In keeping with President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to declare the Thripitakabhivandana Week from 16th – 23rd March 2019 to mark the declaration of the Theravada Thripitaka as a national and world heritage, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC, under the patronage of four Buddhist temples in Washington DC and Maryland, organized a series of religious events from 16th – 24th March 2019. The Thripitakabhivandana Week commenced with Maryland Buddhist Temple and Washington Buddhist Vihara hosting two events on 16th and 17th March respectively.
At the launch of the Thripitakabhivandana Week on 16th March, the Chief Priest of the Maryland Buddhist Temple, Venrable Katugastota Uparatana Thero expressed immense pleasure for the honour and privilege of hosting the maiden event of this historic national endeavour at the Maryland Buddhist Temple. Speaking on the occasion, the venerable monk extended his profound gratitude to President Maithripala Sirisena for declaring the Thripitakabhivandana Week and the great honour thereby bestowed on the Thripitaka. Furthermore, emphasis was placed on the significance of the Thripitaka for the preservation for posterity of Buddhist teachings and the relevance of Buddha’s timeless message for future generations. Joined by the temple devotees, the resident monks chanted seth pirith to invoke blessings on the President of Sri Lanka and the whole country and hailed his meritorious deeds for the spiritual upliftment of Buddhists. Ven Nedagamuwe Pragnaloka Thero conducted a Dhamma sermon on the indulgence of people in worldly pursuits and the importance of spiritual mindedness for overall well being and happiness. Speaking on the occasion, Chargé d'Affaires, Sarath Dissanayake appreciated the directives and guidance given by the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in celebrating a historic milestone in Sri Lanka’s Buddhist calendar and expressed his deep gratitude to the venerable monks for sharing spiritual insights and wisdom on the relevance Buddhist teachings for a simple and contented life. The day’s proceedings came to a close with the offering of Pirikara to the priests and serving of snacks and sweetmeats to devotees.
The Washington Buddhist Vihara, which is the oldest Theravada Buddhist Temple in the US, hosted the second event of the Thripitakabhivandana Week on 17th March 2019, with a Buddhist sermon conducted by the Chief Priest, Ven Maharagama Dhammasiri Thero on the significance of the Thripitakabhivandana Week followed by a comprehensive spiritual briefing on the historical context of writing the Thripitaka, its preservation to date and the contribution of the Thripitaka for the propagation of Buddhist teachings and values. The venerable monk also spoke of the essence of the Buddha’s noble message for self - emancipation or salvation of mankind and thanked the foreign devotees in the audience for their interest and support to promote the Buddhist way of living among the likeminded. The monks conducted a Bodhi Pooja and invoked blessings on President Sirisena and the country and welcomed his noble endeavour to declare the Thripitakabhivandana Week to symbolize the proclamation of the Thripitaka as a National Heritage in January 2019. Speaking on the occasion, Chargé d'Affaires, Sarath Dissanayake appreciated the blessings of the Maha Sangha for organizing a special religious activity in celebration of the Thripitakabhivandana Week at the Washington Buddhist Vihara and spreading Buddha’s teachings and creating awareness of the sacred scripts of the Thripitaka among both local and foreign devotees. He briefed those in the audience and sought their support on the campaign launched by Sri Lanka to inscribe Thripitaka as a world heritage in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, given its spiritual, philosophical, doctrinal and cultural significance for the Buddhists and humankind as a whole.
The arrangements at the Washington Buddhist Vihara and the Maryland Buddhist Temple were coordinated by the Embassy under the guidance and blessings of the Maha Sangha with the active support and collaboration of the members of the respective dayaka sabha.
The Thripitakabhivandana Week in the US will conclude with two more religious events at the Nisala Arana Buddhist Monastery and the Mahamewnawa Meditation Centre in Maryland on the 23rd and 24th March respectively.
Photo gallery of the events held at the respective temples on the given dates are available at the following links.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
19 March 2019