The annual Sanghamitta Day ceremony was held at the London Buddhist Vihara on the 11th of December 2022 with full day of religious programmes. It was the first full day programme of Sangamitta Day after COVID pandemic restrictions.
Programme commenced with administering of Eight Precepts (Ata Sil) and admonition by the Head of the Vihara Chief Sanghanayaka of Great Britain Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, Ven.Thawalama Bandula Thero, Ven. Sukithamano Thero from London Buddhist Vihara, Visiting Monks Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thero and Ven. Kudakathnoruwe Vineetha Thero, both from Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies and Senior Lecturers at the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura, Sri Lanka, Sister Ajan Sundara, a Senior Nun from Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hemel Hempstead and Visiting Monk Ven. Rajawelle Subhuthi Thero, Director Hospital Services Sri Lanka and Co-ordinator of Silvia Lanka Foundation UK, attended the programme.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thero 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 tree at Buddha Gaya in India, under which Siddhartha attained the 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 ruler of Sri Lanka, 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 revered by Buddhists all over the world.
Bhikkuni Sanghamitta, also initiated the establishment of the Bhikkuni Order in Sri Lanka.
Buddha Vandana was conducted by Ven. Bandula Thero. Sister Ajan Sundara conducted a short Meditation Session followed by a Dhamma Talk.
After the mid-day Buddha Puja, a Sangika Dhana for the Ven. Monks, Nun and Upasaka Upasikas observing Eight Precepts and lunch for the other devotees who attended the programme 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, who's 16th Death Anniversary fell on the 15th of December.
Venn. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero delivered a detailed Anusasana reflecting the yeoman service received from the late Ven. Vajiragnana Nayaka Thera to propagate the Dhamma in the West and continued development of the services at the London Buddhist Vihara.
Dhana was sponsored by the UK Branch of the Past Pupils' Association of the St. Paul's Girls' School, Milagiriya, Sri Lanka. The past pupil's association of SPM, UK branch has been established 15 years ago and grown into an organisation of 55 members across the UK. The current committee and members are continuing its events and traditions and sponsored Sangamitta Dana for the fifth consecutive year.
Later in the afternoon Dhamma Sermon on " Kayanupassana" was delivered by Most Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thero. Nayaka Thero explained in detail about the Mindfulness of the Body (Kayanupassana) and said it means to contemplate bodily actions, sensations, and feelings. "This includes, for example, acknowledging the surface we touch with our hands, the touching of our lips when we speak, being conscious of the lifting of our arms, legs, hands, and feet, or acknowledging our breathing."
Ven. Bandsula Thero and Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thero delivered sermons in English. The Sermon in Sinhala was delivered by Ven. Kudakathnoruwe Vineetha Thero on " Nanda Matha Suthra " that gives the story of the encounter between Velukantaki Nandamatha and Vessavana.
After the offering of the Evening Gilampasa to the Buddha, Veneration of the Bhodhi Tree, a Bodhi Puja was conducted by Ven. Sukhithamano Thero from the London Buddhist Vihara.
To conclude the day long proceedings, resident monks chanted Seth Pirith.
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thero paid Punyanumodana to the Maha Sangha who took part in the programme, The PPA of the St. Pauls' Girls' School for offering the Mid - day Sangika Dana and lunch for the participating devotees, Anagarika Dharmapala Trust and everyone else who helped in various ways to make this year's Sangamitta Day programme a great success.