm (Ola) Leaf Book (right) donated by HE President Maithripala Sirisena to the Berlin Vihara.    
  • Ambassador Karunatileka Amunugama is seen bringing the Relic Casket donated by HE President Maithripala Sirisena to the Berlin Vihara on day of Vesak celebrations (May 22, 2016)
  • Ambassador Karunatileka Amunugama is seen handing over the Relic Casket donated by HE President Maithripala Sirisena to the Berlin Vihara, to Ven. Kongaspitiye Santharakkhitha Thera. 
  • Ambassador Karunatileka Amunugama is seen placing the Relic Casket donated by President Maithripala Sirisena to the Berlin Vihara, on the Table.
  • Ambassador Karunatilaka Amunugama and Mrs. Amunugama are seen reciting pansil. 
  • Ven. Kongaspitiye Santharakkhitha Thera is delivering a Bana sermon
  • The queue in front of the Dansala 
  • An overview of the Dansala located in the large compound of the Berlin Vihara

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