The Thripitakabhivandana Week in the US that continued from 16th – 24th March 2019 under the patronage of four Sri Lankan Buddhist Temples in Washington and Maryland came to a close with the completion of religious events at Nisala Arana Buddhist Monastery and Mahamewnawa Meditation Center in Maryland on 23rd and 24th March 2019 respectively.
On 23rd March, Chief Priest of Nisala Arana Buddhist Monastery, Venerable Gintota Wimala Thero conducted a Dhamma sermon and chanted seth pirith to mark the Thripitakabhivandana Week declared by President Maithripala Sirisena to coincide with the proclamation of Thripitaka as a national and world heritage. The ceremony commenced with the observance of the five precepts followed by homage to the Buddha with symbolic offerings. The Chief Priest, Gintota Wimala Thero, commended the exemplary leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and his meritorious deed for the preservation of Buddha’s sacred gift of Dhamma for posterity, which has been passed on from generation to generation in the written form of Thripitaka. Delivering a dhamma discourse on Buddha’s message of universal truth, the Thero observed the fact that Buddha’s legacy which continues to inspire millions of followers has become a beacon of hope for those who continue to seek refuge in his spiritual teachings. The Thero also conducted a meditation program and briefed the gathering on the Buddhist virtues and path of righteousness espoused in the sacred scripts of Thripitaka. The Thero expressed the hope that the world recognition of Thripitaka would usher in an era of Buddhist renaissance in Sri Lanka.
Speaking on the occasion Chargé d'Affaires , Sarath Dissanayake delivered special remarks on the significance of the Thripitaka Week and its relevance for Buddhists all over the world. Elaborating further, he said the ceremony organized at the temple is historic as it coincided with the national ceremony held at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy at which the President, flanked by Mahanayakes, made a symbolic handover of Sri Lanka’s application for UN recognition of Thripitaka, to the UN Resident Representative in Sri Lanka. He emphasized the need for Sri Lankans from across the world to commit themselves and rally behind the national endeavor embarked upon by President Sirisena to gain world recognition and respect for the sacred scripts of Theravada Buddhism at such an opportune time for Buddhists. The Chargé appreciated the blessings and guidance of the Chief Priest and the commitment of devotees present for making the event a reality. The devotees were served with refreshments at the end of the proceedings.
The week - long Thripitakabhivandana Week in the US reached its climax on 24th March with the completion of the religious ceremony at the Mahamewnawa Meditation Centre that saw a large gathering of devotees in attendance. The program commenced with customary religious offerings and the observance of the five precepts in homage to the Buddha followed by a dhamma discourse by the Chief Priest, Ratnapura Vajira Thero on “the historical context of preserving Buddha’s Teachings and the culmination of Thripitaka”. The Chief monk narrated in sequence, the arduous journey and grueling tasks ancient Sri Lankan monks have endured under trying conditions, to record Buddha’s Dhamma sermons in the written form of Thripitaka for posterity for well over 2500 years to date. The Venerable monk also paid tribute to President Maithripala Sirisena for his historic task to make the Thripitaka a national heritage and world heritage, which he said is unparallel in the history of Sri Lanka. The monk reminded those in attendance of the great service rendered by late Sir Henry Steel Olcott, the world renowned American who had embraced Buddhism in Sri Lanka and championed the cause of Buddhists and the revival of Buddhism, and led a team that designed the Buddhist Flag and opened several Buddhist schools such as Ananda, Nalanda, Mahinda, Dharmaraja and Musaeus among others. The monk thanked all those who took part in organizing this timely ceremony and offered them the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem.
Chargé d'Affaires , Sarath Dissanayke briefed the gathering on the tasks that lie ahead to make the Thripitaka a world heritage. He observed “being Sri Lankans, we should take pride in this noble cause as part and parcel of our obligations toward our motherland and for the sake of making Sri Lanka the seat of Theravada Buddhism”. The Chargé appreciated the commitment and support extended by the Venerable monks, well wishers and embassy staff to make the Thripitakabhivandana Week a resounding success. The ceremony came to a close with refreshments served to those present.
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