China Buddhist Association visits Sri Lanka

Lanka Dailt News, Aug 27, 2007

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- President of the Buddhist Association of China Most Venerable Shi Yie Chang will lead a 125 member strong Buddhist delegation to Sri Lanka from August 26 to 31 in developing closer interactions and enhancing the bilateral Buddhist cultural relations dating back to over 2,500 years between the two countries.

2007, being a special year of friendship between Sri Lanka and China, this visit of the Buddhist delegation is a direct result of the talks held between the two leaders, during the State visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to China, early this year in facilitating people to people interaction and enhancing the special Buddhist bondage existing between the two nations.

A high level Buddhist delegation which accompanied the President, during the State visit was received by the Most Venerable Shi Chang Zang, the Chief Abbot of the Lingguang Temple in Beijing on behalf of the Chinese Buddhists. Thereafter, Sri Lanka gifted a stone replica of the Samadhi Statue in Anuradhapura to the Lingguang Temple.

To reciprocate these sentiments and the hospitality extended by the Chinese Buddhists, the Chief Custodian of the Dalada Maligawa extended an invitation to the members of the Buddhist Association of China to visit Sri Lanka during the season of the Esala Perahera.

The visiting delegation includes the most senior monks held in high esteem in China and officials from the China Buddhist Association, the umbrella organisation for Buddhist activities in the country.

They will begin their tour of Sri Lanka by viewing the spectacular “Randoli Pageant” on August 28, the last day of the Esala Perahera.

Thereafter a Buddhist tour of Sri Lanka including the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura would be undertaken.

The delegation would also pay a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister and Buddhist leaders.

In paying due respect and in recognition of the long lasting Buddhist cultural relations between the two countries, the Most Venerable Asgiriya and Malwatta Maha Nayaka Theras would bestow honorary titles on the Most Ven. Shi Yi Chenge, the President of the China Buddhist Association and the Most Ven. Shi Chang Zang, the Chief Abbot of the Lingguang Temple in Beijing.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-ordinated this visit along with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, SriLankan Airlines and all other relevant institutions, who have extended their support in facilitating this visit.

The Beijing Television Network (BTV), the second largest television network in China has sent a special crew to cover this event and prepare a series of documentaries on Buddhism/Culture and Tourism in Sri Lanka.

In a novel concept of promoting “Buddhist Tourism” in China, which was highlighted by the President in his speech at the Lingguang Temple, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and Srilankan Airlines organised a presentation for Buddhist leaders in China in June, this year.

Ambassador Amunugama spoke of the opportunities available to enhance Buddhist relations through dialogue and partnership between the two nations which has paved the way for closer co-operation between the two countries for the promotion of Buddhist pilgrimages.