Washingtonians Rally to Lend Support to Historic Temple

August 1, 2008

Author: Philip Fernando

Source: Asian Tribune


Led by the erudite Ven. Maharagama Dharmasiri thera, the Washington Buddhist Vihara is an inspirational mainspring for the Washingtonians bent on seeking solace from their daily chores. They gathered recently in large numbers to participate in their annual food festival to raise funds.

It was a way of showing their gratitude to this haven of peace, the oldest Theravada Buddhist Vihara in USA. Sri Lankan Ambassador, Jaliya Wickramasuriya the Patron of the temple led the way mingling with the laity who visited the food festival.

It was a veritable feast with a wide spread. Favorites like buriyani, patties, cutlets and hoppers went as fast as cricket legend Sanath Jayasuriya’s carpet drives to the fence. This year’s food fair was a feather in the cap of the Sri Lankan embassy, its staff and the people who worked hard to make this even a great success.

Later when I visited the temple, Ven Dharmasiri thera showed me around giving a detailed account of the place. He traced back the history of the temple and how so many Sri Lankans had contributed to make it a historic site.

It is the first Theravada temple in North America with a record of yeomen service to the Buddhists and the truth seekers in the region over a period of 40 years.

It is a vibrant cultural center with a hub of activities such as Meditation classes, Sunday school for the largest group of children in the area, Dhamma classes for the adults, Dhamma seminars for university students and Sinhalese language classes for children born in the US.