Sri Lanka President urged to hold World Buddhist Council in 2011

by Saman Weeraman, The Nation, June 14, 2009

Hambantota, Sri Lanka -- Thanks to the eradication of terrorism, people in the country celebrated Poson in an atmosphere of peace and harmony after a long tome, observed Ports and Civil Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa in Hambantota last week.

Speaking at the opening of Ruhuna Poson Mahimaya celebrations held in Hambantota, under the aegis of the Light of Asia Foundation and Lanka Salt (Pvt) Limited, Rajapaksa said that Poson was an ideal occasion to remember King Asoka`s message of Dhammavijaya and renew our commitment to peace, harmony and national unity.

Chief Media Consultant of Light of Asia Foundation, Edwin Ariyadasa said that people were celebrating Poson this year with a real sense of freedom. “The masses feel that they have been liberated at last. Terrorism is no longer a menacing presence in society. This is the outcome of unwavering determination of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.”

Ariyadasa requested Minister Rajapaksa to inform President Rajapaksa that time was opportune to hold a Dhamma Sangayana (a Buddhist Council) in the country under his patronage. The first Buddhist Council was held soon after the parinibbana of the Buddha. And the last one was held in Myanmar in 1953, said Ariyadasa.

“In 2011 we will celebrate the 2600th year of the attainment of Supreme Enlightment by ascetic Siddhartha. Therefore this is history’s best moment for the President to hold the Seventh Dhamma Sangayanaya with Sri Lanka as the hub and the centre. The whole world will be with him in this great and noble task.”

Ven. Ellawela Vijitananda Thera, Lanka Salt Chairman, Mahinada Gunawardena, and Chairman, Light of Asia Foundation Navin Gunaratne also participated. The festival continued for three days with a large participation of devotees.

Short and feature films on Buddhist themes were shown on jumbo screens for the benefit of devotees. ‘Asoka’, ‘Angulimala’, and ‘Uppalavanna’ were among the feature films screened.

Exhibition of photographs, recitals of devotional songs by schoolchildren, religious plays enacted by students, were among the demonstrations conducted at the festival.