Mass ordination ceremony in Colombo
must be aware, through the media, that a mass ordination ceremony was
The last walk in the â€˜gihiâ€™ 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.
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
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
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
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.