|Saturday, 24 April 2004|
80th anniversary of Das Buddhistische Haus in Berlin - Frohnau, Germany
The German Dharmaduta Society will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the founding of Das Buddhistische Haus in the picturesque Berlin suburb of Frohnau, Germany, by sponsoring a series of activities throughout the year.
Das Buddhistische Haus was founded by Dr. Paul Dahlke, Buddhist Philosopher and pioneer of Buddhism in Europe, in 1924. He visited Sri Lanka eight times. Dr. Dahlke died in 1928.
The German Dharmaduta Society, founded in 1952 by Asoka Weeraratna, purchased the premises of Das Buddhistsiche Haus from the heirs of Dr. Dahlke in 1957, and converted it into a Buddhist VihŸra by providing residence to monks drawn from Sri Lanka and other countries.
Since then there has been a continuing stream of Monks to take up residence in the Buddhist House (also called Berlin Buddhist Vihara) and spread the Buddha - Dhamma in Germany and other parts of Europe.
The German public authorities have designated "Das Buddhistische Haus" (the oldest and largest Theravada Buddhist centre in Europe) as a National Heritage site.
The commemorative activities commence today with an Exhibition at the Humboldt Library in Berlin - Reinickendorf displaying 50 exhibits of Buddhist Art drawn by the internationally reputed Sri Lankan artist Nihal Sangabo Dias.
This is the first time that an Exhibition of Buddhist Art done exclusively by a Sri Lankan Artist will be on display in Germany.
These drawings cover the major incidents in the life of the Buddha and Buddhist customs. Also on display will be some rare photographs depicting the highlights in the history of Das Buddhistische Haus and the German Dharmaduta Society.
An attractive Souvenir containing a series of memorable photographs and articles in both English and German on Dr. Dahlke, his pioneering role in introducing Buddhism to Germany and the Sri Lankan contribution towards maintaining a Theravada Buddhist presence in Central Europe via Das Buddhistische Haus, will be released to mark the occasion.
The exhibition will continue throughout the Vesak period until the 18th May, 2004. Bhante Dr. Seelavansa, Lecturer in Buddhist Philosophy at the University of Vienna will deliver the keynote speech on the topic 'Dr. Dahlke and the Development of Buddhism in Germany' at the opening ceremony of the exhibition
Others due to speak at the opening are: the Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Germany C.D. Casie Chetty, Mayor of Berlin - Reinickendorf Marlies Wanjura, Town Councillor for Culture and Ecological Environment, Berlin - Reinickendorf Dr. Thomas Gaudszun, and Chief Resident Monk of the Berlin Vihara Ven. Rathmale Punnaratana Thera, Tissa Weeraratna (Vice-President of the German Dharmaduta Society and Administrator of the Berlin Buddhist Vihara) and Karunasena Sonnadara, Chairman of a Foundation supporting the Berlin Buddhist Vihara.
The web address of the Berlin Buddhist Vihara is www.buddhistisches-haus.de
Produced by Lake House