Many events to mark Vesak, the most significant day in the Buddhist calendar took place in the Greater Toronto Area. The Toronto Maha Vihara, the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre of Mississauga, the Brampton-Caledon Buddhist Mission Centre and many community organizations came together and arranged sermons, children’s Sil program, alms giving, devotional songs, lantern exhibitions and food donation drives in connection with the celebrations.
Representing the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajirayana traditions, four Buddhist temples in the Greater Toronto Area organized 7th Annual Unity Vesak celebrations at the Mississauga Celebration Square on 27 May 2018. Priests from Chinese, Vietnamese, Myanmar and Sri Lankan Buddhist temples chanted blessings. Bhante Dr. Saranapala Thero, of the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre of Mississauga and chair of the organizing committee in his address highlighted the way to follow Lord Buddha’s journey for the benefit, welfare and happiness of human beings. Abbots and Abbess from FoGuang Shan Temple, Ching Kwok Buddhist Temple and Cham Shan Temple also addressed the gathering. Leader of Conservative Party and Opposition Leader of Federal Parliament Andrew Sheer, Consul General of Sri Lanka U.L.M. Jauhar, Members of Federal Parliament Sven Spengemann, Peter Fonseca, Iqra Khalid as representatives of Prime Minister Trudeau, Senator Victor Oh and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie attended the Unity Vesak and greeted the gathering.
Addressing the gathering, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Toronto U.L.M. Jauhar said that many look at the path taught in Buddhism to overcome greed, hatred, fear and ignorance. He quoted from the message of President Maithripala Sirisena, in which he stated “The path to overcome greed, hatred, fear and ignorance is necessary not only for the social existence but also for the good governance. The Buddhist minds should develop the aspirations of a society in which there is no distinction of race, caste, religion or social status”.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Toronto was keenly involved in the organization of vesak celebrations and the Consul General attended the Dhamma school award ceremonies arranged by the Brampton-Caledon Buddhist Mission Centre and the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre of Mississauga on 13 May and the Toronto Maha Vihara on 3 June 2018, as chief guest.
The Consulate premises was also decorated with Buddhist flags and colorful Vesak lanterns made by the Consulate staff.