It was quite a busy Saturday morning on 2nd March 2019 as many students and staff members were seen in the premises near the main hall making arrangements for the 44th Annual Pirith Ceremony. Abiding with the traditions, this year too the ceremony was organised by the Buddhist Students’ Movement (BSM) of the College along with the generous assistance of the staff, parents, hostellers and the grade 13 students.
The Pirith Ceremony
The night was lit up by the flicker of the oil lamps which were placed along the driveway and the stairs leading up to the main hall. Meanwhile, the torch and flag bearers were anxiously waiting for the arrival of the reverend monks. The event was organized magnificently and the overall decorations were charming and minimalistic, giving the feeling of simplicity of the Buddhist philosophy.
The Pirith chamber (Pirith kotuwa) was significantly different this year compared to last year in terms of its simplicity. The venerable monks blessed the occasion with their presence, and they did not forget to appreciate the fact that an Anglican school has been organizing this event consecutively for more than 40 years. More students and parents were seen at the pirith ceremony compared to the previous years. It was a pleasure to see a few newly joined grade 1 students with their parents. They were very grateful to be a part of the event as well.
It was also interesting to notice a few members of the 1st XV Rugby team at the ceremony who came all the way from Colombo after their glorious win against Zahira College Colombo.
After the ‘Sarvarathrika Pirith Ceremony’, The hostelers and the staff sprung back to action again to make arrangements for the almsgiving on Sunday morning.
A venerable monk gave a short introduction of the occasion to those present before starting the proceedings of the almsgiving. The monk stated,
“The Buddhist Students’ Movement has been continuously organizing this ceremony for 44 years. Even though Trinity is an Anglican School it organizes the pirith ceremony and the almsgiving in a way which is not even seen in a Buddhist school. From what we know, Trinity is the only school which has been organizing this event continuously for more than 40 years. Trinity is not only recognized locally but also all around the world as a leading school with sound education, sports and other facilities. From its inception to now , if Trinity has developed in every manner, it is because of such sacred deeds. Christians , Hindus and Muslim students study at this prestigious college, and today there are many non-Buddhist students and staff members present here. Being united regardless of religious differences is a good example for the society of our country. We can mention that Trinity teaches the students how to be exceptional citizens to the society through learning the values of life.”
The almsgiving was dedicated to bring blessings to the Principal, Vice Principal, Co-vice Principal, staff, parents and students while also remembering the lives of late master Bathiya Ekanayake, Mr Alex Lazurus, and lives of all Trinitians who sacrificed their lives to the society.
Along with the help of the caterers, hostelers, and staff the almsgiving was successfully completed. To conclude proceedings of this sacred event, ‘Pirikara’ (monastic requisites) were presented to the monks as a traditional offering. And so the participants were also called upon to transfer the merits they have thus acquired for the well-being of their dead kinsmen and friends.
At the end of the almsgiving, the monks were escorted back to the temple.
It also seemed that the religious diversity at Trinity did not stop students from being a part of this sacred ceremony. Many students who were Muslim, Hindu and Christians were there to help the BSM and the staff with the proceedings. This clearly displays the true humanitarian values that College has inculcated in the hearts of all Trinitians. Thus it is the responsibility of the present and future communities of Trinity to ensure that rich traditions such as this carried out for years to come.
Message from the President
“I would like to extend my heartiest gratitude to each and every teacher, parent and student who attended this year’s 44th annual Pirith Ceremony and the Almsgiving. As usual, this year too we had the support and assistance of the fellow boarders and students of grade 13 who were generous enough to take their time off from the weekend, stay back in College and see to all the arrangements.
I like to appreciate the presence of many Christians, Hindus and Islamic boys who were seen both at the pirith ceremony and the almsgiving. It is indeed a blessing for the BSM and us as Buddhists to witness the unity of brotherhood regardless of religion, race, age and caste.
I thank the Principal, Mr Andrew Fowler-Watt and the school management for allowing us to continue this sacred tradition this year as well and our teacher-in-charge Mrs Seetha Dissanayake who has been supporting us throughout the arrangements. I also need to mention Mr Mallawa Dissanayake, our previous master-in-charge to whom the credit should be given for being a thriving force of the BSM for many years in the past. We are very grateful to have such staff members in the vicinity of the school.
I would also like to acknowledge the presence of the venerable monks whose blessings brought great peace and harmony to the Trinity community.
I also thank the Committee of the BSM, Samuditha Perera (Secretary), Thamindu Perera (Treasurer), Gimhan Vithanage and Naween Aluwihare from grade 13, Niluminda Dharmawardhane and Bimalka Paingamuwa from grade 12, Thewmika Nimalasena and Omindu Munasinghe from grade 11, Dhananjaya Herath and Chelaka Samaraweera from grade 10 and Uvan Withanage, Yevan Hulangamuwa and Linuka Mallikaarachchi from grade 9.
Finally, I would like to emphasize to all fellow Trinitians, that religion is as important as the education and the discipline we get, and request the whole of Buddhist community at Trinity (both staff and students) to always be a part of every religious occasion in the school keeping to the promise of being ‘best’ in word and deed.”
Uvin Hasanka Vithanage (President, Buddhist Students’ Movement)
We would also like to inform our readers that over the years Trinity College has produced two Mahanayakes and several monks.
- Rev. Madugalle Sri Sumana Siddhartha Dharmasiddi – former Chief Prelate (Mahanayaka Thera) of the Malwatte Chapter, Sri Lanka.
- Rev. Udugama Sri Buddharakitha Rathanapala – former Chief Prelate (Mahanayaka Thera) of the Asgiriya Chapter, Sri Lanka
The beginnings of the BSM dates back to 1976 when Principal Mr Lionel Fernando started the society to facilitate the needs of the Buddhist community at Trinity College. The 1976 college magazine states that even at that time the whole school despite their religion, age and race differences voluntarily participated in the pirith ceremony and the almsgiving. We hope this rich and sacred tradition will continue to take place in the school on the hill as Trinity continues to inculcate true religious values in the hearts and minds of Trinitians both present and in the future to come.
Reviewed by Uthsara Dissanayake, Thambara Basnayake and Dinil Jayasuriya