11th May 2017 15:19:47 Hours
Sri Lanka Army troops, who have assisted in numerous ways to hold the National Vesak Day on a grand scale exhibited their elegant Vesak decorations at the Army Headquarters, Security Force Headquarters - West (SFHQ-West) at Panagoda Army Cantonment, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Parliament grounds, Presidential Secretariat, Valukaramaya, Kollupitiya, Lake House and Kelaniya, Bollegala International Buddhist University premises and elsewhere in the North and East last evening (10).
Army Headquarters, SFHQ-West, Adjutant General Branch and the Army Buddhist Association under the close supervision of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crisanthe De Silva, contributed to the phenomenon by staging elaborate arrangements across the country with special focus on full-day Sil programmes, Vesak decoration zones, concerts of devotional songs (Bakthi Gee), free eateries (Dansel), special religious programmes, etc.
Symbolizing the initial commencement of this year’s National Vesak celebrations (May 7 - 14) in the country, Hon Minister of Buddha Sasana on Friday (5) ceremonially opened the Army-built new preaching hall (Dharmashalawa) at Wattarama Raja Maha Viharaya along Kegalle - Polgahawela road, prior to the inauguration of the National Vesak Festival on Tuesday (9) by HE the President.
SFHQ-West troops on the directions of Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Security Forces - West brought the construction project at Wattarama to successful completion with the blessings of the Commander of the Army.
On Vesak Full Moon Day (May 10), troops of the Army Headquarters and the SFHQ-West at Panagoda Army Cantonment, together with the members of the Army Buddhist Association, held a full-day ‘Sil’ observance programme at Panagoda Sri Maha Bodhirajarama temple before the Vesak zone inside the Panagoda Army Cantonment was inaugurated at dusk.
SFHQ-West troops at the same time contributing to the Bauddaloka Mawatha Vesak arrangements showcased their creative and artistic talents during a separate devotional song recital and accompanying dancing features that remind Buddhists of old life stories of the Enlightened One in the heart of the city.
Army troops coordinated the supply of electricity to more than 300 Vesak lanterns that were placed along the Galle Face - Fort main road on the Vesak day. Decorations that adorn the Army Headquarters cover the Galle Face roundabout and Kompannavidiya (Slave Island) areas. All those decorations glittered the evening.
In the meantime, island-wide other Security Force Headquarters, including those in the North and the East have organized their own arrangements in connection with the Vesak celebrations on Wednesday (10).
Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J) with the support of troops serving all Divisions, Brigades and Units in the peninsula decorated the entire Jaffna Nagavihara premises with colourful Vesak lanterns and bulbs and erected a special Pandal, set up a special Vesak zone near the Jaffna Weerasingham hall and conducted a Dansela for 5000 sightseers. A combined team of Army singers and 20 students from Navatkuli School meanwhile, conducted a ‘Bethi Gee’ concert, showcasing the spirits of reconciliation, harmony and co-existence as the evening fell on Wednesday (10). All those Vesak arrangements were streamlined under the close supervision of Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi, Commander, Security Forces - Jaffna.
In the Eastern theatre, Vesak zones, display of Vesak lanterns and decorations, staging of Buddhist dramas, devotional song concerts and conduct of Dansel (free eateries) featured among Vesak arrangements, organized by the Security Force Headquarters - East (SFHQ-E) covering Polonnaruwa town, Welikanda, Trincomalee and Batticaloa areas on the directions of the Commander, Security Forces – East, Major General Nandana Senadeera.
At Diyatalawa, Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-C) put up a series of arrangements to mark the event. In addition to Vesak lanterns that are on display at Muttukumaru ground, SFHQ-C troops on the directions of Major General Upul Vithanage, Commander, Security Forces - Central held a Dansela in the heart of Diyatalawa town last evening (10).
Similarly, Security Force Headquarters - Kilinochchi (SFHQ-KLN) staged a devotional song concert inside the Vesak zone in Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalaya ground. Donation of first-aid boxes to pre-schools, Bodhi pujas / Sath Budu Vandana religious observance, release of 20 cows, meant for butchering, distribution of dry ration packets, devotional songs, screening of Buddhist films, blood donation campaigns, display of Vesak lanterns, exposition of sacred relics, were among the host of other meritorious Vesak activities conducted by the SFHQ-KLN. Meanwhile, Major General Ajith Kariyakarawana, Commander, Security Forces - Kilinochchi opened the new Dharmasalawa (preaching hall) at Mankulam Sri Sugatha Viharaya premises, built by Kilinochchi troops.
In the meantime, Security Force Headquarters - Wanni (SFHQ-W) contributing their share to the commemoration, organized a series of features in line with the national event in close coordination with the District Secretariat for Vavuniya. Conduct of devotional song concerts, Dansel and display of more than 400 Vesak lanterns in and around the SFHQ-W premises and display of Buddhist flags took the centre stage in the arrangements, launched on the instructions of Major General Ruwan Kulathunga, Commander, Security Forces - Wanni.
Similarly, Security Force Headquarters - Mullaittivu (SFHQ-MLT) joined the event by producing Vesak lanterns and holding a Dansela for about 10000 civilians in Puthukudirippu area. A Dansela of refreshments and a special ‘Bethigee’ concert were among other major attractions held around Mullaittivu town area on Wednesday (10). A special ‘Sil’ campaign took place on the same day (10) inside the SFHQ-MLT premises throughout the day, following instructions given by Major General Dampath Fernando, Commander, Security Forces - Mullaittivu.
Several more Vesak spectacles will also be added this evening (11) to coincide with the UN Vesak arrangement and the National Vesak festival in the country.