Vesak in Losa Angeles

By Walter Jayawardhana, Lankaweb, May 16, 2007

Sri Lanka's official Vesak celebration in Los Angeles becomes multi cultural Buddhist event

Los Angeles, USA -- The Sri Lankan official Vesak celebration of Los Angeles happily became a multi-cultural Buddhist event with Chinese Korean and Theravada monks chanting in Chinese Korean and Pali languages and Sinhalese and Bengali youngsters singing devoltional songs to Buddha in their mother tongue.

“Our Buddhist monks may be chanting in different languages. Our rituals performed in the temples may be externally different from temple to temple. Our monks may be clad in slightly different robes from one another.

But please remember that all different sects are based on the same sublime dharma preached by our Lord , the Sakya Muni Buddha,” said Jaliya Wickramasuriya addressing a well packed conference room opened on the Vesak day, a new addition to the Sri Lankan Consulate.

Wickramasuriya further said, whatever yana or vehicle used by the Buddhists all over the world, according to different interpretations, they are aiming to reach finally the same goal and there is no difference in that.

Wickramasuriya reminded that historically for thousands of years and in the constitution in Sri Lanka Buddhism has got the foremost place in Sri Lanka among other religions and the country thinks Buddhism is one of the gifts the country could bestow upon the rest of the world .

To spread the word of the Buddha for the sake of the world peace, Wickramasuriya said, some kind of organization encompassing all Buddhists, lay as well as clerical, is necessary in Southern California . He said the monks are also here to bless, the President, government, people and the armed forces of Sri Lanka.

He reminded the international audience that Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the United States winnining such celebrities like Richard Gere , thanks to tireless work done by the Tibetan Buddhists.

Venerable Ahangama Dharmarama administered “panchaseela”to the audience, Venerable Chao Chu of the of the Los Angeles Buddhist Union led the chanting in Chinese while ,Venerable Gin Guk led the Korean chanting.

Buddhist monks of Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara of Pasadena, Dharma Viajaya Buddhist Vihara of Los Angeles, Buddhist Temple of Ventura, Lankaramaya of La Puente, Maithri Vihara of Sun Valley, Los Angeles Buddhist College, Oregon Buddhist Vihara and Sarathchandra Buddhist Meditation Center of North Hollywood chanted Pirith in Pali.

The eleven year old Kalpa Semasinghe , winner of the elocution contest in the Dharma Vijaya Dharma School delivered an oration entitled , “Why I like the Buddha” to the applause of many reacting the Consul General to snap, “I wish I could speak like him.”

The Bengali and Sinhalese devotional songs presented by the Bengali teenagers, Singer and harmonium player Miss Sangeetha Baruwa and Tabla player Piyal Hossain were the most interesting feature, undoubtedly of a high professional standard of the vesak program, that received thunderous applause. Sangeetha sang the devotional song of Sri Lanka’s A.M.U. Raj, “Thiloaga Raja Bhava Seri Sarala.” and a Bengali Devotional song that praised the virtues of the Buddha.

The Vesak Carol group of the Lankaramaya Temple that presented three items , including Danno Budunge Sri Dharmasknada also stole many hearts. The kids of the dharma school of the school have been trained by Amila Hapuarachchi. D.M.S. Dissanayaka and Marina Jayasinghe acted as compeers of the program.