Peerless Poson Poya Pageant: Englightenment in the Peerless Poson Poya Pageant: Englightenment in the Mango Grove


‘Spiritual pageant’ is the most eloquently befitting definition that can effectively capture the inner essence of the Poson presence of Arahant Mahinda at the Mango Grove that has now acquired a sacred aura.

The whole island was in the midst of a royally-decreed National Festival. The King had set aside this day for a ‘Deer Hunt’ in the Mango Grove.

By this time Arahant Mahinda had already arrived at that site by air with a saintly retinue of six, and had alighted on the Rock at the Mango Grove.

The King, with his bow and arrow ready, was rushing past the Rock earnestly chasing the deer he had targeted. Suddenly he stood still, when someone accosted him by his first name ‘Tissa’. His fury knew no bounds, as there was no being who had the audacity to call him by his first name. Looking around, he saw a solitary figure in saffron robes, on the top of the Rock. (Arahant Mahinda had concealed the others, by his miraculous powers).

In his uncontrollable resentment at the daring of this ‘odd looking’ character, the King became abusive.

Pujavaliya the reputed Sinhala classic, states that Arahant Mahinda listened to all those words of insult with saintly patience and responded with this statement:

“Oh great King, we are monks, disciples of the King of Truth. We have come from Jambudipa (India) in our compassion for you.”

Pujavaliya comments, that, Arahant Mahinda listened to the insults of the King, “with the indulgence of a father, responding to the childish prattle of an infant,” and calmed the troubled mind of the King, revealing the reality.

Immediately, there is a dramatic change in the King. He espouses the Timeless Dispensation of the Supremely Enlightened Buddha along with all his people.

To my mind, this could very well be the swiftest conversion of a whole nation, in recorded history.

This miraculous transformation, that took place about 2,265 years ago, has endowed upon us an unresolved enigma.

Emperor Dharmasoka sent spiritual emissaries to a whole series of countries. The missionaries who took his spiritual message to most countries were primarily elderly monks.

But, consider Sri Lanka.

The Great Emperor Asoka sent to our land his son and daughter- Ven. Mahinda and Ven. Sanghamitta. Over and above that the Emperor saw to it that, 18 clans of persons, well-versed in a vast range of crafts and rituals arrived in Sri Lanka to perform tasks associated with the practice of the New Religion.

But, there was a prefatory phase we should focus on. Early in the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, the Emperor had the Sri Lankan Ruler consecrated a second time, during which the Ruler had to take on the Title Devanampiya (Beloved of Gods) as an Imperial Gift from Emperor Asoka.

Under the Emperor’s patronage a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree was brought here by the Ven. Sangamitta.

Both Ven. Arahant Mahinda and Ven. Sangamitha passed into Nibbana during the reign of King Uttiya (207-197 BC). Arahant Mahinda was 60 Ven. Sangamitha was 59. But exactly what was the reason for Emperor Asoka to focus so keenly on Buddhism in our land?

Strangely enough, Arahant Mahinda conducted the earliest I Q, in Sri Lanka’s history when he tested King Devanampiyatissa’s wisdom through a series of queries.

If one is interested in making an in-depth study of the sustained effort Arahant Mahinda made to establish Buddhism on a firm footing in Sri Lanka one must go through the detailed chronology effected by the author of Pujavaliya about the impressive range of activities of Arahant Mahinda in the early and formative days of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

The Ven. Author of Pujavaliya, sets down in high admiration that Arahant Mahinda presented a multitude of sermons without getting down any reference book from India.

That is only a mere drop in the massive ocean of achievements by Ven. Arahant Mahinda. He converted tens of thousands into monks and nuns; established a Buddhist monastic culture that is still alive even in this 21st century. The temple rituals and lay practices of Sri Lankan Buddhists can be traced back to the ramifications of his initiatives.

The primary ritual of calling the faithful to listen to a sermon was practised on the Rock in the Mango Grove.

In this very first input at the Rock in the Mango Grove, Ven. Arahant Mahinda requests the Novice Monk Sumana to call out to deities to listen to the sermon.

The moderns will be overwhelmed by surprise when they become aware that most of our monastic and lay Buddhist rituals can be traced to this miraculous Poson Encounter at the Mango Grove.

Our Poson Day should be to meditate profoundly on the manner in which Ven. Arahant Mahinda and his saintly retinue, ensured the lasting presence of the Buddha’s sacred Dispensation in this Isle of Righteousness. (Dharmadvipa).

Scholarly research about the immortal contribution of Arahant Mahinda to the Timeless Teachings of the Buddha while residing in our Noble Land will invariably prove that the popular designation of Arahant Mahinda as the second Buddha is pre-eminently apt.

2019 Lotus Lantern Festival wishing for peace held successfully with more than 400,000 people participating


SEOUL, South Korea, June 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The 2019 Lotus Lantern Festival called YeonDeungHoe, one of Korea’s traditional annual events and Intangible Cultural Property No. 122, has been successfully held with more than 400,000 Buddhists, citizens, foreign residents and visitors participating and enjoying the festival together.

To celebrate Buddha’s birthday and wish for peace, this year’s Lotus lantern festival took place from May 3 to 5, with a variety of programs including lantern parade and traditional cultural events.

During the festival, about 100,000 beautiful lanterns brightened Seoul’s night sky, delivering the wishes of temples and organizations that had prepared the lanterns for the last one year, and giving warm energies to people’s hearts.

A wide variety of colorful lanterns, such as 4 Buddhist instrument lanterns and Bodhi tree lanterns (grande lanterns) which symbolizes Buddha and his birth, Taegeukgi (the Korean flag) lanterns and star lanterns, had attracted people’s attention. During the Hoehyang Hanmadang, which combines the splendid, majestic energy and passion of the lantern parade, both Koreans and foreigners expressed their joy by enjoying the “flower rain” from the sky and traditional performances as well as fast beat music of EDM.

On May 5, which is Children’s Day in Korea, Traditional Cultural Events featured six themes: “youth and children,” “international,” “NGO,” “food,” “tradition” and “sharing.” Several programs for kids were prepared, such as traditional ring toss and a game of ttakji-chigi, or slap-match. Surprisingly, Buddhist monks gave presents to children on the streets, which was very popular among kids.

In the “Lotus Lantern-Making for foreigners”, around 200 foreigners participated and made colorful lanterns with a unique harmony of colors, while participants’ children also enjoyed Korea’s Children’s Day by playing yut, a traditional board game, and jegichagi, Korean shuttlecock game, for the first time.

Yeondeungnori started with grande lantern parade led by the festival’s global supporters and small-sized parade by Yeonhui Group. It was full of happy energy with a variety of performances and ended with promise for the next year’s lotus lantern festival (YeonDeungHoe).

Exhibitions of traditional lanterns held in Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple, and Cheonggyecheon Stream were also successful. The beautiful lanterns that had shone with the lantern festival will be even brighter in the next year. Next year’s Lotus Lantern Festival is scheduled to take place from April 24 to 26, 2020.

SOURCE Yeon Deung Hoe Preservation Committee

Half Marathon will close Highway 50


More than 1,800 runners are expected to participate June 15 in the 5th annual Rock Tahoe Half Marathon at Lake Tahoe.

Runners will enjoy the south and east shore scenery as they go past Glenbrook, Logan Shoals, Cave Rock, Round Hill Pines, Nevada Beach and Rabe Meadow and wind down over 1,000 feet from Spooner Summit to the finish line at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.

About 100 runners are returning to participate in the event, sponsored by Epic Tahoe Adventures, for a fifth time.

“We are truly humbled by the number of runners who return to Rock Tahoe year after year,” Epic Tahoe Adventures’ Jessica Schnoll said. “This year alone, 40 percent of the total registered participants have completed Rock Tahoe before and are returning for a second, third, fourth, or even fifth time.”

“Rock Tahoe introduced me to half marathons five years ago and I’ve come back every year,” said South Lake Tahoe resident and five-year legacy runner Katie Joll. “The serenity of an early morning run by the lake can’t be beat and there’s an amazing vibe to this whole event. I’m looking forward to crossing the finish again to celebrate Rock Tahoe number five this year.”

The race weekend starts with a “Rock the Plaza” Packet Pick-up and Pre-Race Expo from 2 to 8 p.m. June 14 on the Guitar Plaza in front of Alpine Union at the Hard Rock.

The event is open to the public and will feature booths from both local and national sponsors, including samples from Lake Tahoe AleWorX, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Nuun, Honey Stinger and more.

Racers can pick up their race packets, snap photos in the digital photo booth and shop all of the official Rock Tahoe Half Marathon merchandise.

Race day begins bright and early the next morning at Spooner Summit with the high-energy Run MC and Kaia Fit getting runners warmed up and pumped up at the start line.

The race features two start times — 7 a.m. for walkers/joggers and 8 for runners.

With seven aid stations on course, the event is fully prepared to meet racers’ hydration and nutritional needs. The aid stations are all hosted by local organizations.

When runners finish the 13.1-mile course, a Finish Line Festival & Post-Race Pool Party will be happening through the day.

Runners receive a free can of Cali Common from Lake Tahoe AleWorX, vanilla dairy-free milk from Ripple, a complimentary massage from Bodhi Tree Massage School and guided stretching from Lake Tahoe Yoga.

The finish line festival features several other vendors plus the return of food trucks including local favorites.

The Rock Tahoe finish line festival is open to the public as well as participants. The festivities kick off at 8 a.m. and the first race finisher is expected around 9:15.

Winning times for males and females in 2018 were 1:20:42 by Melvin Nyairo and 1:36:37 by Stephanie Carlsake, respectively. Both will be defending their titles.

Awards are given to the top three men and women, along with the first-third spots in each age/gender group.

Registration was still open for this year’s race with just under 100 left spots as of Tuesday.

Prince William students take top honors at research symposium


Students from Benton and Graham Park middle schools and Colgan High School received awards for papers accepted to the 78th Annual Meeting of the Virginia Junior Academy of Science Research Symposium, held May 21-23 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

VJAS is sponsored by the Virginia Academy of Science and is a forum where middle and high school students compete after months of experimentation and preparing their projects for scientific presentation, according to a news release.

The research symposium also provides an opportunity for students to attend lectures by professional scientists, scientific paper sessions of the VAS and research presentations by their peers.

From Graham Park Middle, Desmen Andrew Boykin received first place in the Ecology and Earth Sciences category for his research titled “The Effect of Micro-Plastic Polymers on the Ficus Religiosa Bodhi Tree’s Shoot and Root systems.”

His paper also received the Dorothy Knowlton Award, given to the middle school student presenting the best paper in the life sciences.

Desmen also is one of only four students to earn the top award of the American Junior Academy of Science, an award given by the Virginia Academy of Science to students in grades 8-11 for presenting the most outstanding papers at the symposium.

The winners are invited to attend the annual meeting to present their research before the American Junior Academy of Science, which meets concurrently with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in February 2020 in Seattle.

Desmen also received the Ertel Thompson Memorial Endowment Award, presented to the grand prize winners of the research symposium to assist in their travel expenses.

From Benton Middle School:

• Tony Bright, Arman Lateef, and Gabriel Ralston took first place in the category of Animal and Human Sciences for their presentation of their research, titled “To breathe or not to breathe: Can face masks diminish inhaled pollution and improve health outcomes in Drosophila melanogaster?” The team was invited to present their research to the Virginia Academy of Science symposium to undergraduate and graduate students.

• Max Sigrest received second place in the Engineering and Technology category for presenting his work, titled “Invisible Fence: #NotJustForDogs: The effect of subdividing an array of an 802.11ac SOHO Router on the ability to localize a mobile device.”

• Fares Elsherbiny and Caleb Morgan took second place in the Human Behavior category with research titled “Fidget Wars: The effect of fidget toys on the concentration of school-age children.”

Shan Lateef, currently a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, won first place in the high school division in the Medicine and Health category and also won one of the four Best of Symposium awards. Lateef will travel to Seattle in February 2020 and present his research at the American Junior Academy of Science Symposium.

Colgan High’s Nicholas Morgan and Malak Elsherbiny presented their research, “The Effect of Magnets on Plant Growth Rate and Size,” in the Botany category.