12th February 2021 18:28:19 Hours
The formal launch of the fund-raising drive for restoration of the historic 'Deegavapiya' Maha Seya ( pagoda) in the East got to a start this morning (12) at Colombo Sri Sambodhi Viharaya under the aegis of HE the President and the Prime Minister at the invitation of General Kamal Gunarathna (Retd), Chairman, Presidential Task Force for Restoration of 'Deegavapiya', amid a distinguished gathering of senior Buddhist monks, Presidential Advisers, Governors, Ministers, State Ministers, Secretaries, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva, Senior Tri Service Officers and a representative team of technical experts, involved in the restoration project.
Religious observances, administered by monks and a video documentary on 'Deegavapiya', one of the most sacred 16 places of Buddhist worship in Sri Lanka that remained without renovation for many years set the stage ready for the proceedings with General (retd) Kamal Gunarathna's welcome note to the occasion, in which he underscored its religious significance and the need for a sustained fund-raising move to accomplish the task of renovation of this colossal object of worship.
The symbolic initiation of fund-raising then saw its start as Ven Boralande Vajirangna Thero, Chief incumbent of the 'Sambodhi' Viharaya, Mr Kanchana Ratwatte Chairman, Bank of Ceylon,General Shavendra Silva ,Chief of Defence staff ,Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak presented first cash cheques to that effect to HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa simultaneously, heralding the formal commencement of the fund-raising drive during the day's ceremony. Sri Lanka Army troops have also pledged their full support for the project, together with all other stakeholders.
President Rajapaksa also launched the www.deegawapiya.lk, the official website, meant to provide restoration updates and muster financial support for the Deegawapiya Stupa restoration project as a segment of the day's proceedings. At the request of the incumbent of the Deegawapiya temple, Ven. Mahaoya Sobitha Thero, the Anunayaka of the Asgiri Chapter, Most Venerable Wendaruwe Upali Thero delivered an Anushasana (oration) on the occasion. Most Ven Dr Medagama Dhammananda Nayake Thera, Registrar, Asgiriya Chapter, Ven Dr Medagoda Abhayatissa Nayake Thera and a few other leading monks were present at the ceremony.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Mrs Jeewanthi Senanayake, Secretary to Presidential Task Force for Restoration of 'Deegavapiya' followed by 'Seth Pirith chanting of the monks.
Mr Lalith Weerathunga ,Principal Advisor to HE the President, Mrs Anuradha Yahampath, Governor for Eastern Province, Hon Sarath Weerasekara, Minister of Public Security, Hon Vidura Wickramanayake, State Minister of Heritage & Performing Arts, Mr Gamini Sedara Senarath, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary of the Ministry Buddhist affairs Mr Kapila Gunawardena, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, Commander of the Navy, Commander of the Air Force, Inspector General of Police, Director General Civil Security Department, Mr Aruna Manathunga, Director General Archeology Department and a gathering of invitees were there at the launch.