Established on 2nd March 1992, adapting to Sinhalese culture, Lankarama Vihara has been a unifying influence, providing a focal point for our growing Sinhalese community and others who are strong believers of Theravada Buddhism. It provides a solid cultural base, mainly to the Sri Lankan community with many services. Almost all the services are provided by the residential monks in the Vihara. During the special events and on other sil days(on Poya days) , lay people pay their homage to Buddha through “Amisa puja” (homage by offerings of material things) and so much on “Prathipaththi Puja” (homage through practice). Services provided at the vihara premises include:
- New year blessings on 01st of January every year: Atavisi Buddha pooja and reciting verses (pirith sermons) throughout the day by sangha.
- Sinhalese New year blessings in April with pirith sermons.
- Teaching Dhamma and Sinhala for children.
- Monthly sil (on full moon days – called poya days) and meditation programmes.
- Special dhamma sermons and meditation programmes from visiting monks.
- Celebrating the major Buddhist events known as Vesak (in May), Poson (in June) and Esala (in July).
- Celebrating Vesak (in May) commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away into Nirvana (parinibbana) of the Lord Budda. This event reflects both religious and cultural aspects of the Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
The daytime events include sil programmes for children and adults (Sil programme for youth – held on Saturday), morning tea, lunch (Daval Dana) for monks, and devotees who observed sil, and the lay people who participate in the event.
Events in the evening (after 5.00 pm) include singing devotional songs ( bakthi geeth a) by well-prepared group of Buddhist adults and children, displaying colourful Vesak lanterns and thorana (made by the Youth Group of Lankarama) with vivid lights illuminated whole vihara ground and illuminating the chetiya (pagoda) giving an attractive feeling to all devotees. Also, paying homage to buddha offering flowers, lighting oil lamps with chanting stanzas ( gatha ) at the bodhi tree and shrine rooms by Buddhists is a very common seen on this day.
- Vas (rainy treat) Aradhana on Esala poya day (in July) – It is customary for Buddhists to invite the monks formally to observe the retreat in the vihara for 3 months starting from July.
- Katina ceremony (in October) – the most significant merit making ceremony performed by Buddhist communities. Katina’ – ‘Cheevara Pooja’, the noble meritorious deed is considered the most sacred wholesome act a Buddhist can perform.
Associated religious and cultural activities include a procession (Perehara) joining adults and children, carrying buddhist flags, flowers, with drummers. Especially, amidst chants of “sadhu, sadhu”, the katina robe is taken in the procession under a canopy with as many devotees as possible taking turns to carry it on their head, finally to the vihara hall where the ceremony is held. Setting up of the “wishing tree”, traditionally referred to as the kapruka, (legendary tree of bounties, which grants all that one would wish for) in the katina ceremony hall.
Offering katina robe ( yet to be stitched) to maha sangha, Offering dana to maha sangha ( about 30 monks and nuns are normally participated), dhamma desana from the chief Bhantas and other invited monks,pirith sermon to the lay people, offering food to the lay people, stitching the katina robe in the vihara premises with the participation of devotees, and katinasansa Bana desana in the evening are other main events on this day.
- Services provided outside the vihara premises include:
– Visting lay peoples’ residence on their invitation for lunch known as alms giving (Dana) passing merits to those who passed away. Also, blessing to the households, relatives, and friends.
– Housewarming – Blessings for the prosperity of the new house and the households
– Pirith chanting for Wedding Anniversary.
– Chanting ‘Angulimala Piritha’ – blessings the mother (pregnant woman) to deliver the baby easily of having less pain and difficulties.
– Usual Pirith chanting invitation: expecting blessing for the members in the family as well as relatives and friends.
– Hospital visits to bless a sick person who is undergoing treatments.
– Funerals – Pansukula pooja passing merits to the person who passed away just before the cremation, burial.
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.