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Kathina October 2016
Written by Dr. Sena Nanayakkara   
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 Incumbent & 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 TheroThe 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 serene 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)