Atlantic Theravada Buddhist Meditation Centre commemorated Easter Sunday departed Sri Lankans and blessed wounded for recovery on April 24, 2019 at the Buddhist Center on 817, Herring Cove road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The gathering made up of Sri Lankans of all walks of life with different faiths, Buddhists, Catholics and Christians and from multiple ethnic origins. The previous memorial ceremony held at the Buddhist temple commemorated a lady of Islamic faith, who was actively involved in building the Buddhist temple. The premise follows a multilineage model of religious practice.
Reverend Dikwelle Sudharma led the attendees on five precepts and offerings, paying homage to the Buddha. Reverend Bandagiriye Sirinanda led the participants on chanting the blessing of the wounded wishing them recovery. He then continued with chanting on Metta Sutta, loving kindness discourse, followed by a brief silent solemn Metta practice to radiate heartfelt compassion out to those who have suffered, during recent events in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019.
“Buddha promoted non-violence to all beings to live in harmony” said Reverend Sirinanda. He told a brief story of how Buddha set an example of non-violence during his time. When king Bimbisara’s son first initiated a war against Kapilawastu, the kingdom, where Buddha was born, Buddha sat peacefully under a tree at the boarder of the two kingdoms at war. When inquired, from the Buddha, by the king who commanded the army of worriers, as to why he is sitting at the boarder of his kingdom of birth, the Buddha uttered “I feel the soothing breeze coming from my birth Kingdom, Kapilawastu”. Reverend Sirinanda resonated the sorrowful feelings to the breeze coming from Sri Lanka to the participants who now live in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Buddhist memorial ceremony ended up with Mataka Vastra Pooja, offering of a robe to the monks. The robe symbolized the cloth that wrapped dead bodies in ancient India, which was subsequently stitched into a monk’s robe, a ritual practiced in ancient India during Buddha’s time. The last ritual practice of the ceremony united gatherers, as relatives of all departed individuals of the recent tragic events. By pouring water from a jar to a small cup until the water poured over the cup, the gatherers came to a realization of impermanence of life, contemplating gradual rising and falling of the water. The two monks recited…….
All formations are impermanent (Aniccā vata saṅkhārā)
They rise and diminish (uppādavayadhammino)
Ones arisen fade away (Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti)
Removing fetters reaches ultimate Bliss (Tesaṃ vūpasamo sukho)
The gentle breeze that touched the hearts passed the message …..
Rather than worrying about the death,
Contemplate death as an inevitable incident of one’s life course.
By eradicating greed, hatred and delusion,
One will attain the supreme Blissful state of Nibbana.
….. With blessings from the Atlantic Theravada Cultural and Meditation Society.
Dr. Swrna Weerasinghe,