The Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai celebrates Vesak 2012

The Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai celebrates Vesak 2012


The Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai celebrated Year 2012 Vesak festival on 05th May 2012, in a manner recreating the splendor of Vesak in Sri Lanka.

In the morning of the Vesak Poya Day, following the Sri Lankan tradition, the Deputy High Commissioner with the staff visited the Chennai Maha Bodhi Centre to offer Buddha Pooja followed by alms giving to the resident monks.


In the evening, at the Chancery premises, “Chennai Vesak Celebrations – 2012” was held.  Through this event, the Deputy High Commission also aimed to project the Hindu-Buddhist religious harmony prevailing in Sri Lanka as well as historical Buddhist links between Sri Lanka and Southern India.  Over 350 gathering included Diplomats, members of Buddhist Associations in Tamil Nadu, academics, members of the business community and fellow-Sri Lankans living in Tamil Nadu – Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.


The Chancery premises was decorated and illuminated with colourful bulbs, Vesak buckets and more than 100 Vesak lanterns made by the staff of the Deputy High Commission, bringing the Sri Lankan Vesak atmosphere to Chennai.  The guests along with the staff participated in lighting of clay-lamps, reflecting Buddha’s message of peace and harmony.  Trays filled with flowers arranged for Buddha Pooja were passed from hand to hand of Buddhists - non-Buddhists alike, who lined up to participate in Buddha Pooja conducted by Ven. Kalavane Mahanama Thero, the resident monk-in-charge of Sri Lanka Maha Bodhi Centre in Chennai. 

Welcoming the guests, the Deputy High Commissioner, Ambassador Anura Rajakaruna pointed out that, through the Vesak, we are celebrating three significant events of a life of a great Indian personality, the Gauthama Buddha.  He described Buddhism as the greatest gift that India had ever presented to Sri Lanka.

Southern India was a region where Buddhism had flourished at one time in the past.  According to historical records, contacts between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka had been of a multifaceted nature and scholarly interactions and linkages between Buddhist institutions across the Palk Strait helped sustained Buddhism and developed ‘Buddhist Thought’ in both countries.

Touching upon the Buddhist and Hindu co-existence in Sri Lanka as well as Sri Lanka-Tamil Nadu Buddhist links, he stated that the Buddhists and Hindus belong to one broad belief system.  He stressed that the prevailing religious harmony between Buddhists and Hindus, which is a long standing ground reality in Sri Lanka, which is not much known to the outside world, in particular, to certain international agencies who have regrettably focused much on sensation and negativity.  The Deputy High Commissioner further added that if mutuality was a choice in the past - certainly, in the inter-dependent world of today, mutuality should be a compulsion.

The Deputy High Commissioner made a special mentioning of two remarkable achievements attributed to two great Sri Lankan leaders of Tamil ethnicity.  Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who worked hard to declare Vesak as a holiday in Colonial Ceylon.  Similarly, Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Foreign Minister who succeeded in getting the United Nations to declare Vesak as a Day of Celebrations.

The highlight of the event was the Vesak lecture delivered by Mr. Raja Kuruppu  who is a writer of many Buddhist publications and the Vice President of YMBA and Advisor to the “Servants of Buddha Society”. At present, he is also the Chairman of Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS). 

Mr. Kuruppu’s eloquent lecture was on the topic “Buddhism – Shared Heritage and Noble Living”.  He spoke on the links between Buddhism and Hinduism and, mainly focused on the noble way of living as espoused by the Gauthama Buddha, adherence of “Sathara Brahma Viharana” namely “Meththa” – loving kindness, “Karuna” – compassion, “Mudhitha” – joy in the success of others and “Upekka” – equanimity or balance of mind.   Mr. Kuruppu explained that these four sterling qualities could make a heaven of their followers’ life on earth.

Concluding “Chennai Vesak Celebrations – 2012”, a Dansela was held in true Sri Lanka style in the midst of Buddhist songs and music.

Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka

07th May 2012

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