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November 08, 2016
Leicester Vihara (EMBA) holds its 27th Annual Kathina Ceremony
on 23rd October 2016
The East Midlands Buddhist Association (EMBA) conducted the 27th Annual Kathina Ceremony on Sunday the 23rd October 2016, at Braunstone Civic Hall in the presence of a very large gathering of devotees.

Ven. Dodamgoda Siri Sumedha thero, the resident monk of Leicester Vihara, on behalf of the EMBA committee and the trustees, welcomed the guest monks and all the devotees, and conducted the proceedings and kept the audience fully informed of the day's proceedings.

To start the proceedings, with Hewisi & magul bera beating, Ven. Sumedha invited Ven. Dediyawala Wimala Thero,(chief Incumbent,Letchworth Buddhist Vihara, Ven Akurala Samitha Thero (Chief Incumbent, Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya), Mr.Samitha Guruge (EMBA President), Dr.C.S. Nanayakkara, Mrs Barbara Russell and Dr. Senarath Perera (EMBA Trustees), Mr. Kosala Mendis (EMBA Secretary), Mr.Nalinda Jalathge (EMBA Treasurer) and Mr. Shantha Perera (Main Sponsor & a Trustee), to light the traditional oil lamp.

Following Buddhist Monks (total of 15) participated in the Kathina Ceremony:
From Letchworth Buddhist Vihara-Ven. Dediyawala Wimala Thero (Chief Incumbent), Ven Suriyawewa Kusala Thero and Ven. Panamure Rahula Thero, from Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya-Ven. Akurala Samitha-Chief Incumbent., from Croydon: Ven Gonulle Assaji Thero. from London Buddhist Vihara: Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thero (Deputy Head) and Ven. Konwewa Ariyarathna Thero., from Jethawana Buddhist Vihara: Ven. Keppitiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero (Chief Incumbent and Chief Sangha Nayaka of Gr. Britain for Ramanya Nikaya) and Ven. Mapalagama Soratha Thero (Deputy Head), from Edmonton Buddhist Vihara: Ven Gunnepane Sumanarama Thero (Chief Incumbent), from Glasgow Buddhist Vihara: Ven Kamburawala Siri Rewatha Nayaka Thero (Chief Incumbent & Chief Sangha Nayaka of Gr. Britain for Siyama Nikaya), from Heathrow Athula Dassana Buddhiist Vihara: Ven. Wanduramba Kassapa Thero & Chief Sangha Nayaka of Gr. Britain for Amarapura Nikaya), from Bristol Buddhist Vihara: Ven. Pelwatte Dhammananda Thero (Chief Incumbent), from Liverpool Sri Sambuddha Vihara: Ven. Thissa pura Sugatharathana (Dep. Head) and from Leicester Budhist Vihara: Ven Dodamgoda Siri Sumedha Thero.

The religious services commenced with observing the Five Precepts conducted by Ven Dediyawala Wimala Thero followed by the traditional offerings to the Buddha (Buddha Pooja & venerations) by Ven Thissapura Sugatharathana Thero, which was followed by the acceptance of the Sanghika Dana by Ven Thawalama Bandula Thero and Ven. Wanduramba Kassapa Thero. Once the Ven monks were fully served with the alms, all the visitors and the devotees helped themselves to the varied spread of the mid day meal (& a variety of desserts) in an orderly fashion, collectively prepared by the main sponsors, their families & friends and many of the attendees.

Ven. Monks were very grateful to the organisers for the unique provision of a 'rest room' for their meet & greet facility whilst resting after the alms( Dana) and whilst the lunch was served to the visitors.

Flashing back to 21st July, Ven Sumedha reflected on the age old traditional invitation (Vas Aradana) made by the Main Sponsors-Shantha Perera & Family, to the resident monk-Ven. Dodamgoda Sumedha to observe the 3 months 'rainy retreat' in the presence of several committee members and devotees. A special religious programme with weekly dhamma discussions and monthly dhamma sermons from invited guest monks were conducted, establishing a very close connection and mutually benefitting the development of the mind and culminating in the complex preparation and offer of the Katina Cheevara at this Ceremony.

The afternoon session commenced with a colourful procession led by the Hewisi Band of drummers and a large number of children and devotees carrying the Buddhist flags and decorations. The main sponsors Mr Shantha Perera and his family and close friends carried the special Kathina Cheevara and other requisites. The procession wound its way inside the hall, to allow all the devotees and the visitors to share and show their communal participation. Finally the Kathina Cheevara was offered to the community of Ven monks.

Ven Keppetiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Maha Thero, on behalf of the community of monks accepted the Kathina Cheevara and delivered a special sermon on the significance and the age old specific requirements of this rare annual event. which accrues the highest meritorious act. The offer of Katina Cheevara could only be offered once a year in any Vihara and only to one monk who is fully ordained (Upasampada) and had completed the 3 months 'Rainy Retreat'.

Ven Akurala Samitha Thero delivered a Dhamma sermon in English explaining very succinctly and with clarity, the rationale and the merits that would be accrued by all the participants. Ven. Kamburawala Siri Rewatha Nayaka Thero delivered a short but an illuminating and a concise dhamma sermon in Sinhala. Ven Thissapura Sugatharathana Thero and Ven. Pelwatte Dhammananda Thero jointly conducted the special recitation and finally, the community of monks present, by unanimous consensus, offered the Katina cheevara to ven. Dodamgoda Siri Sumedha Thero.

Atapirikara and other requisites were offered to the community of monks by a large number of devotees in memory of their beloved departed. The days' proceedings were concluded with the chanting of Seth Pirith and sharing of merit with all those who were present and those who had departed in the preceding years.

Mr Shantha Perera (main sponsor) offered his sincere thanks to all the visiting monks, Ven. Sumedha and the EMBA committee members, all the participants and the all those who helped them. Dr Sena Nanayakkara on behalf of the EMBA Trustees and the Committee proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Shantha Perera & his family and his close friends for their sustained devotion and enormous effort, all the visiting monks for their serine presence, Ven Siri Sumedha for taking a lead role in conducting the Special Event in a very orderly and with precision and all those who helped in various ways for their dedication and the loyalty for over 3 months in making this year's Kathina Ceremony once again a great success.

(Dr Sena Nanayakkara)
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