2549th Buddha Jayanti Celebration in London, UK
Lumbini Nepalese Buddha Dharma Society (UK) celebrated 2549th Buddha Jayanti (Buddha Day) on Sunday, 22nd May 2005 at the Priory Community Centre, Acton, London. The celebration started with Buddha Puja followed by music from Ghyaling, a traditional Tibetan musical instrument played by Sano Lama. Venerable Bhikkhu Bandula from London Buddhist Vihara administered five precepts (Panca Sila). His Excellency Prabal S. J. B. Rana, the ambassador of Nepal and Mr. Nima Lama, president of Yet Nepalese Association in the UK spoke about the importance of remembering Buddha’s teaching. His Excellency emphasized the importance of remembering various suffering human beings have to endure from the time of birth until we die. He told the gathering that Buddha’s teaching is more important today than ever before. Mr. Nima Lama also emphasized the importance of Buddha’s teaching and expressed his happiness that Yeti is able to cooperate with Lumbini Nepalese Buddha dharma society (UK) in this celebration.
This day is celebrated all over the world to mark the birth, enlightenment and death (parinirvana) of Buddha. It was 2549 years ago that Siddhartha Gautama Buddha passed away in Kusinagar in India. In Nepal people enjoy national holiday to celebrate this day. In United Nation’s headquarter; it is celebrated as Vesak Day (Buddha Day).
During the occasion Venerable Bhikkhu Bandula spoke on “Only we can help ourselves.” Buddha’s last word to his disciples was ‘Be your own island’. Be self-reliant. Do not depend on external forces. Venerable Sumana spoke on “Buddha as a teacher”. Buddha always pitched his teaching to suit the audience. He could equally teach kings as well as ordinary people, wealthy as well as paupers. Every one found his teachings easy to understand. That is why Buddha is regarded as one of the greatest teacher in the world. Mr. Hari Singh Thapa, Chairman of Nepali Literary Development Council (UK), recited a poem suitable for the occasion. Venerable Bhikkhu Sujan, who is in UK for a short visit from Thailand, spoke in Nepali and explained two types of meditation -Samatha (Tranquility) and Vipassana (Insight). After this he led the audience to a brief practice in meditation. The whole audience was absolutely quiet during this brief meditation practice.
The hall was decorated with Buddhist flags appropriate for the occasion. The arrangement of the dais itself gave religious atmosphere with Buddha Murti and venerable monks between the trees. About 150 devotees including presidents, general secretaries, members of various Nepalese organisations attended the ceremony. The editor of Nepali Sandesh and coordinator of Nepali Samaj UK took notes and photos for their respective publications. Mr. Amrit Ratna Sthapit, founder president of the society and master of the ceremony for the day provided appropriate commentary in Nepali and Mrs. Reema Pradhan, executive committee member thanked every one for attending and making the celebration a success. Sujan Shakya and Prayas band provided an excellent sound system. After the formal programme every one enjoyed the traditional Nepali refreshment generously provided by members and well-wishers of the society.