02nd October 2020 06:48:49 Hours
The all-night ‘Pirith’ chanting, a customary religious feature, organized every year by the Army Buddhist Association on account of the forthcoming Army Day (10 October) and the 71st Army Anniversary got underway on Thursday (1), ‘Vap’ Poya day evening at the new Army HQ premises, amid a huge gathering of Army personnel and family members. The chanting follows offer of ‘Heel’ Daana and ‘Sangeeka’ Daana (alms) on the following day (2).
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, together with Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit, Major General Jagath Gunawardene, Chief of Staff, Major General Duminda Sirinaga, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya, Commandant Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, PSO’s of Army Headquarters, Directors, Senior Officers, spouses and Other Ranks attended the programmes.
Soon after a colourful procession, comprised of dancers of the Army cultural troupe led members of the Maha Sangha to the main preaching hall, the day’s Chief Guest, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva in keeping with ancient traditions, offered the tray of betel (Dehetwattiya) to Ven Dr Kotapitiye Rahula, Anunayake Thera of Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagi Dharma Maha Sangha Sabhawa and Ven Homagama Shilawansha Thero, Chief Incumbent of Pitipana Puranaviharaya, seated in the octagon for chanting and symbolically invited the Maha Sangha to commence chanting until the following morning (2).
The Nayaka Thero on behalf of the members of the Maha Sangha delivered an Anusasana (oration) and invoked blessings on the organization, injured War Heroes and transferred merits on the fallen, recalling the glorious past history of the organization. He also praised the Army's diverse roles and wished good luck with its onward march as defenders of the nation.
More than 1000 members representing All Rankers in the Army joined the meritorious programme and listened to the overnight chanting. Chairman Major General Chula Abeynayaka, Commander Security Force West (SFHQ - West) and office-bearers of the Sri Lanka Army Buddhist Association and a large gathering of Officers and Other Ranks, joined the ‘Pinkama’ (meritorious act) that blessed the forthcoming anniversary.
Offer of the ‘Heel Daana’ (breakfast) on Friday (2) morning plus the Sangeeka Daana (alms-giving) to 71 monks at the same venue brought the religious ceremonies at the Army HQ to end.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva took time off to participate in the offer of ‘Saangika Daana’ (alms) and served meals to members of the ‘Maha Sangha’. He also respectfully spoke to them and shared a few thoughts with them.