Founder's Day at London Buddhist Vihara

Photographs by Tissa Madawela

Under the able guidance of the Head of the Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, with generous contributions from the resident monks, Vihara Management Committee and the supporters of the Vihara, the London Buddhist Vihara commemorated this year's Founder's Day with a Memorial Lecture, Pariththa Chanting and Morning Dana for Maha Sangha. Two day programme was held on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of September 2018. This was the 154th Birth Anniversary of the Great Anagarika Dharmapala, the fonder of the London Buddhsit Vihara. This year's memorial lecture was delivered by Professor Peter Harvey, Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sunderland. His lecture was entitled " Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha". Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thero welcomed Professor Harvey and the gathering, that included the Acting High Commissioner for Sri Lanka H.E. Sugeeshwara Gunaratne, Mrs. Gunaratne and the President of the Buddhist Society Dr. Desmond Biddulph. Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thero introducing the guest speaker said that he is delighted and honoured to have Pro. Harvey as this year's guest speaker. " Prof. Harvey was born in Yorkshire and has been a Theravada Buddhist from his time at the University of Manchester. He received his PhD from Lancaster University and is the author of a number of seminal academic studies on Buddhism, including An Introduction to Buddhism, Teachings,History and Practices, An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, Values and Issues, The Selfless Mind, Personality,Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism."

Prof. Harvey's lecture on " Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha" provided a detailed explanation on the three cornerstones of all traditions of Buddhism which are called the Three Jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma which is the teaching of the Buddha, and the Sangha, which is the community who follow the teaching. He said " The first jewel is the Buddha. To take refuge in the Buddha is not to hide in the safety of a powerful being. Refuge in this situation is more like moving to a new perspective,to a new awareness of the possibility within us all. By taking refuge in the Buddha, we align ourselves with the ability to become a Buddha ourselves, to seek the capacity to be awakened to what the Buddha experienced. This precious jewel reminds us to find our own Buddha nature.The Dharma is the path which follows the teaching of the Buddha, and which will ultimately lead to awakening. The Dharma teaches us compassion for ourselves and others through an understanding of The Four Noble Truths and leads to a release from fear and ignorance. The Sangha comprises those who come together in any size group to teach, study, discuss, practice the Dhamma with a desire to help and be helped by that group.

Vote of thanks was delivered by Vihara Management Committee member Gamini Amarasekara. Evening Gilampasa Buddha Puja was conducted by Ven. Akurala Samitha Thero, Head of the Letchworth Dhammanikethanaya.

Head of the Barking Buddhist Vihara Ven. Dr. Kabalewe Sirisumana Nayaka Thero, Head of the Birmingham Maha Vihara Ven. Dr. Vitharandeniye Kassapa Nayaka Thero, Head of the Jethavana Buddhst Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka Of Great Britain for Ramagna Maha Nikaya Ven. Keppitiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero, Head of the Readbridge Buddhist Vihara Ven. Pethigamuwe Premarathana Thero, Head of the Kothalawalapura Samadhi Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka Ven. Mapalagama Buddhasiri Nayaka Thero, Head of Lumbini Buddhist Vihara in East London Ven.Makure Mangala Thero, Head of the Samadhi Meditation Centre in Edmonton Ven. Gunnepane Sumanarama Thero, Ven. Mapalagama Soratha Thero and Ven. Kahavanugoda Wimaladhamma Thero from Jethavana Buddhist Vihara, Birmingham, Head of The Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Ven. Akurala Samitha Thero, Head of the Cambridge Buddhist Vihara Ven. Mathugama Palitha Thero, Head of the Shanthi Vihara, Nottingham Ven. Theldeniyaye Amitha Thero, Ven. Therunnaansegama Nanda Thero from Letchworth Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Viharagala Kusala Thero and Ven. Hasalaka Siriwimala Thero from Dhammashoka Viharaya, Leicester, Ven. Mahabrithanyaye Kassapa Thero, Head of the Kethumathi Vihara in Manchester Ven. Pidiwille Piyathissa Nayaka Thero, Ven. Galpothayaye Pemananda Thero from Manchester, Head of the Sambodhi Vihara, Upton Park Ven. Madugalle Mahanama Thero, Ven. Galayaye Dhammadassi Thero from Sri Saddatissa International Buddhsit Centre, Kingsbury, Ven. Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thero and Ven. Dombawela Amitha Thero from Thames Meditation Centre, Lecturer at Pali and Buddhist University in Sri Lanka Ven. Weligepola Seelawansa Thero and Head of the Mindfulness Meditation Centre in Hendon Ven. Nepale Sumana Thero with Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thero, Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thero and Ven. Hokandara Pannawamsa Thera from London Buddhsit Vihara took part in the Pariththa chanting.

On Sunday Morning Dana was offered to the Maha sangha by the supporters and the Vihara Management committee members. Panwedeema was performed to pass merits to the late Anagarika Dharmapala. Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thero paid Punyanumodana to Maha sangha, Pro.Hervey, Dharmapala Trust, LBV Management Committee and all the supporters and every one who attended for their valuable contribution to make this year's Founder's Day a great success.