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November 06, 2017
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya
Annual Kathina Ceremony 2017
14th Consecutive Community Day Celebration
The Annual Kathina Ceremony of Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural & Meditation Centre was held on Sunday 22nd October 2017 at St Michael's Church Hall in Letchworth Garden City. This was the 14th consecutive Kathina Ceremony or Community Day (Sangha Day) Celebration held by Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Community.

This year The Kathina Ceremony was mainly sponsored by Mr Rajitha, Mrs Lakshi Weerakkodi, Mr Harsha Deepal & Mrs Sujani Senarathna and family & children, together with all the members of the Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Community Centre. A large gathering of Venerable monks representing Buddhist Temples in UK graced the ceremony. Over 300 hundred devotees, representing cosmopolitan member families of The Dhamma Nikethanaya Community, participated.

The Kathina Ceremony is the highly meritorious and significantly blissful festival in the Buddhist tradition. This Community Day Ceremony is held with the full participation of the community to mark the successful completion of the annual three months spiritual retreat observed by venerable monks residing at the monastery. During this period of three months, the members of the community take special attention to devote more time and effort to practice Lord Buddha's teaching as in Meditation, Dhamma studies, Dana Offering, Sila (Morality) Observations and blessings with Pooja chantings. Hence this three-month period is regarded as the highly blessed and most sacred spiritual season of the community.

In accordance with the 26 centuries old unrestricted Buddhist traditional lineage, Venerable Monks headed by Most Venerable Akurala Samitha, Head of the Centre observed this year's Three-Month Rainy Retreat on Esala Full Moon Day that fell on Saturday 08th July 2017 and successfully completed the three months on Vap Full Moon Day Which fell on Tuesday 05th October 2017. Kathina Ceremony has to be held within the month from the completed full moon day to the subsequent full moon, that means before the next Full Moon Day that falls on Friday 03rd November 2017. After this day this Ceremony cannot be held.

This year The Kathina Ceremony of Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya brought many multi cultural people together as one family. Everyone inspired the happy, peaceful and uplifting atmosphere of the ceremony. The local community admired the rare experience of attractively pious cultural activities related to the ceremony such as Kathina Procession. Children of the Dhamma School put lots of effort with overwhelming enthusiasm in participation. It was a very educational and joyful opportunity for them to experience the typical Buddhist Culture.

The Kathina Procession was beautiful as it was led by the children, carrying Buddhist flags and decorative items, with cultural drummers heralding the sacred relics of the Lord Buddha, with a Special Statue of Lord Buddha and the Kathina Robe.

The ceremony was held in the graceful presence of over 15 Venerable Buddhist Monks representing leading Buddhist Temples in the United Kingdom. Among them were Most Venerable Dr Witharandeniye Kassapa Maha Thero OBE (Head Monk of Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara and Leicester Dharmasoka Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Tawalama Bandula Thero (Deputy Head Monk of London Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Bhikkhu Assaji Thero (Croydon Temple), Most Venerable Makure Mangala Maha Thero (Head Monk of East London Lumbini Vihara), Most Venerable Gunnapane Sumanarama Maha Thero (Head Monk of Edmonton Samadhi Meditation Centre), Most Venerable Kanthale Wijthawansa Maha Thero (Head Monk of Thames Buddhist Vihara Croydon), Venerable Galayaye Dhammadassi Thero (London Kingsbury Temple), Most Venerable Bandarawela Gnanasumana Thero (East London Lumbini Buddhist Cultural Centre), Most Venerable Bangladesh Pannasiri Thero (East London Lumbini Buddhist Cultural Centre), Venerable Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thero (Thames Buddhist Vihara Croydon), Most Venerable Levke Wajirawansa Maha Thero (Head Monk of Leicester Buddhist Vihara) Venerable Rathnapure Nandaloka Thero (Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara), Venerable Dombawela Amitha Thero (Thames Buddhist Vihara Croydon) & Venerable Wiharagama Kusala Thero (Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara)

Most Venerable Dr Witharandeniye Kassapa Maha Thero OBE administered the five precepts to mark the beginning of the ceremony and explain the significances of the day by dedicating the Kathina Dana. Venerable Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thero conducted the Buddha Pooja. Most Venerable Bhikkhu Assaji Maha Thero delivered a Dhamma Talk in English explaining the significances of the traditional spiritual ceremony to the modern world, and highlighted the credentials of Venerable Akurala Samitha as a rare skilful monk from whom the community can be benefited immensely. The Sinhala Dhamma Sermon was given by Most Venerable Kanthale Wijithawansa Maha Thero and commended the importance of mental health services rendered by Venerable Akurala Samitha and Dhamma Nikethanaya Centre. Most Venerable Tawalama Bandula Maha Thero delivered a talk in Hindi. Most Venerable Makure Mangala Thero conducted Kathina Robe offering and Most Venerable Gunnapana Sumanarama Thero conducted the punnanumodana (sharing of merits).

A Special Atavisi Buddha Pooja was held to invoke the merits and blessings to parents of all members of the community. Late parents of the members of the community were dearly remembered by sharing the merits. Atavisi Buddha Pooja was sponsored By Mr Neil and Nitha Gurusinghe together with their friends. Flower offerings and the elegant floral pooja were sponsored by Mrs Pulani, Mrs Mahesha, Miss Padma, Mrs Sunethra, Mrs Nadeeka and their friends.

Hamper Gift Parcels to venerable Monks were sponsored by Mr Asanka, Mrs Rekha Kasthuriarachchi, Mr Lakshiri Mrs Manik Mr & Mrs Sujeewa Lokuwaduges and friends. Healthy Fruit and Medicine Hamper Offerings were sponsored by Mr Nuwan & Mrs Chopana Kadurugamuwa, Mr Deshan & Mrs Shani De Silva.

Gift Donations Offering to Venerable Monks were supported by all the members of the community with the main support of Dr Mahesh Dias, Mr Harsha Deepal & Mrs Sujani Senarathna, Mr Rajitha & Mrs Lakshi Weerakkodi, Mrs K F Hill, Mrs Niranjala Perera, Mrs Kisha Chaudari Alahakoon, & Mr Priyantha & Mrs Kumuduni Uluvita.

Children of Mr Anura Shantha brought extra delight to the ceremony with their skills and talents in traditional drumming.

Venerable Akurala Samitha thanked everyone supported to make this year ceremony a great success. The Ceremony arrangements and temple decorations were not possible without the earnest support of Mr Glenn Everard, Padma Wijerathna, Dr Thura Limbin, Mrs Anne Howarth, Mr Michael Armstrong, Mr Peter Godos and Mr Paul Martin. Venerable Samitha shared heartfelt gratitude and blessings with them all.

Venerable Akurala Samitha shared the blessings with those who offered Atapirikara, Robes, Monks' gift items and other donations. Their support greatly counted for the success of the ceremony.

For more details please visit our website: www.buddhistacademy.com

May the Blessings of this greatest meritorious deed fulfil, without exception the aspirations of all, and lead to the everlasting happiness Nibbana! May all be secure, well and happy with Noble Blessings of the Triple Gem!

Photographs by Mr Priyantha Uluvita
Report by Secretary, Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya
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