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Vesak Celebrated at the London High Commission

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Vesak Celebrated at the London High Commission.

Photographs by Tissa Madawela

As part of its Vesak Celebrations and to invoke blessings on the President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapakse, the government and the people of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan High Commission in London organised an alms giving for Buddhist monks representing all Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in London. The heroic soldiers who sacrificed their lives in defending the sovereignty of the country were remembered and were bestowed merits.

Ven. Pahalagama Somarathana Nayaka thero, Chief Incumbent of the Thames Buddhist vihara, Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka thero, Chief Incumbent of the London Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Nayaka thero, Chief Incumbent of the Kingsbury Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre were among the 17 monks who attended the Dana held at the High Commission premises.

Ven. Pahalagama Somarathana Nayaka thero explained the significance of offering alms in line of the Dana Paramitha of the Lord Buddha. Ven. thero also stated that the concept of Dana is an exemplary teaching of the Lord Buddha and relevant in today’s context as well. Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka thero in his anusasana stated that he was pleased that such a function had been organized by the High Commission to celebrate the Vesak and also to remember the fallen soldiers with the participation of all sections of Sri Lankan community in London.

Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Nayaka thero conducted the Buddha Puja.

Following the alms giving a Dansela (Open House) was held offering Sri Lankan food where Sri Lankans as well as British citizens participated. High Commissioner Justice Nihal Jayasinghe stated that this is the first ever Dansela organized in the sixty years of history of Sri Lanka High Commission in London and added that the mission will continue to celebrate all Sri Lankan religious festivals.

The High Commission premises were colorfully decorated with Vesak lanterns, Buddhist flags and decorations. The High Commission has also organized a Vesak lecture titled “Buddhism as a Resource for Peace and Progress: Who is Prepared to Use it?” by Prof. Richard F, Gombrich of the Oxford University on 26 May. Prof. Gombrich is a world renowned scholar in Buddhist studies. Several British political leaders, academics, civil society representatives and diplomats have been invited for this lecture.

Vesak is the day of the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of the Lord Buddha which is celebrated widely in the Buddhist world. On the initiation of Sri Lanka, the United Nations declared the Vesak as a day of observance at the United Nations in the year 2000.
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