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LONDON (29 May 2011)

LONDON (29 May 2011) - On Sunday, 29th May 2011, the Buddhist community across the United Kingdom assembled for a special celebration to mark the 2600th Anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Buddha - the 2600th Sambuddha Jayanthi. This event was organised with co-operation of Buddhist organisations across the UK and was held at Hammersmith Town Hall in London. The celebration was an an expression of gratitude and homage from the Buddhist Community in the United Kingdom to the Buddha for the incomparable compassion of the Buddha, when He attained enlightenment 2600 years ago and decided teach the Dhamma to the world. The significance and importance of these teachings were explained in a number of insightful and informative talks delivered by Ven. Ajahn Amaro (Abbot of the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, near Hemel Hempstead), Shinzan Miyamae Roshi (a Japanse Zen Master), Dr. Desmond Biddulph (Chair of The Buddhist Society, London). Additionally, an inspirational keynote address delivered by Dr. Ananda Guruge (Director of the International Academy of Buddhism, University of the West, Los Angeles, USA) highlighted the timeless qualities of the Buddha's teachings and their relevance to modern life.

The celebration also showcased the diversity of Buddhist culture in the UK with a performances of music and dance, starting with the London Buddhist Vihara Choir, who sang a Sri Lankan Devotional Song; which was followed by a graceful Banner Dance performed by the Dunhuang Dance troupe of the London Fo Guang Shan. Additionally, the beautiful dance item presented by Miss. Bimala Maharajan of the Lumbini Nepalese Buddhist Society reflected the importance of the Bodhisattva Manjushri to the Nepalese Buddhist community. Finally, the audience enjoyed an uplifting choral performance from the Glorious Life Chorus, representing Sokka Gakkai International (UK), who sang 'Life is a Voyage', a song based on words of a poem by Dasiaku Ikeda (Lay Leader of Sokka Gakkai International) set to music by Roy and Howard Jones. Finally, the assembled congregation were led in meditation on loving-kindness by Ven. Sr. Ajahn Sundara, of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery,which was followed by chanting by monks of different Buddhist traditions.

The organisers express their sincere gratitude to the many Buddhist organisations and individuals who provided assistance, by donating both their time and money, to make this event possible. Additionally, they would like to thank Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the Acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and the various faith leaders, including Dr. Harriet Crabtree Director of the Interfaith Network for the UK and Father Walter de Mello, OBE, The Director of the Community of Reconciliation and Fellowship for attending this event. ----

2600th Sambuddha Jayanthi Celebration in the UK58, Eccleston Square, Londone-mail: secretary@sambuddhajayanthi.infowww: http://www.sambuddhajayanthi.info/

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