Col. Henry Steel Olcott's house to be preserved

ColomboPage News Desk, March 1, 2005

Olcott traveled the country, patronizing the spread of Buddhism.

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The Sri Lankan government has taken steps to preserve the house in which Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, considered to be a pioneer in the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka, lived during his stay in the country.

The government will spend about Rs. one million (US$ 10,000) for the preservation of the house, situated at No. 54 Maliban Street and Pettah.

Olcott, an American national, came to Sri Lanka after reading about the debate on Buddhism and Christianity, which is known as "Panadura Vadaya". The debate was between Ven. Migettuwatte Gunanandha Thera and Wesleyan missionaries.

It is said that Olcott was very much impressed by the debate and came to Galle and from there to other parts of the country, patronizing the spread of Buddhism. He was the co-founder of the Theosophical Society, dealing with aspects of Buddhism, Brahmanism and Christianity.

Olcott, an attorney and philosopher, was born on August 2, 1832, in Orange, New Jersey, USA, and died at the age of 75 on February 17, 1907, in Adyar, Madras, India.