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“UNITY VESAK 2012″ draw large crowds at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto

 

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The Unity Vesak 2012 - celebrations held at Mel Lastman Square today drew large crowds, estimated at over 1700 people who witnessed a noble display that was truly multicultural. The celebration was the brainchild of Consul General for Sri Lanka in Toronto, Mr. Karunarathna Paranawithana with the collaboration of Maha Sangha and leaders of all the Buddhist Temples and communities in Canada. It was a diverse spectacle enjoyed by the multitude of people in weather conditions that may be called “ideal” for the occasion. The event brought together a coterie of Maha Sangha from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the first time in this great city of ours.  H.E. (Mrs.) Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Canada was present to support the efforts of the Consul General and his team.

 

Rev. Dr. Bhante Saranapala in his address said that as Buddhists, this event is a special time to gather together and commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment, and Passing away of the Buddha. “Let us resolve to work together towards the common good, and the harmonious and peaceful co-existence of the entire world’s people. As we listen to the Buddha’s teachings, let us embrace his advice and diligently strive to live a moral, ethical, and noble lifestyle”, he added.

In his welcome address, Consul General Paranawithana thanked the Maha Sangha, and the volunteer committee that collaborated with him to plan and execute the event. “Following the suggestion from various Buddhist communities in Canada, the Office of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka volunteered to organise the ‘Unity Vesak 2012′ for the first time in Toronto. I take this opportunity to thank all the members of Maha Sangha and the leaders of all the Buddhist Temples and communities in Canada who gave support to make this event a success”, said Mr. Paranawithana.

H.E.. Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canada came all the way from Ottawa to participate in the celebrations. In her address to the gathering, Her Excellency stressed the fact that the commemoration of Vesak is the most important day for all Buddhists world over as, the day signifies the birth, the enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha. “I am indeed happy to note that religious leaders as well as community leaders from countries that have large numbers of adherents to Buddhism, will be joining the Consulate in celebrating this important event. While I applaud the Consul General for taking this initiative in organising this religious event, ‘Unity Vesak 2012′, let this celebration be an inspiration to all Buddhists as well as others, so that there is greater focus and understanding on the universal message of Buddhism; peace, unity and loving kindness amongst all mankind”, she added
The celebrations started on time at 3:00 pm and went till late in the evening. The crowds were all pleased with the noble initiative of the Consul General for Sri Lanka in Toronto, Mr. Karunarathna Paranawithana that enabled the start of an event that might grow in stature over the years.

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