Sri Lanka to regain lead in disseminating Buddha Dhamma worldwide

by Priyanka KURUGALA, Lanka Daily News, May 29, 2010

Largest Information Centre for Buddhists

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Buddhism has been in existence for too many centuries. Although there are many Buddhists all over the world, not many practice the religion. Most of them call themselves as Buddhists, but they do not follow the teachings of the Buddha.

Entertainment seems to be the order of the day. Modern people live in fantasies. Because of the open economy and globalization our culture is being pushed towards the western patterns. Westernization has seeped into our Buddhist culture and customs too. The value of Buddhism has been neglected by most in the modern society.

Deterioration of ethics

In this background the Buddhist Cultural Centre has come forward to launch a huge program to rebuild vanishing culture. Buddhist Cultural Centre Founder Ven. Kirama Vimalajothi Thera recollected his memories.

"In 1972 I migrated to Malaysia for missionary works. I lived abroad for about 17 years. When I came to the motherland in 1989, this land had undergone a complete change. The youth generation was concerned only on physical and technical matters. Under the education system our students distanced themselves from books. The young generation acted as puppets of the modern industrial culture. The rulers of the country had let them go astray."

Ven. Kirama Vimalajothi Thera took action to rebuild the value of new generation. He began the Buddhist Cultural Centre. And as another step he commenced publishing Buddhist books, and distributed them all across the country. Those works attracted the reading of many. These organized book exhibitions made people attracted to books. It was one method to motivate the people to read books. It was a good way to introduce the people to our culture again. At first the Buddhist Cultural Centre took steps to hold a book exhibition at the Art Gallery in 1994. It was the start of annual Book Fair at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall by Book Publishers' Association.

Buddhist Cultural Centre has commenced another program. To commemorate the 2600th Buddhist Enlightenment they have started working on the largest Buddhist Information Centre, Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya. It will be the largest Centre in the Theravada Buddhist world, where one can study every tradition of Buddhism: not only Theravada, but Mahayana, Thathrayana, Vajrayana could also be studied. The Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya will serve as a multipurpose building. The project includes the world's largest Buddhist book centre. And it will have information facilities and language laboratory, audio visual studio and a section for many other Buddhist missionary activities. According to the plan there will be an assembly hall with 600 seats.

Forty-five years prior to the Buddha's final Nibbana, the Dhamma was born in the world with the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama. If we ascertain the real date when the Dhamma was born to the world that, we can commemorate the 2600th and real Buddhist anniversary on Vesak year 2011. To commemorate that honorable event, the Buddhist Cultural Centre is creating the largest Buddha enclave of the Theravada Buddhist World.

"Our theme is Buddhism from generation to generation. That meaning is deep. Now the world has been polluted by the human habitations. Environment problems are rising day by day. People cannot breathe freely. The air has been polluted by themselves. Water is also polluted. The human minds are full in tension. But no one knows solutions to those problems. Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya project will create an atmosphere conducive towards Buddhist acts.

Frustration of the young

Ven. Kirama Vimalajothi Thera said that many students of leading schools and international schools are frustrated with their life. The Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya will be a good centre to practice the Dhamma.

"This is the first time we collect donation for the Buddhist affairs. We have lunched a program funded by foreign Buddhists. From May 15 to 21 we held a Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya Flag Week, among all the Buddhist students of the country. And any one can help this constructing program."

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has provided the land for construction. Former Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardana had guided the project. The Buddhist Cultural Centre expects to complete the Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya by Vesak 2011. The estimated cost to the building is Rs. 330 Million. Donations can be made at the Sampath Bank Plc, Nugegoda Branch, Sri Lanka Account No. 000360001601. All cheques/ bank drafts should be drawn in favour of the Buddhist Cultural Centre crossed 'Account Payee'. Credit Card payments can be made through the website: