Report on Buddha Poornima Celebrations in Prashanti Nilayam
Buddha Poornima is celebrated annually in Prashanti Nilayam to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of Lord Buddha. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Metta – Loving Kindness”. The participants comprises devotees from countries under Zone 4 & 5 of the Sathya Sai International Organisation viz Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Hongkong and Taiwan
1st Day of Celebration (3rd May 2015)
The programme commenced with lighting of the lamp. This was followed by offerings at the Mahasamadhi and traditional Buddhist chanting by the devotees from Thailand.
Dr VK Ravindran, chairman of Zone 4 welcomed the participants and explained the significance of the celebration. He spoke in brief on the teachings of the Buddha, in particular, that all Buddhists should become better Buddhists. He related the story of how Emperor Asoka was transformed from a conqueror to become a good Buddhist and the need to go within and realize the Buddhahood in all of us.
Bro. Gehan Talgodapitiya of Sri Lanka ,the first speaker, spoke on “Lord Buddha’s childhood up to his nirvana”. He spoke of the illustrious story of Siddhartha turned Buddha, the ‘making of the Buddha’, exhorting on the need to practise ‘Loving Kindness’ and Selfless Love following Bhagawan’s teaching of Love All Serve All.
Bhichhu Shanta Maitri a representative from the Buddhist Association of Kathmandu in Nepal, was the second
speaker. He spoke on Buddha’s teachings, highlighting on the three essentials viz (a) Avoid Doing Evil Deeds; (b) Cultivate good and wholesome deeds like loving kindness and (c) Taming the Mind.
A choir from Japan comprising of some 40 members then rendered soulful Prashanti Mandir bhajans in the Japanese language.
International bhajans by devotees from Zone 4 & 5 then followed with Bhagawan singing “Govinda Krishna Jai Gopala Krishna Jai…” The evening programme ended at 1710 with Mangala Aarathi.
2nd Day of Celebration (4th May 2015)
The evening program began with an introduction of two speakers by Bro.Billy Fong, Central Coordinator of Zone 4.1
Venerable Pra Khamhoung Toulavanh, the first speaker, is the Chief Monk of the PhoSai Pagoda in Vientiane Lao PDR. He expressed his delight for being able to visit and speak in front of the Mahasamadhi of Swami. He mentioned that his temple provide space for daily SSE classes for the children of the SSIO in Lao. In his younger
days as a novice monk, he had attended SSEHV classes. He said that there are many similarities between the teachings of Buddha and Sathya Sai Baba. Pra Khamhoung spoke in the Lao language and his speech was
translated by Bro. Avi Sarkar, advisor to the SSIO of Lao.
Dr Art Ong Jumsai, the second speaker who is well known in the Sai organization delivered a profound ‘soul-searching’ speech highlighting on the greater importance of ‘Looking Within’ to know the unchanging truth which is the main message of Buddhism.
The Kandyan folklore dancers from Sri Lanka then presented half-an hour of traditional cultural dancing to rhythmic drum beats, showcasing great acrobatic skills. The team led by Kala Suri Lionel Sirisena, an internationally acclaimed Kandyan dancer, clad in silver- white – red costumes with shining decorative chest guards, glittering head gears, enthralled the audience with a mix of artistry, acrobatics showcasing traditional cultural values.
The final item for the evening was a sketch entitled “The Heart of Buddha” performed by youth from Malaysia.
The sketch involved the story of Buddha and His Teachings, introduced in the form of a ‘Radio Sai Interview’, showing interludes of episodes, expanding the theme with informative skits. Presenting the story of the making of the Buddha, the sketch had the story of Quan Yin, apart from discussion on ‘Metta – Loving Compassion’ leading into an insight into the modern-day social media as a tool in spreading the message of Buddhism.
Video Recording of Event
The video recording of the two days event can be viewed at the following link:
Day 1: https://youtu.be/BkUfnPW66Ws
Day 2: https://youtu.be/zbeZVm8Rp5o