As in previous years, on Saturday 14th July 2018, Thames Buddhist Vihara, held its Annual Pirith Chanting Ceremony to celebrate its 36th year.
The Chanting Ceremony (Intoning of selected Suttras) got under way soon after members of the congregation paid Homage to the past 28 Buddhas, including the present Gauthama the Buddha, by special offerings, each comprising, ‘Ata-Pirikara, Chathumadura, Floral Arrangement and Lamp’, to the statuettes placed on stylishly decorated row of tables. It could only be described as one of the most eye- catching displays to behold.
The Homage Ceremony was conducted with flair and devotion by the Acting Head of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thera & the resident Monk of the Thames Buddhist Vihara Ven.Dombawala Amitha, who while bestowing merit on the founder & Head of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana Nayaka Thera , Chief Sanghanayake of Great Britain, emphasised the need to incorporate the sublime qualities of the Buddha into our lives.
The casket containing relics of the Buddha, ‘Piruvana Poth Vahanse’ most venerated Buddhist Lexicon and the Venerables taking part in the Pirith Chanting Ceremony were conducted in procession, through the Hall, full of devotees, by a troupe of ceremonially clad professional drummers, to the specially erected Pagoda, exquisitely decorated internally and externally in typical Sri Lankan style, providing comfortable seating accommodation for the Venerables.
The attractive soft and pulsating illuminations gave the Pagoda an added elegance, fitting the occasion.
The Acting Head of Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Kohukubure Siridhamma Thera, and President of the Thames Meditation Society, Dr. Herath Kularatne, in their speeches, while extending a warm welcome to all the Venerables, Chief Guest His Excellency Mr. Sugeeshwara Gunarathna , the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the devotees, profusely thanked those who helped in numerous ways, to make the occasion an outstanding success, especially by the Jasmin Pirith Mandapa .
Of the many noble intentions, the Annual Pirith Ceremony was to transfer merit to devotees who have passed away, to bless present devotees, well-wishers, people of Sri-Lanka and the whole of humanity, wishing everyone good health, well-being and happiness.
Ven. Dr. Vitharandeniye Kassapa Nayaka Thera, Head of Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara, praised the laudable service provided by the resident Venerables of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, attending to the spiritual needs of the Buddhist community.
Ven. Akurala Samitha Nayaka Thera, Head of Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya, speaking in English, emphasised the importance of exposing children, from a young age, to the teachings of the Buddha, for their physical and mental well-being.
Ven. Dr. Kabalewe Sirisumana Nayaka Thera, Head of Barking Buddhist Vihara;
Ven.Thavalama Bandula Nayaka Thera, Deputy Head of London Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Waduramba Kassapa Nayaka Thera, Head of Heathrow Athula Dassana International Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Mathugame Palitha Thera, Head of Cambridge Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Madugalle Mahanama Thera, Head of London Sri Sambodhi Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Suriyawewa Kusala Thera,Acting Head of Letchworth Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Teldeniye Amitha Nayaka Thera, Nottingham Shanthi Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Viharagala Kusala Thera, Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara;
Ven. Dodangoda Sumedha Thera, Head of Sri Sadaham Buddhist Vihara;
Ven. Galayaye Dhammadassi Thera, Acting Head of Kingsbury Buddhist Temple,
Ven. Anamaduwe Dhammajeewa and Ven. Nepal Suwachaseela Thera, Nottingham Shanthi Buddhist Vihara, also took part in the Pirith chanting ceremony.
Devotees enjoyed a lavish, traditional Sri Lankan style dinner after the ceremony, Sponsord by Mr.Suraj Weeraratne, Committee member & Mrs. Sandhya Weeraratne Hon.Secretary of Thames Meditation Society and the parents of the Thames Buddhist Vihara Dhamma School. following morning “Heel Dana” was Sponsored by Mr.Kumudu Premathunga Hon.Treasurer of TMS and his family members, in keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition.
Reported by: Ven. Dombawala Amitha
Photography by: Gihan Jayathilake