Sept 22, 2018 was a very special day to the Chicago Buddhist Vihara community. The newly acquired spacious temple opened its doors ceremoniously to the greater public on this day. The new temple, a one time church has been beautifully rehabbed to meet the needs of Vihara congregation. The larger of the two buildings, house the Vihara Mandiraya and the smaller outer building is used as the Bikkhu Avasa Geya cum library.
The event was colored by over three dozen distinguished monks of various Theravada bikku traditions. Ven. Walpola Piyananda (Dhamma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, CA), Ven. Madawela Seelawimala (Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkley, CA), Ven. Hungampola Sirirathana (New Jersy Buddhist Vihara), Ven. Thapowanye Sutadara (……), Ven. Aluthgama Dhammajothi (New England Buddhist Vihara) were among them. The vihara premises was filled with hundreds and hundreds of lay guests. Professor George Bond (Northwestern University, IL), Jaliya Wickramasooriya (former Sri Lankan Ambassador to US), and Shanthini Wijay, the great donor of North American Buddhist temples graced this historic occasion. Many of the monks and lay participants travelled great distances to join for this occasion.
To commence the ceremony, the venerable monks were led to the Vihara Mandiraya by a beautiful perahera procession of flags and සේසත්, under the beautifully decorated traditional Muthu Kuda and on the comforts of Paavada. After playing national anthems of Sri Lanka and USA the traditional Sri Lankan oil lamp was lit by distinguished guests and members of congregation. Followed by the welcome speech there were few talks on history of the CBV, Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Buddhism in Chicago.
Noon Buddha Puja ceremony was held before lunchtime with the participation of great many devotees. After lunch, the Pirith Ceremony commenced with the participation of great many monks. Many devotees spend their evening hours at the temple listening to the chanting.