06th October 2023 16:31:02 Hours
The customary all-night ‘Pirith’ chanting, the final religious segment for the forthcoming 74th Army Day (10 October) commenced at the Sri Jayawardenepura Army Headquarters complex as the dusk fell on Thursday (5 October).
Thursday’s final segment of a series of multi religious arrangements that invoked spiritual blessings on the forward-march of the country’s most sought service provider was further dignified by the presence of several leading Buddhist monks, including the Maha Nayaka Thero of Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha, Ven Dr Iththapaana Dhammalankara Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent at Dhamma Wijayaloka Viharaya, Rukmale and Chancellor of Sri Jayawardenepura University, together with Ven Dr Aluthnuwara Anurudhdha Thero, Chief Incumbent at Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya, Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero, Incumbent, Allen Methiniyaramaya and several other monks.
Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage RWP RSP ndu, Commander of the Army at the invitation of the Army Buddhist Association attended the inaugural ceremony, along with Mrs Janaki Liyanage, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit and a host of representative Officers and Other Ranks.
The monks were ushered to the location in a colourful procession, preceded by Army cultural dancing troupes, traditional drummers and flag-bearers.
Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Army respectfully carried the sacred relic casket while the traditional ‘Piruvana Potha’ (book containing old scriptures) was taken by Major General C.D Ranasinghe RWP RSP, Deputy Chief of Staff in conformity with old traditions.
After the monks wended their way to the illuminated octagon (Pirith Mandapaya), Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage offered the traditional tray of betel (Deheth Wattiya) to the members of the Maha Sangha symbolically and invited them to commence overnight chanting to invoke blessings on the 74th Army Anniversary. Ven Kosgolle Seelarathana Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of Dharmaraja Piriven Viharaya, then delivered an ‘Anushasana’ (oration) on the importance of the 74th Anniversary of the Army and the Army’s dedicated services to the Nation. The monk also invoked blessings on the organization, injured War Heroes and transferred merits to the fallen ones, recalling the glorious history of the organization. He also praised the Army's diverse roles and wished good luck with its onward-march as Defender of the Nation.
The Sri Lanka Army Buddhist Association, chaired by Major General U.D Wijesekera RWP RSP USP rcds psc, Commander, Security Forces - West and office-bearers of the Sri Lanka Army Buddhist Association were instrumental in organizing the ‘Pinkama’ (meritorious act) with the support of all other Officers and Other Ranks.
With the offer of ‘Heel Daana’ to the monks on the following day, the religious segment of the anniversary celebrations culminated. Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, participated in the offering of ‘Heel Daana’ to Maha Sangha on Friday morning (6 October), together with his spouse, Senior Officers, Officers and Other Ranks.