“Vesak Festival celebrated in Manila”
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila together with the Universal Wisdom Foundation Inc. celebrated the Vesak Day at the Wisdom Park, a Buddhist resource center in Manila, on 26th May 2021, while adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols imposed by of the Philippine government.
The celebrations commenced with blessings by venerable monks followed by a Bodhi Pooja, traditional Buddha bathing and a Dhamma sermon by Rev. Kalubowila Amithagavesi Thero from Sri Lanka, especially recorded for the event.
The Embassy staff organized a Bodhi Pooja in reverence to the sapling of the Bodhi tree, which is from the most sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. This year also marks the 10th year anniversary of the planting of the Bodhi tree in Wisdom Park which was ceremonially brought into the Philippines by Hon. D.M. Jayaratne, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, on 15th May 2011.
Right after the pooja, Dr. Mariano Yupitun, Founder of the Universal Wisdom Foundation Inc. (UWFI), welcomed the venerable monks, distinguished guests and all Buddhist devotees present at the event.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Shobini Gunasekera in her Vesak Day message highlighted the importance of Lord Buddha’s teaching to the lay person signifying as the essence the practice of “mindfulness” in our daily lives. She also highlighted the important role former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, late Lakshman Kadirgamar, played in getting Vesak declared as an International Day of Observance by the United Nations. Unity and service to others espoused through the doctrines of compassion and kindness in the Buddhist teachings were highlighted to heal as one in the current pandemic.
She also thanked Dr. Mariano Yupitun, Founder of the UWFI and its staff members for the cooperation and assistance extended to the Embassy to organize the festival in the height of a current health crisis.
During the event, the Vesak Day message of H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, was also read by Mrs. Thanuja Dissanayke, Minister/Head of Chancery of the Embassy.
The Embassy staff and their family members also performed a Vesak Bhakthi Gee (devotional songs) for Lord Buddha.
A vegetarian Sri Lankan meal was served to the devotees at the end of the program.
The temple was colorfully decorated and illuminated with traditional Sri Lankan oil lamps, Vesak lanterns and Buddhist flags showcasing Sri Lankan culture.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
28 May 2021