The Embassy of Sri Lanka USA commemorated Vesak with a Dana at the Ambassador’s Residence on May 31, 2010, a celebration that featured 17 Buddhist monks representing temples throughout the East Coast.

The annual celebration of the Vesak was organized by the Embassy as part of its programme to each year celebrate the important religious events of the major religions in Sri Lanka.

Twelve Chief Incumbants were from Bhavana Society of West Virginia; New York Buddhist Vihara, Washington Buddhist Vihara, Wheaton, Md., International Buddhist Center, New Jersey Buddhist Vihara, Staten Island, N.Y., Buddhist Vihara, the International Buddhist Society of Pennsylvania, the Pittsburg Buddhist Center, Long Island, N.Y., Buddhist Meditation Centre and the Mahamevanawa Bhavana Monastery of New Jersey.

In addition, seven monks from the Washington, D.C. area took part.

Representatives of the Hindu, Islamic and Catholic faiths were also present for the ceremony.

Ven. Henepola Gunaratana Nayaka Thera of the Bhavana Society of West Virginia, Ven. Kurunegoda Piyatissa Thera of the New York Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Hungampola Sirirathana Thera and Ven. Katugastota Uparatana Nayaka Thera jointly administered Pansil and invoked blessings.

Ven. Henepola Gunaratana Nayaka Thera and Ven. Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayaka Thera delivered the Anusasana on the significance of Vesak and the universality of Lord Buddha’s teachings, and encouraged the audience to reflect more deeply on the Buddhist way of life.The Minister of petroleum Industries, Susil Premajayantha, also graced the occasion and spoke about Vesak, highlighting the fact that Buddhism is a way of life built upon realism and understanding and not belief.

He further said that it is fortunate that all Buddhists in Sri Lanka are now free to celebrate Vesak throughout the country after 25 years.

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya, who also spoke at the event, said that “in our everyday life, the Five Precepts, which emphasize respect for life, property and family; responsible speech, and mindful consumption of food and drink, are basic moral codes that help create social harmony.” The Ambassador said that Col. Henry Steel Olcott is remembered with love and gratitude by Sri Lankans, since he reawakened the nation and inspired them to struggle for their legitimate rights.

The Ambassador thanked everyone who participated, including the representatives of Sri Lankan organizations in the Greater Washington area, who were present at the Dana. Included among them were members of the staff of the Embassy who helped organized the event.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

04 June 2010

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