Utthānenappamādena – saññamena damena ca
Dipam kayirātha medhāvi – yam ogho n’ābhikirati
“The wise man by endeavour, alertness, self control makes for himself an island which no flood of defilement overwhelms”
(Dhammapada - Appamāda Vagga)
A series of religious events were organized at the Hon. Speaker’s Residence, Parliament premises and the vicinity of Diyawanna Oya to celebrate the Vesak ceremony of 2007. This programme, which was held giving prominence to principles (pratipatti pooja) was named ‘Diyawanna Vesak Udanaya’. The events, which included Observation of Sil, Buddha Pooja, Meditation programmes, Dhamma discussions, Dhamma sermons, etc., saw the participation of many including parliamentary & ancillary staff and schoolchildren.
The observation of Sil for the devotees and the morning’s Buddha Pooja was conducted by Ven. Dr. Saddharmasoori Waleboda Gunasiri Thero. It was conducted before the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi at the Speaker’s official residence. The first Dhamma sermon in the morning was delivered by Aggamahā Panditha Ven. Kotugoda Dhammavasa Anunayaka Thero on the importance of Vesak Poya Day to Sri Lankans. Following the morning alms was a planting of medicinal plants in the garden of the official residence and the opening of the display of Buddha statues within the residence. After listening to a Dhamma sermon telecast live from the ‘Temple Trees’, the devotees then participated in the meditation programme conducted by Ven. Karawilakotuwe Dhammatilaka Thero. The Thero conducted the succeeding Buddha Pooja as well. Once the Buddha Pooja was concluded alms were offered to about fifty monks on ‘Pindapatha’. This was done by devotees including the Speaker himself.
The period following the Afternoon Alms was a leisurely one in which the books ‘Dhammapada’ and ‘Shraddhaanjalee’ were distributed by the Speaker among devotees who took part in the Sil programme. Later, the Dhamma Sermon and Meditation programme conducted by Dhammathilaka Thero and the ‘Doramandalawa’ Dhamma discussion were held. The erudite panel of ‘Doramandalawa’ was graced by Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thero, Ven. Karawilakotuwe Dhammatilaka Thero, Prof. Sumanadasa Galmangoda and the Honourable Speaker. This programme was telecast live over the Independent Television Network while the devotees’ participation in it was extremely fervent. Ven. Rajakeeya Panditha Radavadune Gnanawimala Thero delivered the Dhamma Sermon for the evening followed by a ‘Gilanpasa’ Buddha Pooja opposite the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi at the Speaker’s residence.
Completion of Sil and the evening’s Bodhi Pooja were held opposite the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi at the Parliament premises. For this, the devotees arrived at the Parliament complex in a procession from the Speaker’s official residence. Ven. Elikewela Sheelananda Thero conducted the Bodhi Pooja, which was also attended by Members of Parliament and the Hon. Speaker.
Many events were organised at the Parliament grounds and the vicinity of Diyawanna Oya in the evening. Among these, the ‘Bhakthi Geetha’, ‘Dansela’ and the Vesak lanterns exhibition were the main attractions. The Vesak lanterns and decorations exhibition was the first to begin. The exhibition that included creations by schoolchildren added immense beauty to the grounds. Thereafter the hopper & rice dansela was opened by the Speaker and distinguished guests who were present. Under the guidance of the Chief of Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha, Chairman of Sunil Traders Mr. Sunil Muthumala sponsored this endeavour. The ‘Bhakthi Geetha’, which drew many a person’s attention, was the next to be held. It was staged on a vessel in the Diyawanna Oya. The lit up vessel, which was placed in the centre of the Diyawanna Oya was indeed a spectacular sight. The ‘Bhakthi Geetha’ were performed by choirs from government institutions under the Ministry of Mass Media & Information and the Sri Lanka Navy, while the music was provided by the Navy band. Hon. Speaker and several Members of Parliament were among the audience present at this occasion.
A workshop on Moral Values that was conducted for university students at the Parliament premises is another noteworthy event, which was held throughout the Vesak Poya day. This programme which was organised by a Senior Lecturer of the Colombo University Mr. Kamal Waleboda together with the Speaker’s office of Parliament, Ministry of Religious Affairs & Moral Upliftment, Ministry of Mass Media & Information, student counsellor’s office of the University of Colombo and the Arts Council, was sponsored by the Buddhist Businessmen’s & Professional’s Association. The workshop that comprised of Speeches, Sermons, Dhamma discussions, Meditation programmes and events which included Buddhist cultural features was a very comprehensive one.
Vesak lanterns & decorations exhibition and the Dansela, which were opened on Vesak Poya day alongside a ‘Bhakthi Geetha’ performance of schoolchildren conducted by a Director of the Ministry of Education Visharada Mr. Edward Jayakody were held on the following day as well. The support and guidance provided by the Parliament Staff Buddhist Association, Ministry of Mass Media & Information, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs & Moral Upliftment, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Council, Kaduwela Urban Council and the Maharagama Municipal Council in organising this series of events that were held to commemorate the 2551st anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away was immense. In addition, the media sponsorship offered by the Independent Television Network needs special mentioning as well.
Click to enlarge image