Archive for June, 2008

How we celebrated Poson poya day

June 28, 2008

  

The 18th of June is very special day for Buddhism in Sri Lanka – because it is Poson Poya day. It marks the day when  Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka by Mahinda thero. Because of this we celebrate Poson Poya day. We respect and honor the thero Mahinda by doing religious activities. The Mihindu festival is held by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Not only at Mihinthalaya. Other parts of the country also celebrate this noble festival in a major  way.
Many Buddhist people celebrated this festival by doing religious activities . Mainly they hold a Mihindu Perahera. Most of Buddhist people observed Sil. Others set up Dansals, make lanterns or hold carol competition.
On the Poya day I was very busy because we gave alms of string hoppers to devotees who observed sill at our village temple – Galkema Raja Maha Viharaya. It was to also mark my brother’s birth day.
Since morning we had set up a Belimal Dansala. This is the fourth time we were giving a Dansala.
This Dansala was set up  by teachers and students of the Dhamma School in our village temple.
In the evening we joined our Pooja. This Poya day we are the responsible for making the Pooja.

 

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The special festival in Galkema Raja Maha Viharaya

June 12, 2008

  

Galkema Rajamaha Viharaya is a very ancient, historical, and sacred temple. It is in located Hambantota district of the Southern province. The temple belongs to the villages of Pattiyawela, Tharaperiya, Walawela and Nihiluwa that surround it.
In the lovely month of May , our village temple had a special ceremony. From the 13th of May to the 19th, all the villagers gathered for special religious activities held by the temple priests.
In the afternoon of the 13th of May, statues of 28 Load Buddhas were enshrined in a new shrine room. A special Bodhi Pooja was held in the evening and at night, a “Piritha” was chanted from a beautiful specially built pavilion. Every evening during this period, a bodhi pooja was held by a specially invited priest.
The venerable Pallaththara Sumanajothi thero of the Southern province  participated as the chief guest for this festival. The venerable thero was welcomed with a special pandol and perahera.
The Vesak full moon Poya day was the last day of the ceremony. On that day, a special pahan pooja was held by the students and teachers of the Dharma school who lit 2552 oil lamps.
During the last two days, special Dharma sermons were preached by the invited theros.
It was a week when our minds were filled with happiness.

 

Vesak full moon poya day

June 12, 2008

 Vesak is one of the most celebrated religious festivals in Sri Lanka. It was on a Vesak full moon day that the Lord Buddha was born, enlightened and passed away. It falls on the full moon day of May every year.
Before the Lord Buddha was enlightened, he was a prince by the name of “Siddhartha”. He hailed from a royal clan called Shakya. He was born at Lumbini Saluyana of Kapilawasthupura. The day was Vesak full moon Poya day.
When he was a young man aged 16 he married Yasodara, a pretty princess from a relative’s clan. When prince Siddhartha was 29 years old his wife gave a birth to a prince, called “Rahula”. That very night prince Siddhartha left the castle in search of the meaning of life.
He did away with his royal clothing, cut his hair and dressed in robes of a ascetic. After few years he sat under a Bo tree and contemplated the nature of human life. At last he was successful. He had found the answer to the tormenting question “Why do people suffer?” At last he became the Lord Buddha. That day was a Vesak full moon Poya day.
He spent the rest of his life, which amounts to 45 years, preaching the Dharma he had realized to the mankind. He passed away at Kusinara at the age of 80 showing all that worthy things perish one day. That day was also a Vesak full moon Poya day.
On this special Poya day, devotees gather at temples and engage in various kinds of religious activities. The temple priests preach Dharma sermons to make the people aware of why Vesak is important and to make them understand a better way of life.
Many Buddhists go to temple and offer flowers to the Buddha. Others observe Sill . Some people give alms to poor people. 
Buddhist temples are decorated with flags, Vesak lanterns, oil lamps and other decorations.
There are lots of people who go on  pilgrimage to different sacred places.
We can see Dansalas on either side of the roads on this day. Pahan Poojas, Bodhi Poojas  and alms giving campaigns are also special activities on this day.
On this day children are very happy because they can make Vesak lanterns and decorate their houses with lanterns, oil lamps and bulbs.   Institutions also make Vesak lanterns. Buddhist schools launch religious activities in memory of the Lord Buddha.
During the Vesak season it is a common sight to see people visiting Pandols which depict different stories of the Buddha’s life..
The day decorates whole the world and is celebrated in all Buddhist countries.