London Thames Buddhist Vihara - Annual Kathina Ceremony 2018

Picture by Gihan Jayathilake

The Annual Kathina Ceremony of Thames Buddhist Vihara was held on Sunday 28th October 2018 at Temple Hall. This was the 36th consecutive Kathina Ceremony or Community Day (Sangha Day) Celebration held by Thames Buddhist Vihara Community.

This year The Kathina Ceremony was mainly sponsored by Mr. Rohitha Thebuwanage, Mrs. Thanuja Koralagamage, Adhi Thebuwanage & Chanu Thebuwanage together with all the members of the Thames Buddhist Vihara. A large gathering of Venerable monks representing Buddhist Temples in UK graced the ceremony. Over 300 hundred devotees, representing cosmopolitan member families of TBV Community, participated. This special event was organised under the patronage of Most Ven. Phalagama Somarathana Nayake Thero, Chief Sanganayake of Great Britain, Founder & Head Monk of Thames Buddhist Vihara & Dr. Herath Kularathne, President of Thames meditation Society

This year The Kathina Ceremony of TBV brought many multi-cultural people together as one family. Everyone inspired the happy, peaceful and uplifting atmosphere of the ceremony. The local community admired the rare experience of attractively pious cultural activities related to the ceremony such as Kathina Procession. Children of the Dhamma School put lots of effort with overwhelming enthusiasm in participation. It was a very educational and joyful opportunity for them to experience the typical Buddhist Culture.

The 'Katina robe' was taken in the Procession (Srilankan tradition) along the entire length of Dulverton Road, led by the Troupe of young drummers, Sunday School pupils, clad in stunning, elegant and ceremonial garments. Residents of the neighborhood, who were informed about the event beforehand, gathered along the route to enjoy the Pageant.

The ceremony was held in the graceful presence of over 15 Venerable Buddhist Monks representing leading Buddhist Temples in the United Kingdom. Among them were Most Venerable Dr.Witharandeniye Kassapa Maha Thero OBE (Head Monk of Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara), Most Venerable Tawalama Bandula Maha Thero (Deputy Head Monk of London Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Aheliyagoda Dhammapala Maha Thero (Acting Head Monk Of Thames Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Akurala Samitha Maha Thero (Head Monk of Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya), Most Venerable Mathugama Palitha Thero (Head Monk of Cambridge Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Wanduraba Kassapa Nayake Thero (Head Monk of Heathrow Athula Dassana Vihara), Most Venerable Sooriyawewa Kusala Thero (Deputy Head of Letchworth Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Alpitiye Hemaloka Thero (Kingsbury Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Karagammanwala Upali Thero (Deputy Head Monk of Stock On Trent Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Rathnapure Nandaloka Thero (Stock On Trent Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Wiharagama Kusala Thero (Deputy Head of Leicester Dharmasoka Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Hokandara Pangawansa Thero (London Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Hasalak Sirivimala Thero ( Leicester Dharmashoka Buddhist Vihara).

Ven. Kohukumbure Siridhamma (Deputy Head of Thames Buddhist Vihara) extended a very warm welcome to all the Venerables and everyone else attending the Ceremony.

Most Venerable Thawalama Bandula Maha Thero administered the five precepts to mark the beginning of the ceremony. Most Venerable Dr Witharandeniye Kassapa Maha Thero OBE delivered dhamma talk in Sinhala explain the significances of the day by dedicating the Kathina Dana. Venerable Viharagala Kusala Thero conducted the Buddha Pooja. Most Venerable Akurala Samitha Maha Thero delivered a Dhamma Talk in English explaining the significances of the traditional spiritual ceremony to the modern world and highlighted the credentials of Venerable Siridhamma & Venerable Amitha as a rare skilful monk from whom the community can be benefited immensely. Most Venerable Mathugama Palitha Thero conducted the punnanumodana (sharing of merits). The assembly of the Monks, by common consent, elected Ven. Dombawala Amitha, to be the worthy recipient, of the ‘Katina’ robe.

Venerable Dombawala Amitha thanked everyone for helping to make this year's ceremony a great success. The Ceremony arrangements and temple decorations were not possible without the earnest support of all the parents of dhamma school children. Venerable Amitha shared heartfelt gratitude and blessings with them all.

Venerable Amitha shared the blessings with those who offered Atapirikara, Robes, Monks' gift items and other donations. Their support greatly counted for the success of the ceremony.

May the Blessings of this greatest meritorious deed fulfil, without exception the aspirations of all, and lead to the everlasting happiness Nibbana! May all be secure, well and happy with Noble Blessings of the Triple Gem!

Report by: Ven. Dombawala Amitha