Thames Buddhist Vihara-35th Annual Pirith Chanting Ceremony
As in previous years, on Saturday 15th July 2017, Thames Buddhist Vihara, held its Annual Pirith Chanting Ceremony to celebrate its 35th 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 eyecatching displays to behold. The Homage Ceremony was conducted with flair and devotion by the resident Venerable of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thera, who while bestowing merit on the founder of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana Nayaka Thera, 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 Venerbales. The attractive soft and pulsating illuminations gave the Pagoda an added elegance, fitting the occasion.
The Acting Head of Thames Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Kanthale Vijithawansa Nayaka Thera, and President of the Thames Meditation Society, Dr. Herath Kularatne, in their speeches, while extending a warm welcome to all the Venerables, the representative of the Sri-Lanka High Commission, 3 rd Secretary, Mr. Vithurson Vincendrarajan and the devotees, profusely thanked those who helped in numerous ways, to make the occasion an outstanding success, especially by the conversion of the front of the Vihara, into an ornamental flower garden.
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. Special mention was made of the late Mr. Nimal Weerasinghe for his generous gift of the Pagoda, custom made and imported from Sri-Lanka and a special tribute paid to Mrs. Vijayanthimala Atapattu for the donation of 28 Buddha statuettes.
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 Maha Nayaka Thera, Head of Barking Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Thavalama Bandula Nayaka Thera, Deputy Head of London Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Dediyawala Wimala Nayaka Thera, Head of Letchworth Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Pethigamuwe Hemaratana Nayaka Thera, Head of Redbridge Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Waduramba Kassapa Nayaka Thera, Head of Heathrow Athula Dassana International Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Gunnepane Sumanarama Nayaka Thera, Head of Edmonton Samadhi Meditation Centre; Ven. Makure Mangala Nayaka Thera, Head of East Ham Lumbini Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Madugalle Mahanama Nayaka Thera, London Sri Sambodhi Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Mathugame Palitha Nayaka Thera, Scotland Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera, London Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Viharagala Kusala Thera, Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara; Ven. Dodangoda Sumedha Thera, Heathrow Athula Dassana International Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Teldeniye Amitha Nayaka Thera, Nottingham Shanthi Buddhist Vihara and Ven. Kothmale Sumedha Thera, Thames Buddhist Vihara, also took part in the Pirith chanting ceremony.
Devotees enjoyed a lavish, traditional Sri Lankan style dinner after the ceremony, organised by the members of Thames Meditation Society and the parents of the Thames Buddhist Vihara Dhamma School Pupils, who also served the Venerables, “Heel Dana”, the following morning, in keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition.