Sri Lanka, China Draw Up Program to Strengthen Buddhist Ties
A new program aimed at fostering Buddhist ties between Sri Lanka and China has been drawn up during discussions held in Shanghai on the sidelines of the recent Fourth World Buddhist Forum in China.
According to a statement from the Sri Lankan government, a visiting delegation of 25 dignitaries from Sri Lanka, including monks led by Venerable Galagama Sri Atthadassi, Mahanayaka Thero of the Asgiriya Chapter, and lay Buddhists and government officials headed by Dushmantha Mithrapala, deputy minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, met a Chinese delegation led by Buddhist Association of China (BAC) president Venerable Xue Cheng in Shanghai. The Sri Lankan delegation visited with support from the BAC, the China Religious Cultural Communication Association (CRCCA), and the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Colombo.
During the meeting, Ven. Xue Cheng emphasized that China attached great importance to friendly Buddhist exchange and cooperation with Sri Lanka and appreciated the support provided by the Sri Lankan community in the organization of the forum. He added that the BAC would work with the Sri Lankan Buddhist community to promote and deepen ties between the two countries.
The new program will provide opportunities for further education in China for Sri Lankan monks, and for Chinese monastics to study Theravada Buddhism and Pali in Sri Lanka. The talks also addressed the provision of funding by China to promote Daham Pasala—or Sunday Dharma school—education in Sri Lanka.
The press release added that senior officials from China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs had agreed to provide expertise and support for the celebration of the United Nations’ Day of Vesak on 20 May 2016 in Sri Lanka.
The Chinese side thanked the Sri Lankan government for sending a high-level delegation to attend the Fourth World Buddhist Forum, and Ven. Xue Cheng expressed specific gratitude for the donation of sacred Buddha relics to China. Speaking on behalf of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community, Ven. Davuldena Gnanissara Thero, the Mahanayaka Thero of the Amarapura Chapter, commended the mutual support between the Chinese and Sri Lankan Buddhist communities, He observed that Sri Lanka and China share a long history dating back to when Buddhist groups from Sri Lanka first visited China and introduced monastic ordination to the Buddhist community there. He expressed optimism that joint efforts with the Chinese side would help to promote Buddhist development in Asia and all over the world.
The Sri Lankan delegation also visited the provinces of Guangxi and Guangdong to obtain a better understanding of Buddhist development and economic and social development in China.
The Fourth World Buddhist Forum, jointly organized by the BAC and CRCCA, was held from 24–25 October in the Chinese city of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, and was attended by more than 1,000 Buddhist monks and scholars from 52 countries. The theme of the forum was “Common Aspiration, Common Action—Embracing Exchanges and Mutual Learning,” with the goal of discussing the positive role of Buddhist thought in solving the problems that affect people’s lives and human development.
Moves to foster Buddhism between Sri Lanka and China (Daily News)
Sri Lankan Buddhist delegation attends 4th World Buddhist Forum in China (The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka)