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This year's Katina Puja Pinkama at the London Buddhist Vihara was held on Sunday 2nd November.

Head of the Vihara Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, all the resident monks, Head of the East London Buddhist Cultural Centre Lumbini Vihara Ven. Makure Mangala Thera, Head of the Readbridge Buddhist Vihara Ven. Pethigamuwe Hemarathana Thera , Ven. Kalavane Ananda Thera  from Readbridge Buddhsit Vihara, Head of The Letchworth Buddhist Vihara Ven. Dediyawala Wimala Thera, Head of the Thames Buddhist Vihara Ven. Eheliyagoda Dhammapala Thera, Ven. Keteyape Amithasara Thera and Ven. Galayaye Dhammadassee Theras from Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre attended the ceremony.

This year's Kathina Puja was sponsored by W.D.Wijerathna, Anula Wijerathna, Susantha De Alwis, Vinitha De Alwis and their families.

A large number of devotees including the acting High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Mrs. Shamalee Rodrigo attended the Puja.

The special Kathina Robe was prepared during the day at the Vihara premisses. The Puja ceremony commenced with the sponsors and the members of their families bringing in the Katina Robe to the Shrine room, where the ceremony was held, in a colourful procession. 

Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera welcomed the Maha Sangha and all the devotees and delivered the Anusaasana explaining the beginning and the significance of the Kathina Cheewara Puja ceremony. He said that Kathina Puja is the most important the annual alms giving ceremony of the Buddhist year.

" For over 2500 years supporters of the Theravada monasteries have gathered during the months of October and November to celebrate the Kathina festival. This Puja is a way of completing and marking the end of  the rainy retreat or the Vassana." He said.

Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera delivered a sermon in Sinhala.

Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera in his Punyaanumodanaa thanked the Maha Sangha, The Acting High Commissioner, sponsors of the Pinkama, every one who attended and members of the Dayaka Sabha and all the supporters of the Vihara for their hard work to make this year's Kathina  Pinkama a success. 

According to the scriptures the Katina Puja originated during the time the Buddha was staying at Sravasthi,in the Jethavana Vihara the monastery built by Anathapindika.

Katina refers to the offering of the special robe prepared and presented to monks who have completed the three-month period of retreat called Vas in Sinhala, and Vassana in Pali, meaning the period of rain. Katina literally means ‘firm,’ 

or ‘solid,’ because the offering of a Katina robe helps to earn solid good karma.

A fascinating ritual associated with the Katina ceremony is the setting up of the "wishing tree", traditionally referred to as the Kapruka, in the temple premises. The idea is that by offering various items for the use of monks, including money which the devotees tie on to the tree, all their wishes would be granted. 

Photographs by Tissa Madawela


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