Felicitation on 40th Birthday of Ven Samitha & 8th Anniversary of the Centre

Celebration to Mark the 40th Birthday Of Ven Akurala Samitha & 8th Anniversary of the Centre

25th March 2012 Celebration to Mark the 8th Anniversary of Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre for Education Meditation Psychotherapy & Councilling; 40th Birthday of Founder Venerable Akurala Samitha Thero; Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen Ellizabeth II & Peace & Sovereignty of Sri Lanka

Official Press Release:

Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre Celebrates 8th Anniversary & Felicitates Founder & Head of The Centre Venerable Akurala Samitha on 40th Birthday

A historical and magnificent ceremony was held on Sunday 25th March 2012 at Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre for Education Meditation Psychotherapy & Counselling to celebrate 08th Anniversary of the Centre, and to felicitate the Founder & Head of the Centre Venerable Akurala Samitha Thero.

This remarkable Felicitation Ceremony was organized to congratulate Dhamma Nikethanaya Community and invoke the blessings to proceed from strength to strength and share them with all the members, supporters and well-wishers of the centre.

Blessings were also bestowed to mark the 08th Anniversary of The Centre (19th April), 40th Birthday of Venerable Akurala Samitha Thero (25th March) the founder and head of the centre, Diamond Jubilee (60th Year in reign) of Her Majesty The Queen (6th Feb 1952) and Peace & Sovereignty in Sri Lanka (63rd Anniversary or 64th Independence Day on 04th February and 3rd Anniversary of Sri Lanka's End of Civil War on 18th May).

Over 300 devotees attended the two part mass ceremony. The first part was held at Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre with a special Dana Blessings Ceremony (Food Offerings to Venerable Monks & Sharing of Food with devotees). The second part was the Special Felicitation held at Brotherhood Hall in Letchworth with a Guided Meditation on Reflection on The Lord Buddha and his teachings, a Keynote Guest Speech on "Buddhism: The Science of Happiness not a Message of Suffering", Followed by a blissful and historical ceremony of Offering 30 Buddha Statues, newly sculpted in Sri Lanka for exclusive veneration in UK.

Seven Monks representing UK Buddhist Centres attended the ceremony headed by Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, (The Chief Prelate of UK, President of Sri Lankan Monks Council in UK & Head Monk of London Buddhist Vihara), Reverend Dr Sumanasiri (Head of Realist Buddhist Vihara Association), Venerable Bhikkhu Assaji (Religious Minister of Thames Buddhist Vihara), Venerable Gunnepana Sumanarama Thero (Head of Edmonton Samadhi Meditation Centre), Venerable Pasgoda Piyarathana Thero (Resident monk of ESMC) and Venerable Luangpoh B (Cambridge Tai Buddhist Centre Metta-UK, Harston).

A large number of distinguished guests headed by H.E. Dr Chris Nonis (Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London) graced the occasion with Councillor Mr Michael Weeks (Chairman of North Hertfordshire District Council) and Mrs Kay Weeks, Councillor Mrs Joan Kirby (Vice Chairman of NHDC), Mrs Dr Kokila Waidyaratne (Minister of Media & Information, Sri Lanka High Commission in London), Mr H K M Herath (Minister Cultural Affairs, SLHC in London), Councillor Mr Michael Paterson (Letchworth Committee Chairman of NHDC), Reverend Michael Roden (Chairman of North Herts Interfaith Forum & Rector of Hitchin) and Mr Lakith Cooray (President Reality UK).

Special Congratulatory Messages were received from Her Majesty The Queen, Lord Charles Cecil (The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire), Mr Oliver Heald MP (Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire) and Venerable Kamburawala Rewatha Thero (Chief Prelate & Head of Scotland Buddhist Centre).

Reverend Dr Sumanasiri delivered the keynote speech on "Buddhism: The Science of Happiness, not a Message of Suffering." Venerable Bhikkhu Assaji conducted a guided meditation with a reflection on qualities of the Lord Buddha and his teachings. Reverend Michael Roden conducted the Interfaith Blessings to mark the objectives of the ceremony. Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, Chief Prelate of UK, Sri Lankan High Commissioner H.E. Dr Chris Nonis, North Hertfordshire District Council Chairman Councillor Mr Michael Weeks, Vice Chairman Cllr Mrs Joan Kirby and NHDC Letchworth Committee Chairman Cllr Mr Michael Paterson also addressed the occasion.

Conducting a "Special Twenty Eight Buddhas Blessing Pooja" to offer the newly brought Buddha Statues sculpted in Sri Lanka for exclusive veneration at the centre, Venerable Akurala Samitha conveyed heartfelt gratitude and thanks with blessings for those who worked tirelessly to make the ceremony a success. Special thanks were also dedicated to Venerable Ratnapure Nanda Thero (Sariputhra Vihara, Narahenpita) for preparing the Buddha Statues, Mrs Dr Kokila Waidyaratne (Minister Media & Information, SLHC in London) and all at Sri Lankan High Commission in London, Colonel Asitha Bandara, Director and staff of Sri Lankan Airline, Mr Lional Kariyawasam, Miss Padma Wijeratne, Mr Anthony Hettiarachchi (Director, Sara Care Home) and Reality UK charity  for learning disability for undertaking to bring the statues on time carefully and respectfully.

Venerable Akurala Samitha sincerely appreciated the continuing support given by members and supporters of Dhamma Nikethanaya over the last 8 years, without which this anniversary celebration would have been impossible.

We are grateful to all the people who have been supporting us through standing orders and/or one off donations. This is a time for gratitude and reflection. Everyone's support was greatly benefited and enabled the temple in support and growth from strength to strength. Unfortunately the running costs of the temple are still higher than the money that is being received, but we sincerely and kindly appreciate everyone's ungrudging support.

May the Triple Gem Bless you All. May you all be well, secure, peaceful and happy and attain the lasting bliss of Nibbana!

Videography & Photography By Video 7 Mr Upendra Alwis & Mr Lahiru

Pictures By Mr Dudley Hewavitarana

Report By Miss Padma Wijeratna


For more pictures and videos on highlights of the ceremony please visit

our website (www.buddhistacademy.com),

Facebook (Buddhist Academy or buddhistacademy@gmail.com) or

Youtube (The Buddhist Academy).


Venerable Akurala Samitha with Sri Lankan High Commissioner H.E. Dr Chris Nonis and  Mrs Cheryl Green

Venerable Akurala Samitha & Mrs Cheryl Green explain Sri Lankan High Commissioner H.E. Dr Chris Nonis contributions of the centre

Mrs Ratnaali Dep welcomes Sri Lankan High Commissioner H.E Dr Chris Nonis & Mr H K M Herath (Minister Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka High Commission in London)

Venerable Akurala Samitha & Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London H.E. Dr Chris Nonis

Venerable Akurala Samitha, Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala (Chief Prelate of UK, President of Sri Lankan Monks Council in UK & Head of London Buddhist Vihara) Councillor Mrs Joan Kirby (Vice Chairman of North Herts District Council)

Venerable Akurala Samitha, Councillor Mrs Joan Kirby (Vice Chairman of North Herts District Council) & Sri Lankan High Commissioner H.E. Dr Chris Nonis

Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero (Chief Prelate of UK, President of Sri Lankan Sangha Council & Head of London Vihara) & Councillor Mrs Joan Kirby (Vice Chairman of North Herts District Council)

Venerable Akurala Samitha Head of the Centre on 40th Birthday Addressing the audience welcomes everyone with blessings to the ceremony

Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero (Chief Prelate of UK, President of Sri Lankan Sangha Counci in UK & Head of London Buddhist Vihara) Blesses The Dhamma Nikethanaya Community Congregation

Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London, H.E. Dr Chris Nonis congratulates Venerable Samitha, Dhamma Nikethanaya Community & The Centre

Councillor Mrs Joan Kirby (Vice Chairman Of NHDC) Congratulates the Dhamma Nikethanaya Congregation and pledges sincere support

Cllr Mrs Joan Kirby & SL HC H.E. Dr Chris Nonis

Venerable Akurala Samitha welcomes Venerable Monks, Distinguished Guests and Devotees

Cllr Mrs Joan Kirby & H.E Dr Chris Nonis attending the Blessings Pooja

Devotees Attending to Pooja to Celebrate 40th Birthday of Venerable Akurala Samitha & 8th Anniversary of the Centre

Devotees Attending Anniversary Celebration

Devotees Attending the Ceremony

Devotees Attending the Ceremony

Devotees Attending The Ceremony

Anniversary Celebration

Venerable Akurala Samitha's 40th Birthday & 8th Anniversary of the Centre

Venerable Akurala Samitha, Head of The Centre cuts a cake to mark objectives of the occasion

Devotees paying gratitude to Venerable Akurala Samitha

Bodhi Shrine of Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre

"Buddha Statue Offering Ceremony to mark the 8th Anniversary of the Centre and invoke the Blessings to all the supporters on 40th Birthday of Venerable Akurala Samitha, Diamond Jubilee and Peace and Sovereignty in Sri Lanka

Buddhist Centre Ambassador Dr Arosha Bandara Conducting the Buddha Statues Offering Ceremony and Felicitation

Devotees Attending to the Felicitation & Buddha Statues Offering Ceremony to celebrate Anniversaries

Devotees Attending to the Felicitation Ceremony at Brotherhood Hall

Devotees Attending to The Ceremony

Devotees Attending to the Buddha Statues Offering Ceremony

Reverend Michael Roden (Chair Person of North Herts Interfaith Forum & Rector of Hitchin) offering a Buddha Statue

Dr Mahesh Dias Offering a Buddha Statue

Mrs Samanthi De Silva Offering a Buddha Statue

Mr Dudley Hewavitharane Offering a Buddha Statue

Mr D H Ariyaratne (President of Gem Association in UK) Offering a Buddha Statue

Mr Rajitha Kuruppu Offering a Buddha Statue

Mr Suranga Perera offering a Buddha Statue and Mr Asanka Wijesekara offering a Mutu Kuda (Pearl Umbrella)

Mrs Neetha Gurusinghe Offering a Buddha Statue

Devotees Arranging the first Pooja Offerings to Newly Made Buddha Statues

North Herts District Council Chairman Coucillor Mr Michael Weeks offering First Blessings Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Newly Brought Buddha Statues sculpted in Sri Lanka for exclusive veneration at the Centre

Mrs Kay Weeks Offering First Blessings Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Miss Padma Wijeratne Offering First Blessings Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Children Of The Dhamma School Offering First Blessings Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Children of Dhamma School Offering First Blessings Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Dhamma School Children Offering First Blessings Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Dhamma School Children Offering First Blessings Pooja Offering to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues

Devotees Offering First Blessing Pooja Offerings to the Newly Brought Buddha Statues