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April 03, 2018
Annual Rahula Dhamma Day at the London Buddhist Vihara
showcase children's oodles of charm and talent
By Pandula Ranatunga

London Buddhist Vihara's annual children's variety performance - the Rahula Dhamma Day Concert - was held again in full vibrancy on 25th March at Chiswick's Dharmapala Building. LBV's Dhamma School pupils of all ages from 5 to 17 showcased their many talents from acting, singing and dancing to self-written comedy sketches and testing the knowledge of the Dhamma. Under the leadership of Head Monk Ven Bogoda Seelawimala, President of The Sri Lanka Sangha Sabha in UK, Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain and also under the guidance of the Dhamma School's principal, Ven Tawalama Bandula, the event was held in-front of a packed audience. The event which was coordinated by the resident monks; Ven Konwewa Ariyarathana, with the support of Ven Ven Kalugamuwe Kassapa, and the Dhamma School's community of parents and the teachers. As regular partakers, students of the Pubudu Daham Pasala in North London also joined the Rahula Dhamma Day concert, ably assisted by their own group of parents and teachers.

The formalities began with the usual lighting of the ceremonial lamp and the Head Monk, in his opening admonition reiterated the timeless teachings that the Dhamma provided in setting standards of behaviour, ethics and morals, whilst growing up in the modern world. The concert was one of the last to be attended by Her Excellency, Mrs Amari Wijewardena, in her capacity as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to UK. The High Commissioner's speech congratulated the Vihara for inculcating enduring Buddhist traditions amongst the youth of Sri Lankans living away from their homeland and acknowledged the continuous support and guidance that LBV and the Head Monk, Ven Seelawimala, provided throughout her tenure in London. Others who spoke at the event were Dr Lakdasa Panagoda, representing the Vihara Management Committee, Ven Kassapa, on behalf of the Rahula Dhamma Day organising committee, Mrs Madara Sathyendra Kumar, represented the Dhamma School teachers and Miss Enuri Kadugamage spoke as a representative of the students. Ven Bandula addressed the gathering as Principal and gave a Vote of Thanks. Everyone spoke in unison in appreciation of the hard work and dedication exemplified by the Dhamma school's children, parents and teachers.

The varied performances covered dancing and singing from Sri Lanka rich traditional heritage including folk songs to Kandyan dancing and depictions of Buddhist Jathaka tales to portrayals of the Buddha's life, quizzes on Dhamma teachings and comedy drama, that featured a modern day satire on social and political issues associated with Britains departure from the EU, entitled "Brexit Tailaya (Magic Potion)". All the acts were conducted with great vivaciousness and dedication, in a thought provoking manner which proved entrancing to the audience. Children from as early as 5 years old were given the platform not only for honing and presenting their many cultural and artistic talents, but also to display their depth of knowledge on the Buddha Dhamma. Against a colourful backdrop designed by Niroshan Perera, children performed in vivid attires in both Sinhalese and English, keeping the audience in laughter and enthralled throughout the programme with great confidence.

At the end, Ven Bandula presided over the annual Prize-Giving and presentation of YMBA exam certificates which was handed by the monks of the Vihara and the members of the Vihara Management Committee representing The Anagarika Dharmapala Trust. The event concluded with all the children and teachers giving a rendition of the school song, Rahula Podihamuruwo, and followed by the two national anthems of UK and Sri Lanka.

Overall it was another successful and memorable occasion for the children, parents and teachers of the London Buddhist Vihara Dhamma school and those who took part in the event. The event was compered by Kaveesh Gunawardana, Supundie Gunawardena, Dinithi Konara Mudiyanselage, Enuri Kudagamage, Harindu Perera, Tharusha Perera, Niketa Silva representing the students of the Dhamma School. The London Buddhist Vihara Dhamma School was founded by the Late Head Monk Most Ven Dr Medagama Vajiragnana.
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