flags, Vesak lanterns sent abroad
By Nilika Kasturisinghe
Large quantities of Buddhist flags and Vesak lanterns have been
dispatched to Sri Lankan missions abroad in a bid to popularise
The Missions will fly the Buddhist flag and have on display Vesak
lanterns and colourful bulbs.
to launch a program to encourage the activists of Buddhist organisations
and Sri Lankans resident in these respective countries to decorate
their residences on the same lines. In some countries Vesak lantern
competitions and art competitions too have been arranged.
by Ven. Bhikku Bodhi at the first official celebration of Vesak
at the UN in 2000, on the topic "The Buddha and His Message"
has been published by the Foreign Ministry and has already been
dispatched to embassies for free distribution among participants.
It has also issued a special greeting card of high quality targeting
The card carries
the theme "A journey into Sri Lanka is a journey into pure
Buddhism" which has been printed with the patronage of the
Ceylon Tourist Board. Arrangements have been made to sell this card
among the Sri Lankan community abroad at a nominal price.
Sri Lanka Missions
abroad have already made preparations to celebrate the Vesak festival
this year on a grand scale. Several programs will be launched in
various countries with the participation of Sri Lankan and Buddhist
organisations in those countries to mark the Vesak Full Moon Poya
Day on May 15.
A Foreign Ministry
official said that apart from religious observations "Tea dansalas"
would be held to promote Sri Lanka's tea. Minister Assisting Foreign
Affairs Lal Dharmapriya Gamage said these arrangements have been
designed on a new concept to convince foreigners that the Vesak
Festival of Sri Lanka is a unique experience.
missions abroad have been instructed to seek wide publicity for
such programs through the media of those countries and ensure maximum
participation" he said.
the Buddha Sasana Ministry has prepared a programme to celebrate
Vesak including bringing in legislation to standardise the production
of the Buddhist flag and define at which occasions it can be used.
The Ministry is to register with the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs
all manufacturers and traders selling ata pirikara. Steps are being
taken to enable the priests to engage in pinda patha - visiting
homes on foot seeking alms.
The All Island
Vesak lantern competition will be held in front of the Colombo Town
Hall with prizes amounting to Rs. 500,000 being on offer. The new
ran weta (gold fence) around the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya will also
be ceremonially commissioned while the foundation stone will be
laid to build a hospice in Kandy for priests.