|Saturday, 7 December 2002|
Ceylon could give the world a gift : Peace through Buddhism
by a ' Daily News' Reporter
There is one gift a small country like Ceylon could give to the world, and that is peace through Buddhism.
This was the view expressed at a public meeting held yesterday evening by the Lanka Dhammaduta Society at the Town Hall, when a million-rupee fund for a Buddhist mission to Germany was inaugurated, Mr. Dudley Senanayake presided.
Proceedings began with the administration of Pansil by Ven. Baddegama Piyaratane Nayaka Thero, Principal, Vidyodaya Pirivena.
In a short disclosure, Ven. Piyaratana Nayaka Thero said a mission of this nature was very necessary, and it was gratifying that Ceylon should give the lead by sending a mission to Germany.
Best Books There were a number of Buddhist sympathizers in Germany and some of the best books on Buddhism had been written by German Scholars. Buddhism was the gift Ceylon could give to the world, and he was certain that although the mission was meant to propagate Buddhism in Germany, it would go further afield. Very shortly the Buddha Jayanthi would be celebrated throughout the Buddhist world, and he hoped Germany too would join in the celebrations.
Ven. Heenetiyana Dhammaloka Nayaka Thero said the fact that Emperor Asoka sent his son Mahinda Thero to Ceylon indicated that the great king had in mind that some day Ceylon would give a lead to the world. In fact leading Buddhist scholars freely consulted the scholars in Ceylon on matters relating to the philosophy of the Buddha.
Hope of new era Germany was just recovering and the fact that a mission was sent by Ceylon showed that this country could give a lead to the world.
Religion was necessary in a world dominated by thoughts of war, where the stronger nations were always trying to bully the small undefended nations. He hoped that the mission would inaugurate a new era in Europe.
Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thero said although this country was small, the teaching of the Buddha could be spread to the big countries. They were faced with wars and the utter destruction of the world by the atom bomb. In fact Ceylon had sent Buddhist missions to other countries when the world was threatened by destruction. He referred to the earlier Buddhist missions which in fact had to re-introduce Buddhism to India, the land of its origin.
Great awakening U Ba Lwin, Burmese Envoy in Ceylon, read a message from U Nu the Prime Minister of Burma, where he had given his blessing for the success of the mission to Germany. U Ba Lwin said there was a great awakening in the Buddhist world, and he hoped the Buddha Jayanthi would be celebrated in a most fitting manner throughout the world. In Burma they were having the Buddha Sangayana, a historic event of the greatest importance.
Ceylon had sent many missions to foreign countries and they had been a great success. The world was faced with the problems of peace, and nations were eager to do everything for a permanent peace. He hoped that the Buddhists in Ceylon would give all assistance to the mission to Germany.
Envoy impressed Dr. Georg Ahrens, Minister in Ceylon of the Federal Republic of Germany, said he had been a student of Buddhism and had been greatly impressed by its tolerance. He visited a German Bhikkhu in a hospital in Kandy and was much impressed by his lofty ideals. This Bhikkhu wished all success to the mission. The world was passing through great tribulation and people wanted peace. This was not wishful thinking but a genuine desire for enduring peace. He wished the mission success in its noble work to bring the teaching of the Buddha to the German people.
Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara, Minister of Local Government said Ceylon had sent Buddhist missions and all these missions had done good work. Although this mission was going specially to Germany, he hoped that the neighbouring countries to Germany too, would be benefited. The Buddhists should give all assistance to the mission.
Scholars rendezvous Mr. J. R. Jayewardene, Minister of Food, said that from time immemorial scholars from all over the world had come to Ceylon to study Buddhism. They were aware that some of the best books written on Buddhism were by Germany scholars. They should not be Buddhists only in name; they should practice what they preached. There was one gift a small country like Ceylon could give to the world and that was peace through Buddhism.
They were faced with destruction by the most horrible weapons of war, and the way to overcome this disaster was to spread the teaching of the Buddha to the western countries.
Mr. H.W. Amarasuriya said he welcomed the idea of sending a mission to Germany. Missions of this nature to foreign countries were necessary if they wanted to have peace.
Mr. R.G Senanayake said this was not the first time that missions of this sort went from Ceylon to foreign countries. When he was in England he associated himself with a movement to have a Buddhist mission in London.
Be tolerant Mr. P. de S. Kularatne said as Buddhists they must be tolerant to adherents of other religions. He would appeal to the Buddhists not to hinder adherents of other religions from putting up their own buildings for worship.
Dr. G.P. Malalasekera said he welcomed this mission because Germany was really interested in the study of Buddhism. The fact that the mission was going from Ceylon showed that Ceylon gave a lead to the rest of the world.
Mr. Dudley Senanayake said he welcomed this mission and wished it all success. Ceylon's contribution to the world could be the propagation of Buddhism. When they were faced with destruction with the atomic bomb, they could still show that Buddhism could bring about a saner policy in international affairs. He made an appeal for contributions to help the mission to start work as early as possible.
Mrs. B.S. Jayawardena also spoke. ( Extracted from the 'Ceylon Daily News' of September 7, 1954)
Produced by Lake House