Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Annual Kathina Ceremony 2013

Devotees & Friends of Dhamma Nikethanaya Celebrated Community (Sangha) Day

Annual Kathina Ceremony of Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre was held on Saturday 02nd November 2013 at St Michael’s Church Hall in Letchworth Garden City with a large gathering of venerable monks and cosmopolitan members of community. This is the tenth consecutive Kathina Ceremony held by the Dhamma Nikethanaya Community.

Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Kathina Ceremony 2013

The Annual Kathina Ceremony of Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre was held on Saturday 02nd November 2013 at St Michael’s Church Hall in Letchworth Garden City. A large gathering of venerable monks and cosmopolitan members of community participated at the tenth consecutive Kathina Ceremony held by the Dhamma Nikethanaya Community.

The Kathina Ceremony is one of the biggest Buddhist festivals and regarded as highly meritorious and significantly blissful. It is a ceremony held to mark the end of the annual three-month spiritual rains retreat, observed by venerable monks residing at the monastery. The members of the community engage fully by contributing more time and efforts for practising Meditation, Studying Dhamma Teachings, Practising generosity (dana), observing Moral Conduct and conducting lots of Blessings Pooja.

Accustomed to this 2600-year old unhindered tradition, monks at Letchworth Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre observed this year’s rains retreat on Sunday 20th July (Esala) Full Moon Day 2013. During these three months, the public from all walks of life had a wonderful opportunity to learn much of Buddha Dhamma (teachings of the Lord Buddha) for peace and happiness in their daily lives.

The Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Cultural Centre community hosted this year’s ceremony particularly to uphold its values of paying gratitude to their spiritual teachers (monks) for their relentless contributions towards the cohesion and well-being of the community.

Among the highlights of this year, the Children of Dhamma Nikethanaya Community enthusiastically engaged in the customs taking a leading role. Everyone highly appreciated the well-attended and colourfully organized but very educational and spiritual ceremony. It was organized under the guidance of Venerable Akurala Samitha, the head monk of the centre. The community was very grateful to the wisdom and remarkable dedication of Venerable Akurala Samitha particularly for children’s educational programmes.

The local community appreciated very much the opportunity to experience the traditional cultural items of the ceremony; for example, traditional Kathina procession (perehera) wending around the city as usual to typical historical custom with cultural drummers, monks proceeding with chants for peace, carrying Buddhist flags and carrying the sacred relics of Lord Buddha, a Sacred sapling of original Bodhi tree and the Kathina Robe. Buddhists believe observing this every year is a great blessing to the city to ward off evil and bring prosperity.

The presence of over 12 venerable Buddhist Monks representing monasteries in UK was spectacular at this year’s ceremony. Among them were Most Venerable Tawalama Bandula Maha Thero (Deputy Head Monk of London Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Makure Mangala Maha Thero (Head monk of East London Lumbini Buddhist Cultural Centre), Most Venerable Kahatthewela Chandajothi Maha Thero (Head Monk of Thames Buddhist Centre), Venerable Waskaduwe Subodhi Thero (Representing the Head monk of London Kingsbury Vihara), Venerable Medille Pannaloka (Representing the Head monk of Birmingham Maha Vihara), Venerable Sister Y Maruta (Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple), Venerable Konwewe Ariyarathana Thero (resident monk of London Buddhist Vihara), Most Venerable Matale Wijewansa (Thapowanaya, Anuradhapura Sri Lanka representing Kingsbury temple), Venerable Ehaliyagoda Ariyaseela Thero (Minuwangoda Sirinikethana Pirivena represented East London Buddhist Cultural Centre), and Venerable Kohukumbure Siridhamma Thero (Thames Buddhist Vihara).

The day programme commenced at 9AM with the Kathina Robe being brought in a colourful procession through the Letchworth Garden City town Centre to the ceremony hall, offering gifts and food to monks, listening to dhamma talks delivered by monks, blessings chanting and sharing food with all. A delegation of devotees of Thames Buddhist vihara headed By Dr Herath Kularathna, the president of vihara management committee also attended to appreciate Venerable Akurala Samitha’s extended support towards their community. Children of Thames Buddhist vihara including Gayan Amarasinghe, Ruchira Jayathilake & Nishan Amarasinghe added extra elegance and delight to the ceremony with their traditional Sri Lankan drumming dressed in typical costumes and walking well over a mile in the procession. On behalf of all the dayakas (members), Dr Mahesh Dias and Mrs Ratnawalie Dep offered the Kathina Robe together with all the children of the community.

The Blessings chanting by the Venerable monks followed after Venerable Akurala Samitha thanked all for their enormous support by many means like financial donations and preparing dana items, to make this year’s Kathina ceremony a huge success. Special thanks were also offered to all the venerable monks, Children and devotees of Thames vihara, Mr Nihal & Mrs Indika Jayathilake who co-ordinated drumming children and Hertfordshire Police Community Support Officers Mrs Carla Little and Mr Martin Barringer. Venerable Samitha also invoked the blessings particularly on Miss Padma Wijeratna who co-ordinated ceremony arrangements and volunteers including Mr Des Raj, Mrs Pushpa Raj, Mrs Ratnawalie Dep, Dr Thura Limbin, Mrs Cheryl Green, Miss Ursula Tylki, Miss Szilvia Bukta, Mr Zoltan Mako, Mr Eddie Evans and Mrs Lorrain Hillman.

For more details please visit our website www.buddhistacademy.com.

Professional Photography by Mr Zoltan Mako, with additional pictures by Alisha Hillman, Shreeni De Silva, Chanaka Herath & Sanjaya Dodangoda

May the Blessings of this greatest meritorious deed fulfill, without exception the aspirations of all, and lead to the everlasting happiness Nibbana!  May all be secure, well and happy with noble blessings of the Triple Gem!



Children with drummers and other objects of veneration before setting off the Kathina Procession

Kathina Procession 2013 setting off from the Dhamma Nikethanaya Buddhist Centre, Letchworth.

Venerable Sister Y Maruta of Nipponzan Myohoji Milton Keynes Peace pagoda Leading the Kathina Procession 2013

Annual Kathina Procession moves through the village with the kind assistance of the Hertfordshire Police Community Officers.

Taking the Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha in Kathina Proecession 2013

Devotees carrying objects of veneration in the Kathina procession.

Devotees attended with utmost devotion carrying sacred objects in Kathina Procession 02-11-2013

Devotees Carrying the Objects of Veneration with the Kathina Robe traditionally in Procession in the village

Kathina Procession led by Venerable Sister Y Maruta of Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda, proceeding through Letchworth Garden City town centre.

Devotees taking the Kathina Robe through Letchworth town Lays Avanue

Taking a Buddha Statue through Letchworth Town Centre in the Kathina Procession

Children playing drummers through Letchworth Town in the Kathina Procession

Venerable Monks very compassionately marching in the Kathina Ceremony

Kathina Procession 2013 at Letchworth Town Centre

Venerable Monks attending the Kathina Procession.

Kathina Ceremony Procession

Kathina Ceremony procession passing through Letchworth Town Centre

Kathina Procession passing through Letchworth Town Centre

Kathina Procession arriving to Broadway Letchworth

Kathina Procession reaching to Letchworth Broadway

Kathina Procession proceeding through Letchworth Broadway

Devotees carrying the Kathina Robe through Letchworth Broadway

Kathina procession Reaching to the Ceremony Hall

Kathina Procession reaching the ceremony venue.

Thames Vihara Children attending the procession with traditional drumming.

Carrying the Samadhi Buddha statue in procession.

Carrying the Sacred relics of the Buddha in Procession

Devotees with a sapling of Sacred Bodhi Tree in the Kathina Procession.

Devotees taking kathina robe in procession.

Kathina Procession march over a mile through town centre as usual in this year 02-11-2013

Kathina Procession Reaches to the Ceremony Venue St Michael's Church Hall

Venerable Monks walked over a mile in the Kathina Ceremony invoking blessings to Letchworth Garden City

Annual Kathina Ceremony Hall Shrine

Twenty Eight Buddha Statues at the Ceremony Shrine

Devotees welcoming the invited monks to the ceremony

Venerable Monks arriving to the ceremony

Offering Refreshments to Venerable Monks attended the Kathina procession

Devotees lighting the traditional oil lamp.

Devotees lighting the traditional oil lamp.

Devotees lightening the traditional oil lamp

Devotees getting ready to celebrate the Annual Kathina Ceremony 2013

Venerable Monks attending 2013 Annual Kathina Ceremony

Venerable Akurala Samitha welcomed all the devotees to Annual Kathina Ceremony 2013

Venerable Akurala Samitha welcoming Venerable Monks, guests and all the devotees.

Devotees observing precepts

Venerable Monks paying homage by chanting

Devotees paying the homage to Buddha Dhamma & Sangha

Ceremony Shrine Offering pooja for twenty eight Lord Buddhas

Devotees attending offering pooja

Devotees offering Dana to Venerable Monks.