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Monday, July 30, 2007

Festive Season Of "Dondra" Has Begun

The festive season of "Dondra" Matara has begun from today, 28 July 2007.

That goes to 7 days to end with Maha Dana ceremony.Thousans of people will visit 24/7 a day from every part of the country to receive blessing from Divine "Sri Vishnu".The ceremony begins with a Perahera every year from the Poya Day, of July, means "Esala".

Buddhism - a realistic philosophy

Buddhism - a realistic philosophy

(By Ven. Pandit Eluwapola Pagngnarathana Thera, Viharadhipathi of the Brescia Italy-Sri Lanka Buddhist Cultural Institute)

It was on Esala full moon day that the Buddha made his first sermon, Dhammachk-kappavattana Sutta comprising the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and the ‘Eightfold Path’ which together founds the base of Buddhism
Many describe Buddhism as a pessimistic philosophy which relates to births hereafter. While some other Buddhists among us believe that Nirvana, the ultimate goal itself is achievable only in a future birth, certain intellectuals regard Buddhism as a mystical religion. All these concepts are misnomers as labelled by those who have not studied Buddhism deeply or who have misunderstood the reality enunciated by the Enlightened One.

Fundamental codes of conduct

Wise people who study ancient Buddhist scriptures will come across sermons of Buddha which are rich in advise and guidance to live a peaceful and successful life. This is why Buddhism gained ground in India during the early stages in the birth of Buddhism. Buddhism introduced a blissful way of life within the reach of laymen who were burdened with family responsibilities and social obligations. For instance, the basic moral code of conduct which advocated the five fundamental abstinences, when followed, guarantees immediate benefits in reciprocation. When the precept of abstinence from killing is observed, it protects your own life as well as the lives of others. When the precept of abstinence from stealing is observed, your own properties as well as those of others are protected. When the precept of abstinence from wrongful pursuit of sensual pleasures is observed, your own family members as well as the family members of others become secure. When the precept of abstinence from lying is observed, you are assured of truth and honesty in your dealings with other people. Similarly, when the precept of abstinence from intoxicants is observed the society at large including yourself achieve freedom from anti-social behaviour, and disharmony. Parallel to these five abstinences, Buddhism advocates five other practices which promote the five abstinences. Practice of universal compassion promotes abstinence from killing, practice of charity promotes abstinence from stealing, practice of celibacy promotes abstinence from wrongful pursuit of sensual pleasures, truthfulness promotes abstinence from lying and practice of temperance promotes abstinence from intoxicants.

Practical solutions as taught in Buddhism

Buddha’s teachings contain guidance towards a successful family life, to political and economic welfare as well as to social harmony. If the rulers follow these advices, it will promote good governance for the benefit of the ordinary public and develop the country as a whole. Buddhism provides practical solutions to miscellaneous social, political, economic and psychological problems of mankind. Sathara Sangraha Vasthu, Sathara Brahma Viharana, Pancha Seela, Ari Atangi Maga, Dasa Raaja Dharma, Dasa Sakvithi Vath, Dasa Kusal, and Dasa Punyak Kriya are elementary factors which may be applied even by modern rulers to build a harmonious society and a prosperous country. Buddha’s sermons like Sigalovada Sutra, Yagga Pajja Sutra, Parabhawa Sutra, Mangala Sutra encompass ingredients for a peaceful and successful life.

The written sermons

From the inception Buddha’s teachings remained in verbal form. They were also memorised by generations of disciples until they were written down for the first time in Sri Lanka, 600 years after Buddha’s passing away. The writings came under three main divisions or Nikayas, Sutra, Vinaya and Abhidarma.
The three Nikayas put together consisted of 31 volumes containing thousands and thousands of guiding sermons for the welfare of a human being both in this life as well as in lives hereafter. The majority dealt with matters relating to the existing life. These codifications are applicable with no discrimination of time and space. They are applicable for all ages, groups or kinds of people.
The guidance given in Dhamma Pada and Jathaka stories and contents of Paali scriptures like Anguttara Nikaya and Sangyuktha Nikaya are of immense value to lead a peaceful and successful lay life.

Mangala Sutta contains 38 traits which cause beneficial effects. While 15 features are mentioned in the Karaneeya Metta Sutta to radiate universal compassion in all living beings, the Rathana Sutta is a recitation for the elimination of the triple catastrophes of famine, disease and evil spirits afflicting human beings.Chanting of Angulimaala Piritha appeases the pains women undergo at child birth.
In this manner, through a number of other Suttas there is ample evidence to explain that Buddhism is not meant for this life but for future births as well.

Buddhism, the realistic philosophy

Buddhism in fact is not a pessimistic philosophy nor an optimistic one. It can be best described as a realistic philosophy. It admits the fact that the cycle of birth and rebirth is a cycle of suffering but explains the cause of suffering and prescribes the remedy for the cessation of suffering. The remedy prescribed is the eightfold noble path often referred to as the middle path which in Pali is called the Arya Astangika Marga. Buddha identified the fact of suffering, the causes of suffering, the possibility of avoiding this suffering and the way to attain that goal. In short, Buddha explained that the cycle of birth is a cycle of suffering, caused by craving and the bliss on the cessation of suffering which could be attained by escaping from the bondage of craving.

The ‘Lord of Medicine’

There could be a physician who would regard an ailment as incurable and not prescribe treatment. He falls in to the category of a pessimist. There could be another physician who would treat the ailment as non-existent and refuse treatment. He falls in to the category of an optimist. There is a third physician who will examine the patient thoroughly and diagnose the disease accurately and prescribe treatment and cure the patient. Buddha falls into this third type of physician who recognised and understood reality. Therefore, Buddha is often referred to as the Bhisakka or the Bhaisajjaya Guru - the Lord of Medicine.
In this way, it is very clear that Buddhism is not a pessimistic philosophy but a realistic one which must be followed by a wise person to achieve a state of ‘well being’ mostly during this life time while aiming at the ultimate goal of attaining Nirvana.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Man’s purpose is within man

Man’s purpose is within man
By M.B. Werapitiya
Having practised the ten paramis (perfections) of generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness and equanimity in their higher and highest proportions over millions of rebirths, the Buddha aspirant Prince Siddhartha was born for the last time, to launch on His final mission to break through the barrier of ignorance to see things in their true perspective. This required the development of His mind with insight meditation from which everything unfolds.

Insight is mental penetration which arises with the understanding that all phenomena are in a state of constant change from moment to moment and what is changing is unsatisfactory for the reason that in the case of man it brings about aging, disease, decay and death, and what is changing has no permanent self or entity.

Lord Buddha delivering His first sermon to the five ascetics

With such insight, the mind gets cleansed of its defilements of greed, hatred and delusion and is thus awakened.

In this process, rebirth – producing energy runs its course to a finish and rebirth which is the cause of man’s misery, grinds to a halt. Thus a fully awakened Buddha arises in this world to reveal the truth of sufferings, its cause, its ending and the Eightfold Path that leads to its ending.

What the Buddha experienced when vision arose, wisdom arose, intuition arose and light arose in Him seemed so profound, so difficult to perceive, and exalted not within the sphere of logic, that initially He was in a quandary not knowing how He was going to disseminate His knowledge amongst mankind.

Casting His all-seeing eye He saw as a blessing some human beings with less dust in their eyes fit to receive the fruits of his labour. He thus delivered His first sermon – “Setting the Wheel of Law in Motion” to the group of five ascetics who were His erstwhile companions in search of the facts of life, at Isipathana Deer Park. Kondanna who fully understood the substance of the discourse became a stream-winner and progressed to become an arahant i.e. one who ended the round of existence.

What did this discourse deal with? It dealt with the quintessence of the Buddha’s teaching – suffering, the cause of suffering, cessation of suffering and the Path leading to the cessation of suffering. To go into details – birth is suffering, disease is suffering, death is suffering, to be united with the unpleasant is suffering, to be separated from the pleasant is suffering, not to get what one desires is suffering. The cause of this suffering is craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence and craving for non-existence. The Eightfold Path comprises right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration of mind.

A scientific theory is that nothing ever happens without a reason. Going on this principle one is here not by chance or accident but by one’s own making, one’s own will. One’s karmic energy together with one’s flow of consciousness from the past rebirths put one into shape to be what one is. In this context it will be relevant to know that for the formation of the embryo in the mother’s womb, re-linking consciousness of a dying person together with its entire history descends linking together with the new existence.

It thus follows that the new life must start from the consciousness of a past life. One will go on and on with each new rebirth lending the opportunity to improve oneself. One should not lose sight of the fact that being a part of the universe what one thinks and does intentionally, has a definite impact, positive or negative as the case may be on the world system making it respond accordingly. From this follows the Buddha’s statement - “He who treads the path of the dhamma (doctrine, truth) is protected by the dhamma.”

The prime question that arises is, “What are we here for?” The answer is to observe the five precepts – not to kill, not to take what is not one’s own, not to commit sins of the flesh, not to bear false witness, to shun alcoholic drinks and drugs that confuse the mind; spread freely among all living beings metta (loving kindness) and karuna (compassion) and awaken one’s mind with sila (mental discipline), samadhi (concentration) and panna (wisdom).

Following others blindly for the reason that one is not willing to develop one’s strengths to light up one’s way, does not get to one’s due place. Should one be worthy of being born into this world it necessarily follows that one is equally worthy of receiving nature’s bounty without let or hindrance, to one’s advantage.

The idea is to elevate one’s mind to think in terms of a winner. According to Buddhism truth has to be self-analysed, self-realized, self-experienced.

Faith must arise from the conviction that what we are made to believe or choose to believe should be weighed and considered and proven beyond a doubt. As much as the purpose of a seed is within the seed itself to grow into a tree, spread its branches, bear flowers and seed and disperse itself, the purpose of man is within man to work out his salvation with diligence. Salvation means cleansing the mind to let go of illusions and delusions that bind us to sansara (round of rebirths) for –

“……. There spring the healing streams,
Quenching all thirst! There bloom the immortal flowers
Carpeting all the way with joy! There throng
Swiftest and sweetest hours.”

Haven in Buddha Gaya

Haven in Buddha Gaya

By Bernie Wijesekera

Despite the hot weather prevailing in India at this time of the year, my wife and I made a visit to Buddha Gaya on Poson Poya, June 30. We took refuge at the Maha Bodhi Society in Gaya, where we met Ven. Pelawatte Seevali Thera. He had started his schooling in a village school and then entered the Vidyalankara Pirivena (Kelaniya). Following a course of studies at the University of Benares, India (1994) he later joined the Sri Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta and after a period of meditation in Thailand came to Gaya in 2002.

It was here that he came to know what it was like to meet the poorest of the poor. It was the late Anagarika Dharmapala, who spearheaded the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka. He was responsible for the creation of the Mahabodhi Society in 1891 in Sri Lanka at Maligakanda. He spurned caste, creed and nationality. In Gaya too, all races and religions live in peace and harmony. People from all over the world come to Gaya to pay homage to Lord Buddha. They are happy to see how Buddhism is being spread among the rich and poor alike.

The Maha Bodhi Society runs a school for children aged between 5-14, headed by Chanchala Pandey with a staff of eight. The students are able to speak Sinhala, English and their mother tongue (Hindi) fluently. They are from all races. Everything is provided for them.

Many Sri Lankans visit Gaya. Ven Seevali paid a glowing tribute to Major Gen. (Dr.) C. Thurairaja who had come to India for a Sports Medicine conference held in Gaya and been most helpful to the society by giving medical attention to some Tibetan priests along with an Indian counterpart. Ven. Seevali and his team are working with dedication to heal the festering wounds among the poor in Gaya.

The day that the Buddha delivered his first sermon...

The day that the Buddha delivered his first sermon...

by Samangie Wettimuny

One night, while in deep slumber, Queen Maya ,the wife of King Suddhodhana of Kapilavatthu in India (then known as Jambudipa) had an unusual dream in which she saw the four Deva Rajahs (four guardian deities of the world) carrying her with the couch to the foothills of the Himalayas.

There a snow white baby elephant, carrying a white lotus in his trunk walked thrice round the couch of the sleeping queen and entered into her womb from the right side of her abdomen.

Many a thousand years ago Queen Maya saw this dream on an Esala Full Moon Poya day, the buddhist literature reveals. In fact that unusual dream indicated the conception of Boddhisatta in the womb of Queen Maya.

About ten months later he was born to this world (his last birth) as Prince Siddartha. This great birth brought immense happiness to the King and the queen who did not have children for twenty years, more than all that the prince's birth was a great relief to the entire human race groping in the dark, not knowing the way out of suffering.

At the age of 29, the prince decided to leave his palace and beloved ones in order to find the way out of the universal suffering. Again this Great Renunciation too had taken place on an Esala Full Moon Poya Day, some 2600 years ago.

Great Renunciation

It was on the same Esala full moon day that Prince Rahula, the only child of Prince Siddartha and Princess Yasodara was born. He saw the whole world including his wife and child are suffering not knowing the way out of it.

Determined to find a way out of it, the Prince left home at the height of his youth. Buddhists strongly believe that his Great Renunciation is the boldest step that a man has ever taken.

As the Buddhist history reveals the Buddha had explained Abhidhamma to Matru Divya Rajaya (his mother) in the Thavuthisa heaven on an Esala Poya day.

Above all, Esala Full Moon Poya day is of great significance to the entire Buddhist community as it was on such a day, two months after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, that he delivered his first sermon, Dhamma Chakka Pawathna Sutta( the wheel of truth) to the five ascetics- Kondangna, Bhaddiya, Wappa, Mahanapa and Assaji at Isipathanaya in Benares (Baranasi).

The sermon consisted of the central teachings of the Buddha- the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. This set in motion the great Buddhist tradition of the Sangha , for popularizing the teachings of the Buddha firstly in India and later through out the world.

In his 'The Discovery of India' , Former Indian Prime Minister , Jawaharlal Nehru mentions how he almost sees the Buddha preaching his first sermon " At Saranath near Baranasi , I'd almost see the Buddha preaching his first sermon, and some of his recorded words would come like a distant echo to me through two thousand five hundred years."

Even in Sri Lanka today , Esala Poya marks the beginning of 'Vas' season when Bhikkus stay in their own temples without going out for dhana.

As the Buddhist history reveals the first Vas was observed by the Buddha and his first five disciples- the five ascetics at Isipathana in Benares.

Apart from this, Esala Full Moon Poya day ranks quite high in the order of importance to the Sri lankan Buddhists because it was on such a day that the Buddha Sasana was established in the country during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa.

Under the instructions of Mahinda Thera who visited Sri Lanka in the 3rd Century B.C (as the missionaries of Asoka Emperor of India), the King took necessary steps to ordain the children of the country and teach them Dhamma.

On the Esala Full Moon Poya day, Mahinda Thera preached Wassupanayikkandaya to the king and the group and on the same day the nephew of the king, Aritta and fifty five other children were ordained thus establishing Buddha Sasana in the country.

So keen in reestablishing higher ordination in Sri Lanka, King Keerthi Sri Rajasingha (1747 to 1780), invited 18 theras from Siam Deshaya( now Thailand) including Upali Thera to visit Sri Lanka in 1753. As Mahavamsa reveals these thera's arrived in the country by a Dutch Ship in the month of May and resided at Malwatu Viharaya in Kandy.

On the Esala Full Moon Poya Day of the same year, the king who went to the Malvathu Viharaya by foot ( He did that out of veneration) and invited these theras to establish the Higher Ordination in Sri Lanka.

Thus Sinhalese novice monks (Samaneras), including Weliwita Saranankara, Thibbotuwawe Siddartha, Kobbakaduwa, Navinna, and Hulangamuwa obtained higher ordination while Upali thera played the role of the instructor (Upadya) and Brahmajothi and Maha Punna thera appeared as teachers. (Archarya). Followed by the establishment of Higher Ordination in Sri Lanka, Siyam Nikaya too was established and up to this day it is also called' Shyamopali Maha Nikaya' indicating its origin.

Laying of the foundation for the Ruwanwelisaya and its enshrinement of relics by King Dutugamunu too had taken place on an Esala poya day as revealed by Mahavamsa.

In our country, of all the twelve Full Moon days, Esala full Moon Poya day is given much significance (just as Vesak and Poson Full Moon Poya Days) not only because it is related to great incidents of the life of Prince Siddartha (Later the Buddha), but also because quite a few of great incidents connected to Sri Lanka's Buddha Sasana has occurred on this great day.

Buddhists in Sri Lanka hence celebrate the Esala Full Moon Poya day today out of great veneration, with religious festivals and processions through out the country, yet anticipating to see the most grandeur one of all or rather the climax-the Kandy Esala Perehara in mid August.

Poson at the Sri Dalada Maligawa

Commemorating Poson at the Sri Dalada Maligawa

By Udumbara Udugama

The Temple of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha, the Sri Dalada Maligawa is a hallowed place of worship for all Buddhists the world over. Yesterday, as Sri Lankans marked Poson Purapasaloswaka Poya, The Sunday Times visited the Sri Dalada Maligawa to witness the special Poson programme.

Poson Poya is significant because it was on such a full moon Poya day that Mahinda Maha Thera set foot in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the emphasis is on Mihintale, eight km away from Anuradhapura where Mahinda Maha Thera met King Devanampiyatissa.

Painting depicting Princess Hemamala and Prince Danta bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka

The Maha Thera arrived in Mihintale with his entourage comprising theras Ittiya, Uttiya, Sambala, Baddhasala, Sumana samanera and Upasaka Banduka who was the only layman.

Standing atop the Missaka rock, they watched King Devanampiyatissa hunting and aiming his arrow at a frightened and cornered deer. ‘Tissa’ said Mahinda Maha Thera. A surprised king looked up at the rock wondering who could be calling him thus. Seeing the yellow robed figures in calm silence, he moved to take a closer look. The Maha Thera wishing to judge the king’s intellect asked him a few questions which the king answered intelligently. Then Mahinda Maha Thera decided that the king would understand the Buddha Dhamma and its deep philosophy. There was a discourse of the Chullahattipadopama Sutta which was understood by the king. The reformed king Devanampiyatissa threw away his bow and arrow and embraced Buddhism.

Mahinda Maha Thera was the son of Emperor Asoka who after winning many wars and seeing the great destruction in the Kalinga war realized the futility of it all and embraced Buddhism. With the Buddha’s Parinibbhana (passing away) many kings in Dambadiva claimed the Buddha’s relics. A Brahmana named Drona resolved this by dividing the relics into eight portions. But, he quietly hid the left canine tooth of the Buddha in his turban. However, he was unable to keep it for himself and finally it was owned by the king of Kalinga. With many wars in the country and the insecure situation in Kalinga and realising the possibility of the Sacred Tooth Relic being lost, King Guhasiva decided to send the relic to Sri Lanka through his daughter princess Hemamala and her husband prince Danta. They brought it to Sri Lanka disguised as travellers and arrived in Anuradhapura. Meeting the king Kirtisri Meghavanna also known as Kitsiri Mevan, they gifted the Sri Dalada (the Sacred Tooth Relic) to him. The Relic was venerated and taken in a perahera ( procession) to the palace.

With many wars and various kings ruling the country, the Sacred Tooth Relic was shifted to Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Gampola, Kotte. It is stated that in 1592, King Wimaladharmasuriya I brought it to Kandy from Seethawaka Delgamuwa Raja Maha Viharaya in Kuruwita, Ratnapura.

The Sinhala as well as the Nayakkar kings who ascended the Kandyan throne guarded, revered and paid homage to the Relic placing it in a shrine in the precincts of the royal palace.

Even during British rule, the administrators agreed to continue to protect the Tooth Relic and conduct religious rituals and ceremonies. In 1853 the British handed over the custody of the Sacred Tooth Relic to the most Venerable Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters and the Diyawadana Nilame. From that time the Tevava’(religious service) was conducted alternately by the Asgiriya and Malwatte viharas. The change and handing over of the duties are done on Esala Poya day every year when the ‘Vas’ season begins. The Sri Dalada Maligawa conducts festivals and peraheras (processions) for the Aluth Sahal Mangalya in January, New Year festival in April, Vesak perahera and Upasampada(high ordination) ceremony and Waahala Naaga perahera in May, Poson perahera in June, Esala perahera in July/August and Karthika Mangalya -Aloka pooja in November. Every Wednesday, the Nanamura Mangalya is performed.

On Poson Poya at the Sri Dalada Maligawa, a ‘Sila Vyaparaya’ was conducted for about six hundred ‘Ata Sil’ (Eight precepts) observers. The early morning ‘Tevava’ was conducted by Ven. Hunupalagama Vajira Sri Maha Nayaka thera and Ven. Naranpanawe Ananda Thera. ‘Bhavana” (meditation) was conducted by Ven. Ketakumbure Dhammarama Thera. There was a Dharmadesana (sermon) by Ven.Dr. Kotapitiye Rahula Thera of the Malwatte Chapter who is a lecturer at the Peradeniya University . The Diyawadana Nilame and Mr.M. Meegahakumbura discussed the activities of the Sri Dalada Maligawa.

At 4.00 in the afternoon, ‘Seth Pirith’ was chanted and after ‘Sil Pavaaranaya’ the sila vyaparaya was concluded. Students from the Sri Dalada Daham Pasala, Asgiriya Buddhist Centre sang ‘Budhu Guna Gee’.

To conclude the Poson Poya activities, later in the evening, a perahera with about ten elephants, dancers, drummers, flag bearers and torch bearers paraded three times round the Palace square. Hundreds of devotees came to venerate and pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic at the Sri Dalada Maligawa on this day.

The Mihindu Perahera commemorates of the visit of Maha Thera Mahinda who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka on a Poson Poya day.

The Maha Sangha’s role in preserving Buddhism

The Maha Sangha’s role in preserving Buddhism

(By Priyanga Kumari Jayakody)

The following is an analysis of the importance of the Maha Sangha in the advent of Arahat Mahinda by Ven. Lenadora Soratha Thera, the Assistant Director of Education, Pallepola Educational Zone.
Afghanistan is a country rich with Buddha statues but the inhabitants of Afghanistan are not Buddhists. This is because the country did not have a group of persons to protect and preserve Buddhism. If there were, the massive destruction of Buddha statues in that country would not have taken place. From that point of view, the importance of the presence of Maha Sangha can be easily determined. The presence of the Sangha Saasana is a sin qua non to foster, protect, and preserve a sublime philosophy like Buddhism, meant for the eternal welfare of the mankind.

Arahat Mahinda’s visit and Sanga Saasana

The Sangha Saasana is the legacy bestowed upon the Sri Lankan society through Arahat Mahinda. According to the chronicles like Mahawansa, Deepawansa and Samantha Paasadika, Arahat Mahinda’s arrival marked the dawn of understanding of Buddhism in its correct perspective in Sri Lanka. It cannot be connoted that the pre-Mahinda period was a dark era in this country. If that were the case, the arrival of Arahat Mahinda cannot bear so much significance. Nevertheless, our chroniclers have not attempted to illustrate that Buddhism existed in Sri Lanka even before the arrival of Arahat Mahinda. If they have done so, his arrival would not have been of much importance. It is a fact that Sri Lankans had the fortune of enjoying just a touch of Buddhism before Mahinda visited this country.
For instance, we have the story of Gauthama Buddha visiting Mahiyangana, Nagadeepa and Kelaniya during his lifetime. Since Buddha delivered sermons during those visits, we cannot avoid the conclusion that there were descendents of those who knew Buddhism.
The next conclusion is that the Sri Lankans in the pre-Mahinda period had heard about Gauthama Buddha.

The Girihadu Seya

In addition, we have the story of the two Sri Lankan traders, brothers, Thapassu and Bhalluka meeting Gauthama Buddha at the expiry of the seventh week of his enlightenment. On that occasion, Buddha gave the two brothers relics of hair from his head which they brought to Sri Lanka and enshrined in a dagoba they built at Trincomale. His dagoba was named Girihadu Seya, which is supposed to be the first ever dagoba built in this island. This story is testimony to the fact that Buddha was known to the people of this country for a long period - before the days of Mahinda.

Vijaya, the protector

The arrival of Prince Vijaya in the island with his entourage is related to a deity, Upul(Sri Vishnu), who decreed that Prince Vijaya should provide protection to the island because this was the land where Buddha’s teachings were predestined to flourish. This incident points to the fact that Prince Vijaya and his followers knew Gauthama Buddha. There is no reason to contradict an argument that they did not carry the message of Buddha to be propagated among the inhabitants of this land. Similarly, the fact that princess Badrakachchayan and her followers arrived in the island disguised as Buddhist nuns indicates that the Buddhist clergy was respected in this land from ancient times.
The friendship between Emperor Dharmashoka of India and King Devanampiyatissa in Sri Lanka is another indication of Sri Lanka being familiar with Buddhism before the arrival of Arhat Mahinda. The message of the Buddha Dhamma brought here did not take much time to gain ground in Sri Lanka. Emperor Dharmashoka’s mission in the propagation of the Dhamma was not confined to Sri Lanka alone. He sent emissaries to many other countries too. But Buddhism did not flourish in those countries. Arahat Mahinda in his first encounter with King Devanampiyatissa introduced himself as, ‘Samanamayam Maharaja Dahamma Rajassa Saavaka’ meaning, ‘O’King, I am a disciple of the King of Dhamma. This presupposes that King ’Tissa had forehand knowledge of the emissary.

Buddhism before Mahinda

There is no solid example of the presence of the Buddha Dhamma in Sri Lanka because there was no Sangha Saasana in Sri Lanka before the arrival of Mahinda. It was after his arrival that a Sangha Saasana came into existence and Buddhism became the state religion of the country. However much there could have been archaeological ruins to support the fact that Buddhism was present in Sri Lanka during the pre-Mahinda period, in the absence of a Sangha Saasana such ‘proof’ does not impress the people. This situation is like the existence of a temple without a priest. A parallel situation was observed in Afghanistan.

It was the Buddhist clergy that took the message of Buddha among the public. The clergy is the golden thread that runs through the tapestry of society.
After Mahinda, the establishment of a Buddhist clergy marked the beginning of a new culture, a new way of life and the observance of precepts including poya sil in our country.
In short, it brought about a renaissance encompassing the entire social fabric so dynamic that it became instrumental in establishing an intellectual and peaceful society moulded according to the teachings of Buddha. This was the feat of the Mahasangha Saasana which emerged consequent to Mahinda’s visit here.

The history of the Dalada Perahera

The history of the Dalada Perahera

By Gamini Jayasinghe

According to the chronicles King Guhasiva of Kalinga in East India had in his possession the left canine Tooth of the Buddha which he held in the highest esteem. It was believed that it was the ruler who had the Tooth Relic with him that was blessed with divine power to rule the subjects. Another king of a kingdom in the same region waged war with King Guhasiva in a bid to possess the Tooth Relic. The king was determined not to hand over the Relic to the enemy. However, he was not confident in combating the enemy and the alternative for him was to send the Tooth Relic to King Mahasena of Sri Lanka who was his friend and contemporary. Thereupon, King Guhasiva arranged his own daughter, princess Hemamala to take the Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka.

She was asked to go in disguise with her husband prince Danta. It was during the fourth century BC that princess Hemamala hid the Tooth Relic in her knot of hair and embarked from Thambulipuththu in India with prince Danta. They disembarked at Ilankeethurai in Trincomalee’s Kochchiyar Paththu. It was king Mahasena’s son King Kithsiri Mewan who was the king at that time. King Kithsiri Mewan received the Tooth Relic with reverence, paid it the highest honours, laid it in an urn of pure crystal and brought it to a building called “Dhammacakka” built by King Devanampiyatissa in the royal territory. This temple came to be known as the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

The origin of the present Dalada Perahera is the procession organized on the direction of King Meghawarna to take in procession the Tooth Relic from the Dalada Maligawa in the inner court house to Abhayagiri Viharaya. The king decreed that the Tooth Relic should be brought to Abhayagiri Viharaya annually and that sacrificial ceremonies should be conducted. Accordingly these rites had been observed to the letter up to the fifth century BC with royal patronage and without any interruption.

The Chinese pilgrim monk Fa-hsien who lived for two years in Abhayagiri Viharaya had made a note about the Dalada Perehera.

“Midway between the third and fourth months of every year the Sacred Tooth Relic is exhibited to the people. Ten days ahead of the exhibition an announcement is made on the streets by a public crier mounted on a caparisoned elephant. This is done by beating a drum used to proclaim commands”.

Until the time of shifting the country’s capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, it is believed that the Sacred Tooth Relic had been housed in the temple near the Mahapali Alms Hall built by King Devanampiyatissa to provide meals for the monks from the royal palace. Near Mahapali alms hall there are tall columns of stones and according to an inscription it is stated that the ancient Temple of the Tooth Relic was located there.

Subsequent to the fall of the Anuradhapura kingdom the Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Polonnaruwa. After liberating the country from the South Indian invaders, King Vijayabahu I in the 11th century constructed a two storied building called the Atadage for the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Bowl Relic.

The upper storey housed the Tooth Relic and the Bowl Relic and the ground floor was used as an image house. This is one of the oldest buildings in Polonnaruwa. The buildings are located in an open square area which is really the terrace of the Tooth Relic palace.
According to a rock inscription found there, South Indian soldiers known as “Velaikkaras” had been employed to protect the relics enshrined there. According to some rock inscriptions of King Nissankamalla, he had built an enlarged double storied building known as the Hatadage with a masterfully carved doorway. In this building too the Tooth Relic and the Bowl Relic were housed in the upper floor and the ground floor was for the image house.

According to the Mahawamsa, the Sri Dalada Perahera had been conducted in a noble way during the reign of King Parakramabahu the Great and Panditha Parakramabahu. The streets of Polonnaruwa decorated for Sri Dalada Perahera under the direction of King Parakrama Bahu the great were compared by the author of Mahawamsa to the Sakra’s street called “Sudarshana” and the terrace of the Tooth Relic Temple to the Wesamunipura”.

“The road about one ‘Yoduna’ or sixteen miles long from the royal palace up to the Dalada Maligawa situated at the centre of the city was levelled and either side of the road was decorated with canopies, wall paintings, triumphal arches or pandals, blinds of wicker work and festoon work and the street was not second to “Sudarshana”, the street of Sakra and the terrace of the Sacred Tooth Relic Temple was more variegated than “Wesamunipura”.

King Panditha Parakramabahu brought the Sacred Tooth Relic to his native village Siriwardenapura which is supposed to be a village situated close to Dambadeniya. From Siriwardanepura the king shifted the Sacred Tooth Relic to his capital at Dambadeniya.

The author of the Mahawamsa has illustrated how the Sacred Tooth Relic was held in high esteem by King Panditha Parakramabahu.

“The Sacred Tooth Relic and the Bowl Relic were carried in a beautifully decorated chariot. Flags variegated with gold and silver were hoisted. Similar banners too were displayed. Full water pots and flower vases made of gold and silver were placed at various points. Ministers and service men followed the chariot attentively”.

There is historical evidence to the effect that the Sri Dalada Perahera had been conducted annually throughout history except during the period when Yapahuwa was the capital of Sri Lanka.

No mention is made in the chronicles about the Dalada Perahera conducted during this period. Even the ruins of most of the buildings of Yapahuwa kingdom are not existant today.

However, there remains a small building to the right side of the Dagaba which is regarded as the Temple of the Tooth Relic. There is an opening in a wall of the inner chamber. Presumably it was through this opening that the devotees had watched and worshipped the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Details of the Dalada Perahera during the Kurunegala period are available in the “Dalada Siritha” composed by King Parakramabahu IV.

“The temple of the Tooth Relic is whitewashed, canopied and decorated with silk before commencing the Sri Dalada Perahera at the auspicious moment. The king, accompanied by the ministers, women from the inner chambers of the palace and the residents of the city, offer alms, flowers, incense etc. on all seven days when the Perahera is conducted.

“The streets were illuminated. The chariot carrying the sacred Tooth Relic was drawn by a tusker which was regarded as a promoter of prosperity. The Maha Sangha followed the chariot chanting Pirith. Pirith thread was connected to the chariot carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic.”

There is historical evidence to the effect that during the Kotte period too the Sacred Tooth Relic was held in high esteem, worshipped and various types of offerings made and about a Dalada Perahera. In literal works during this period attempts had been made to exaggerate the grandeur of the Hindu temple rather than the Buddhist temple. In Nikaya Sangrahaya it is stated that Sri Dalada Pooja had been performed by four Devalayas on the four quarters. Most of the structures belonging to the Sri Dalada Maligawa during the Kotte period had been destroyed by the Portuguese.

King Wimaladharmasuriya who was enthroned in 1590 brought the Sacred Tooth Relic from Delgamuwa where it was kept hidden and performed the Esala Perahera in a bid to get his royal dignity and the prosperity of his kingdom established. This perahera had been organized on behalf of the four Devalayas.

Robert Knox had observed the Kapurala of the Devalaya as the most important person in the Perahera.“The Kapurala of the Devalaya wearing a mouth band and holding a pole wrapped partly with silk cloth and decorated with flowers leads the perahera. The devotees who throng the place worship and make offerings. The Kapurala mounted on a tusker attired in a white dress and holding the sacred pole parades the streets elegantly and magnificently. The tusker is accompanied by two other elephants on either side and followed by a retinue of elephants, dancers and torch bearers”. What Robert Knox highlighted was an account of the Devala Perahera conducted during that time.Under the guidance and admonition of Weliwita Sri Saranankara Sangharaja Thera the attitudes of the rulers were changed. They realized how the Dalada Maligawa Perahera should be conducted as a national event to pay respects to the Sacred Tooth Relic. According to historical records King Vimaladharmasooriya II had constructed the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy and his son King Narendrasinghe had improved it by converting it to a two storied building. The last King of Kandy, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe had made several alterations and added the octagon or dais known as the “Pattiruppuwa”. The traditional multi-storied buildings can be regarded as a style coming down from the Anuradhapura period. The Tooth Relic Temple or Sri Dalada Maligawa we have today in Kandy had been constructed according to the traditional art forms of the Sinhalese. The walls, the ceilings, the columns and the roof are adorned with not only traditional motifs but also its techniques. Service rituals are held daily in the morning, noon and the evening and annually a number of ceremonies such as the Vesak Mangallya, Avrudu Mangallya and Aluth Sahal Mangallya are conducted in addition to the world famous Esala Perahera which consists of the Kumbal, Randoli, Day Perahera and the water cutting ceremony on the banks of the Mahaweli Ganga at Gatambe.

The procession consists of the Dalada Perahera followed by the processions of the four Devalayas (Sathara Devalaya) Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini.

The Esala Perahera is held during the month of Esala (August) and traverses the streets of Kandy to venerate the sacred Tooth Relic. This procession embodies all the traditional forms of music and dancing and conducted at night, illuminated both by electricity and oil lamps. Hundreds of elephants including tuskers in addition to the Diyawadana Nilame, Peramunerala various other officers of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Basnayake Nilames of the four Devalayas, dancers and drummers add colour and profundity to the procession.

Buddhist perspective

Family life from a Buddhist perspective

(By Ven.Panangala Vajiragnana Thera, the Viharadhipathi of Nasoli Buddhist Temple, Italy)

Buddhism does not exalt lay life as in the case of ascetic life nor does it abhor or reject lay life altogether. For the benefit of the laity, Buddhism explains a way of life that enables comfortable living by the observance of the ‘five precepts’
When one considers the practical aspects of meditation in a layman’s life, it is imperative to examine its impact on the ‘worldly’ well-being as enunciated in Buddhist philosophy.

The clergy and the laity

The teachings of Buddha on a broad basis could be divided into two main categories: teachings pertaining to the clergy and those which are relevant to the laity. Bhikku and Bhikkuni, or monks and nuns form the clergy while Upasaka and Upasikas or lay male and female devotees which form the laity. The precepts observable under the first category are undoubtedly motivated to attain absolute cessation of suffering which state is described as Nirvana, while the second category envisages a certain extent of worldly comforts within a framework before the attainment of the final bliss of Nirvana.
There are detailed analyses of desirable approaches incorporated in the many Suttras of Buddhist scriptures to achieve a comfortable family life, dealt in an atmosphere of biological, psychological and social realities.

Successful family life

Buddhism explains a way of life that enables comfortable living by the observance of the ‘five precepts’ and engaging in righteous means of collecting wealth in order to maintain a family of wife and children while being virtuous in word, deed and thought. Buddhism advocates celibacy and asceticism above family bondages in order to accelerate the journey towards the attainment of the final goal which is Nirvana.
Andhupama Sutta is one of the sermons among Buddha’s teachings which illustrates the way to a comfortable and successful family life. It says that a layman should prosper in two aspects. One is his life here and the other is the life after death. The other is concerned with the amassing of wealth for comfort in this life while inculcating virtues for spiritual welfare. The two aspects are compared to the two eyes of a person.
There are persons blind in one eye, others who are blind in both and those who have good sight in both eyes. Similarly certain people are prosperous in wealth but lack in virtue. There are others who are virtuous but suffering from poverty.
And thirdly there are persons who are wealthy as well as virtuous. Those who are perfect in both these aspects are the ones who build successful lives.

The right way to wealth

Poverty is an agony for a layman who has to bear the responsibility of a family. Buddhism advocates a policy of earning by good means; through sweat and effort and distributing the wealth gained among the family members and the needy without avarice.
Buddhism does not encourage amassing wealth greedily. Such wealth is compared to a clean pond under the charge of a cruel devil. Similarly, extravagance is discouraged under Buddhist principles.

Righteous and virtuous behaviour

As far as morality is concerned, a person living a family life should be righteous in all his dealings and virtuous under all living conditions. He expects nothing outside justice either for the benefit of himself or for the benefit of others including his own family, or for his country.
This pronouncement is from the Dhamma Pada. He observes the five precepts throughout his life. He consumes the well earned wealth for the benefit of himself and others and is always mindful of renouncing all belongings at some stage of his life. He has one goal: that is to realise the ultimate reality of Nirvana- eternal bliss.
These are the bases on which successful family lives could be established as advocated by the Buddha.

Ven. Welivita Saranankara Thera and revival of Upasampada

Ven. Welivita Saranankara Thera and revival of Upasampada

By Cecil Jayasinghe

The Esala month is sacred to the Buddhists and the Sangha, in that it was on the Esala Poya Day that the Thathagatha preached the Dhammachakka Pavaththana Sutta to the Five Disciples, Baddhiya, Vappa, Mahanama, Assaji and Kondangna, the First Sanghayanawa and the dispatch of the Sacred Bowl to Sri Lanka or Tunsinhale. It was on July 14 in 1753 that Venerable Saranankara Thera received the Upasampada or Higher Ordination from Siamese Maha Thera Upali and Maha Thera Ariyamuni at Visungama in Kandy.The events that led to the disappearance and the revival of the Upasampada were due to several reasons, mainly on account of internal dissensions within the Buddhist Sangha fraternity and the indifference of the people to uphold or observe the Vinaya -- the sacred rituals and practices of Buddhism. By the dawn of the 17th century, Buddhist practices, discipline and the Vinaya had been neglected. Of special significance was the threat, revolts, disorder, fear and instability of the monarchy and the social pressures exerted by the Portuguese settlers in the maritime areas where the Portuguese held sway. In Europe, Portugal and Spain shared the pre-eminence as the super powers. Marauding Portuguese sailors were pursuing Moor traders in the Asian countries for trading supremacy. The Portuguese and Dutch influence in the Kanda Udarata over the Sinhalese were such that the Sinhalese began to assimilate foreign customs, ways of life, dress and language resulting in a transformation of their local life style. It was inevitable that these alien customs seeped into the Bhikku fraternity as well.

The Portuguese described the native Sinhalese and Buddhists as “heathens” and in the Sangha Fraternity, the concept ‘Ganinnanses’ were often symbolised for the Bhikkus. The Upasampada or the Higher Ordination of the Samaneras who have mastered the Pali and Sanskrit languages, the Vinaya Rules were unknown at the time King Wimaladharmasuriya I ascended the throne. The deterioration of the Vinaya and discipline amidst the raging wars with the Portuguese and the Dutch during the period of the eight kings for 153 years was the primary causes for the instability of the country which directly affected the Sangha. Realising this unhappy situation, King Wimaladharmasuriya despatched a mission to Arakan (or Rakkhanga) seeking the goodwill of the King to send Maha Theras to perform the Upasampada. In accordance with the royal blessings Mahatheras Chandavilasa and Chandivakka led a mission to Sri Lanka. The Upasampada ceremony was performed after a long lapse of years.

The next King Rajasinghe I who ruled for 52 years had to confront the Dutch in major battles in 1630 and 1638 at Gannoruwa and Randiniwela, against renowned Portuguese Generals and the country was so unsettled that the King had no time to give his utmost attention and devotion to religious activities and again deterioration set in. Being aware of the low standards to which the Sangha had fallen to, King Wimaladharmasuriya with the help of local chieftains conversant in Pali, sent another mission to Arakan to invite Preceptor and Teacher Bhikkus to Sri Lanka. Whereupon, Maha Then Sanghaka and Locarage arrived in Kandy and revived the Upasampada at Getambe. This was followed by another mission during the Kingship of King Vijaya Rajasinghe under the leadership of Doranegama Rala to Rakhanga, Siam and Peru, but the ships were wrecked near Peru. Ven. Saranankara was not demoralised on account of the unfortunate situation but persisted that he himself should go to Siam.

The King was not pleased but arranged with the Dutch to supply sea-worthy ships, for by this time the Dutch had become friendly and it was believed that the King had given permission to the Dutch to build a Church in Colombo. Ven. Saranankara Thera persuaded Doranegama Rala and Wilbawegedera to lead the delegation. The mission had been to Batavia and only Wilbawegedera had met the King of Siam and even this mission was unsuccessful. Undaunted by successive failures, Ven. Saranankara Thera was determined to accomplish his mission to bring back erudite Bhikkus to Sri Lanka and revive the Upasampada. He persuaded the new King Kirthisri Rajasinghe, who was of Hindu parentage and married from a Nayakkar family in Tanjore and who acted in pursuance of the wishes of the Sangha and the people, that if he were to rule Sri Lanka, he should become a Buddhist.

King Kirthisri Rajasinghe, aware of the local traditions, followed the visions of King Parakrama Bahu in making Sri Lanka and his kingdom prosperous and also devoted his time in renovating anicuts and ruined vihares, temples, shrines and kovils. Buddhism began to gain ground so much so that he encouraged another successful mission to Siam. Headed by Ellepola Mohottala, Wilbagedera Naide, Pattapola Atapattuwe Mohottala, Eriyagama Muhandiram, Attaliyadde Muhandiram along with 67 persons left Trincomalee on the August 1, 1750 to meet the King of Siam with royal credentials. Although the journey was perilous due to stormy weather conditions, the mission returned to Sri Lanka with Siamese Maha Theras Upali and Ariyamuni. The King and Ven. Saranankara Thera were very pleased and on Esala Poya Day, in the presence of the King, Venerable Saranankara Thera, Kobbekaduwe Unnanse and four other Bhikkus received the Upasampada at Getambe Sima Malakaya. The Siamese Nikaya founded by Ven. Upali and the bhikkus of the Siamese Chapter owe so much to the indomitable efforts of Ven. Saranankara amidst enemies within the court which at one time got an Order for banishment to Laggala, prevented only by Ven. Saranankara Thera’s exemplary character, high standard of Pali, Sanskrit Suttas and the devotion to uphold the Vinaya and scholarship.

Ven. Saranankara Thera began writing Buddhist books such as the Satara Banavara Sannaya, Muniguna Alankaraya, Maha Bodhivamsa Sanna, Rupa Malawa and Pali Sandesa. The Gedige Viharaya at Asgiriya where Upali Maha Thera resided holds the Katina Pinkama yearly. The Gedige Viharaya had been selected as a royal grant by the King of Siam. Ven. Saranankara Thera was conferred the title of Sangharaja of the Siamese Nikaya and thereafter the continuity of Vinaya and Upasampada ceremonies are held annually. Ven. Saranankara Thera passed away in Kandy on Esala Poya Day in 1778 and was cremated at Dalukgolle Temple Cetiya in 1778. The Bhikkus of Sri Lanka and the Buddhists in general owe their respect and devotion on the preservation of the Budda, the Dhamma and the Sangha to Ven. Weliwita Saranankara Sangaraja Thera.

Buddhism, a way of life in Thailand

In search of One World?... On the wings of SriLankan Airlines :
Buddhism, a way of life in Thailand

by Lionel Yodhasinghe, reporting from Bangkok

A farm field outskirt Bangkok,

Children take meal at a Sunday school

The evening is colourful in any townlet in Thailand as many Thais are used to visit the temples in the evening. Many parents with their children, after the hard day work take time in the evening to go to temple and pay homage to The Triple Gem and seek the blessings of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Later, they switch to the markets adjacent to every temple for shopping to buy the daily needs for the household. As the sun sets small time businessmen in every temple premises put up their temporary trade huts and display many varieties of food, clothing, toys and many other consumer items at these market places, it is a common sight in Thailand.

The temple going of Thais thus continue till mid night and business of trade stalls in these places as well as in other streets in the city too goes on till midnight. People are free to walk across the city, as the city environment is virtually safe even in the night in Thailand.

However police patrol streets in the city to prevent any crime or snatch thieves and other hooligans in the city. The city buildings are illuminated throughout the night adding more glamour to this tourist city in this South East Asian city of Bangkok.

Thais practise Buddhism more as a way of life believing in Buddhism brings them worldly things rather than solace in the future lives. To gain such fortune, they make vows at temples and other places of divine and wear trinkets embossed with replicas, Buddha statues and other symbols related to Buddhism.

The younger generation in Thailand work hard. They are eager to earn intending to make a better future. Thus they engage in business and do other jobs in the city as well as in the provinces. As a result, many are compelled to remain single, and they think of settling down in life in their 40s.

Job, an employed youth in Jomthong Bangkok said that his first lover ditched him now married another person as she found him financially sounder. With a broken heart, Tob did not want to think about another match. He said many Thai girls today act in the same way as they are more concerned about money than anything else.

This has been a major reason for many village girls to migrate to tourist areas in search of better-paid jobs.

Thai girls are shy, innocent and beautiful as their counterparts in Sri Lanka. They treat men as guardians; the typical Asian values such as hospitality and kindness are inherited by them. This could be one reason for tourists' world over to choose Bangkok as their holiday destination, and to seek hospitality of Thai women.

However, women in the provinces help their male counterparts to thrive their farms. Agriculture is the main source of income in Thailand; a lot of people are engaged in farming and agricultural related activities. Farming is done in the modern way, and even village farmers are doing quite well. Thai markets are full of local agro products, fruits and vegetables which are testimony to thriving agriculture in the country.

Bangkok Municipal authorities take extra care to keep the city clean and as a result, the garbage disposal activities are maintained regularly. City landscape with religious monuments, greenery and other decoration catch the eye of any visitor. Every street in the city is benefited with flowers and plants in pots.

However, some parts of Bangkok are still polluted due to the garbage and other refuse gathered in canals and sewage lines This has caused a severe health hazard in Bangkok, and the newspapers reported this week that the dengue killer is rising in Bangkok hitting over 26,000 people in the city. Therefore taking special care should be taken to protect from mosquitoes when visiting Bangkok.

Suitable accommodation is a must in this regard as ordinary places where facilities are lacking could expose any visitor to the killer diseases such as dengue.

Visiting the outskirts of Thailand is a mesmerising experience. One would see the vastness of Thailand; its hard working and simple people when visiting the provinces. The majority of Thais do not speak English but they are helpful and do not hesitate to assist you in directing you to some place or a temple.

Another special feature in the city is vehicular traffic. Though traffic is sometimes hectic as in Colombo, one would avoid such traffic and save time provided he uses the paid roads, the highways. However, people at wheels, despite his or her position and power, obey road rules and discipline themselves very well. It is very rare to hear a vehicle hooting in Bangkok. Reckless drivers and other road demons are conspicuously absent in Bangkok as everybody patiently wait for their turn.

Infrastructure development is another showpiece in Bangkok, and high-rise buildings and fly-overs are eye-catching scenes in the city and among them is Bangkok's latest showpiece, the King Rama VIII Bridge built over the river Chao Phraya. This has been built in the form of a triangle to facilitate vehicular traffic to enter and leave the city from every direction.

Tourists vary from one visitor to the other. Some visit to Bangkok on Buddhist pilgrimages as there are over 2000 temples in the city itself. Some tourists go shopping and others in search of pleasure and entertainment.

However, visitors should be careful of touts and others who voluntarily offer their services. Public transport, train, bus or metered taxies are safe. Threewheelers (Tuk Tuk) abound on the roads but many believe that riding a Tuk Tuk would end in a peril where you lose your every valuable article especially in the night.

People find time to come to temple and consult the monks in every important occasion of their lives. Besides attending to daily religious rites at the temple, the chief monk in any temple is busy counselling his dayakas and advising them to solve their household problems.

Therefore the relationship between the temple and the layman is closer and strong, and the monks are ready to visit any household at any time of the day when they invite the monk, for dana, dhamma chanting or giving blessings. Small children especially scouts come to temple early morning and help the temple in its cleaning and other chores.

They learn the Buddhist way of life from childhood, and this training and the company of the Buddhist monk and the temple educate them on simplicity and disciplines them to lead a successful comfort life.

Pix : Vipula Amarasinghe

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