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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1405 ..


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Multicultural affairs—Sri Lankan new year events

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (4.49): On 10 April it was an honour to attend the Sinhala and Tamil new year festival at the Sri Lanka Buddhist temple in Kambah. All children of the Sri Lankan language school participated in this cultural festival. As it was a cultural festival involving children in particular, I brought along four of my six kids to participate in the fun-filled activities on offer.

Established in 1996, Sri Lanka Buddhist Vihara Canberra is served by three resident bhanthes. The temple serves the needs of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community and all other Buddhist communities living in Canberra and surrounding areas. The bhanthes also participate in religious activities in other states in Australia. The Dhamma school and language school are important community services offered by the temple. Daily gilanpasa pooja, weekly meditation programs and a monthly atasil program are some of the many religious activities conducted at the temple.

I would like to thank the vice-president of the association, Namal Gamage, for organising the event. I also thank the president, Rohan Weliwita, and other members of the committee for what was a truly beautiful autumn day event in Canberra celebrating the new year for the Buddhist faith.

The event kicked off with a beautiful commitment ceremony blessing the many children present. I was honoured to address members outlining the importance of this truly special occasion for the Buddhist religion as they celebrate the new year. Mr Gamage was kind enough to give us a fabulous tour of the temple, including the main prayer room; it was very interesting to learn the history of that.

It was then time for the kids to have some fun. There were plenty of activities on offer, including balloon popping and a doughnut eating challenge, which I am sad to say my son Leo got right into, with his amazing enthusiasm on full display, as usual.

We gathered inside with many other members of the Sri Lanka Buddhist community for the candle-lighting ceremony before enjoying the festivities and the beautiful food on offer, which was absolutely delicious. Thank you again for all the work put into that.

Lastly, it was an honour to witness all the male children of the Buddhist faith present getting their special blessing with holy oil on their forehead in what is truly a significant day in the Buddhist calendar. I wish everyone from both Sri Lanka Buddhist Vihara and the wider Buddhist community a happy new year.

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