Sri Lanka President inspects progress in BOI Int'l Buddhist Centre at Piliyandala

Lanka Daily News, Apr 2, 2009

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspected work so far completed by the BOI at the International Buddhist Centre at Piliyandala.

The Bodhigaraya was the main focus of the Presidential Inspection. The structure, which was constructed in traditional Sri Lankan Buddhist architectural style of the Anuradhapura period, is now nearly completed.

The Bodhigaraya will soon be ready for the ceremonial placing of a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi.

During his visit to the Centre, President Rajapaksa said that he wanted a green space established within to zone to enhance its atmosphere of serenity.

The International Buddhist Centre is a large-scale project to showcase Buddhism and its contribution to society in a single and dedicated location. It will seek to attract investment in Buddhism related projects and thus become a magnet for Buddhists all around the world as well as those who have an interest in the philosophy of Buddhism. Under the Mahinda Chinthana, the Government has identified as one of its objectives "to make Sri Lanka a global centre for the propagation of the teachings of the Lord Buddha".

This is done in order to "enlighten the citizens of the world on the achievements of peaceful co-existence through the Dhamma".

The site for the project is at Kesbewa, Piliyandala, which is just 25 kilometers away from Colombo and 50 kilometers from the Bandaranaike International Airport. The land is close to the Bolgoda Lake, which is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the Western Province.

The land surrounding the Bodhigaraya will consist of 14 lots, which are earmarked as sites for the International Buddhist Centres. The BOI is confident that Governments of Buddhist countries and religious organizations will invest in this project. Other areas have been identified as administrative areas, commercial areas, religious areas and areas earmarked for religious activities.

This novel project will encourage religious tourism as many Buddhist countries are economically significant. Buddhism has also grown in importance in the West, notably in the USA, where many prominent Americans have espoused the Buddhist faith.

The International Buddhist Centre will promote academic research and strengthen core values, which will also benefit the Sri Lankan society.

The President was accompanied by Construction and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Additional Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath, Chairman/Director General of the BOI Dhammika Perera, Chairman of the State Engineering Corporation Surath De Silva, senior BOI officials and engineers.