SAMADHI

JOURNAL OF THE LONDON BUDDHIST VIHARA
THE FIRST AND THE FOREMOST BUDDHIST VIHARA OF THE WESTERN WORLD
ESTABLISHED IN 1926 BY THE ANAGARIKA DHARMAPALA

 

ISSUE No. 19                                                     JANUARY 2002                                     B. E. 2545                             ISSN 1368-1516

  INSIDE THIS ISSUE


THE BUDDHIST CONCEPT OF LOVE 

by Most Venerable Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana,
Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain,
Head of the London Buddhist Vihara

Thee word ‘love’ has many different meanings in English, some of which are contradictory and confusing. This word covers a very wide range of emotions which human beings experience. There is selfish love and there is selfless love. In Buddhism we use the pali word ‘metta’, which has sometimes been translated into English by the term ‘loving-kindness’ or ‘universal love’ in an attempt to avoid some of the undesirable connotations associated with the word ‘love’.

Buddhist metta means the sincere wish for the welfare and happiness of all living beings without exception. Metta is unconditional love, not love in the sense of wanting to possess or belong. It is being open, accepting what is, without making demands. It is embracing impartially all sentient beings, not only those who are useful, pleasing or amusing to us. It means fraternal affection, unbounded love, or friendly feelings, free from lustful attachment. It is not really the experience of beauty and romantic joy, but is also associated with ugliness, pain and aggression. It is not dwelling in aversion on that which is foul, bad, evil or terrible. It is an attitude or orientation of character, not a relationship with a specific person. Nobody can give this faculty to us, we must find it in ourselves and cultivate it mindfully.

Metta allows people to be as they are, not forcing them to change or to become as we would like them to be. It is characterised as promoting welfare and beneficence. Its function is to promote the growth of friendliness. It is manifested by the removal of dosa - ill-will or hatred - filling the heart with love. Its proximate cause is seeing lovableness in beings, the linking of others with oneself in affection. It succeeds when it makes ill-will subside. It is not possible to practise metta and feel anger or resentment at the same time.

Metta fails when it produces selfish affection (pema), desire or lust. Metta really means friendliness, not ‘love’ in the often used English sense of the word; ‘love’ is related etymologically to ‘lobha’ which means greed, and this is inimical to metta. The near enemies of metta are greed and sensuous love that views objects with discrimination and seeks to indulge selfish craving. Its far enemies are ill-will, cruelty and envy.

When one wants to develop this quality within oneself one has to practise towards oneself first for one cannot give to others that which one does not possess. One should be sincere to oneself in accepting one's own failings, and develop pure friendliness towards oneself before extending it to others. Then unselfish friendly feelings are to be extended by stages towards all beings, starting from the most dear and revered ones, then neutral persons and then hostile ones. We are encouraged to love all living beings, not restricted only to human beings. We should radiate our loving kindness towards every living being as it says in the Karaniya Metta Sutta, ‘those seen or unseen; dwelling far or near; those who are born and those who are to be born, may all beings, without exception, be happy minded’.

It is the radiating of pure goodwill, with no expectation of reward or praise or anything in return. This is why the practice of metta can never end in disappointment or frustration It is to be measureless in its scope. It transcends all forms of barriers or boundaries whether they are social, racial, national, religious, communal or political, without creating anything with aversion towards failings and faults.

A mother’s love for her only child is held up as the ideal example of metta in its most developed form. A mother will willingly forgo her own pleasures and safety, and will even give up her own life if it will contribute towards the welfare of her child. She has no selfish thoughts for her own well-being but will go to extraordinary lengths to safeguard her child. This is the kind of attitude we should strive to develop towards all beings.

Buddhism teaches us that we have lived an enormous succession of lives which have been going on since beginningless time, during which we have been born in an endless variety of different relationships. The Buddha himself said, "Monks, it is not easy to find a being who has not been a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a son or a daughter, in this endless repetition of existence." (Samyutta Nikaya II. 189)

The correct practice of metta has very powerful effects. Once when he was out walking with his disciples, the Buddha came across a tree which was burning and he remarked that a monk would do better to endure being burnt like that tree rather than to accept the four requisites from his supporters without being sure that he was worthy to accept such gifts. These requisites are food, clothing, shelter and medicines, and are supplied by lay supporters in order to meet the monks’ needs, not for their enjoyment or sensual gratification.

The Buddha advised his monks to make sure that they could justify the confidence and trust placed in them by their lay supporters and that the monks should examine their consciences to see that they had not abused this trust. The Buddha warned monks that it would be better to endure all sorts of torture and being burnt by red-hot implements than to take pleasure in enjoyment of their requisites. These words had such a profound impact on the monks that 60 of them vomited blood, 60 disrobed because they felt they were unworthy to continue as monks, and 60 reached enlightenment. The Buddha went on to say that if, however, a monk were to sustain a loving mind properly even for a period as short as one finger snap, then he could be regarded as being worthy of accepting the requisites.

The Buddha said that no follower of his should show anger, no matter how much wrong might have been done to him. This means that there is no room in these teachings for what is sometimes called "righteous anger". Likewise, there can be no such thing as a "just war". In the Dhammapada there is a verse which reads, "Enmity never ceases by enmity; enmity ceases by amity. This is an eternal law." Non violence is a more effective power to fight against evil than weapons. Hatred brings remorse; love brings peace and happiness.

The person who practises metta or loving-kindness is blessed by the following results: He sleeps happily, awakes happily, is not disturbed by bad dreams, is loved by human beings, is loved by non-human beings, is not harmed by poisons, fire or weapons, is protected by invisible deities, can concentrate easily, develops a beautiful facial expression, will die peacefully, and if he has not already attained enlightenment, he will be reborn in a blissful state. (Anguttara Nikaya v. 342)

Because of the rat race after material gain many people are not aware of the wonderful results one can experience here and now in practising loving-kindness. Material prosperity when devoid of spiritual backing will never bring lasting happiness and peace to individuals or to society. Both happiness and peace are based in the mind. When the mind is happy and at peace one can bring peace to the others.

‘Let us live happily, not hating those who hate us. Among those who hate us, let us live free from hatred’ (Dhp. 197).


the social teaching of the buddha 

by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Buddhism tends to promote economic well-being in society by its stress on the virtue of generosity. The Buddha teaches all his disciples, whether they be monks or lay-people, to practise giving. To be generous and bountiful towards others, living with open hands. The wealthy, in particular, in Buddhist society have the duty and obligation to give to the poor; to help and to assist the poor.

The things that can be given; these the Buddhist texts classify very minutely. The main objects are the basic requisites of existence: clothing, food, dwelling places and medicine. Secondary objects include seats, vehicles, lights, books, utensils and so forth. All of these get classified very minutely. But the Buddha praises, especially, the giving of food. He says that if people knew the value or benefit of giving food - the rewards they would get for themselves by giving food - they would not sit down to eat even a single meal, without giving something to somebody else to eat if there is an opportunity to do so. He says that one who gives food gives five things: life (long life), beauty (or good complexion), happiness, strength (physical health) and intelligence. The person who receives the food and who eats it then gets his life extended. He acquires a good complexion, he feels happiness and pleasure over receiving the food, he gains health and his mind is able to function properly and to utilise its intelligence.

Then on many occasions, the Buddha has given practical bits of advice to lay-people on how to deal with their economic affairs. One time a group of lay-people came to the Buddha and said, "Bhante, we aren’t monks living in the forest, we don’t know much about meditation or philosophy. But we need something that’s practical, something that can help us right here and now. And also something that will help us advance in future lives. Teach us what is appropriate for us." Then the Buddha taught them four things that lead to happiness here and now. He said, the first thing that’s required, is energy and diligence. If you work at some job, some profession, trade or business, you have to be energetic and diligent in performing your work. The second factor is security. Because when you acquire wealth, you have to protect it carefully; to make sure it remains safe. The third thing is good friendship. You have to associate with good friends, true friends, with virtuous people who will help you and protect you. Then fourthly, you have to maintain a balanced livelihood. You shouldn’t be too bountiful, spending more than your means permit. And you shouldn’t be niggardly, clinging to your wealth. But you should avoid these extremes and spend in proportion to your income. Those are the four things the Buddha taught leading to welfare here and now. Then he went on to teach four things that lead to long term benefit in the future: That is, faith, (or confidence) in spiritual values, generosity, moral discipline and wisdom.

The Buddha also got down to the very practical matters of the right ways of acquiring wealth; the four standards of right livelihood to which the lay-follower should conform. That is, he should acquire wealth only by legal means, not by illegal means. He should acquire it without violence. He should acquire it honestly and he should acquire wealth in ways which do not harm others.

Then, having acquired wealth in these ways, the Buddha went on to teach five uses that the lay-person should make of his wealth. Firstly, he should use it to provide for his own household - his family, relatives, children and so on. Secondly, he should use the wealth to make gifts to friends, to entertain them, to give them presents at the holiday season, and so on. Thirdly, he should use wealth to protect and repair his property and his dwelling. Fourth, he should pay taxes and make the oblations to the deities. And fifth, he should use wealth to offer alms and requisites to the monks and branmins. This deals with some of the aspects of the Buddha’s economic teachings.

Now coming to the specific social teachings of the Buddha, the teachings that are designed for moulding and transforming society. Now from the Buddhist viewpoint, society itself is an abstraction, not a reality. Society is a collective whole made up of individuals, and the quality of society reflects the individuals who compose it. If the individuals are corrupt, the society will be corrupt. If the individuals are noble and pure, the society will be noble and pure. Since society merely reflects the individual (its individual members) the Buddha aimed at transforming society by giving individuals new standards of conduct, new ideals and patterns of behaviour which would elevate and transform their conduct. Then changes in the social order would follow as a matter of course.

There are various codes of conduct taught by the Buddha which fulfil this requirement. These codes were designed originally for individual observance, but when put into practice, they bring about far-reaching changes in the social order. Some instances we might mention are the five precepts: to abstain from killing, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, and from intoxication. Though these lines of conduct help improve our individual conduct, when they’re observed by many people throughout the society, they purify and elevate the society.

(Reproduced from Bhavana Newsletter, Vol.10, No.1, Jan - Mar 1994, PP 9-11)

 


the Buddhist concept of heaven and hell

by Venerable Dr. K Sri Dhammananda Nayaka Maha Thera

The wise man makes his own heaven while the foolish man creates his own hell here and hereafter.

The Buddhist concept of heaven and hell is entirely different from that in other religions. Buddhists do not accept that these places are eternal. It is unreasonable to condemn a man to eternal hell for his human weakness but quite reasonable to give him every chance to develop himself. From the Buddhist point of view, those who go to hell can work themselves upwards by making use of the merit that they have acquired previously. There are no locks on the gates of hell. Hell is a temporary place and there is no reason for those beings to suffer there forever.

The Buddha’s Teaching shows us that there are heavens and hells not only beyond this world, but also in this very world itself. Thus the Buddhist conception of heaven and hell is very reasonable. For instance, the Buddha once said, ‘When the average ignorant person makes and assertion to the effect that there is a Hell (patala) under the ocean he is making a statement which is false and without basis. The word "Hell" is a term for painful sensations.’ The idea of one particular readymade place or a place created by god as heaven and hell is not accepted to the Buddhist concept.

The fire of hell in this world is hotter than that of any possible hell in the world-beyond. There is no fire equal to anger, lust or greed and ignorance. According to the Buddha, we are burning from eleven kinds of physical pain and mental agony: lust, hatred, illusion sickness, decay, death, worry, lamentation, pain (physical and mental), melancholy and grief. People can burn the entire world with some of these fires of mental discord. From a Buddhist point of view, the easiest way to define hell and heaven is that wherever there is more suffering, either in this world or in any other plane, that place is a hell to those who suffer. And where there is more pleasure and happiness, either in this world or any other place in existence, that place is a heaven to those who enjoy their worldly life in that particular place. However, as the human realm is a mixture of both pain and happiness, human beings experience both pain and happiness and will be able to realise the real nature of life. But in many other places of existence inhabitants have less chance for this realisation. In certain places there is more suffering than pleasure while in some other places there is more pleasure than suffering.

Buddhists believe that after death rebirth can take place in any one of a number of possible existences. This future existence is conditioned by the last thought-moment a person experiences at the point of death. This last thought which determines the next existence results from the past actions of a man either in this life or before that. Hence, if the predominant thought reflects meritorious action, then he will find his future existence in a happy state. But that state is temporary and when it is exhausted a new life must begin all over again, determined by another dominating ‘kammic’ energy which lies dormant in the subconscious mind, waiting for the right conditions to become active. This is very much like a seed, waiting for rain and sunshine to sprout. This repetitious process goes on endlessly unless one arrives at ‘Right View’ and makes a firm resolve to follow the Noble Path which produces the ultimate happiness of Nibbana.

Heaven is a temporary place where those who have done good deeds experience more sensual pleasures for a longer period. Hell is another temporary place where those evil doers experience more physical and mental suffering. It is not justifiable to believe that such places are permanent. There is no god behind the scene of heaven and hell. Each and every person experiences pain or pleasure according to his good and bad kamma. Buddhists never try to introduce Buddhism by frightening people through hell-fire or enticing people by pointing to paradise. Their main idea is character building and mental training. Buddhists can practise their religion without aiming at heaven or without developing fear of hell. Their duty is to lead righteous lives by upholding humane qualities and peace of mind.


75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS 
OF 
THE LONDON BUDDHIST VIHARA


The 75th Anniversary of the establishment of the London Buddhist Vihara was held on 15th - 23rd September, 2001. The week-long celebrations started with all-night Paritta chanting on 15th September. Sri Lankan monks living in different parts of England attended the chanting and many devotees were present for this occasion. The next day, 16th September, they offered midday dana and transferred the merits to the Founder of the Vihara, Anagarika Dharmapala, former Heads of the Vihara and devotees who contributed to the development of the Vihara to the present day.

An exhibition showing the history and activities of the Vihara was opened to the public on 17th September and was attended by many people.

The main celebration was held at Hammersmith Town Hall on 23rd September at 2.00 pm. Most Venerable Seo Eui Hyun, Vice-President of World Buddhist Sangha Council, Rev. Prof. . Kim Kwang Tae, Ven. Bang Joo Suk (Sangwon), His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain, Mr. Clive Soley, local Member of Parliament, Councillor Harvey Rose and Mrs. Rose from the London Borough of Ealing, Councillor Ron Browne, the Chair of the Hammersmith Council Forum and Mrs. Gladwine Browne were among the distinguished guests.

More than forty distinguished monks travelled from as far afield as France, Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America in order to attend the celebrations. Venerable monks from Buddhist institutions in Great Britain of both Mahayana and Theravada traditions were also present.

Mr. Brian Pearce, Director of the Inter Faith Network for the U.K. and representatives from the Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths in England also attended.

The welcome address was given by the Most Ven. Dr. M. Vajiragnana Nayaka There, Head of the Vihara. Among the distinguished speakers were Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Maha Thera, General Secretary of World Buddhist Sangha Council, Mr. Brian Appleyard, Vice-President of the Buddhist Society, London and His Excellency the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe.

A vote of thanks was given by the Ven. T. Bandula. The programme was compered by Dr. Gnanisssara Subesinghe. The second half of the celebration was a cultural programme, which started with the singing a Buddha vandana song by Dr. Kusum Subesinghe. This programme was created and organized by Mrs. Ari Dissanayake and the London Buddhist Vihara coordinating committee. A short ballet illustrating the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka was staged under the able direction of Mrs. Kamalangani Perusinghe. There were Buddha Vandana dances by Sandaruwani Abeysiri and Thai traditional dances from the Buddhapadipa Temple, Wimbledon. The backdrop of an ancient Dageba, which was done by Mr. Lal Ratnayake, brought majesty and an overwhelming tranquillity to the whole ceremony.

Her Majesty the Queen of United Kingdom, Prime Minister of Great Britain Mr. Tony Blair and President of Sri Lanka Mrs. Chandrika Kumaranatunge sent messages of good wishes for this memorable occasion. A souvenir magazine, including these letters and other well wishes, was published and distributed among the participants.

 

WELCOME ADDRESS

These are extracts from the speech of welcome given by Ven. Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana NayakaThera at the 75th Anniversary Celebrations of the London Buddhist Vihara at Hammersmith Town Hall on 23rd September 2001.

Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana welcomed all the distinguished guests, who had come from all over the world to attend the ceremony and then went on to say, "Before I proceed further, as a mark of respect, let us stand up and observe one minute's silence to remember the innocent victims who lost their lives so tragically two weeks ago in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.

(A minute's silence was observed......)

As Buddhists - we are conditioned to shun violence in every form. It was a very sad and painful experience for me, and I am sure for all of you, to see on TV in such graphic detail wicked acts of wilful destruction perpetrated on innocent victims causing them to be trapped helplessly in two burning towers - I say this with the greatest sense of sadness as my own country, Sri Lanka too, has also experienced many tragedies caused by terrorism. I therefore pray every day that we human beings, who occupy this world temporarily, will have the wisdom and courage to overcome such barbarism, and live peacefully by helping each other.... I understand that there were 62 different nationalities involved in the New York disaster - this shows how international this disaster is, and the problems flowing thereafter affect everybody in the world. While offering my deepest sympathies and blessings of the Triple Gem to the American people and the families of all those who perished in this and other American tragedies, I appeal to all the powerful leaders of this world to come together and work together to make this beautiful world a safer place to live in."

Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana then went on to trace the origins of the Theravada tradition back to the First Council held three months after the demise of the Buddha, and which has been handed down in an unbroken tradition for the past 2,500 years. He went on, "It was this Buddhist Sangha tradition and doctrine that was brought to the West for the first time in 1926 by the Anagarika Dharmapala and which we continue to this day 75 years later.

"Although the Buddhist philosophy was known and followed in the West by small groups of interested people, the propagation and dissemination of Buddhism itself was never done until Theravada Buddhism arrived in the West.

"It all started with the Anagarika Dharmapala, who most of you know is the pioneer who brought Theravada Buddhism to the West and founded the London Buddhist Vihara 75 years ago. So this 75th Anniversary we are celebrating today is the culmination of three historical events - the arrival of Theravada Buddhism in the West, the founding of the London Buddhist Vihara to propagate Buddhism and the pioneering work by Dharmapala who laid the foundation for Buddhism to spread throughout the Western World. I am happy to say that Buddhist Viharas are now springing up in almost every country in Europe and the Americas, and I am not wrong to state Buddhist Viharas have been established in every continent of the world.

"Now to turn to our founder - the Anagarika Dharmapala. Born into the illustrious Hewavitarne family from the south of Sri Lanka in 1864 and educated in the capital Colombo, from a very young age Dharmapala showed a keen interest in the Buddha Dhamma under his mother's guidance and encouragement.

"The Buddhist revival in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century was in the hands of Dharmapala - he grasped the political implications of the Buddhist resurgence, and he never lost sight of the need to set this within the wider framework of the rise of nationalism in Asia. Always active when it came to national matters in his native Sri Lanka, it was he who first proposed Swaraj - national independence for Sri Lanka.

"He formed the Mahabodhi Society in 1891 and carried out a relentless campaign to restore to the Buddhists Buddha Gaya in India - the birthplace of Buddhism. This resulted in regaining control after a lapse of 700 years. His great desire to bring the Dhamma to the West and establish a Buddhist Vihara with the Sangha to propagate the Dhamma was achieved on his second visit to England, where he established the first Buddhist Vihara in Ealing in the year 1926.

"The Vihara then moved to Regents Park in 1928 and was there until the war years in 1941 when the Vihara's functioning was severely disrupted and the building was requisitioned by the British Government. The Vihara was again moved to Knightsbridge and subsequently in 1964 to Heathfield Gardens in Chiswick until the current premises at The Avenue in Bedford Park were purchased in 1993 by the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust and extensively refurbished to convert a historic English building into a Buddhist Vihara."

Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana paid tribute to the services rendered to the Vihara by his distinguished predecessors, and many political leaders. He continued, "The Vihara is well situated for all forms of travel and we attract visitors from many different places and walks of life. We have an extensive Buddhist library and halls where we conduct meditation, Buddhist study forums, university courses in Buddhism, language classes, Sunday Dhamma classes, religious sessions, lectures, retreats, and Buddhist cultural activities. All these take place according to an established weekly programme.

"In addition to this, I am gratified to state that we are the only Buddhist Vihara in the United Kingdom that has world-wide exposure through the active and leading roles we play for the development of Buddhism at international conferences in almost every Buddhist country throughout the world. As members of the prestigious Inter Faith Network for the UK the Sri Lankan Sangha Sabha is honoured to represent the Buddhist faith in this country throughout the years at all official functions of Her Majesty the Queen and her government.

"I would like to wind up by thanking my brother monks here today, all the guests and invitees, our supporters, well-wishers, co-ordinators and all those who have supported and contributed to the London Buddhist Vihara in the past and the present. Finally, I wish to pay tribute to the Dharmadutha Monks of the Vihara who assist me in delivering our services to the public. May I invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem on you all and thank you."


SPEECH OF THE GUEST OF HONOUR 

These are some excerpts from the speech given by the Guest of Honour, Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Mahathera at the 75th Anniversary Celebrations of the London Buddhist Vihara at Hammersmith Town Hall on 23rd September 2001.

Ven. Prof. Wimalaratna said that, "The founding of the London Buddhist Vihara in 1926 was not an accidental event. In fact this was the climax of a series of events that took place in Sri Lanka from about the middle part of the 19th century. As a sequel to these events there took place a sort of a renaissance of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and India, and the awakening of interest in the Western world in general. With the colonization of Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, there came British Civil Servants to serve in Sri Lanka. In performing their official duties as Government Agents, Magistrates etc., they had to settle disputes involving temporalities. In the process, they found they were not in a position to be fair to the parties involved if they did not have a fair knowledge of the Pali Language. This was because when settling disputes over temple lands these British officials were compelled to understand the Pali terms, quoted often from the Vinaya texts, which are the books of discipline for monks.

"Some of those who opted to learn Pali in order to facilitate the discharge of their official duties became enamoured with the Pali language, for they found that it held the key to a wealth of religious and philosophical thought so far only faintly heard of in the West. 

"Some of these officials ventured to learn Pali seriously. Childers, Chalmers, Rhys Davids are some of the great savants who laid the path for Buddhism to spread in the West. Childers compiled a Pali-English dictionary; Lord Chalmers who was sometime Governor of Ceylon produced a translation of the Suttanipata, published under the Harvard Oriental Series in 1932. Above all, it was Rhys Davids, later supported by his wife Caroline Rhys Davids, followed by their devoted and brilliant pupil Miss I B Horner, who did immense service to spread the academic study of Pali Buddhist Texts in the West.

"Almost hand in hand with this development, there took place another important event. Sri Lankan Buddhists were unhappy and discontented about the way their rights as Buddhists were being suppressed and sometimes undermined by the Christian missionaries in Sri Lanka. So they began to agitate against these discriminative attitudes. Sri Lankan monks took the lead in these agitations. These agitations let to very lengthy dialogues and debates between Buddhists and Christians.

"It was by reading a summary of one of such debate that Henry Steel Olcott, the American Theosophist, came to Sri Lanka and gave leadership to the Buddhist revival movement, especially to the establishment of a Buddhist education system. Anagarika Dharmapala, a teenager by then, built up a close liaison with Olcott and toured the country with him as his translator. The training and inspiration he received from Olcott helped to motivate him further to serve the cause of Buddhism.

"Seeing the pathetic state of Buddhism in India, the birth place of Buddhism itself, he was determined to revive it in India. It was mainly for this purpose that Anagarika Dharmapala founded the Mahabodhi Society in 1891. Through this society he did yeoman service to reintroduce Buddhism to India and sustain it as a vibrant force, beneficial to mankind. 

"It was his participation at the Parliament of World Religions, held in Chicago in 1893, that made him convinced about the need to introduce practical Buddhism to the West. On his way to Chicago, sailing by ship he went via London, where he met Sir Edwin Arnold, Dr. Rhys Davids, and Mr. Leadbeater among many others. He understood that by then in Britain and in the West, there was a growing interest in the academic study of texts. What was lacking, he thought, was a centre for practical knowledge. 

"It was this conviction that bore fruit in the establishment of the London Buddhist Vihara in 1926. At this juncture we should remember with great sincerity and deep gratitude the name of Mrs. Mary Foster, the great benefactress who generously helped Anagarika Dharmapala to establish the London Buddhist Vihara. In fact, as we are aware, the first premises of the London Buddhist Vihara was named Foster House, in honour of this great lady."

Ven. Prof. Wimalaratana went on to emphasise the vital role played by the London Buddhist Vihara in the development of Buddhism in the West. "The audience gathered here today will vouch for the beneficial influence shown by the London Buddhist Vihara in this multi-faith, multi-national community that lives here. The London Buddhist Vihara is doing invaluable service as a centre for the promotion of inter-faith understanding and cooperation, thus promoting mutual trust, confidence and harmony among all members of the society......... I am very confident that with the farsighted guidance of Ven. Dr. Vajiragnana supported by a group of equally diligent and devoted assistant bhikkhus, patronised by a hardworking, enthusiastic band of lay patrons and devotees the London Buddhist Vihara will go from strength to strength."


OBITUARIES 

With heavy hearts and deep sorrow we announce the passing away of the following devotees:-

MRS. SAROJINI FERNANDO

Mrs. Sarojini Fernando passed away on 20th September and her cremation was held at Marylebone Crematorium on 26th September. She is survived by two sons Nalinika, Rohantha and a daughter Vishakha.

 

MR. GILBERT COOMASARU

Mr. Gilbert Coomasaru passed away on 3rd September and his funeral was held at Lambeth Crematorium on 7th September. He is survived by his loving wife Sujatha, two daughters Kulochani, Chudamani and son Chaminda.

 

MR. LIONAL RANASINGHA BANDARA

Mr. Lional Ranasingha Bandara passed away at the age of 73 on 30th November and his funeral was held at Hendon Crematorium on 6th December. He is survived by his loving wife Eda, son Lasantha and daughter Shiromi.

 

MR. MAHESH DIAS

Mr. Mahesh Dias passed away on 5th December and his cremation was held on 10th December at Kingston Crematorium. He is survived by his loving wife Padma and daughter Renuka.

 

MRS. JAYANEETHA ARDLEY

Mrs. Jayaneetha Ardley passed away on 5th December in China and her funeral service was held on 18 December at St. Andrews Church, Wimbledon. She is survived by her loving husband Clive and two sons Douglas and Rohan.

 

MR. HENRY DE SILVA

Mr. Henry de Silva passed away on 17th December and his funeral was held at Ruislip Crematorium on 24th December. He is survived by his loving wife Noreen, two daughters Shiroma, Nilly and son Ruwan.

 

May they attain Nibbana!

 


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Ven. Tawalama Bandula
2002