|Princess Royal visits the London Buddhist vihara
The Princess Royal visited the London Buddhist Vihara recently. The visit was organized as part of a series of royal visits to all the major faith communities in the United Kingdom to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. The London Buddhist Vihara was greatly honored to be selected as the most suitable venue to host this important event on behalf of the entire Buddhist community in the UK. Working in close co-operation with the Network of Buddhist Organisations, invitations were extended to monks and lay people from all Buddhist traditions together with prominent members of the InterFaith Network. A large gathering attended Video screens were erected to relay pictures of the events to all parts of the Vihara.
In his welcome speech, Most Ven. Dr. M. Vajiragnana, the head of the Vihara and Sangha Nayake of Great Britain, paid tribute to the benign and stabilising influence of the Queen during her long reign of 50 years. He emphasised the commitment of Buddhists to serve the whole community in matters of visiting schools, hospitals and social service in general. In her reply, the Princess Royal said in her travels all over the world she had always been made very welcome in Buddhist countries, and she had a high opinion of the monastic community and the contribution it makes to the well-being of society.
Monks from the Theravada, Chinese and Tibetan traditions performed chanting to invoke blessings, long life and happiness on Queen Elizabeth. A Buddha rupa, portraying the "no fear" pose, was presented to the Princess Royal by Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana. Later the guests were entertained by cultural dances from Sri Lanka, China and Nepal.
The Princess Royal then unveiled a commemorative plaque marking the building extension to the Vihara. After that, she spent about half an hour walking around the Vihara, speaking to many of the monks, supporters of the Vihara and InterFaith representatives.
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