March 20, 2011
The Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Buddhasasna and Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka, together with the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy and the University of Peradeniya were the Partner Institutes for the Conference under the theme "Cultural Interface between India and Sri Lanka based on Buddhist History, Art, Literature and Philosophy".
According to a press release issued today by the High Commission of India in Colombo, scholars from Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam are participating in the Conference. The papers presented at the two-day Conference will be published in the form of a volume.
Speaking at the occasion, the High Commissioner of India, Ashok Kantha said the cultural interaction between India and Sri Lanka had been marked by constant cross fertilization in the spheres of art, literature and philosophy and the journey of the Holy Tree from India to Sri Lanka demonstrated this amply.
High Commissioner also highlighted the other activities being undertaken by India to commemorate the Sambuddathwa Jayanthi including an exposition of the Kapilvastu Relics in Sri Lanka later this year.
Setting up of an Indian gallery at the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy, and installation of a specially crafted Buddha statue in Sarnath style from the Gupta period at the entrance of the International Buddhist Museum complex in Sri Dalada Maligawa are also planned, the release said.
Kantha also announced that Indian Railways was planning to launch a special Buddhist Train Damba Diwa Vandana later this year from Chennai catering to Sri Lankan pilgrims, adding that all these initiatives were reflective of India's desire to strengthen her cultural and people-to-people linkages with Sri Lanka, with which India shared deep historical bonds.
President Rajapaksa also viewed an exhibition organized by the Indian High Commission to showcase various Buddha statues and frescos unearthed from several states in India.
Sri Lanka Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G. L. Peiris, addressing the gathering, highlighted the foundation of many modern-day precepts in Buddhist thought and philosophy.
The Diyawadana Nilame (Custodian) of Sri Dalada Maligawa presented the first issue of the academic journal of SIBA, "Sri Lanka International Journal of Buddhist Studies", to President Rajapaksa at the occasion.
The academic sessions of the conference will be held today and tomorrow and the valedictory session will be held on 21st March.
The Conference being organized in Kandy is the third such conference on Buddhism sponsored by ICCR, following similar events in Singapore and Cambodia. More international conferences on Buddhism are on the anvil for Nepal and Vietnam.
Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Minister Susil Premajayantha, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Governor of Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Attorney General Mohan Peiris, Secretary to Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Regional Affairs Casian Herath, Deputy Indian High Commissioner Vikram Misri, Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Suresh K Goel, also participated in the ceremony.
Sri Lanka President invokes blessings for Japanese tsunami victims
ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Mar 28, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa Sunday evening held a special Buddhist ritual at the Temple Trees to offer merit to the Japanese people who lost their lives in the recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan.
Head of the Vidyalankara Pirivena, Most Venerable Welimitiyawe Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thera conducted the Buddha Pooja to invoke merits with the participation of a large gathering of Buddhist monks.
Sri Lanka has launched a series of Buddhist rituals to bless the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami.