THE EAST based members of the Maha Sangha (Buddhist priests) who continued to resist previous LTTE terrorist atrocities without fleeing the area and fearlessly performed religious needs of the villagers were revered by Army troops under 22 Division after offering an alms-giving to 169 Buddhist monks of sixty temples in the province.
Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Nayaka Thero, Maha Nayaka of Asgiriya Chapter, Ven Dr Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anu Nayaka Thero of the Asgiriya Chapter and over 30 prominent Nayaka Theros and Chief Incumbents of all the temples participated in the meritorious event which invoked blessings on the Security Forces and the country and transferred merits to all fallen War Heroes. The ceremony took place at 22 Divsion Headquarters, Trincomalee on Monday (4).
This felicitation is of special value since it is the Army who took the initiative to appreciate the excellent role played by the clergy of the Buddhist faith who braved LTTE atrocities in the past and stayed on in their respective temples against heavy odds.
Secretary to HE the President Mr Lalith Weerathunga graced the occasion as Chief Guest at the invitation of Major General Prasanna Silva, Commander, 22 Division. Major General Jagath Rambukpotha, Commander Security Forces, East, Major General (Retd) T.T.R de Silva, District Secretary for Trincomalee and a host of other senior officers of the Armed Forces and the Police attended the ceremony.
All participating monks, belonging to 60 temples were gifted with special brass replicas of Dagoba (pagoda), in which Gautama Buddha’s relics could be preserved at the end of the alms-giving by Most Ven Maha Nayaka Thero. The event had been organized with the help of all soldiers and officers in the 22 Division. All the monks were conducted to the 22 Division Headquarters in a colourful procession, inclusive of traditional drummers. In addition Ata Pirikara and other Pirikara were also offered to the clergy.
Major General Prasanna Silva, in his vote of thanks on the conclusion of the day’s programme recalled the contributions and unreserved support, extended by Buddhist priests in the east during the humanitarian war for peace. ‘Their support donating artificial limbs and medical equipment, houses to War Heroes and holding Bodhi Poojas as the war was at its peak was praiseworthy and unforgettable’, Major General Silva added. Mr Lalith Weerathunga initialed the VIP book at the 22 Division office before he left the premises.