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The grand opening ceremony of new Ketumati Buddhist Vihara
and the very first Kathina celebration of the new Vihara premises
The grand opening ceremony of new Ketumati Buddhist Vihara and the very first Kathina celebration of the new Vihara premises took place on Sunday 8th November, 2015 at 10.10 am at the new temple premises, 21, Moor Road, Manchester, M23 9BQ. Despite the bad weather, there was a very good turn-out and 13 members of Mahasangha were present to officiate this important event. They are the chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain for Ramanna Maha Nikaya Ven. Keppitiyagoda Gunawansa Thero, the head monk of both Jethawana Buddhist Vihara in Birmingham and Sri Sambuddha Vihara in Liverpool, Ven. Theldeniyaye Amittha Thero, the head monk of Santhi Buddhist Vihara in Nottingham. Mapalagama Soratha Thero, Beragama Piyarathna Thero, Tissapura Sugatharathana Thero and Kirigalpotte Chandananda Thero from Birmingham Jethavana Vihara. Ven.Kirama Rathanasiri Thero, a visiting monk from Leicester Ashoka Vihara and Ven.Kaluwaggala Saranasiri Thero, Dodangoda Sumedha Thero from Leicester Buddhist Vihara. Ven.Galpottayaye Pemananda Thero, Udunuwara Indarathana Thero and Hapugoda SubodhaThero of Kethumati Buddhist Vihara.

A former Youth Centre was converted into a magnificent Buddhist temple. Those who took part in the event were amazed to see the newly built temple, probably the biggest Sri Lankan temple in the United Kingdom.

Ketumati Buddhist Vihara was the very first Sri Lankan temple ever to be established in the North-west of England under the able guidance of the abbot, Ven. Pidiwille Piyatissa Nayaka Thera, the founder of Manchester Ketumati Buddhist Vihara.

The proceedings started with the observance of five precepts administered by Ven. Hapugoda Subodha Thero who is a visiting Sri Lankan monk currently staying at Ketumati Buddhist Vihara. Then the main Buddha statue was unveiled by Mr. Bandula Gajaweera and his wife Dr. Nilani from Blackpool. The statues of the two chief disciples of the Lord Buddha were unveiled by Dr. Thilak Peiris and Mrs. Pushpa Ranawickrama respectively. The traditional oil lamp was lit by members of Ketumati Trust Board, members of the project team, members of the support team of the Ketumati New Vihara Project, Mrs. Gammanpila, and Kitmini Kulatunga. Jayamangala Gatha was recited by the Dhamma School children of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara.

The most Ven. Pidiwille Piyatissa Nayaka Thera explained how the first temple was started at the premises of Mrs. Gammanpila and then moved to No.3 Pretoria Road in Oldham, providing a marvelous service to the community of Buddhists living in the North West. He also took the opportunity to thank Mrs. Gammanpila for offering part of her house to start Ketumati Buddhist Vihara at the very early stage in 1999. Further, he expressed his gratitude to the late Dr. Dudley Bandara who led few Buddhist families to support the Oldham Vihara at that particular time. For 15 years, Ketumati Buddhist Vihara provided facilities and opportunities to learn and practice Buddhism in the form of teaching Dhamma and conducting meditation sessions for people of all ages and conducting various services to the Buddhist community living in the area during the period at 3 Pretoria Road. Then the Nayaka Thero went on to explain how some members worked very hard to obtain the present property, which formerly was a Youth Centre belonged to the Manchester City Council. With continuous effort, fundraising, and planning they have now created a magnificent Buddhist Center. All the renovations and alterations were done by Kenmore Management Limited, London under the direction and supervision of Mr. Malan Ranasinghe. It took four years to complete the temple project.

Mr. Dimuth Jayawarna, the treasurer gave a brief report of the financial update. This was followed by the very first Buddha Puja conducted by Ven. Tissapura Sugatharathana Thero of Jethawana Buddhist Vihara, Birmingham. Then the Sanghika Dana proceeding was conducted by Ven. Theldeniyaye Amitha Thero of Notingham Shanti Buddhist Vihara. After partaking of food, the offering of Kathina Civara (robe) was conducted by Ven. Kirama Rathanasiri Thero from Leicester Asoka Buddhsit Vihara. The two Sinhala Dhamma sermons were delivered by Ven. Keppetiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero of Jethawana Buddhist Vihara, Birmingham and Ven. Kaluwaggala Saranasiri Thero of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara respectively and the Sermon in English was delivered by Ven. Udunuwara Indarathana Thero also of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara.

With the vote of thank by Dr. S. S. Panditharatne, the secretary and blessings by the Mahasangha, the historical ceremony was concluded at 2.30 pm.

Ketumati Buddhist Vihara is a well-known and one of the leading Buddhist Centers in the United Kingdom, run under the able guidance of Most Ven. Pidiwille Piyatissa Maha Thera, supported by Ven. Galpottayaye Pemananda Thera, and recently appointed Udunuwara Indaratana Thera. Both of them are well versed in Dhamma and have long experience of teaching Dhamma and conducting various Buddhist services.
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