Dhamma School at London Buddhist Vihara
The London Buddhist Vihara started in 1926 but until 1969 no Dhamma classes
were held for children. Under the guidance of Most Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana the
Youth League was formed at the beginning of 1969. The main points of the Youth
League were to give a fair knowledge of Buddhism to the Sri Lankan youth in
London; to familiarize them with the Buddhist way of life; and to assist the
Vihara in its endeavour to propagate the Dhamma in the West. This was the
foundation of the children's class in the Vihara. As the Sri Lankan population
was limited at the beginning, there were only a few students in these classes
but they started growing in number. The Youth League was terminated in 1971,
but the Dhamma classes continued to be conducted regularly. The Dhamma School
has developed gradually.
For the last 48 years the Vihara's Dhamma classes for children have been
conducted without a break. During this period many children have sat for the
examinations conducted by YMBA, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and they have successfully
completed their studies. Besides the practice and study of Dhamma, there are
many expatriate Sri Lankan Buddhists who wish to keep their heritage at the
forefront of their family living. With this in mind, Sinhala language classes
are held for children after the Dhamma class. In past years there has been an
opportunity for students to sit for G.C.E. O/level examinations in Sinhala here
in Britain. Many children have passed the examination.
It was in 1985 that we started to organize Rahula Dhamma Day and this has been
an important annual event in our calendar ever since. It is a day when we can
all meet together in an atmosphere of joyful happiness, meeting our friends and
celebrating the opportunity we have to hear the Buddha's wonderful Dhamma. This
is the only event in the year which is dedicated specially to our children.
They will be the future leaders in our society and we wish to give them the
best possible opportunity to learn about the Buddha's teachings and how to
apply them in their daily lives.
Our children have represented the Buddhist community in very important events
held in London. Children who studied at the Vihara were invited to go to the
annual Commonwealth Day celebrations. They have also participated in interfaith
events on many, different occasions.
There are a number of teachers who have dedicated their time and effort to
teach the Dhamma in the past and who are still doing so. We would like to thank
them all. If we were going to list all these names it will be a difficult task
to do. So, we simply thank them all for their valuable contribution.
The academic year commences in September to coincide with the new school year
and culminates in the June examination. LBV Dhamma classes are held every
Sunday from September to June with the exception of festival days, school
holidays, public and bank holidays. Classes commence at 2pm. At 3pm there is a
short period of Dhamma observance in which parents and other adults present
We have now approximately 150 children on the register and every year it is
growing in number. All Buddhist parents are encouraged to use this golden
opportunity to teach their children valuable Buddhist ethics and practice which
are not available in their day-to-day school curriculum. Please enroll your
children for the classes at the first opportunity. At the age of 4 1/2 years
children can attend the classes.