A Temple Saved

Extract from the first news letter published by the temple in January 2001.

It was five months ago on a VAS PINKAMA day that some of us present at the Jethavana Buddhist Vihara came to know that the Temple we had been using for our religious activities, thanks to the goodwill of our friends in The Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation, was going to close down and the premises was for sale.

We felt that our local Temple was worth saving and decided to seek the support of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community in the West Midlands. Although there had already been firm offers from companies wanting to run businesses, it is to the great credit of the committee of the Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation that they decided that they would prefer us to come up with a reasonable but firm offer for the property, as our sole aim was to continue the temple in the premises. I feel that this gesture was a reflection of the goodwill built up between the two communities over the years and their strength of feeling for the temple to continue as a place of Buddhist worship. On behalf of the Sri Lankan Community and the new Trustees of The Jethvana Buddhist Vihara I offer all the members of The Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation our grateful thanks and extend a very warm welcome to continue to use the Temple for their religious activities.

The contracts were exchanged and completion took place on the 22nd of December 2000. The Temple is now our responsibility and its success will depend on how much and in what ways we use the Temple. In this regard, it is the unanimous view of the Trustees that the incumbent Venerable Monks have a leading and visionary role to play. We expect that in the coming months and years their conduct and actions guided by the “Vinaya” and the imaginative and spiritually uplifting programmes that we expect they will launch and will attract all of us to their fold and to the temple literally like the bats to the fruit-laden tree!

And, it is our fervent hope that all our `Dayakas’ will regularly spare some time to take part not just passively but also putting forward your ideas as to any new activities we should start in our journey towards `stream-entry’- Sothapanna.

Whilst we continue to lose our spiritual way in the daily `rat race’ called `living’ we will never be able to make full use of this glorious opportunity unless we make a determined effort to give much higher priority to learning a little bit more of the Dhamma and its practice in our daily lives. So, let us exhort ourselves that with the dawn of this New Year, we, each one of us, give higher priority than ever before to increase our understanding and practice of the Dhamma than in the year that is past.

On behalf of the Trustees, I am very happy and grateful for the support rendered by all our Dayakas in joining us in this meritorious venture and look forward to your continued support in maintaining the Temple and looking after the needs of our spiritual Gurus- the incumbent monks. With your continued help and active participation, we have no doubt that the Temple will flourish as a haven for the seekers of the Dhamma.

To conclude, in the context of the saving of our Temple, may I humbly request each of us to contemplate on the third stanza of the “Maha Mangala Sutta” – the Discourse on Blessings.

“To reside in a suitable locality,
To have performed meritorious actions in the past, and
To set oneself in the Right Direction,
This is the highest blessing!
May all beings be happy and content.”

Yassus De Silva

On behalf of the Jethavana Buddhist Vihara Trust

A message from the chief incumbent of the Jethavana Buddhist Vihara.

We who follow the path of the Buddha whether, monks or laity, should learn to be of ‘Service to Society’. The laity has many different ways and opportunities of providing service to society. As monks, our service to society is essentially by teaching and living the Buddha’s message. From the earliest times, it was the monks who saved the society from the brink of decay and destruction and led the people on the correct path.

The entire life of a monk is dedicated to social service. The laity will be performing social service in a limited manner compared to monks whose service starts from the day they enter the Order of Monks till the day they pass away. From the partaking of the first alms offered to them on that day of ordination, they devote their whole life to the needs of the people.

Following the noble tenets of Buddhism, showing reverence to one’s parents, respecting one’s teachers and elders, being cordial to one’s friends and relations, observing the higher precepts, radiating thoughts of loving kindness to all living beings and practicing and teaching mental development through meditation, are some of the other examples of ‘Social Service’.

As followers of the Buddha, the incomparable social worker, we Buddhists should resolve to be of service to society in every moment of our lives.For the followers of Buddha’s teachings, the Temple – the abode of the Sangha, can and should be the focal point of service to the society including the Dayakas (members of the committee) themselves. In this context, the saving of the Jethavana Buddhist Vihara is a great meritorious act and all those who took part are to be highly commended.As has been the tradition, I and my Bikkhu colleagues who reside in this temple will endeavour to the best of our abilities, to guide you in the Buddha’s path by advice and example, by living the Dhamma in day to day life.

It is our conviction that when it comes to our bounden duty of ‘showing the way’, we are here to be made use of towards your spiritual attainments. As such, by launching this website, we invite you all to keep the temple alive with your quest of the Dhamma and final Enlightenment.

Ven.Kappitiyagoda Gunawansa Thero