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DateLine Sunday, 24 June 2007

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Mass ordination ceremony in Colombo

You must be aware, through the media, that a mass ordination ceremony was


The last walk in the  ‘gihi’ life.

 carried out in Colombo on May 26. The news must have really fascinated you, especially the sight of the samanera (novice) monks.

This mass ordination ceremony which was held at the Independence Square, is another step in the plan to bring a total of 2550 young men and children to monkhood from the three nikayas Siyam,Amarapura and Sri Lanka Ramanna to commemorate the 2550th Buddha Jayanthi.

The organiser of this mass ordination ceremony, Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya,is planning to bring 1000 children to monkhood. By end of April, around 700 children from all over the country had attained monkhood. The ordinations had not been carried out on a large scale; one or two children had been brought to monkhood at a time, and that's why the events hadn't received much publicity.


Obtaining monkhood.

Then in early May, there was another mass ordination at Ruwanwelisaya, Anuradhapura, where around 157 children attained monkhood. This event was held at Sarananda Pirivena under the guidance of Girambe Ananda Anunayaka Thera. This was the first mass ordination ceremony in the series.

As it had been proposed to ordain a 1000 monks from the Ramanna nikaya, it was time to ordain the remaining number of children. So, the Sri Lanka Maha Pirivena, under the guidance of Nagoda Amaravansa Thera, had organised this recent ceremony.

Although there had been no age limit for the children who could participate


Samaneras(novice monks) walking in piety.

 in this meritorious event, according to Amaravansa Thera, the participating children had been in the 7-16 age group.

We asked Amaravansa Thera to explain the rituals that were carried out at the event. "Since the children are making their last journey in the 'gihi' (lay) life, they will be dressed according to their wishes," said Amaravansa Thera. At this event, they were dressed as princes. Then, they will be taken to the venue of the ordination ceremony in a procession; in some areas they will be taken on elephant back.

"Before that, their hair will be cut and their heads shaved. This will be done at an auspicious time. At this ordination ceremony, this ritual was carried out by the organisers at the Ananda College, Colombo swimming-pool since it provided adequate space for 100 children to have baths after the head shaving. The bath water was mixed with saffron to denote that they are cleansed from lay life.

"Before attaining monkhood, the children will have to request permission to do so from their parents, in front of the senior Buddhist monks. If parents give their permission, the senior monks will tie a piece of robe around the child's head. Then, the children will be able to wear robes. After reciting a few gathas, they will be ordained as novice monks."


Relaxing ...


Relaxing ...

When naming a monk, the home town will be taken as his surname with the addition of an appropriate name.

After the rituals are completed, the samanera (novice) monks are handed over to the 'guru hamuduruwo' to be taught the Dhamma.

They will be given a sound education, including foreign languages. Some of these monks will be engaged in 'Dharma dhootha seva' (Dhamma propagation) in the future.

This programme was carried out as a solution to the severe shortage of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. So, let's hope that these novice monks will help Sri Lanka shine, with their piety and knowledge.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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