Since Dharmapala presented the idea of world philosophies and religions meaningfully, Buddhism spread across the world. - Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Where are we, when a century has passed since universities around the world began to conduct research on Buddhism?

The Prime Minister made these comments while participating in the 159th birthday celebration of Anagarika Dharmapala held on September 17 at Mahabodhi Agrasrawaka Maha Viharaya, Maradana. There are no statues of Anagarika Dharmapala resembling him as a monk, but only those resembling him as a layman. Hence, a foundation stone was also laid on this occasion for a statue resembling him as a monk.

The Prime Minister made the following comments addressing the gathering –

“Anagarika Dharmapala was a true citizen of Ceylon who has gifted a great humanity to the world. He could go on such a difficult journey because of the qualities of humanity and the light he received from Buddhism. As a result, it was possible to pass on the teachings of the Gauthama Buddha to people around the world.

Because of the intervention and activities of Anagarika Dharmapala, the places where Prince Siddhartha was born, attained enlightenment, and the places where the Buddha gave sermons, could become available for the worship of the people of the world. It was because of his journey to those areas and the difficulties he faced that those places could be preserved and gifted to the people of the world. Otherwise, those places might still be under discussion today. On this occasion, I would like to recall, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, the support shown by the Indian Heads of State to the commitment of Anagarika Dharmapala.

Anagarika Dharmapala presented the essence of Buddhism to the world. Anagarika Dharmapala made a significant contribution in carrying the message of Buddhism to the world by presenting the idea of world philosophies and religions that existed in the last century and before in a simplified and meaningful language.

People who heard and read about them in various countries began to visit Sri Lanka and India.

A century after the World University started researching Buddhism, we are at the one hundred and fifty-ninth birthday celebration of Anagarika Dharmapala.

Chief Prelate Ven Banagala Upatissa Thera contributed in reviving these places.

Therefore, the service rendered by Chief Prelate Ven Upatissa Thera to provide leadership for rebuilding international relations became a great message not only for the Maha Bodhi Temple but also for followers of Buddhism around the world.

The world is changing. And the people of the world are looking for a new way of life. The path preached by Lord Buddha is being discussed in every country today. At this time when people are talking about moulding people’s lives and society with the noble qualities of Madhyam Pratipada (the middle path), the service rendered by the Buddhist missionaries around the world is enormous.”

Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thera, Chairman of the Mahabodhi Society, Chief Prelate of Japan, addressing the event said,-

“As a Sinhala Buddhist, Anagarika Dharmapala perfectly followed the norm of showing gratitude.

Carrying forward the works of Anagarika Dharmapala, I served as the Chairman of the Mahabodhi Society for twenty four years.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, when he was the Minister of Urban Development, made a huge contribution to the Mahabodhi Society. Buildings were built in Sanchi and the temple was developed with his help. Even today, a picture of him is kept in the Sanchi temple. Therefore, you are immortal in Sanchi.”

Maha Sangha, including Ven. Bodagama Chandima Thero, Ven. Ambulugala Sumangala Thero, Parliamentarian Yadamini Gunawardena, Satyanjal Pandey, Acting High Commissioner of India, Dilshan Jayasuriya, Attorney at Law, Secretary of the Mahabodhi Society, Indian and Japanese representatives, and many devotees, participated in this event.

Prime Minister’s Media