Photographs by Tissa Madawela
Poson Poya Day was celebrated on Sunday the 7th of June at the London Buddhist Vihara with a full day's religious programme and the participation of a large gathering of devotees from the Sri Lankan, British and many other communities.At 9 in the morning day's proceedings commenced with administering of Eight Precepts by the Head of the Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain, Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera.More than 100 devotees observed Atasil.Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera in his Anusasana (Admonition) explained the significance of the Poson Poya Day, in particular for Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
"To the Buddhists of Sri Lanka, each and every full moon day (pasalosvak poya) of the year has a definite significance. Of these the most holy and the most significant is the Vesak full moon day, as it is connected with three events in the life of the Buddha-the birth, enlightenment and the final passing away (Parinibbana). Vesak, therefore, is a triple anniversary most sacred to the Buddhists all over the world.
However, full moon day in the month of Poson (June) has a special significance to the Buddhists of Sri Lanka as it was on this day in the year 247 BC that Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka by Arahat Mahinda, son of Emperor Dharmashoka of India. It was from this momentous day in the annals of our country that our people have been able to follow and practise a philosophy that far surpasses any that has been known to mankind. The story of the arrival of the great mission, their meeting with Devanampiya Tissa, the king of this island, and how he embraced the new faith, with all his followers, are graphically described in the ancient chronicles." he said.
After the Anusasana Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera conducted the Buddha Vandana and a meditation session was held by Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera.During the day Buddha Puja, Dharma Sermons in Sinhala and English languages and a Dhamma Discussion was also held.Mid Day Dhana was presented to the monks and the devotees who took Eight Precepts. All the others were also provided with a vegetarian meal.The topic of this year's Dhamma Discussion was "Transferring of Merits. (Pattanumodana) Panel included Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera, Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Thera, and Dr. Upali Abeysiri, with contributions from Dr. Daya Perera and few others.
Ven. Tawalama Bandula Thera and Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera delivered sermons in English. Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera delivered a sermon in Sinhala.Ven. Udupihille Wimalabuddhi Nayaka Thera from Toronto Buddhist Vihara also took part in the programme.Religious programme concluded with the chanting of Seth Pirith and passing of merit. ( Punyaanumodana)
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera in his Punyaanumodanaa thanked every one who helped in various ways to make the day's programme a success, people who attended, people who arranged the Dhana for the monks and the Upasaka and Upasikas, and food for the devotees, Maha Sangha who took part, children, teachers and parents of the Dhamma School and every one else who assisted generously.
A programme of devotional songs ( Bhakthi Geetha) was presented by the students of the Sunday Dhamma school.