ANNUAL KATHINA CEREMONY SHANTHI BUDDHIST VIHARA, NOTTINGHAM
Text by Dr. Upul Wijewardena
The fourth Kathina Ceremony of Nottingham Shanthi Buddhist Vihara was held on Sunday 30th October at St. Patrick’s Church Hall in Watnall with the participation of thirteen Buddhist monks and over 200 devotees. The proceedings which started sharp at 10.45am, as announced, was presided over by Ven. Dediyawala Wimala Thero. Among the Buddhist monks that participated in the religious ceremonies were Pidiwille Piyatissa Nayaka Thero, Keppetiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero and other Venerable monks representing Kethumathi Buddhis Vihara, Manchestr, Jethavana Buddhist Vihara, Birmingham, Letchworth Buddhist Vihara, Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya, London Buddhist Vihara, Athula Dassana Duddhist Vihara, Heathrow, and Sambuddha Vihara, Liverpool.
Kathina Ceremony was sponsored by Mr Thejana Punchihewa and Mrs Dhanushka Punchihewa and was attended by devotees from all over UK, as well as some members of Mrs Punchihewa’s family who came all the way from Sri Lanka and Australia .It turned out to be an international gathering.
After the offering of Buddha Pooja and Vandana, Sanghika Dana was offered to the priests. Though on previous occasions the devotees were offered lunch shortly after the Dana, a successful innovation was introduced on this occasion; offering of snacks to the devotees at the same time, so that the Monks could have the Sanghika Dana in relative peace and the religious ceremonies could continue as soon as Dana was over.
Kathina Perahara to the accompaniment of drums, both by professionals as well as some students of the Dhamma School, toured round. In spite of clouded skies, it was a colourful pajent with children and adults alike participating with banners, Sesath, Ata Pirikara and the Kathina Robe. After touring, the procession entered the hall amidst the ‘Sadu Nada’ of the devotees.
After the offering of Ata Pirikara and Robes to the gathered Monks, the Kathina ceremony was performed by Ven Keppetiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero. It was obvious that the recipient of the Kathina Robe would be Ven. Teldeniyaye Amitha Thero, as he was the only monk that observed ‘Vassana’ at the temple. The offering was done in the traditional manner with Ven. Amitha donning the robe.
Ven. Akurala Samitha delivered a short Anusasana in English and Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana in Sinhala, both emphasising the value of the Kathina ceremony but the highlight of the ceremony was the vote of thanks. The daughters of Thejana and Dhanushka, 7 year old Menuli delivered a vote of thanks in Sinhala to the delight of all, followed by her elder sister Methmi who delivered her vote of thanks in English with equal eloquence. They were applauded not only by the devotees but also by the Monks in attendance.
The ceremony concluded at 1.45 pm leaving the devotees to enjoy, at leisure, the sumptuous food offered, varying from Kurrakkan Pittu, Rice & curries to all varieties of desserts including Halapa and Moong Kavun.
During the Vassana period Ven. Amitha took the opportunity of discussing fourteen important Suttas during weekends. A book titled “Sadaham Vesi”, containing the Pali text of these Suttas with Sinhala and English translations was distributed free at the conclusion of the ceremony. Anyone interested in obtaining a free copy can contact the temple.
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