The High Commission of Sri Lanka in London holds Annual Pirith Ceremony and Almsgiving to Observe Vesak and to Invoke Blessings on Victims of the Easter Sunday Incidents

Press Release

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in London held its annual Pirith Ceremony on Thursday 16 May followed by a heel dana or almsgiving on the morning of Friday 17 May with the attendance of the Maha Sangha, the British Sri Lankan community in the United Kingdom and High Commission staff.

The ‘Pirith Mandapa’ was set up at the High Commission with the support of the London Buddhist Vihara; and the Chancery building was decorated with Vesak lanterns, Buddhist flags, oil lamps and decorations in keeping with the traditions of Vesak. The religious ceremonies were conducted under the aegis of the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain The Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Thero of the London Buddhist Vihara. Forty-eight (48) members of the Maha Sangha representing twenty-four (24) Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in the UK participated in the Pirith Ceremony and the almsgiving. Speaking on the occasion, The Most Venerable Seelawimala Thero observed that having such a large congregation of the Maha Sangha for the annual Pirith ceremony at the Sri Lanka High Commission was historic. The Thero welcomed the holding of the annual Pirith ceremony as the upholding of a longstanding and an important Buddhist cultural tradition in the UK, which also promotes harmony and solidarity among the British Sri Lankan community and the High Commission. The Venerable Seelawimala Thero referred to the timeless significance and relevance of the Message of Metta or Loving Kindness of the Buddha in the context of the recent tragic incidents in Sri Lanka, and the need to build unity, co-existence and resilience among peoples in the aftermath. Following the Pirith ceremony, the Maha Sangha invoked blessings upon Sri Lanka and its peoples, and transferred merit to the victims of the Easter Sunday terror attacks and their family members including UK nationals and other foreign nationals, and to all those who were affected.

The Ven. Pethigamuwa Hemaratana Thero, Chief incumbent of the Redbridge Buddhist Vihara; Ven. Mathugama Palitha Thero, Chief incumbent of the Cambridge Buddhist Vihara and Ven. Deegalle Mahinda Thero, Professor in Study of Religion, Philosophies and Ethics, College of Liberal Arts, Bath Spa University; also addressed the attendees on the occasion of the almsgiving on 17 May. High Commissioner Manisha Gunasekera extended her deep appreciation and that of the High Commission staff to the Maha Sangha led by the Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Thero for conducting the annual Pirith ceremony in the High Commission and for attending the heel dana. She also thanked the British Sri Lankan community in the UK for their participation in and support of the Pirith ceremony and almsgiving, and thanked the staff of the Sri Lanka High Commission who worked with commitment and dedication to make the Pirith ceremony a success.