Special preparations have been made in Colombo for the coming week as the most sacred holiday on the Buddhist calendar marking the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha was marked across the country yesterday.
As Vesak is the time for ‘dansalas’, the Colombo Municipal Council Chief medical officer, Pradeep Kariyawasam said food inspectors will be on high alert to ensure hygienic food preparation and clean premises.
“Health inspectors will check the cleanliness of the dansalas, while the quality of food and water will also be examined,” he said.
Special traffic plans have also been drawn up by the police as large crowds are expected in the coming week to view Veask celebrations in Colombo.
Police spokesman, SP Ajith Rohana stated that police officers have been told to take action against people polluting the environment during Vesak.
The Sri Lanka Transport Board and the Sri Lanka Railways have introduced a special bus and train service for the people who throng to the city to see the Vesak pandals.
Religious ceremonies were held across the country yesterday.
At Temple Trees, President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in religious activities, including a Dhamma sermon that was delivered by the chief incumbent of the Danthure PuranaViharaya Yatinuwara, Venerable Bulumulle Sri Dhammarakshita Bhuddharakshitha Thera.
In Kandy vast crowds gathered at the Dalada Maligawa as well as the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura.In the north 20 pandols were erected to celebrate the holiday including one on the front yard of the Jaffna Library and one near the Duraiappa stadium.
President calls for national unity and
“The teachings of Buddha are the best way to lead a life that is free of confusion. These teachings show us the path to lead a life free of the four-fold evil and achieve success in this world and the next,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in his Vesak message.
The President further stated that it was a, “great joy in seeing Sri Lankan Buddhists giving emphasis to the principles of Buddhism with the dawn of the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi at the last Vesak festival,” recalling, “the great religious awakening of devotion and wisdom that spread through Sri Lanka this year…”
The President said he wishes that, “joy in the Buddha and his teachings would abide in the minds of all the Sri Lankans.”“We must be aware that all who are of wrongful mind and thinking cause many divisions and clashes that close the doors to our progress,” he said
The President stated, “In this Vesak season, pave the way to success in this world and the next by eschewing all disputes and divisions and making a commitment to national unity and religious co-existence through seeing the true light of Buddhist teaching.”
Cease hatred to make Vesak meaningful: Ranil - Vesak message from Opposition Leader
Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in a Vesak message said that people should put hatred aside and live by Buddhist principles in their day-to-day lives.
‘Let us try to live without hatred. Vesak becomes meaningful then’, he said.
He further said in his message that the ones in power use Buddhism as a cover to protect their power. ‘The basic principles of Buddhism including Metta, Karuna, Mudita, and Upekkha are confined to billboards in the present context,’ he said.
Alms for 10,000 at Sri Dalada Maligawa
By L. B. Senaratne
Some 2,000 members of the Maha Sangha will be present for Vesak ceremonies at the Sri Dalada Maligawa, in Kandy, this weekend. The ceremonies will be held in the Maha Maluwa, or forecourt.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who will inaugurate the Sama Bauddha Jayanthi ceremony, will address the gathering at 3 pm. The Mahanayakes of Malwatta, Asgiriya and other Nikayas will be present.
Around 10,000 persons, including Maha Sangha members and students, will receive alms from the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
The Maha Walhalkada that leads to the Sri Dalada Maligawa has been closed, but a pavement will be kept open for the convenience of devotees.