The traditional three-month period of rain retreat ended with the Kathina ceremony held at the London Buddhist Vihara on Sunday, 30 October at the Vihara premisses, Dharmapala Building, Chiswick, London W4 1UD.
Programme was organised by this year's sponsors of the Rain Retreat with the able guidance of the Head of London Buddhist Vihara Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera.
This year, the task of looking after the welfare of the monks during three-month period of Vassa was undertaken by Chandrawansa Payagala, Kanthi Payagala, Chalaka Payagala and family, Mahes Punchihava, Savithri Punchiheva and family. Asoka Payagala, Pushpanjalie Payagala and Family, Neil Coxhead, Mihiri Coxhead and family, Sheila Wijesinghe and Renuka Perera and family.
Head of the Readbridge Buddhist Vihara Most Ven. Pethigamuwe Hemarathana Nayaka Thera with Ven. Prof. Medagampitiye Wimaladhamma Thera, Head of the East London Buddhist Cultural Centre Most Ven. Makure Mangala Nayaka Thera, with Ven. Rakwane Sumananada Thera, Ven. Bangladeshaye Dharmapriya Thera, Head of the Thames Buddhist Vihara Most Ven. Kohukumbure Siridhamma Nayaka Thera with Ven. Kongaswela Piyarathana Thera, Head of Letchworth Dhammanikethanaya Most Ven. Akurala Samitha Nayaka Thera with Ve. Dhammala Piyananda Thera, Head of the Letchworth Buddhist Vihara Most Ven. Dediyawala Wimala Nayaka Thera, Head of the Edmonton Samadhi Meditation Centre Most Ven.Gunnepane Sumanaarama Nayaka Thera with Mahabrithaanyaye Kassapa Thera, Head of Cambridge Buddhist Vihara Most Ven. Mathugama Palitha Nayaka Thera and the resident monks at the London Buddhist Vihara Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, Chief Sanghanayaka of North America Most Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Nayaka Thera, Ven.Thawalama Bandula Thera and Ven. Sukhithamano Thera attended the ceremony.
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, members of their families and other devotees 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. 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. " he said.
Ven. Prof. Medagampitiye Wimaladhamma Thera and Ven. Mahabrithaanyaya kassapa Thera delivered discourses in Sinhala while Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Nayaka Thero delivered a discourse in English.
On behalf of the sponsors of this year's Kathina Pinkama Kanthi Payagala thanked the Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera, Resident Monks at the LBV, the Maha Sangha who attended the Pinkama, and all the people who helped in various ways to make this year's Pinkama a great success.
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.
The vihara was pleased to welcome over three hundred devotees who attended the ceremony.