by Bhikkhuni Seri
On Sunday, 28th October 2012, we had a simple Offering Of Robe Material Ceremony in the presence of 25 lay supporters, to mark the End of the Rains (Vassa) 2012 at Patacara Bhiikhuni Hermitage. Ayya Vayama’s cousin, Karina, and Aunty Shirley, Karina’s mother, arrived before 10.00am to meet Ayya Vayama and wish her Happy Birthday! Karina had come with her husband to visit Ayya Vayama earlier in May. Karina returned to Perth from Sydney especially to celebrate Ayya Vayama’s 60th birthday and brought her mother, Aunty Shirley with her. Ayya Vayama and all of us at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage were delighted to have the presence of Karina and Aunty Shirley for the Auspicious Occasion and the 60th Birthday Celebration.
Before the official start of Offering Of Robe Material Ceremony, Ayya Seri’s grandma, Ah Ying, sang a traditional ‘Happy Birthday’ in Cantonese to wish Ayya Vayama good health and happiness. This was then followed by birthday good wishes in Sinhala led by Ananda, wishing Ayya Vayama the attainment of Nibbana in this very life. We had to delay the special birthday wishes in English until the Birthday Celebration in the afternoon!
We started the Offering of Robe Material Ceremony by paying homage to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, followed by offering of Refuges and Five Precepts by Ayya Seri. Upulmali Govinnage offered the robe material to the Bhikkhunis of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage this year. A special blessing was offered to Upulmali Govinnage and those who were present for the offering of robe material. We concluded the Offering of Robe Material Ceremony with a blessing by the Bhikkhunis for the offering of dana.
Before the dana, a delicious chocolate birthday cake was offered for Ayya Vayama’s birthday. The Bhikkhunis had the opportunity to sample the birthday cake during the dana before noon!