East London Buddhist Cultural Centre (Lumbini Viharaya) Annual Katina Ceremony 2015

The annual Katina ceremony of the East London Buddhist Cultural Centre (Lumbini Viharaya) was elegantly held at the Temple premises in Plaistow, London on 8thNovember 2015 under the patronage of Ven Makure Mangala Thero the chief incumbent of the temple with a participation of a vast gathering of Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi Buddhist devotees.

This year’s ceremony was sponsored by the family members of Dr. Munasinghe and Mrs. Shirani Munasinghe jointly with the family members of Mr. Ranjeewa Alahakoon and Mrs. Rasangi Alahakoon with the support of the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi Buddhist community in the UK who offered the diligently prepared Katina robe to participating monks who were representing ‘Maha Sangha’ (monastic community of monks) adhering to the Buddhist tradition.

The meritorious act comprised of series of religious rituals (Pinkams) which were conducted with the assistance of Aggamaha Panditha Mahanayaka of Great Britain Chief Incumbent Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Maha Thero and Neepalayaee Sumana Thero representing Kingsbury Sri Saddhathissa International Buddhist Centre, Chief Incumbent of Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Centre - Ven. Akurala Samitha Maha Thero, Chief Incumbent Ven. Pethigamume Hemarathana Maha Thero and Ven Pitigala Gunarathana Thero representing Redbridge Viharaya, Deputy Head Monk Ven. Thawalama Bandula Maha Thero and Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thero representing of London Buddhist Viharaya, Chief Incumbent of Burmese Temple in Bekton Ven Kavisaara Thero, and the Residential monks of the Lumbini Viharaya Ven. Dr. Kabalewe Siri Sumana Maha Thero, Ven. Madugalle Mahanama Thero, Ven.Kirioruwe Dheerananda Thero and Ven. Bangladeshaye Prajnasree Thero who had observed ‘Vas’ for more than three months.

From early morning, the devotees assembled at the temple. Majority of them were bearing carefully prepared dishes to offer for lunch (Dahawal dana), and requisites (Pirikara) to offer to the Monks. Most devotees made donations by using different means. Mr Ranjeewa Alahakoon offered the raw materials for the Katina Robe and it was prepared inside the temple premises with the help of many participants and was on display for the devotees to worship. Devotees were invited to offer cash donations for the upkeep of the temple by securing currency notes on a designated tree (Kapruka) in order to source necessary articles to full fill the essential needs of the monks.

Ven. Makure Mangala Thero along with other residential and distinguished guest monks then gathered to the recently renovated dhamma hall to commence the prestigious event. After a brief introductory speech describing the significance of the ‘Katina’ ceremony, Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Maha Thero, before paying homage to the Triple Gem and administering five precepts (pan sil), explained the importance and the value of participating in such an event. Along with the fellow monks, he chanted ‘pirith’ and blessed those who were present. He stressed that ‘pirith’ chanted on that day was most effective and powerful since the monks had gathered so much of energy within, having spent three months meditating. Thereafter ‘pirith’ water was distributed and ‘pirith’ strings were secured around the wrists of everyone present as a further blessing.

Subsequently arrived the time to serve ‘dana’. Prime portions of the individual food items were offered to the Lord Buddha followed by monks. Everyone lined up to serve a portion of rice and other dishes prepared by the participants with special care and attention. Laity had lunch and refreshments while the monks finished their meals and took their positions in the hall once again to continue the ceremony.

Highlight of the event, the offering of the ‘Katina’ robe then took place. It was escorted in an elegant procession with other ‘Pirikara’ (offerings/donations) and offered to the participating monks, they eloquently pronounced words of acceptance and subsequently they conferred amongst themselves to come to a consensus as to whom the robe would be offered. Consequently monks announced that they unanimously decided to offer the Katina Robe to Ven. Kirioruwe Dheerananda Thero expressing why that particular monk deserved to receive it. Laity offered the remaining ‘Pirikara’ to the rest of the participating monks. Thereafter Ven Makure Mangala Therocommenced the final stage of the ceremony by conducting ‘punyanumodana’ (transferring merits) for the devotees.

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