London Buddhist Vihara celebrated this year’s Buddha Day ( Vesak ) with a full day of religious programmes held at the Vihara premises. As the Wesak Poya day fell on a Sunday a large number of devotes from Sri Lankan, English and other communities living in London attended the programme. While the Maha Sangha was chanting Seth Pirith, the Acting High Commissioner for Sri Lanka hoisted the Buddhist flag to commence the Buddha Day programme.
After the lighting of the traditional lamp by the invited guests the Head of the Vihara, Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera conducted the administering of the Eight Precepts for more that 250 people who took Atasil for the day and the Five Precepts for the rest of the devotees.
In his admonition Ven. Nayaka Thera said that Vesak is traditionally associated with the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha, who renounced a life of luxury to solve the riddle of the universe and bring happiness to mankind as well as to other beings. Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera conducted the Buddha Vandanaa or paying homage to the Buddha.After a brief break for a cup of tea Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Thera delivered a sermon entitled “Live in the world yet un touched by the world” in English. Mid day Buddhapuja was conducted by Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera.
After the offering of Dhana to the venerable monks, Upasaka and Upasikas who observed Atasil, all the others were provided with a vegetarian lunch. Later in the afternoon ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera delivered a sermon in English explaining in detail the concept of Bhodhi and Enlightenment. President and the committee members of the Sri Lanka Women’s Association in the UK donated a much needed microwave oven to the temple.
An eye opening key note speech was delivered by Professor Geoffrey Hunt, Professor of Philosophy at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. He is the former professor of Ethics and the Buddhist Chaplain at the University of Surrey .Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera delivered a sermon in Sinhala. Later all the Venerable Monks participated in Pariththa chanting.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera paid tributes or Punyaanumodana, to every one who helped in various ways to arrange the days programme.
Buddha Day Programme concluded with a delightful Bhakthi Geetha ( devotional Songs) presentation by parents and teachers of the Rahula Dhamma School and other devotees.
Photographs by Tissa Madawela