2016 BUDDHA DAY ( WESAK ) AT THE LONDON BUDDHIST VIHARA
This year's Wesak Day ( Buddha Day ) was celebrated on May the 22nd Sunday with a full days programme of religious activities at the London Buddhist Vihara. The programme included Buddha Vandana, Dhamma Sermons, Dhamma Discussions, Dhana for the Monks, Upasakas and the Upasikas, Meditation sessions, programme of Devotional Songs and a key note speech on Mindfulness by Professor Jeffrey Hunt, of University of Surrey . A large number of devotees from various communities participated. More than 200 devotees observed the Eight Precepts, Ata Sil, instead of the daily 'pan sil' – the Five Precepts.
President of the Buddhist Society Dr. Desmond Biddulph and Mrs. Biddulph were among the invited guests.
A special Wesak programme for the London Buddhist Vihara Rahula Dhamma school Children was held on the 21st Saturday.
This years main Wesak programme commenced with the hoisting of the Buddhist flag by Acting High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom, H.E. Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, followed by the lighting of the traditional lamp. Head of the Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain, Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera conducted the Administering of the Eight Precepts. In his Admonition, Ven. Nayaka Thera explained in detail the significance of the Wesak Full Moon Poya Day. He said that " of all Poya days, the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day is of utmost significance as it marks three major events in the life of The Buddha. It was on a day like this that the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of The Buddha took place. According to Buddhist history, Gauthama Buddha’s third visit to Sri Lanka was also taken place on a Vesak Full Moon Poya Day. Gauthama Buddha visited Kelaniya at the invitation of Naga King Maniakkhika of Kelaniya. At the age of eighty years, Gautama Buddha rested on a couch placed between two Sala trees in the Upavattana Sala grove, in the Kushinagar district of the modern day Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and attained Parinibbana on a Vesak Full Moon Poya Day."
Ven. Thawalama Bandila Thera conducted the Paying Homage to the Buddha, Buddha Vandana. Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera presented an Instruction and Practice session on meditation, with all the devotees participating.
Ph D Research Student at the King's College London, Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Thera delivered a sermon on Wayfarers of Samsara. Mid Day Buddha Puja was conducted by Ven. Kassapa Thera.
After offering of the Dana to the Maha sangha, Upasaka and Upasikas rest of the devotees who attended the programme were supplied with a delicious vegetarian meal.
Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera delivered a sermon on the Passana, Anupassanaa and Vipassanaa with reference to Nibbana. Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera delivered a Sermon in Sinhala.
Key note speech entitled " Mindfulness in the modern world" was delivered by Professor Geoffery Hunt , Professor of Philosophy at the University of Surrey.
After Pariththa Chanting Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera gave Punyanuodana and said that he was very happy to see such a large number of devotees from many communities attending this year's Wesak Day programme. He thanked all the supporters of the Vihara, Children and the Parents of the Rahula Dhamma School, Vihara Management Committee and the devotees who spent their precious time and worked so hard to make the programme a huge success.
A special Blessing Service also held to remember and pass merits to all the victims of the recent flooding and land slide disaster in Sri Lanka. Donations were collected to help the people who were effected.
As a part of their Annual programme The Sri Lanka Women's Association has donated valuable and greatly useful equipment to the Vihara.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera said that London Buddhist Vihara, to mark the occasion of it's 90th year has made arrangements to donate urgently needed medical equipment, including a Multi Parameter Patient Monitor and a Fetal and Maternal Monitor to the Kebithigollawa Base Hospital in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka at the request of the doctors working there.
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