Wednesday, 24 December 2003  
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Condolence Messages

Fearlessly awakened the Sinhala race

Message of condolence by Ven. Galagama Dhammaransi Thera, the Lekhakadhikari of Amarapura Mrammawansabhi Dhaja Siri Saddhamma Yukthika Nikaya of Sri Hathbodhi Viharaya, Narahenpita.

In a message of condolence on the demise of the late Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera states that the late Venerable Thera has entered the history of Sri Lanka as a son of the Enlightened One who observed to the very letter the Buddha's advice to "Go forth with compassion and wander through cities, villages and hamlets for the well-being of the many".

The late Thera possessed the capacity to be unbiased, conscientious and upright before all national and religious problems.

He was bona fide in principle, honest and straightforward, law abiding and pleasant in disposition.Piety, wisdom and erudition which are the main phenomena of a great Buddhist monk were conspicuous in the character of the late venerable Thera, it read.

In his discourses the late Thera often opened a dialogue for us to inquire from ourselves whether we are honestly Buddhists, and what are the characteristics of a Buddhist and by what yardstick are we to measure ourselves.

The late venerable Thera was merciless in attacking those who used religion as a cat's paw to fish in troubled waters and those who used religion as a white cloth to conceal one's sins.

Since the passing away of the late Vadibasinghe Migettuwatte Gunananda Nayaka Thera, the late Ven. Soma Thera is the next in line as a fearless Buddhist Monk who awakened the Sinhala Race, stated the message of condolence.

The sudden demise of a patriotic and religious Buddhist Monk of the calibre of the late Venerable Soma Thera is a great loss to the country and the Buddhist Order. May he attain the Bliss of everlasting peace, concluded the message.

Unbearable loss and grief to the nation

Message of condolence by Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando

Sudden demise of eloquent, amiable and well-disciplined prelate, Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera who clarified to the people the deep philosophy of Buddhism in simple terms to soothe the minds of Sri Lankan Buddhists and who acted to bring about religious renaissance among Buddhists by distinguishing Buddhism and mythical opinions, is an unbearable loss and a grief to the whole nation.

Ven. Soma Thera dedicated his life to build-up a virtuous society and preached Buddhists, particularly the younger generation, in a very interesting manner depicting the necessity of moulding one's life precluding liquor, gambling and misconduct.

Ven. soma Thera who carried out missionary activities not only in Sri Lanka but in other countries as well was well-respected by all communities for the manner he had pioneered Damma mission through both print and electronic media. I wish that this intelligent eloquent prelate who duly completed his religious duty, who had great qualities to the brim and who bid farewell to the country and its people today may blessed by the prayers of the whole nation and attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Tyronne Fernando, P.C., Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Great loss to all communities

Message of condolence by A. H. M. Fowzie MP

The sudden demise of Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera has brought shock and grief the whole country. It is indeed a great loss to men of all communities that an outspoken erudite scholar of the calibre of Ven. Soma Thera to leave all of us, as though somebody has robbed him away from us.

His demise, particularly at a time his preaching has stirred the nation towards decriminalisation of the society is most felt. He, by his preaching has wrought about a movement of renaissance by which he expected the society to be turned into a righteous society.

His words were such powerful that a large number of people, mainly Buddhists, have been influenced to change their lifestyles based on Dhamma. He preached the more pure form of Buddhism which strengthened the Buddhist Culture purifying it from all forms of other cultural encroachment. This made him look a more controversial figure. But in reality, this is what exactly the need of the hour, as far as all other religions too.

This would bring religions much less in conflict with other religions. In this, he shone out as a charismatic person who took Buddhism out of the confines of temples on to political stage, as well as to man on the street.

I conveying the deepest condolences of the Muslim community and that of myself personally, I wish to reiterate that my firm belief that the words of Ven. Soma Thera will be more powerful to change the society in the future although he is no more amidst us to give lead to his vocal campaign. This is indicated by the many hundred thousands of youths who flock in to pay homage to an inspiring preacher, leader and guide.

A. H. M. Fowzie, MP, Colombo District

Earned the love and affection of different faiths

Message of condolence from the All Ceylon Moors Association

"President of the A.C.M.A., Al Haj A. C. M. Shafeek, in a message of condolence released to the Daily News said: On behalf of the A.C.M.A., I wish to extend our sympathies on the sudden demise of the late Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera an erudite Buddhist scholar, who had earned the love and affection of not only the Buddhists of this country but also others of different faith, for his forthright views and bold expressions on matters concerning cultural and social aspects.

He campaigned and worked hard against social injustice, corruption and violence. A versatile preacher of Buddhism, he played a major role in transforming the religious lifestyle of the younger people which will be remembered by everyone."

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