Sri Lanka recently held several prayer ceremonies including chanting Ratana Sutta and Pujas in solidarity with Indian people. Sri Lankans held several prayer ceremonies in solidarity with India and its fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sadaham Parithrana Dhamma Puja for India was held at Sri Gangaramaya Peliyagoda by chanting the sacred Rathana Sutta . Most Ven. Dr. Walpola Wimalagnana Anunayake Thero led the prayers and members of the maha sangha took part in the ceremony. Glimpses of the special prayer service held for the people of India at Sai Nilayam in Colombo. Meanwhile special prayers for India was held at the Mahabodhi Maha Viharaya in Colombo recently. Bharatha Ashirvada Puja for Indian brothers and sisters was held in Sri Bodhiraja Monastery in Embilipitiya. During those Poojas the sacred Rathna Sutra was chanted for the health and well being of people of India. Ratna sutta recital and prayers held at Hindu temple at Sri Naga Vihara, Jaffna with Ven.Nallai Adheenam, friends of India and CGI officials held for the well being of people of India.
“Such prayers and goodwill gestures by the Sangha and the people of SriLanka resonate with compassionate love or metta,which lies at the heart of The Buddha’s message. The prayers offered by the people of #SriLanka are indeed a great source of strength to their Indian brethren in the fight against #COVID19” tweeted the High Commission of India in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Underlining the deep people-to-people connect and shared Buddhist heritage between India and Sri Lanka, Dr. Rewant Vikram Singh, Director of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), cultural arm of the High Commission of India undertook a three-day Dhamma Yatra to Kadurawewa and Bingiriya villages of the Kurunegala district from 24-26 April 2021. The Yatra was undertaken mainly to commemorate the auspicious Bak Full Moon Poya Day.
During the Yatra, Most Venerable Mahasangha and the people of Kadurawewa and Bingiriya villages held a prayer ceremony at Sri Sudarshanaramaya Temple in solidarity with India and its fight against the COVID-19 outbreak on 24 April 2021. Dr. Singh expressed gratitude to the Mahasangha and the people of the two villages for these prayers. Dr. Singh also prayed at the Devagiri Raja Maha Vihara at Bingiriya, and paid his respects to the Mahasangha on the same day.
Dr. Singh visited the neighbouring villages of Kadigamuwe and Panawawe upon the invitation of the local clergy on 25 April 2021. In addition to paying homage to Mahasangha in these two villages, he prayed at the local temples and Pirivena. On Bak Full Moon Poya day on 26 April 2021, Director SVCC participated in ‘Dhatu Wandana’ at the Sacred Buddha relics in Sri Sudarshanaramaya Temple, Kadurawewa.
The Mahasangha and the people of the villages appreciated the Dhamma Yatra organized by the High Commission of India and requested for more similar, close interactions between people and clergy of Sri Lanka and India.
It may be recalled that addressing the Dharma Chakra Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that lasting solutions to the extra-ordinary challenges being fought by the world could come only from the ideals of The Buddha. The Prime Minister had stressed these ideals were relevant in the past, are relevant in the present, and will remain so in the future too.
President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa expressed deep empathy and concern at the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India in his letter of solidarity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 April 2021.
- President of Sri Lanka noted that concerted efforts of humanity have succeeded in overcoming such pandemics since time immemorial. He also expressed confidence that India will tackle the crisis effectively under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the support of dedicated experts and professionals.
- In a very touching gesture, the President conveyed to Prime Minister Modi that the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka was planning to compassionately recite the ‘Rathna Sutra’ for the people of India.
- The empathetic gestures of His Excellency the President and the Buddhist clergy reflect the depth and strength of the age-old and time-tested close relationship between India and Sri Lanka. The solidarity of Sri Lanka with India in the challenging times of COVID 19 pandemic is gratefully appreciated by the leadership and the people of India.
- President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also expressed deep gratitude, on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka, for the initial gift of 500,000 doses of made in India COVID-19 vaccines which enabled Government of Sri Lanka to launch the first vaccination programme, ahead of the original schedule.
- India and Sri Lanka have stood with each other in facing the enormous challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic. Their cooperation in this regard befits their close and friendly relations and will continue to foster the well-being of their peoples as well as their fraternal and civilisational ties.