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Buddhist blessings for new Hindu temple site in Berlin

By Janaka Perera, The Buddhist Channel, March 11, 2008

Berlin, Germany -- Sri Lankan Buddhist monks on Mahasivarathri Day March 7 blessed a site situated in Berlin, Germany, on which is planned the construction of Europe's second largest Hindu temple.

The proposed temple's custodians are Indian Hindus who have received land in the city of Berlin free of charge from the German Government for building the Temple. Since no Hindu priests are presently living there, the founding members invited two Sinhala bhikkus currently residing in the Berlin Buddhist Vihara or Das Buddhistische Haus (The Buddhist House in Frohnau, Berlin) continental Europe 's main Theravada Buddhist temple to officiate at the foundation stone-laying ceremony.

The two monks, the Venerable Dikwelle Seelasumana Thera and Venerable Wilachchiye Dhammavijaya Thera chanted seth pirith (sutras) at the site where Hindu Tamil devotees from India were present.

A Hindu prasada pooja was also performed. Delivering a brief sermon in Tamil, the Venerable Dhammavijaya expressed the hope that this solemn gesture of goodwill would further strengthen Hindu-Buddhist amity everywhere and help to promote ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka.

The Berlin Vihara is a popular site for Buddhists and well wishers from many countries, tourists, students and different kinds of visitors to whom an extensive monthly programme is offered.

Das Buddhistische Haus was built by the pioneering German Buddhist Dr. Paul Dahlke who died in 1928. In 1957, the German Dharmaduta Society (GDS) of Sri Lanka purchased the property from the heirs of Dr. Dahlke, helped to restore this German Buddhist heritage primarily for the benefit of Germans and other Westerners interested in Buddhism.

Das Buddhistische Haus is now owned and managed by a GDS Board of Trustees for the past 50 years. The founder of GDS was Asoka Weeraratna (later Ven.Meethirigala Dhammanisanthi) who led the first Buddhist Mission from Sri Lanka to Germany in 1957.

The Berlin Vihara ( Das Buddhistische Haus) has been declared a national monument by the local authorities of Berlin, Germany.


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