Sri Lankan Buddhist prelates to visit Iran

Lanka Daily News, Oct 13, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- SEVEN Sri Lankan Buddhist prelates will leave the country for Iran tomorrow. The seven-member delegation will be in Iran from October 14 to 21 to establish relations and exchange academic information and research.

The organisers will have educational workshops and courses and will present religious lectures on the following topics during the visit.

The Development of Religion and Ethics in Buddhism, the role of Buddhist leaders in institutionalising the characteristics of the Buddhist schools, the role of Buddhist religious leaders in confronting violence in Sri Lanka, the Constitution of Sri Lanka and the rights of racial and religious minorities therein, Buddhist mysticism, the history of cultural relations between Sri Lanka and Iran and offering strategies to develop it in future, following of the Buddhist monks by the youth, the role of monks in the peaceful life of people in Sri Lanka, in spite of the existence of various racial and religious minorities in this country common ideals for world peace and justice to strengthen the relations in the new era, religious places of Sri Lanka and Buddhist Samma Gnana.

The delegation comprises Ven. Dr. Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhita Thera, Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya. Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera MP, Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Thera, London Buddhist Viharaya, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thera, Sri Jinarathana Bhikku Abhyasa Vidyalaya, Gangaramaya, Ven. Dr. Makadawara Ananda Thera, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Peradeniya, Ven. Koggalle Wijitha Thera. Abinawaramaya, Kataragama and Ven. Polpitimukalane Pannasiri Thera.

The visit is made possible after the Sri Lanka Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran had discussions with the Islamic Cultural Relations Organisation (ICRO) in Iran. The ICRO agreed to host a seven-member delegation of Bhikkhus from Sri Lanka.

The delegation called on Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama at his office on Thursday. Addressing the delegation, Bogollagama said his aim is to popularise Theravada Buddhism internationally through the Foreign Service.

He said in many countries, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are popular. He said as we in Sri Lanka have greater co-oporation economy, politics and culture with the other countries, we are capable of popularising Theravada Buddhism in those countries. He said this visit will enhance the friendly relations with Iran.