Thames Vihara says good-bye to Ven. Kothmale Sumedha Thera
The members of the Thames Meditation Society, parents, teachers, pupils of the Sunday Dhamma School and devotees gathered, in large numbers, in the appropriately decorated main hall, on Sunday 10th September 2017, to pay tribute and convey their heart-felt gratitude to Venerable Kothmale Sumedha Thera, who was due to leave for Sri Lanka, after serving two years as a resident Venerable, at the Thames Buddhist Vihara.
Acting Head of the Vihara, Venerable Kanthale Wijithawansa Nayaka Thera, extended a very warm welcome and thanked everyone for attending the ceremony organised, especially, to say good-bye to a worthy member of the resident Venerables, Venerable Kothmale Sumedha Thera, for the services rendered. Venerable Dodangoda Sumedha Thera of the Athula Dassana Temple, Heathrow was accorded a special welcome.
The speeches by Venerables Kanthale Wijithawansa Nayaka Thera, Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thera Dodangoda Sumedha Thera, President of Thames meditation Society Dr. Herath Kularate and pupils of the Sunday Dhamma School Achinthya Samarasekara (English); Niduki Botheju (Sinhalese) were interspersed with performances, which among others, included an impressive dance choreographed and presented by Maduwanthie Jayathilake, teacher of the Sunday Dhamma School, performed by pupils Madushi,Niduki and Sanuji dancing to the rhythm of a well known song, by the late Pundit Maestro Amaradeva; the teachers and parents singing a moving song, lyrics of which expertly composed, by Panchali Herath, to music by Chamara Dondeenu, incorporating a felicitation to Venerable Kothmale Sumedha Thera.
All speeches by the clergy, laity and the pupils, highlighted the exemplary conduct of Venerable Kothmale Sumedha Thera in attending earnestly and diligently to the spiritual needs of the devotees with devotion and dedication, while supporting, helping and assisting senior Venerables and closely involving himself in the affairs of the Society, which included the upkeep of the Vihara premises.
In his reply Venerable Kothmale Sumedha Thera, while paying flattering compliments to his teacher Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana Nayaka Thera, who ordained him when he was only a youngster, profusely thanked everyone for the support, encouragement and care, he received during his stay and begged for forgiveness, if in the conduct of his duties, he has unintentionally or inadvertently, offended, in any way, anyone’s feelings or sensitivities.
In his vote of thanks, the honorary Treasurer, Kumudu Premathunga, on behalf of the Thames Meditation Society expressed his gratitude and thanked everyone who helped to make ‘the thanks-giving ceremony’, an outstanding success.
As tokens of appreciation, many items comprising plaques, souvenirs and other gifts were formally presented to the Venerable by the Thames Meditation Society, devotees individually and by groups. After the usual Sunday Pooja, everyone enjoyed a sumptuous evening meal laid out by the organising Committee of the celebration.
Annual Pirith Ceremony 2017 at Thames Buddhist Vihara
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, 3rd 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.
Saturday 6th May
Friday 9 June 2017
A special Dhamma Talk event will be held at Thames Buddhist Vihara premises
Conducted By : Ayya Anandabodhi & Ayya Canda
7:30-8:00pm – Guided Meditation
8:00-9:30pm – A Dhamma Talk “ Meeting the DHAMMA WITHIN” by Ayya Anandabodhi followed by a discussion and a brief presentation of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project (www.anukampaproject.org). The evening will end with sharing blessings.
Please see the biographies:
Ayya Anandabodhi first encountered the Buddha’s teachings in her early teens, igniting a deep interest in the Buddha’s Path of Awakening. She lived and trained as a nun in Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries in England from 1992 until 2009, when she moved to the US to help establish Aloka Vihara, a training monastery for women. She now resides at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, California. Her practice and teaching are guided by early Buddhist scriptures and through nature’s pure and immediate Dhamma. In 2011 she took full Bhikkhuni Ordination, joining the growing number of women who are reclaiming this path given by the Buddha. (saranaloka.org)
Ayya Canda began meditating in 1996 in the Goenka tradition. She spent the next 7 years meditating and giving voluntary service on numerous retreats throughout India, Nepal and Europe. In 2006, after graduating in Ayurvedic medicine, she ordained with Sayadaw U Pannyajota at Thephyu Tawya monastery, Burma and trained there for the next four years. In 2010 she contacted the teachings of Ajahn Brahm, which compelled her to leave Burma. She has been living in Australia since 2012 where she joined the nuns community of Dhammasara monastery, Perth. Ven Canda took Bhikkhuni ordination in 2014, and has recently been asked by her teacher Ajahn Brahm to establish a monastery for nuns in the UK. Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project was established for this purpose. (www.anukampaproject.org)
Sunday 8th January 2017
Prize giving to Pupils of Thames Buddhist Vihara Sunday School
The annual prize giving to pupils of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, Sunday School, was held on Sunday 8 th January 2017. The ceremony commenced in the afternoon, when Venerables Kanthale Wijithawansa Nayaka Thera, Acting Head of the Vihara, Gonulle Assaji Thera, Kothmale Sumedha Thera, and other distinguished guests were ceremonially escorted into the Main Hall, by the Sunday School Drum Troupe, clad in resplendent attire, fitting for the occasion.
After the pupils and devotees paid homage to the Buddha by offering flowers,Venerable Kothmale Sumedha Thera administered the five precepts. Formal proceedings began with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp, by the Chief Guest the High Commissioner for Sri-Lanka in the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Amari Mandika Jayawardene, accompanied by other invited guests, including the Mayor of Haywards Heath Town Council, Councillor Sujan Wichremaratchi, also Member of the General Committee, Thames Meditation Society.
In his welcome speech, Venerable Kanthale Wijithawansa Nayaka Thera, while extending a very warm welcome to everybody, detailed the laudable services rendered by the dedicated and committed group of teachers of the Sunday School, imparting the useful, vital and essential qualities, to prepare the pupils to be good citizens of the future. He also praised the parents for the sacrifice they make in bringing the children to the Sunday School and encouraging them to take part in social and cultural activities organised by the Vihara.
Her Excellency the High Commissioner extolled the virtues of the Buddhist way of living and the qualities instilled into her, brought up in a good Buddhist family in Sri-Lanka, which had stood her in good stead in her carrier and now engaged in bringing up her own family inculcating in them the same noble qualities. She commended the excellent work done by the Thames Vihara Sunday School in teaching our children the Buddhist way of living.
The prize giving was a well organised, meticulously planned programme of music and dance, depicting, not only the talents, resourcefulness and abilities of the pupils, but also the creativity of the dedicated Sunday School teachers. The whole programme, interspersed with speeches by adults and pupils, both in English and Sinhalese, was expertly managed by the competent compere, Mrs. Lushani Kodithuwakku, who took turns to respectfully invite the Venerables, distinguished guests and others to present Certificates of Merit, Trophies and Medals, to pupils who have excelled in the final examinations and booklets and folders to other pupils who have excelled in other categories.
In recognition of their voluntary services, the resident Venerables, teachers and others connected with the running of the Sunday School were presented with gifts as tokens of appreciation. Miss Niduki Ama J W Botheju, received the special award for the best performance spanning all categories.
The booklet composed by Venerable Kanthale Wijithawansa Nayaka Thera, for exclusive use by the pupils of the Sunday School, was produced to a high standard with the assistance of young members of the congregation, competent in computer technology.
Dr. Herath Kularatne, President of Thames Meditation Society paid tribute and thanked everyone who helped to make the occasion an outstanding success.
- Special thanks to Mr. Hemananda Madawala for write-ups
Sunday 1st January 2017
Ceremony to usher in the New Year 2017 at the Thames Buddhist Vihara
This year, as in previous years, the President and Members of Thames Meditation Society, guided by the advice of the Acting Head of Thames Buddhist Vihara, Venerable Kanthale Wijithawansa Nayaka Thera, arranged a day-long ceremony, to bestow blessings on the devotees and well wishers for a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year 2017. The resident Venerables, conducted several sessions, of ‘Pirith’ chanting and delivered special sermons, in addition to officiating on ‘Pooja’ offerings to the Buddha, by devotees on this memorable day. Being the first day of the Year 2017, Venerables, in their sermons, emphasised the need for us to use this day, to look back over the year gone by, and to identify our mistakes, indiscretions and short- comings and to make concerted efforts to correct them, so that the New Year will be pleasant, meaningful and enjoyable. The ceremony ended with the special ‘Pooja’, where everyone received blessings of the Triple Gem and were invited to enjoy a typical Srilankan sumptuous meal, prepared and served by a Group of Young and enthusiastic devotees. Two new praiseworthy initiatives were launched on this day, making 2017, a year of special significance for the future activities of the Society and the Thames Buddhist Vihara in particular. One initiative was the setting up of a ‘PayPal’ account, making it easy to use the ‘Internet’ to donate funds to the Thames Meditation Society (registered charity), for the maintenance and upkeep of the Thames Buddhist Vihara, which is wholly, funded by private donations. In addition to this, a PayPal payment card reader was also launched to allow donors to make card and contactless payments. The second initiative was the announcement that arrangements have been finalised with the Buddha Sasana Ministry of Sri-Lanka to affiliate the Sunday School with the MahaBodhi Society bringing its curriculum, in line with that of the Society.
- Special thanks to Mr. Hemananda Madawala for write-ups