Sri Lankan President says opening of Minnesota Buddhist Vihara a remarkable event

By Walter Jayawardhana, Lanka Web, June 26, 2006

Los Angeles, USA -- “In an era when the Buddhist teaching is most wanted to the world. I treat the inauguration of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara as a remarkable event. I wish the sublime motive of propagating the teaching of the Buddha by the inaugurators of this vihara be a success” said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a special message in the event of the opening ceremony of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara in the United States.

The thirty first Buddhist temple managed by Sri Lankan monks in the United States will be declared open , June 24, close to the scenic Mississippi river in the midst of a distinguished gathering of Buddhist monks in the city of Minneapolis .

The President further said, “It is quite evident that today the Buddhist philosophy is gaining ground in most of the western countries where materialism reigned earlier. I am glad to hear that Minnesota Buddhist Vihara in USA which had hitherto been sharing the premises of Vietnamese Buddhist Temple is to be shifted to a new location of its own. I fully realize that, had it not been for the selfless and dedicated efforts of the Ven. Mahasangha propagating Dhamma overseas, the present progress would not have been achieved at all.”

The first Sri Lankan managed Buddhist temple in the state of Minnesota will be declared open at the newly acquired property at 3401 North 4th Street Minneapolis, said Venerable Witiyala Seewalie the Chief Abbot and President of the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara Inc.

The scholar monk, Seewalie , who is also the head of the Paramadhamma Chethiya Pirivena in Ratmalana in Sri Lanka said the temple will be open for all Buddhist schools like Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana and other denominations without any discriminations. “A special effort ,” he said, “will be made to take Buddha’s sublime dharma to the Americans.”

A host of distinguished leaders representing Buddhist temples will be converging on Minneapolis to take part in the opening ceremony: Venerable Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayaka Thero, Abbot New York Buddhist Vihara, New York, Venerable Walpola Piyananda Nayaka Thero, Abbot Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles, VenerablePallebage Chandrasiri Nayaka Thero, Abbot OregonBuddhist Vihara Oregon, Venerable Nakulugamuwe Sumana Maha Thero, President Society of Buddhist Volunteers, Singapore, Venerable Katugastota Uparatana Nayaka Thero, Abbot International Buddhist Center , Maryland, Venerable Maitipe Wimalasara Thero, Dharmavijaya Buddhist Vihara, Los Angeles.

The following lay diginataries also will participate: Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke, The Ambassador, Sri Lankan Embassy, Washington D.C., Mr. H.A. Podiappuhamy, Founder Sahana Foundation, London U.K. , Ms. Shani Wijay and Mr. and Mrs. Weerasooriya.

The ceremony which will start by hoisting American, Sri Lankan and Buddhist flags at 10.a.m., June 24 and will end by an hour long Maha Pirith chanting at 5 p.m. on the same day. A free lunch also will be served to the participating devotees following the alms giving to the Buddhist monks.