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Vesak Dhamma sermon at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Bangkok

In the tradition of dhamma dana and pausing to direct one’s mind towards higher spiritual goals during this blessed Vesak full moon day commemorating the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Bangkok organized a dhamma sermon on 29 April 2018, for the Sri Lankan community in Thailand and their Thai friends.

An erudite sermon was delivered by Venerable Walmoruwe Piyarathana thero, Senior Lecturer at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyala University – the leading seat of Buddhist learning in Thailand, with which the thero has been associated over two decades. The Venerable priest focused on dispelling the myth that Buddhism as a philosophy offers a negative view with a focus on the afterlife. In this context, the sermon outlined the teachings of the Buddha on ways of ensuring a successful worldly life. He enumerated aspects which lead to continued development, in accordance with the dhamma, based on sincere effort, protection of assets, faithful friends and living within means. In the hour long discourse, Ven. Piyarathana thero illustrated with examples, these four guidelines, for the respectful understanding of all attendees.

This meritorious event was graced at a high level of Thai government, with the participation of HE Wissanu Krea-ngam, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand. The Thai Foreign Ministry was represented by HE Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, together with his spouse, as well as officers of the South Asia Division. The Director of Foreign Relations from the Office of National Buddhism of Thailand and Secretary of the Department of Religious Affairs also joined the Sri Lankan devotees. The Heads of Mission of Myanmar and Cambodia, as countries celebrating the Vesak poya day during the same period, also participated in this occasion. Members of the Sri Lankan community in Thailand were also present, together with their families.

The Chancery was bedecked with Vesak lanterns and other decorations to the delight of the Thai guests, which also offered an opportunity to showcase the different traditions in the celebration of Vesak between the two leading Theravada Buddhist countries.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne, in her welcome address drew the attention of the guests to this artistic and cultural expression of Sri Lankan Buddhists and acknowledged the beautiful creation of a Vesak Koodu by the Sri Lankan students of the Asian Institute of Technology, lighting the venue. She elaborated on the cultural inspiration of these lit up creations, as signifying the light of merit and goodness of the dhamma, dispelling the darkness in thoughts of desire, greed and other evils, that perpetuate the cycle of life. The Ambassador also described to the Thai audience, the construction of Pandols and the concept of dansel in    Sri Lanka during this holy period, which are also novel in relation to the Thai traditions in their observance of Visaka bucha. Ambassador Senewiratne explained the initiative of the Embassy to organize this dhamma sermon for the benefit of all, on the basis of a precept from the Maha Mangala Sutta which enumerates – ‘Kalena dhamma savanang – Etan mangala muttamang’, meaning that the timely listening to the dhamma is a blessing supreme.

On conclusion of the sermon, guests were treated to vegetarian Sri Lankan food in fellowship.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
1 May 2018

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