The Queen`s 90th Birthday Blessings Ceremony at London Buddhist Vihara
Photographs by Tissa Madawela
The Queen's 90th Birthday Blessings Ceremony at London Buddhist Vihara
Under the guidance of the Head of the Vihara, Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain and the Head of the Sri Lanka Sangha Sabha in the UK, Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimana Nayaka Thera, special Blessing Ceremony to celebrate the 90th birth anniversary of the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was held at the London Buddhist Vihara on Tuesday the 7th June.
The Queen celebrated her birthday on April 21, but events are also held in May and June around the country.
Representing Her Majesty the Queen, Master of the Household at Buckingham Palace, Vice Admiral Anthony Johnstone-Burt, CB,OBE, participated as the Chief Guest. Vice Admiral Johnstone-Burt's party included 8 other senior members from the Household Department at the Palace.
Other guests included the President of the Buddhist Society Dr. Desmond Biddulph, Mrs. Biddulph, Dr. Harriet Crabtree, director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, Manoj Warnapala, Counsellor of the Sri Lanka High Commission and Nalin Perera London representative of Sri Lanka Tourism. Many monks representing Sri Lankan temples in the UK and the Amaravati Monastery also participated in the ceremony.
Prestige Creations prepared a special birthday cake and cup cakes were made by Gayathri Ranchagoda with a royal theme for the occasion.
Introducing the Blessings Ceremony Dr. Gnanis Subasinhe explained the importance and the significance of a Buddhist blessings ceremony and said that to have clergy representing four major branches of Buddhism in the world, Theravada, Mahayana, Zen and Tibetan taking part in this ceremony is a unique and important occurrence.
Children from the Rahula Dhamma School at the London Buddhist Vihara sang stanzas of Victory and Blessings, Jayamangala Gatha.
After the lighting of the traditional lamp, the chief guest Admiral Johnstone-Burt, placed a tray of flowers to pay his respect at the Buddha statue in the main shrine room.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera welcomed the congregation and gave a short speech, He wished Her Majesty the Queen, longest reigning British Head of State, a very special 90th birthday, good health and said "long may she continue to reign".
A japanese Zen Chanting by Nipponzam Myohoji from London Peace Pagoda in Battersea, Chinese Chanting by nuns from London Fo Guang Temple, Tibetan Chanting by Lelum Dharma trust members and Theravada Chanting by monks from Amaravati Monastary,East London Cultural Centre, Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya, London Buddhist Vihara, Redbridge Cultural Centre, Shanthi Vihara Nottingham and Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre followed.
After a short meditation reflection the chief guest Vice Admiral Anthony Johnstone-Burt addressed the gathering. He thanked Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera and every one who arranged the ceremony and said that he will convey the good wishes and blessings to Her Majesty in the following morning.
Ceremony concluded with the singing of the British and Sri Lankan National Anthems.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera thanked the Chief Guest and his party, Maha Sangha, all the other religious dignitaries and guests who attended, London Buddhist Vihara coordinator's and the friends of the Vihara, children, teachers and parents of the Rahula Dhamma School, resident monks who worked tirelessly to arrange the ceremony so elegantly and make it such a huge success.