London Buddhist Vihara Annual Kathina Ceremony 2021
Marking the end of the rainy retreat, London Buddhist Vihara held the annual Kathina Ceremony on Sunday 31st October,2021 at the Vihara premisses at Dharmapala Building, Chiswick, London W4 1UD.
Head of the Vihara Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, resident monks at LBV Ven.Thawalama Bandula Thera, Ven.Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera, Head of the East London Buddhist Cultural Centre Lumbini Vihara Ven. Makure Mangala Thera, Head of the Readbridge Buddhist Vihara Ven. Pethigamuwe Hemarathana Thera, Resident Monk at Letchworth Buddhist Vihara Ven. Sooriyawewa Kusala Thera, Acting Head of the Thames Buddhist Vihara Ven. Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thera, Head of the Edmonton Samadhi Meditation Centre Ven.Gunnepane Sumanaarama Thera, Mahabrithaanyaye Kassapa Thera,Head of the Cambridge Buddhist Vihara Ven. Mathugama Palitha Thera, Resident Monk at the Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre,Kingsbury Ven. Galayaye Dhammadassee Theras attended the ceremony.
This year's Kathina Puja was sponsored by four families : Wajira and Niluka Vidanagamage, Janak and Sereshini Ranasinghe, Ajith and Chandrika Perera and Anura and Lalanie Weerakone.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic rules imposed by the UK Government the gathering was limited to members of the sponsoring families and it was conducted following the guidelines given by the British authorities.
Video and Audio coverage of the full programme was streamed live over the internet giving the opportunity to many devotees to take part from their homes.
The Puja ceremony commenced with the sponsors and the members of their families bringing in the Katina Robe in a colourful procession to the Shrine room, where the ceremony was held.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera welcomed the Maha Sangha and all the devotees and delivered the Anusaasana explaining the beginning and the significance of the Kathina Cheewara Puja ceremony. He said that Kathina Puja is the most important annual alms giving ceremony of the Buddhist year.
" For over 2500 years supporters of the Theravada monasteries have gathered during the months of October and November to celebrate the Kathina festival. This Puja is a way of completing and marking the end of the rainy retreat or the Vassana." he said.
Ven. Mahabrithanyayae Kassapa Thera delivered a Sermon in English and a Sermon in Sinhala was delivered by Head of the Cambridge Buddhist Vihara Ven. Mathugama Palitha Thera.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera in his Punyaanumodanaa thanked the Maha Sangha, sponsors of the Pinkama, everyone who attended and members of the Dayaka Sabha, and all the supporters of the Vihara for their hard work.
On behalf of the sponsors of this year's Kathina Pinkama Niluka Widanagamage thank tha Mahasangha and all the people who helped in various ways to make this year's Pinkama a great success.
According to the scriptures the Katina Puja originated during the time the Buddha was staying at Sravasthi,in the Jethavana Vihara the monastery built by Anathapindika.
Katina refers to the offering of the special robe prepared and presented to monks who have completed the three-month period of retreat called Vas in Sinhala, and Vassana in Pali, meaning the period of rain. Katina literally means ‘firm,’or ‘solid,’ because the offering of a Katina robe helps to earn solid good karma.
A fascinating ritual associated with the Katina ceremony is the setting up of the "wishing tree", traditionally referred to as the Kapruka, in the temple premises. The idea is that by offering various items for the use of monks, including money which the devotees tie on to the tree, all their wishes would be granted.
Photographs by Tissa Madawela