Author Topic: President Mahinda Rajapakse meets Indian Buddhist Delegation  (Read 3397 times)


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
President Mahinda Rajapakse meets Indian Buddhist Delegation
« on: March 06, 2013, 05:08:04 AM »
Looks like another step for India to re-establish Buddhism in their country. They have invited Buddhist envoys into India from Sri Lanka. I rejoice for this re-establishment after many centuries! There is also a very brief history of how Buddhism re-emerged in india during the 1950s.


President Mahinda Rajapakse meets Indian Buddhist Delegation
Posted on March 5th, 2013
Senaka Weeraratna Co – ordinator Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network
An eight member Indian Buddhist delegation led by Ven. Dr. Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera met HE the President Mahinda Rajapakse at the President’s House in Kandy on February 22. The primary purpose of the visit of the Indian delegation was to strengthen ties between the Buddhists of the two countries and bring India and Sri Lanka closer to each other through the historical bond and civilizational link of Buddhism.  They also canvassed the possibility of the installation of a statue in Colombo in honour of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Indian Buddhist savant, who in the wake of the foundation laid by the Anagarika Dharmapala for the revival of Buddhism in India in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th Century, was instrumental in bringing large numbers of Indians i.e. literally hundreds of thousands of down trodden people (Dalits) into the fold of Buddhism.

On the historic day of October 14, 1956 at Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur Dr. Ambedkar publicly converted to Buddhism. He took the three refuges and the Five Precepts from a Burmese Buddhist monk, Bhadant U Chandramani, in the traditional manner, and in his turn administered them to the 600,000 of his followers who were present. The conversion ceremony was attended by Medharthi, his main disciple Bhoj Dev Mudit, and Mahastvir Bodhanand’s Sinhalese Buddhist successor, Bhante Pragyanand. This is considered as perhaps the largest conversion of people from one religion to another at one single place in recorded history.

Left to Right

Front Row :  Dr.Sachchidanand Fulekar, Avinash Kamble, Ramdas Athawale, President Mahinda Rajapakse, Ven. Rahula Bodhi, Sachin M. Moon,

2nd Row:  Hon. Tikiri Kobbekaduwa (Governor, Central Province), R.L. Tambe, Vishwas Sakru Sarode, Dr. Lilaknath Weerasinghe

3rd Row:  Senaka Weeraratna, W. Panditaratne, Dr. W.A.L. Wickremasinghe, Dr. Jivaki Bandara

4th Row: Dr. Shirani Jayasinghe and Sena Dumbaranga

5th Row: Dr. H. B. Jayasinghe,

Dr. Ambedkar would pass away less than two months later on the 6th of December 1956, just after finishing his definitive work on Buddhism. Many Indian Buddhists employ the term “Ambedkar(ite) Buddhism” to designate the Buddhist movement, which started with Ambedkar’s conversion. Today, the growing Indian Buddhist population is estimated to be in the vicinity of 70 – 90 million people. In the Lok Sabha ( India’s Parliament in New Delhi) 127 Members of Parliament (MPs) out of a total number of 552 MPs identify themselves as ‘Ambedkarites’ (followers of Ambedkar) though they are not necessarily all Buddhists.

The Indian Buddhist team arrived in Sri Lanka on February 21 at the invitation of Dr. Lilaknath Weerasinghe, President ‘Success Sri Lanka’ based in Kandy and its membership, which hosted the delegation during their stay in Kandy and Colombo and accompanied them to Anuradhapura in conjunction with the generous assistance provided mainly by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress and co – ordinated by the German Dharmaduta Society (in association with the Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network), all of which entities constitute Regional Centres of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB).

The Indian Buddhist Team comprised the following members:

1)Most Venerable Dr. Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera

President Bhikkhu Sangha’s United Buddhist Mission, India.

2)  Mr. Ramdas Athawale, Former Member of Parliament (MP), Vice President – The World Fellowship of Buddhist, India

3) Mr. Avinash Kamble, President – United Buddhist Federation, India.

4)Mr. R.L. Tambe,Principal – Tambe Education Society College, Mumbai.

5) Mr. Sachchidanand Fulekar, Principal – Dr. Ambedkar Law College, Nagpur.

6) Mr. Sachin M. Moon, Managing Director, Lord Buddha Television, India.

7)Ven. Bhadant Rewat Bodhi, High Priest, Bhikkhu Niwas Gedam layout, Nagpur, India.

8)  Mr. Vishwas Sakru Sarode, Director, HR & IR, Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai

During the course of their visit the Indian Buddhist delegation met the Maha Nayaka Theros of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera, President, Maha Bodhi Society, Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Maha Thera (President, Buddhist Cultural Centre), Ven. Dr. W. Wimalagnana Thera (Gangaramaya, Peliyagoda), Ven. Medagama Dhammananda (Asgiriya Maha Viharaya), Ven. Getamande Gunananda Thera, Ven. T. Palitha (Nalandaramaya, Nugegoda), Ven. Mettavihari and Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Thero ( Chief Sanghanayake Thero of the United Kingdom currently on a visit to Sri Lanka), among others.

At a public talk delivered by Ven. Dr. Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera on the topic ‘ The Revival of Buddhism in India’ on March 1, at the Maha Bodhi Society, Colombo, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera made a public announcement that a suitable portion of land within the boundaries of the Maha Bodhi Society precincts at Maradana, Colombo 10 would be allocated for the installation of the first statue of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (in Sri Lanka) and in close proximity to the pre-existing statue of Angarika Dharmapala, founder of the Maha Bodhi Society.

A significant proposal made by Ven .Kirama Wimalajothi Thera for the establishment of an Institute under the name of, say, ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Indo-Sri Lanka Buddhist Centre’  on a 2 – 5 acre plot of land in extent within a reasonable distance of Colombo is under serious discussion. This proposed Centre will provide residential facilities as well as training opportunities for visiting Indian Buddhist monks and nuns, both strictly separated in different buildings.    There will be a Board of Management to plan and administer the premises and the Dhamma teachings. The establishment of a corresponding Centre in India in either Nagpur or Mumbai has also been suggested.

The convening of an International Conference on the topic ‘ The Revival and Renaissance of Buddhism in India in the 20th Century’ has also been mooted. Both India and Sri Lanka share a deep civilisational continuum. The frequency of these interactions through the bond of Buddhism will re- activate our civilisational paradigm, and make people of both countries re- discover the lost sense of our history, geography, and culture, which determined our understanding and relations with each other, and others in our neighbourhood.

Senaka Weeraratna

Co – ordinator

Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network