08th December 2018 16:12:20 Hours
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army was honoured by inviting him to grace the opening of the modern auditorium at the Kelaniya Manelwatte Nāgānanda International Buddhist University (NIBU) as the Chief Guest on Friday (7) in the company of the donor, Prof U. Daw, Chief Instructor at Nāgānanda International Institute for Buddhist Studies and Ven Dr. Bodagama Chandima Thero, Chief Sangha Nayake for Taiwan and the architect of the NIBU.
The state-of-the-art auditorium, equipped with modern technical accessories and seating capacity for 935 visitors was erected by Sri Lanka Army troops of the Corps of Engineer Service (CES) and Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR), belonging to the Security Force Headquarters - West on the guidelines given by Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Commander, Security Forces - West.
A few more than 204 Army engineering professionals and vocationally-qualified soldiers and a few civil consultants completed the 1st floor project in less than 13 months at the request of the Ministry of Defence after the inaugural ceremony took place on 24 October 2017. Raw materials and other essentials for the entire construction were supplied by Taiwanese sponsors and other donors, thanks to the initiatives of Ven Bodagama Chandawimala Nayake Thera.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake on arrival was received by Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Commander, SF - West and was conducted to make special offerings to the Shrine by Ven Bodagama Chandima Thero, Foreign Buddhist Delegates, invitee monks and other distinguished invitees after attending the flag-raising, to symbolically start the proceedings.
The Commander afterwards was invited to cut a ribbon and enter the main building. Next, he walked to the new auditorium entrance and joined another ribbon-cutting at the main entrance to the new auditorium, built exclusively by his troops. The traditional oil lamp-lighting, religious observances and a few speeches, including the Commander's brief one brought the simple ceremony to an end.
Presentation of souvenirs to the Commander of the Army and vice versa, exchange of mementos with several other dignitaries added memories and dignity to the occasion.
710 lay persons and 260 foreign monks and nuns are reading for degrees in Buddhist studies at the NIBU as at present.
Aggamaha Panditha Sri Saddharmashrijothikadaja, Most Ven Kotugoda Dhammawasa Nayake Thero, Maha Nayake of Amarapura Chapter, Maha Nayake of Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha, Most Ven Dr Ittepane Dhammalankara Nayake Thero, Prelates, Foreign Monks and Nuns, Senior Nayake Theros, Sripada Incumbent, Monks, Mr Jagath Sumathipala, President, All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Mr Sarath Kongahage, Chairman, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Foreign delegates and a large gathering of invitees took part in the ceremony.