08th May 2020 00:25:23 Hours
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), together with Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President Army Seva Vanitha Unit took time off from busy schedules and sought blessings for fast eradication of the COVID-19 epidemic on Thrice Blessed Vesak Full Moon Poya Day (7) after making a series of special offerings to Ruwanweliseya, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Mirisawetiya and Abhayagiriya, a few of the most prominent eight sacred places of worship (Atamasthanaya) in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura.
The day’s whole programme, administered by members of the Maha Sangha, including Most Ven Pallegama Sri Gnanaratanabhidana Nayake Thero for ‘Atamasthanaya’, Ven Dr Pallegama Hemaratana Nayake Thera, Chief Incumbent at Ruwanweli Maha Seya, Ven Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathillake Thera, Incumbent at Mirisawetiya, et al invoked blessings on HE the President, Hon Prime Minister, Sri Lankans and the world at large, and simultaneously prayed for speedy eradication of the deadly virus, speedy recovery to all victims and transferred merits on all who died of COVID-19 across the globe. All religious observances included chanting of ‘Seth Pirith’ for fast return to normalcy and prayed for the well-being of the people as well.
Varieties of Milk Rice (Kiri Aahara) Pooja, offering of 100,000 multi-coloured flowers and Kapruk, Gilanpasa Pooja, Pirikara Pooja, Incense Pooja, Shabda Pooja, Alms offerings, Buddha Pooja, etc adorned the sacred precincts, which attach the highest spiritual prominence to the Buddhists world-wide as the places where Paribogika, Uddesika and Saririka objects are respectfully venerated from time immemorial.
Early morning on the Vesak Day, Lieutenant General Silva offered varieties of Kiripidu Pooja (milk foods) to the towering Ruwanweli Maha Seya and joined a few devotees attending to the auspicious whitewashing of the huge Stupa, the hemispherical structure containing Buddha’s relics of two quarts or one Drona, considered as the Stupa, which has the largest collection of the Buddha’s relics anywhere. Over 10,000 rose buds of impressive colours were also offered to the Ruwanweli Seya and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya during the arrangements by Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, adding colourfulness to the variety of pooja. At Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, monks blessed the Commander’s role as the Head for control of the virus.
Afterwards, Lieutenant General Silva paused at Mirisawetiya for offerings and observed religious rites and rituals where the temple incumbent invoked blessings on the Commander of the Army. Next, he proceeded to the Sanda Hiru Seya Stupa, now nearing completion and symbolically placed a brick on the layers under construction before he proceeded to the Abhayagiriya.
He also had separate audiences with the Atmasthanadhipathi, Ruwanweli Maha Seya chief incumbent, Mirisawetiya incumbent, Abhayagiriya incumbent and a few other Buddhist monks and paid his homage to them.