The sacred Bo tree of boundless faith
A view of the majestic Bodhi that stands close to the Kalutara
Those who are proceeding along Galle road towards Kalutara will be
struck by the majestic view of the Kalutara Bodhi and its stupa nestled
between the Kaluganga and the sprawling city.
It is a common sight to see people belonging to different faiths
respectfully casting coins into tills kept on either side of the road.
They do this in the belief that they will be protected from accidents
and other road mishaps. Although certain religious places attract
devotees only on Poya days, Kalutara Bodhi attracts thousands of
devotees everyday round the clock.
The Bodhi which is located in the Uda Maluwa is believed to have been
planted in the 16th century. It is a sapling of the world’s oldest tree
Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura.
The credit for the development and making the Kalutara Bodhi a sacred
place goes to the late Sir Cyril de Zoysa who was a practising lawyer in
the area. He ordered the drivers of his own Swarnapali Bus Company to
drop coins to the tills placed on either side of the road. He used to
wake up early in the morning and visit the Bodhi. He commenced his daily
routine after paying homage to the Buddha.
The serene view of the Kalutara Stupa from a distance.
At the pinnacle laying ceremony in Pahatha Maluwa, the then British
Government Agent who had been disturbed by the drumming and other noises
had dispersed the devotees. However, Sir Cyril de Zoysa making a bold
attempt, resumed the religious ceremonies with more than one hundred
drummers. The British official who could not bear it vacated his
The General Secretary of Kalutara Bodhi Trust Fund R. M. C.
Bandaranayake told the Sunday Observer that the money collected from
tills is utilised for a number of community projects.
“We run two elders’ homes in Yatiyana and Bombuwala in the Kalutara
district. A Bhikkhu ward has been built in Kalutara, Nagoda General
Hospital and we are maintaining it. A fund has been set up to help
Bhikkhus especially those who go for heart surgeries. We are looking
into the possibility of extending it to laymen as well.
He said the Bodhi Trust saves 50-60 cattle from death on every other
Poya day. On Poson Poya days the number of cattle saved from death
Sir Cyril de Zoysa.
He said the Kalutara Bodhi Trust is the biggest contributor to the
Blood Bank because blood donation campaigns are held every Poya day at
“There is a lot of transparency in our dealings. As a result many
people come forward to make donations. Although there is no temple or
Bhikkhus involved in the administration, the Kalutara Bodhi Trust is
managed well by the trustees.
The Bodhi Trust collects a large sum of money mostly in the form of
coins. The money is deposited in banks and it is used to finance the
Bandaranayake also said that the trust gives scholarships to students
who do extremely well at the G.C.E. O/L examination, provided they had
attended Dhamma schools. The Trust Fund also runs Dhamma schools in the
English medium for the benefit of the children in the rural areas in the
Kalutara district. A fully equipped library is set up and maintained by
the Trust Fund. It is located in close proximity to the Bodhi. He said
there are more than 60,000 books in several languages specially relating
to Buddhism. It is a resourceful library for those who wish to do
research on Buddhism. He also said Rupees one million worth books are
donated to Samanera Bhikkhus in the Kalutara district on an annual
The Bodhi Trust conducts special programs on Saturdays and Sundays.
Meditation programs are held on Saturdays and Nava Arahadi puja is held