The annual Sanghamitta Day ceremony was held at the London Buddhist Vihara on the 18th of December 2016 with full days of religious programmes.
This year's programme commenced with administering of Five Precepts and admonition by the Head of the Vihara Chief Sanghanayaka of Great Britain Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera.
All the resident monks, Ven. Dr. Handupelpola Mahinda Thera from Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre in Kingsbury, Ven. Gunnepane Sumanarama Thera, Head of the Edmonton Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Nagoda Medhankara Thera from the Edmonton Vihara and two Nuns Ajan Bodhipala and Ajan Thisara from Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hemel Hempstead attended the programme..
A large number of devotees administered the Eight Precepts, Atasil on the day.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera in his Anusaasana explained the significance of Theri Sanghamitta's arrival in Sri Lanka and the bringing in of the southern branch from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Siddhartha attained Enlightenment. Sent as a gift to the people of Sri Lanka by Emperor Dharmashoka with his daughter Sanghamitta, The Bodhi sapling was planted in 249 BC by Ashok's close friend Sri Lankan ruler, King Devanam Piyathissa, in the Royal Garden Mahamevna Uyana in the capital city of the time, Anuradhapura. It is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date.Today it is one of the most sacred relics of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka and respected by Buddhists all over the world.
After Buddha Vandana a meditation session was conducted by Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera, followed by a Dhamma talk by a visiting nun Ajan Bodhipala from the Amaravati Monastery.
After the mid day Buddha Puja a Sangika Dhana to the Ven. Monks, Nuns and Upasaka Upasikas observing Eight Precepts was served, with the fist most part been offered to the Buddha, in memory of Most Ven. Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana Nayaka Thera, former Head of the London Buddhist Vihara.
Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera and Ven. Dr. Handupelpola Mahinda Nayaka Thera from Sri Saddatissa International Buddhist Centre delivered Anusasanas reflecting the yeoman service received from the late Nayaka Thera to propagate the Dhamma in the West and continued development of the services at the LBV.
Dr. Sumana Perera gave a talk on the benefits of Buddhist Meditation of mind fullness in clinical and non-clinical settings and Julian Wall in his illustrated talk on Emperor Ashoka discussed the significance of Ashoka's mission to spread the Dhamma out side India.
Ven. Konwewe Ariyarathana Thera and Dr. Upali Abeysiri conducted Dhamma discussion. Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera delivered Day's sermon in Sinhala.
All the resident and visiting monks chanted Seth Pirith to conclude the day's proceedings.
Photographs by Tissa Madawela