Words Udeshi Amarasinghe.
Photographs Menaka Aravinda.
Umandawa Monastery, a concept of Most Ven Siri Samanthabadra Arahath Thero commemorated the fourth year anniversary with a series of activities, which was a celebration that appreciated the simplicity of life. Held over a weekend, devotees gathered to commemorate this milestone helping each other and working in unison to create a wonderful atmosphere of spirituality, culture and happiness.
On Saturday, starting early in the morning, a ‘Shrama Poojawa’, which was essentially volunteering ones-self to clean and maintain the buildings and the gardens was held in preparation for the day’s program. Buddhist monks, nuns and devotees all worked together with smiles on their faces, gifting their energy and time for a greater purpose.
Umandawa was a hive of activity. There was much preparation in the kitchen too with various dishes being prepared for the evening. As afternoon approached, groups of participants gathered to practice for the cultural performance that was to be held later in the day. There was much goodwill and laughter as all practiced the various roles they were to perform.
In the evening light, as the sun set in the North Central sky, the Sangha arrived at the Maha Sukhawathi Auditorium (Dhamma Shalawa) for prayers and to listen to the sermon of the Most Ven Siri
Samanthabadra Arahath Thero.
Devotees all dressed in white gathered within the hall and together with the Sangha in deep veneration, listened to the Thero’s wise words.
The ‘Ahara Salpila’ (food festival) was a multi-cultural display of Sri Lankan food that included traditional cuisines and sweets. The various types of food were prepared during the day and were made available to the participants.
Furthermore, the tree planting program known as ‘The Breath’ was initiated with the planting of 100,000 Sansevieria or snake plants. The much anticipated cultural performance began with music, fun and laughter with Sri Lankan theater performed with great flair.
On Sunday, a Kiri Danaya (almsgiving) was held for 108 Kiri Ammarawaru (mothers). It was indeed a beautiful sight, mothers of all ages were dressed in white and arrived early in the morning at the Kethumathi Prasadaya in a disciplined manner. All of them participated in the Danaya, and following the morning sermon by Most Ven Siri Samanthabadra Arahath Thero, the celebrations concluded.
The fourth year anniversary celebrations of the Umandawa Monastery were indeed a festival of mindful living, where the precepts of Dana, Seela, and Bhavana were displayed through action.
Every act in lieu with the fourth year celebration was conducted in a very simple, peaceful and engaging manner.
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