In commemoration of the Vesak Day 2015, a special ‘pirith’ ceremony was held at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London on 1 May followed by a “Sanghika Dana” on 2 May 2015. The Vesak Commemoration events were organised by the staff of the Sri Lanka High Commission.
The events were attended by senior members of the Maha Sangha headed by Chief Sanganayake of United Kingdom and the Chief Incumbent of the London Buddhist Vihara Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero.
Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero explained the religious and cultural significance of Vesak when Buddhists worldwide assemble to observe the precepts, listen to Dhamma, and offer Dana to the sangha. The Nayake Thero also said that 2559 years after the passing away of the Buddha, his teachings still retain relevancy in the modern world. Those who follow in his path purify themselves by giving up greed, hatred and delusion. The Nayake Thero added that the teachings of the Buddha can transform our lives and assist in coping with the challenges in our day to day lives.
Over twenty Venerable Theros also participated at the Pirith Chanting and Sanghika Dana at the High Commission including from London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick; Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre, Kingsbury; Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara; Jetavana Buddhist Temple in Birmingham; Thames Buddhist Vihara in London; East-London Buddhist Cultural Center, Plaistow; Sri Smabodhi Vihara, Plaistow; Redbridge Buddhist Cultural Center, Ilford; Letchworth Buddhist Temple; Shanthi Buddhist Vihara, Nottingham.
The commemoration of Vesak at the High Commission was also attended by a large number of Sri Lankan community members.
Annual Pirith Chanting and Almsgiving
The High Commission of Sri Lanka
Sri Lankans living in the UK to the
Annual Pirith Chanting Ceremony on Friday, 01st May, 2015
from 7.00pm to 11.00pm
Almsgiving (Heel Dana) on Saturday, 2nd May, 2015
At the High Commission premises
to invoke blessings on
the people of Sri Lanka
Address: 13, Hyde Park Gardens, London W2 2LU
Contact No: 020 262 1841
President Maithripala Sirisena concludes official visit to the United Kingdom President Maithripala Sirisena concluded a historic official visit to the United Kingdom on 11th March, his second visit overseas since assuming office as President. As Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, President Sirisena attended the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey and the Commonwealth Day Reception hosted by Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma at Marlborough House and met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth and senior members of the Royal family.
On 11 March, President Sirisena and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena had an audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. During the meeting, the Queen reminisced fondly of her first visit to Sri Lanka in 1954, soon after her coronation in 1953 and also her second visit to the country in 1981.
President Sirisena had a productive meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron at No. 10, Downing Street. This was the first occasion when a Head of State of Sri Lanka was received at the official residence of the British Prime Minister since 1982. While commending the President for the achievements of his Government in the short term it had been in office, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that accountability and reconciliation issues would be successfully addressed through a domestic mechanism.
Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, Edward Miliband, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander and Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma also called on President Sirisena.
The President met members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka (APPGSL) at the House of Commons, religious leaders of all faiths, members of the UK branch of the Old Boys Association of Hindu College, Jaffna and representatives of all ethnic groups of the Sri Lankan expatriate community and shared his vision to build a united and inclusive Sri Lanka for which he solicited the support of the expatriate community.
President Sirisena visited the London Buddhist Vihara, the first Vihara established in the UK and presented a relic casket.
Separately, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met Phillip Hammond, Secretary of State for Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs and Desmond Swayne, Minister of State for International Development.
The Presidential delegation comprised Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M Swaminathan, Member of the Central Provincial Council Azath Salley and senior Foreign Ministry officials.
The Acting High Commissioner, Dr. Chanaka Talpahewa had a meeting with the Rt. Hon. Tom Brake MP, Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Assistant Whip (HM Treasury) on 11 February 2015 at the House of Commons.
Hon. Mangala Samaraweera Minister of Foreign Affairs met the Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom at 10, Downing Street, on 09th February 2015.
The Acting High Commissioner Dr. Chanaka Talpahewa met the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire MP on 05th February 2015 at his office.
The 67th Independence Day of Sri Lanka was celebrated at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London. In the Morning the Sri Lankan community living in London attended a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast hosted by the Acting High Commissioner, Dr. Chanaka Talpahewa. The event commenced with hoisting the National Flag, reciting the National Anthem and multi faith religious prayers followed by the reading of the national day messages of HE the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.
An event was organized by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London to remember and honour those who lost their lives due to the Tsunami that struck Sri Lanka on 26th December 2004, ten years ago. Religious leaders of all four faiths conducted prayers followed by the welcome address of the Acting High Commissioner Dr. Chanaka Talpahewa.
H.R.H. Prince Harry sent a special message to the event which was read out by Mr. Alistair Harrison CMG CVO, Her Majesty’s Marshal of the Diplomatic Corp. who also spoke. Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of Sir Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, who involved with her husband for helping the Tsunami affected countries in 2004 also spoke at the event and remembered how UK public was united in helping the Tsunami affected countries. She also appreciated the effort made by the Government of Sri Lanka in addressing the immediate humanitarian needs of the victims and carefully handling the situation in the aftermath of the Tsunami.
Mr. Rob Forkan who was in Sri Lanka on holiday with his parents in 2004 while he was 13 and lost both of his parents to the Tsunami and started a charity called ‘Gandys’ spoke at the event and shared his experience. He explained the reasons for his determination for establishing ‘Gandys’ to help the needy. Ms. Della Far of Oxford who was in Sri Lanka during 2004 Tsunami and survived with the help and support of a Sri Lankan Fisherman, also shared her experience. Mr. Richard Gordon, MBE, Director, Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) addressing the gathering explained the work done in Sri Lanka as well as measures put in place to minimize negative effects of the natural disasters of this nature. Commonwealth Secretary General H.E. Kamalesh Sharma, Heads of Mission, many members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as UK Government officials, especially from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), attended the event.
This event brought together a cross section of the UK community and Sri Lankans living in the UK. A photo exhibition was also organized with the participation of the charities to show the devastation of the Tsunami and the development work undertook by the Government of Sri Lanka as well as the charities. A forty five minutes program on Sri Lanka produced by Wales ITV, UK about the 2004 Tsunami devastation and the status of development after ten years (i.e. 2014) was screened.
High Commission of Sri Lanka
30th January, 2015