THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY
The Buddhist Society of Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, one of the pioneering societies was founded in 1998, with Dr. Indira Wijesiriwardhena as the Senior Treasurer and only 10 council members. Dr. Indira Wijesiriwardhena, the founder Senior Treasurer, rendered her service for 20 long years to mold the society in to the current organized position.
The first executive board of Buddhist society included the positions of President, Secretary, Vice President, Vice Secretary, Senior Treasurer and Junior Treasurer. Currently the board consists 35 council members including the Senior Treasurer.
After 3 years of the establishment of Buddhist Society, an alms giving program and Dharma sermon was conducted at Apeksha Hospital. Poson bhakthi gee and annual Pirith ceremony were the initial programs initiated by the Society. Initially funds were raised for the Society by selling Vesak cards. Society initiated and maintains a library for Buddhist Society.
The society has provided various religious and spiritual services in supporting students and staff. On par with the famous Buddhist saying preached by Lord Buddha “Your mind is everything, what you think, you will become”, our society has taken immense measures to mold and shape the young minds of students.
This year, the new board of members for the Buddhist Society were appointed at the Annual General Meeting held on 1st of March 2023 with the participation of Ven. Bangaladeshaye Pagna Thero, Prof. Aloka Pathirana, Dean of Faculty of Medical Sciences, Prof. Jananie Kottahachchi, Senior Treasurer and Prof. Hasini Bannaheka, Advisor to the society.
Activities Conducted by Buddhist Society
Annual Pirith Chanting Ceremony
The Pirith chanting ceremony is held in January annually, in memory of individuals who have donated their bodies to the Department of Anatomy of the Faculty and to evoke blessings to all in the Faculty. Every year, families of the donors are invited to the Pirith ceremony to participate in evoking merits for their beloved relatives. Students of all religions assist in organizing the event combining their concepts and adding a taste of their own cultures to the event.
The annual stethoscope scholarship is organized to support the medical undergraduates who are facing difficulties in obtaining primary medical equipment required for clinical appointments. The students are selected based on applicants suitability assessed by a panel consisting of senior lecturers of the Faculty. The donations are collected from the public, academic staff and the extended staff of the Faculty.
This year, the scholarship was successfully held on 26th of March 2023, under the patronage of the Dean of the Faculty Prof. Aloka Pathirana, Senior Treasurer of the Buddhist Society, Prof. Jananie Kotthachchi, and Advisor to the Society, Dr. Sajith Edirisinghe. Eleven medical students were granted stethoscopes and knee hammers.
Poson Bathi Gee Saraniya
“Prabhashwara” the Poson bathi gee saraniya is conducted with collaboration of Arts Circle of Faculty of Medical Sciences. The other religious societies such as Hindu Society and Catholic and Christian Society also perform to extend their blessings.
Following the Faculty event, the students visit the teaching hospitals, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital, Base Hospital, Homagama and Maharagama Apeksha Hospital and conduct the Bakthi Gee program in selected wards.
Annual Sri Pada Pilgrimage
The Buddhist Society organized the Sri Pada pilgrimage in 2022 after a long lapse. In 2023 the annual pilgrimage took place with the participation about 50 students. Although the hardest, the Ratnapura-Palabaddala route was taken to reach the peak. In parallel to the pilgrimage, a plastic waste clean-up was organized on the way down.
Vidusaviya - Cloth and Book Donation Project
Apart from the main events, the Buddhist Society has conducted various donation projects reaching out to communities in need. Donations are collected from the public as well as from the Faculty members as monetary contributions, books, stationery, clothes, essential household supplies, etc.
Vidusaviya project is carried out in collaboration with “Shakyaputhra” Foundation to support the young students living in rural areas. In 2023, Welioya is selected for this process. Packages of books and clothes will be distributed through the Foundation. Further, books will be donated to the paediatric ward of Dehiaththakandiya Hospital.
Concurrently to the above event, students of the Faculty are expected to visit the village to conduct health awareness, educational and motivational sessions in the hope of empowering the community.
“Ehipassiko” Discussion Programme
In 2022, a discussion was conducted on “Food security and child malnutrition”.
The resource persons were,
- Senior Prof. Rev. Pathegama Chanissara Thero (Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Sri Lankan Bhikshu University)
- Father Saman Maximus (Colombo Catholic students’ Union)
- Janani Thennakoon (Consultant Nutritionist)
- Senior Prof. Sepala Amarasekara Department of Human Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura)
“Awarjana” Quiz Competition
A quiz competition was held via zoom with the participation of students of all the batches of the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the 1st batch of students of Faculty of Dental Science. The competition was held to assess the competency and knowledge in Buddhism among the students. For the final round an oratory competition was also held to improve public speaking skills.
Vesak Dharma Sermon
Dharma sermons are conducted monthly customarily to acknowledge the importance of spiritual development of inner self. A Buddhist priest is invited to the Faculty to deliver the sermons.
Poya Day Articles
Justifying the main motto of the society, the community was continuously updated and refreshed through social media by posting special articles regarding poya days. Emphasis is on the importance of each poya day from Duruthu to Uduwap. The society maintains a Facebook page to disseminate the articles to enlighten not only the Buddhists but also individuals of other religions. A special series of articles regarding the cultural perspective and the importance of Buddhist culture were posted in Facebook to advocate the local and foreign community.
Ice Cream Dansala
A mindfulness programme was conducted for all the medical students and staff members irrespective of their religions, by Dr. Sanath Mahavithanage. The main aim was to spark changes in the minds for the better for achieving a bigger change in lives.