Leicester Buddhist Vihara holds its annual Katina ceremony 2014.
The East Midlands Buddhist Association (EMBA) conducted its annual Katina Ceremony on Sunday the 19th October at Blaby Village Hall in the presence of a large gathering of devotees and well wishers. It was a glorious, warm and sunny day even in the autumn months.
The religious event commenced with the rythmic synchronised beating of the magul bera by 3 colourfully clad professional drummers.
The Head Monks of the 3 Buddhist Viharas (Ven Pidivelle Piyatissa Nayaka Thero from Kethumathi Vihara, Manchester, Ven Keppitiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero from Jethawana Vihara, Birmingham and Ven Dunukeyawatte Rathnajothi Nayaka Thero, Leicester Buddhist Vihara, along with Dr Sena Nanayakkara, Trustee, representatives from the 9 families who were the main sponsors this year and Mr Samitha Guruge, the president, were invited to light the traditional oil lamp.
Ven Galpotthaye Pemananda explained, for the benefit of the audience, how Ven Piyatissa and him accepted an appeal made by the EMBA Committee and the Trustees to provide at least the bare essentials of the religious and spiritual services for the members and the vihara users in Leicester, at a time when Leicester Vihara had no resident monks due to circumstances beyond control. This was a very difficult challenge undertaken with mutual respect and support for the benefit and greatly appreciated by all.
The morning session was devoted to the offerings to the Buddha (venerations and the Buddha Puja) followed by the offering of alms (Sanghika Dana) to the Maha Sangha ( total of 9). All the visitors and the devotees were provided with lunch afterwards.
At the start of the afternoon session, Mr Samitha Guruge the president of the EMBA in his welcome speech thanked all the invited guest monks for their presence and in particular Ven Piyatissa, Ven Saddhatissa and Ven Pemananda ( Kethumathie Vihara) for their continued commitment. Ven Mapalagama Soratha and Ven Tissa Sugatharathna (Jethawana Vihara), Ven Galpottaye Pemananda and Ven Pannala Sumana (Kethumathie Vihara) and Ven Baragama Piyarathana (Sri Sambuddha Vihara, Liverpool) also attended as guest monks.
He also expressed his very sincere thanks to all the members and the vihara users for their presence and also for maintaining their trust and loyalty staying with EMBA/Leicester Vihara in spite of the unforeseen difficulties faced without any resident monk since October 2013.
He also expressed his sincere thanks for the main sponsors and their families who provided all the requisites for the resident monk (Ven Maldeniye Chandaloka) following the traditional invitation to observe ‘Vas’ (the rain retreat) on 11th July, culminating in the offer of Kathina Cheevara. The main sponsors were: Mr Ajit Prasanna & family, Mr. Hiran Wijesinghe & family, Mr Priyantha Wijesiriwardena & family, Mr. Hemal Lankapurage & family, Mr Anura Jayawardena & family, Mr Jagath Nambukara & family, Mrs Nanda Udawatta and family, Mrs Shiromi Waas and family and Mr Shantika Fernando.
Specially prepared katina cheevara was brought in a special procession led by the group of drummers and offered to the maha sangha. After a unanimous decision, the cheevara was then offered to Ven Maldeniye Chandaloka by the maha sangha. The way the maha sngha conducted this age old tradition was most impressive and a wonderful opportunity for all the expatriates and especially for the younger generation to witness this very rare religious custom.
Ven Piyatissa Nayaka thero delivered the customary dhamma sermon in Sinhala whilst Ven Baragama Piyarathana thero delivered a dhamma sermon in English. Ven Chandaloka (recipient of Katina Cheevara) thanked the EMBA Committee, the trustees and the devotees and members of the maha sangha from Kethumathi and Jethawana Vihara for their guidance and support during his short stay as a visiting monk.
All the visiting monks were individually offered ata pirikara and various personal requisites especially prepared by the sponsors. The members and the visitors were overjoyed and surprised to witness the arrival of ven Rathnajothi who stayed till the end in spite of his faltering health.
The days proceedings came to a very successful end with the sharing of ‘merit’( pin anumodana) by the maha sangha.
(Prepared by Dr. Sena Nanayakkara and photos provided by Devapriya Perera)
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