Poson Poya Day at London Buddhist Vihara
Annual "Dharma Vijaya" programme to celebrate Poson Poya was held at the London Buddhist Vihara on Sunday the 19th June.
Resident monks at the Vihara and Ven. Mathugama Gnanaloka Thera of Bope Sudharmaarama Purana Vihara, Sri Lanka took part in organising Buddha Puja, Buddha Wandana,observing 8 precepts, Meditation, Dhana and Dhamma Discussions.
The teachers and parents of the Rahula Dhamma School sponsored Poson Poya Day programme with generous assistance from many supporters of the Vihara.
Mid day Dhana to the monks was offered to remember and pass merits to Mrs. Aslin Balasuriya who passed away three months ago and to all the other departed relatives and friends by Mrs. Balasuriya's son Upul Akarawita his family and their friends.
Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera in an Anusasana described the importance of the Poson Poya Day to the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. He said " Poson Full-moon Day is significant to the Sri Lankans as the day on which the Arahath Mahinda, son of Indian Emperor Dharmashoka, introduced Buddha Dhamma to the nation in the 3rd century B.C. Arahath Thera Mahinda converted the Lankan ruler, King Devanampiya Tissa to Buddha Dhamma, and set in motion a series of measures that made Sri Lanka the centre of Theravada Buddhism."
A large number of devotees observed the 8 precepts. These training rules are observed by laypeople during Uposatha (lunar observance) days. The Eight Precepts are based on the Five Precepts, with the third precept extended to prohibit all sensual activity and an additional three precepts that are especially supportive to meditation practice..
Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera led the Buddha Vandana and a short meditation session. Ven. Bandula gave a sermon on the "Parable of the Elephant's Foot Print", which is based on the " Chula Hasthi Padopama Suththa" the inaugural sermon delivered by Maha Mahinda Thera to convince King Devanam Piyatissa that the profound Dhamma of the Buddha could be understood only through one’s own endeavour, and not by relying on what someone says. The Sutra emphasise that one must not judge the size and variety of an pachyderm by the dimensions of its foot prints; which is not the only criterion to establish the nature of the giant animal.
Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera, Dr. Upali Abeysiri and Mr. Richard Jones conducted a Dhamma Discussion on “Samma Ditthi”.
Ven. Kassapa Thera gave a sermon on the Introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. He said "Sri Lanka is the oldest continually Buddhist country, Theravada Buddhism being the major religion in the island since its official introduction in the 2nd century BC by Venerable Mahinda, the son of Emperor Ashoka of India during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. Later, the nun Sanghamitta, daughter of Asoka, and sister of Ven. Mahinda Thera, was said to have brought the southern branch of the original Bodhi tree in Buddhagaya, and was planted at Anuradhapura. From that day up to the present, the Buddhists in Sri Lanka have paid and are paying the utmost reverence to this branch of the Bodhi Tree under the shade of which Siddhartha Gauthama achieved Enlightenment."
Emeritus Professor, and Director, Postgraduate institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka, Professor Athula Perera gave a talk on " Modern Gene Technology Reveals the Beauty of the Dhamma".
Poson Poya programme concluded with a Poson Bhakthi Geetha programme by the London Buddhist Vihara Rahula Dhamma School children.