On May 07, 2009, Vesak was celebrated at the Sri Lanka Embassy with an alms giving for the priests of all three Buddhist institutions in the Greater Washington area – Washington Buddhist Vihara, the International Buddhist Center (IBC) and the Bavana Society of West Virginia.
Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri Nayaka Thera of the Washington Buddhist Vihara administered Pan-Sil/ Ven. Nikahatiye Soratha Nayaka Thera, a visiting priest of the Washington Buddhist Vihara, engaged in the transfer of merit.
The Vesak commemorative sermon was delivered by Ven. Bhanthe Rahula of the Bhavana Society of West Virginia who spoke on the significance of Vesak and the universality of Lord Buddha’s teachings, and encouraged the audience to reflect more deeply on the Buddhist way of life.
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya in his speech emphasized the importance of the Vesak mentioning that “For over 2,500 years, the Buddha’s timeless teachings remain as relevant as ever. In our everyday life, the Five Precepts, which emphasize respect for life, property and family; responsible speech; and mindful consumption of food and drink, are basic moral codes that help create social harmony. If one thinks it over, he will realize that the Five Precepts reveal the way any responsible member of society should behave towards others.”
The Ambassador recalled an American who came to Sri Lanka and became a giant among men in Buddhist circles: Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. Col. Olcott is remembered with love and gratitude by Sri Lankan Buddhists, since he reawakened the nation and inspired them to struggle for their legitimate rights.
The Ambassador thanked the representatives of the Sri Lankan organizations in the Greater Washington area, as well as American well wishers, for their presence at the occasion. Included among them were members of the staff of the Embassy who helped organized the event.
The Vesak Message of H.E. Mahinda Rajapakse was read by Mr. Tissa Wijeratne, Deputy Chief Mission.
The Embassy premises were illuminated with a beautiful Vesak lantern and other Vesak decorations. Representatives of the Sri Lanka Organizations in the Greater Washington area and American well wishers attended this annual event.
The religious ceremony was followed by Dana.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
09 May 2009