Sri Lanka Prime Minister attends the World Buddhist Summit in Japan

Daily Mirror, Nov 8, 2008

Hyogo Prefecture, Japan -- Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka attended the opening ceremony of the Fifth World Summit held in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan on November 02.

Representatives from 35 countries including the Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter participated in the Summit which was convened by Ven. Dr. Kyuse Enshinjoh of Japan who once served as President of Mahabodhi Society in India.

The Summit was held in the International Buddhist Conference Hall which was inaugurated on the same day and named after the former King of Cambodia, Prince Norodom Sihanouk who was the chief guest at the Buddhist Summit.

The Prime Minister also participated in the inaugural ceremony of the Grand Hall of Buddhism which is a magnificent building dedicated by Japanese Buddhists belonging to the Nenbutshusu Buddhist sect in Japan of which the founder Priest was Rev. Dr. Kyuse Enshinjoh. The Prime Minister donated a replica of the Samadhi statue at Anuradhapura and a complete set of Buddhist Encyclopedia published by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Grand Hall of Buddhism.

Mr. Wickramanayaka was also an invitee at the ground breaking ceremony of the new Nalanda University which is to be built in the same premises as the Grand Hall of Buddhism in order to revive the scholarly traditions of Nalanda University of ancient India.

The Prime Minster addressed the Summit after Prince Sihanouk and said that as a country which was predominantly Buddhist it was the policy of the government to encourage such Buddhist events in other parts of the world. He stated that the teachings of the Noble One-non violence, tolerance, loving kindness, compassion and equanimity were relevant to the present day world which was beset by many problems and where there was a degradation of moral values although great strides had been made in science and technology. He observed that the basic teachings of the Buddha remained unchallenged.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to Ven. Kyuse Enshinjoh for the initiative taken by him to convene the Summit which had brought together representatives from all schools of Buddhism and said that Buddhists whether they belonged to Theravada, Mahayana or any other school of Buddhism believed in the basic teachings of the Buddha. He added that Buddhist countries faced many challenges and there was a need to foster closer cooperation between Buddhist countries to help each other.

The Prime Minister during his stay in Japan took the opportunity to visit several places of interest in Nara and Kyoto which were the capitals during the golden period of Buddhism in Japan.