Dhammachakka Festival, Esala Poya, at the London Buddhist Vihara

Press Release - Photographs by Tissa Madawela

This year's Dhammachakka Festival, Esala Poya, at the London Buddhist Vihara was held on Sunday the 14th July. Full days religious programme was organised by Head of the Vihara The Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Most Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thera. Nayaka Thera in his Anusasanaa explained the quality of being worthy of attention of the Esala Poya Day.

"The Dhammacakka (Esala) Festival marks the delivering of the First Sermon known as Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) by the Buddha, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, near Benares, India. Several other important events also happened on the Esala Poya day including the conception of Prince Siddhartha (Bodhisattva) in Queen Mahamaya Devi’s womb, Prince Siddhartha leaving the palace in search of deliverance, birth of Prince Siddhartha and Princess Yasodhara’s only child, Prince Rahula, performing the Yamaka Maha Prathiharya or the Twin Miracles to the proud older Sakya clansmen, conducting of the first Dharma Sangayana at Rajagahanuwara Wehara rock mountain by Arahat Mahakashyapa Maha Thera with 500 Arahath Maha Sangha taking part, The first ordination of a Sri Lankan, Prince Ariththa, nephew of King Devanampiyatissa, as a Bhikkhu by Arahath Mahinda in Anuradhapura, laying of the foundation for the Maha Thupa, Ruwanvelisaya and the enshrinement of relics by King Gamini Abhaya, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic by Princess Hemamala and Prince Dantha to Sri Lanka and commencing of Sri Lanka’s first Vassana retreat season." Esala Poya day programme commenced with Administering Eight Precepts and Admonition, by Most Ven. B. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera followed by Buddha Vandana by Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera. Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera conducted a short Meditation session and Ven. Bandula Thera delivered a talk on “Setting the Wheel of the Dhamma in Motion”.

Following the mid day Buddha Puja, the New Malden Dayakas offered Dana for Venerable Maha Sangha, Upasakas and Upasikas observing Eight Precepts and lunch for the devotees attended. Ven. Kasspa Thera and Dr Upali Abeysiri conducted a Dhamma Discussion on Samma Ditthi. Dr Sumana Perera delivered a thought provoking talk on "Some Similes of the Buddha”. Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera and Ven. Kassapa Thera delivered Dhamma Sermons in Sinhala and English languages. After the main programme a formal invitation to observe the rainy retreat, Vas Aradhanaa, was extended by devotees in the traditional manner to the venerable monks. Days programme ended with chanting of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (The First Sermon of the Buddha)

Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera paid Punyanumodana to every one who assisted in various ways to make this years Esala Poya day programme a great success.