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August 07, 2018
The Dhammacakka Festival 2018 at London Buddhist Vihara
The Dhammacakka (Esala) Festival is an annual event which marks the delivering of the First Sermon known as "Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth" (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) by the Buddha, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, near Benares in India.

The event commenced at 9.00am with hoisting the Buddhist flag followed by administering eight precepts (Ata Sil) and admonition by Head of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Sanga Nayaka of Great Britain, most Ven. Seelawimala. Nearly eighty devotees from various ethnic communities reflecting the diversity of Londoners, observed Ata Sil. After Buddha Vandana and Chanting led by Ven. T Bandula, a Meditation session was conducted by Ven. K Kassapa. Next item in the programme was "The Wheel of the Dhamma is Set in Motion" by Ven. T Bandula and the sermon was based on Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. Buddha puja was conducted by Ven. Kassapa.

Dana for the venerable monks and devotees who observed eight precepts, and lunch for all the other devotees and guests was organised by the "New Malden Dayakas" led by Mrs Ruki Wijayasinghe.

The afternoon Programme started with a "Dhamma Discussion - Saddha", with Ven. Kassapa & Dr Upali Abeysiri as panellists. Dr Sudathsu Ubesiri gave a speech on "Mindful Living". After the "Dhamma Talk - Anatta Lakkana Sutta" by Ven. H Pannawamsa, Ven. Seelawimala, delivered a sermon in Sinhala.

'Vas Aradhana', the next item in the programme and a formal invitation to observe the rainy retreat, was extended by the devotees to the venerable monks in the traditional manner.

Listening to the chanting of Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (The first sermon of the Buddha), towards the end of an extremely rewarding day was a meritorious act to the participants.

The most Venerable Seelawimala conducted the Punyanumodana (sharing of merit). He thanked everyone who supported the event and made the Dhammacakka Festival a huge success.

Karunaseeli Somasiri
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