Nottingham Shanthi Buddhist Vihara Vesak Festival – 25th May 2013

The Vesak festival organised by the Shanthi Buddhist Vihara was held on the 25th of May at the St Saviour’s Church Community Hall in Nottingham. Upon arrival, Sri Lankans from across the region were greeted by a myriad of Buddhist flags, splendid Vesak Lanterns and other decorations, characteristic of this most important religious and cultural day in the Buddhist calendar.

The programme commenced with observation of the eight precepts (Atasil) by devotees. The sight of participants both young and old alike, in simple white attire, created an atmosphere of calm serenity. Breakfast was provided by Mr. Asanka Devakumarasiri to all those in attendance. A dhamma talk addressing the significance of Vesak followed by a meditation session was conducted by Ven. Teldeniyaye Amitha Thero, the head of the Shanthi Buddhist Vihara. The morning session concluded with the offering of Buddha puja, alms to the ‘maha sangha’ and Upasaka Upasikas. The visiting public were then treated to lunch with contributions from all those in attendance.
A stimulating talk on the history of Buddhism by Dr. Tony Fletcher commenced the proceedings in the afternoon. Following a round of refreshing tea and coffee, Ven. Madugalle Mahanama Thero of East London Buddhist Cultural Centre, delivered a further Dhamma talk referring to the significance of Vesak. The much anticipated ‘Bakthi Geetha’ (recital of Buddhist devotional songs) added further colour to the afternoon’s events.

Mr. Priyantha Jayasundara delivered a presentation on the successful journey of the Shanthi Buddhist Vihara since its inauguration and the journey that lies ahead of us, and reminded all those in attendance of the individual responsibilities of sustaining such a task. Keeping with the spirit of practicing generosity during this period, the Vesak festival drew to a close with the ‘Dansala’ offering devotees a delectable spread of Sri Lankan cuisine to savour.

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