Sri Lankan community celebrates "Vesak" in Kuwait
By Embassy of Sri Lanka, Kuwait
June 11, 2010

The "Vesak" celebrations jointly organized by the Sri Lanka Cultural Association and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait were held from 26th to 29th May at the Embassy premises amid a large gathering of Sri Lankans and well-wishers. The Embassy compound was decorated with Buddhist flags, Vesak lanterns, a pandol and illuminations for the occasion which was reminiscent of a typical "Vesak" festival in Sri Lanka.

Most Ven. Ginigathehen Gnanaseeha Thero, Chief Incumbent of Rajawatta Sri Sama Vihara in Kalutara, who was specially flown into Kuwait with the courtesy of Yasasa Cargo inaugurated "Vesak" festival on 26th May evening. The programme commenced with a colourful Perahera in which students of Sri Lanka Pasala clad in white clothes paraded through Embassy compound carrying a casket of relics brought by the monk from Sri Lanka. The Vesak Pandol depicting "Vidura Jathakaya" was lit thereafter following which the Buddha statue was unveiled by the Ven. monk. A special Buddha Puja followed by an Anusasana were held subsequently to invoke blessings on the government and the people of Sri Lanka. There was a special exposition of relics at the Embassy premises throughout "Vesak" enabling thousands of Buddhist devotes to pay homage to Lord Buddha.

Delivering a special Buddhist sermon, Ven. Thero emphasized the importance of practicing Buddhist way of life and good deeds. The prelate also enlightened the devotees on the benefits of Buddhist teachings vis a vis meditation, compassion, non-violence etc. toward attaining moral high grounds. The monk also appealed to the Sri Lankan community to help their compatriots and share their wisdom with one another in a spirit of unity and harmony.

Ambassador Sarath Dissanayake in his remarks appreciated the goodwill and kindness of the most Ven. Thero toward the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait and also extolled his wisdom and Dhamma discourses. He was also grateful to the members of the Sri Lankan Cultural Association for the meticulous planning and excellent arrangements made for a successful "Vesak" celebrations. In particular, he appreciated the generosity of the sponsors and the Sri Lankan community toward the success of this meritorious deed.

The President of the Sri Lanka Cultural Association, Mr. P. Karannagoda addressed the gathering and extended his gratitude to the Ven. monk for undertaking a spiritual mission to Kuwait on the occasion of "Vesak". He also thanked the members of the Sri Lankan community for their contribution in all arrangements. The Secretary of the Association Mr. Mohamed Iqbal spoke highly of the services rendered by the Ven. monk for the propagation of Buddhism abroad and the contribution made by members of the Association for this worthy endeavour.

As part of the "Vesak" celebrations, a special almsgiving was organized by the Association on 28th May, in which over 250 Safe-house inmates took part in a day-long sil campaign. On the 27th, a Dansala was held during which over 3500 were offered free meals. Special Bhakthi Gee programmes were conducted by the students of the Sri Lanka Pasala followed by the Embassy staff and families. A large pandol depicting "Vidura Jatakaya" was on display throughout the week. Two poets specially flown in to Kuwait with the courtesy of "Mihin Lanka" took part in a "virindu" programme. A sum of Rs. 350,000/- received as donations from devotees during the "Vesak" festival was handed over to the Ven. Thero to be utilized for charitable projects.

The devotees who gathered for the "Vesak" celebrations appreciated the elaborate arrangements made to celebrate the Thrice-Blessed-Day of the Lord Buddha which is observed by the Buddhists world over as the most significant day of the Buddhist calendar.