Katina at the Berlin Vihara

by Tissa WEERARATNA, Daily News - Buddhist Spectrum Nov. 24, 2011

Berlin, Germany -- The annual Katina Pinkama was held at the Berlin Buddhist Vihara recently. The Vassa was observed at the Vihara this year by two monks namely Ven. Yogavachara Rahula Thera, the American Buddhist monk, and Ven. Kongaspitiye Santharakkhltha Thero (the resident monk at the Berlin Vihara).

During the Vassa period special Dhamma activities including Dhamma discussions, lectures, meditation classes and retreats were conducted at the Vihara. The American monk Bhante Rahula played a prominent role in conducting three well attended meditation retreats at the Berlin Vihara.

The gathering at this Katina Pinkama comprised mainly Germans, Thais and Sri Lankans, among others. The Katina activities for the day comprised a Buddha Puja, Sangha Dana and Katina Chivara Puja.
Altogether 10 Buddhist Monks participated in the Katina ceremony. They included a number of Theravada Buddhist monks drawn from Temples based in Europe and Sri Lanka. They were Ven. Mihiripannay Sobitha Thero (Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara, Dehiwala), Ven. Dickwelle Seelasumana Thero (Buduraja Maha Vehera, Wewurukannala, Dickwella), Ven. Dr. Wijayarajapura Seelawansa Nayaka Thero (Nyanaponika Dhammazentrum & Lecturer, Vienna University, Austria), Ven. Lendiyangala Sudassi Thero (Chief Incumbent Sri Lanka Vihara, St. Gallen, Switzerland), Ven. Kannimahara Piyasiri Thero, M.A, (Munich Buddhist Centre, Germany), Ven. Tammannawe Dhammananda Thero, Ven. Talpawila Kusalagnana Thero, M.A. (Hamburg Buddhist Centre, Germany) and Ven. Kongaspitiye Santharakkhltha Thero, M.A., Das Buddhistische Haus (Berlin Vihara). There were also two Thai Buddhist monks present at the ceremony.

The Berlin Vihara also known as 'Das Buddhistische Haus' was built in 1924 by Dr. Paul Dahlke, German Philosopher and a pioneer of Buddhism in Germany. The German Dharmaduta Society founded by Asoka Weeraratna, purchased the premises from the heirs of Dr. Dahlke in 1957 and converted it into Buddhist Vihara with resident Buddhist monks on a long term footing. It is the oldest Theravada Buddhist Centre in Europe.