Buddhist Cultural Centre :
Grand opening today
Buddhist Cultural Centre
Pix: Vipula Amarasinghe
The Opening of the impressive Buddhist Cultural Centre at
Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mawatha, Colombo by President Mahinda Rajapaksa
is the precursor to celebrating the Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi 2600 on a
The Buddhist Cultural Centre which is the brainchild of Ven.Kirama
Wimalajothi Thera, with its valuable treasure of books will help to
acquire a good knowledge of Buddhism and live accordingly. This people
impressive building complex upholds its motto, "Towards a righteous
society cultivating independent minds nurtured by our great heritage".
The President will open the Buddhist Cultural Centre today at 8.30
am. Following a request by Ven.Wimalajothi Thera, the President has also
agreed to re-name Havelock Road as Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mawatha to
coincide with the Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi 2600. A large number of
foreign Buddhist dignitaries and members of Mahasangha will attend the
A procession will start from opposite Wellawatta Mayurapathi Kovil
today at 3.00pm and proceed to Thummulla junction. Around 2600 students
representing over 20 schools in the Western Province would participate
in this religious pageant.
A large number of school bands and the Armed Forces and Police bands
will take part in the procession which will be led by the students of
Colombo university, Ven. Vimalajothi Thera said. The programme will
conclude with an all-night pirith pinkama.
This Buddhist Cultural Centre is unique in that it is the largest
institution so far established in Sri Lanka with the world's largest
collection of Buddhist publication for sale. It also functions as an
Information Centre with an auditorium with seating capacity for 400
people, in addition to a sophisticated soundproof audio visual unit. The
centre has a conference hall to conduct Buddhist activities.
Ven.Kirama Wimalajothi Thera
The first floor of the Centre consists of Buddhist books such as
Tripitaka, canonical texts, meditation, psychology, philosophy and
commentaries which are published in Sinhala.
The second floor has been reserved for books on Buddhism in English,
German, French, Tamil and other languages. A large number of children's
books in both Sinhala and English, on Buddhism is also available for
sale. The centre has around 10,000 titles of books.
The main building consists of 8 major floors while a part of it has
16 floors. At the top of the 16th floor, a pagoda like Buddhagaya has
been erected to signify the four noble truths (chathurarya sathya). Each
floor of the building has been reserved for some specific purpose.
Arrangements have been made to conduct Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Sinhala
and English languages and some more western and oriental languages as
well. The centre will hold Buddhist counselling sessions for groups from
children to elderly people. The centre will be open to the public from
8.30am to 9.00pm.
The centre will conduct youth activities specially for university
students and college students and coordinate the setting up of Buddhist
societies in every faculty in universities and also in schools in
Colombo which will be the pride of the country, the Thera said.
The centre will also provide space for foreign Maha Nayake Theras and
other Buddhist monks to conduct research on Dhamma, discussions and
seminars is another facility provided by the Centre. The full-fledged
auditorium in the ideal location to perform international cultural
activities. The aim of the centre is to educate the youth on Dhamma and
According to Ven.Wimalajothi Thera President Rajapaksa has provided
the land for the Buddhist centre on a 30 year loan basis. Donations had
been received from the public, school children and various other sources
to construct this building complex. The estimated cost of the project is
around Rs. 350 million. However, the Ven. Thera had sold some of his
lands and his other assets and earned around Rs.80 million. He had also
borrowed around Rs.180 million from the local and foreign banks for the
project. The construction work was undertaken by the Maga Engineering
(pte) Ltd and at present 80 percent of the work has been completed.
Ven.Wimalajothi Thera who had been abroad for 20 years as a Buddhist
missionary launched the first Buddhist Cultural Centre at Nedimala,
Dehiwala with the assistance of his devotees in Malaysia to promote
Buddhist publications. It has already published over 1000 books in both
Sinhala and English languages. The significant religious service
rendered by this centre has paved the way to established the new
Buddhist Cultural Centre in Colombo with the assistance from Buddhists
At present the society has been misled by many forces. After 2600
years of Buddha's Enlightenment, we must work towards a new social order
based on Buddhist principles. A moral education should be given to the
children in addition to school education. After the end of terrorism,
peace has dawned on the country. Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country, we
are proud to be Buddhists. Time has come to promote all that is
indigenous. We have a great history, religion and culture to be proud