Teachings of Anagarika Dharmapala Remain Relevant, Says Sri Lanka President
Speaking at a ceremony on Monday to commemorate the 151st anniversary of the birth of Anagarika Dharmapala at the Buddhist school Pannipitiya Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena urged Sri Lankans to heed the Buddhist teachings propagated by Dharmapala, which had strengthened unity between the country’s ethnic groups, emphasizing that the teachings remain as relevant today as they were during Dharmapala’s lifetime.
Anagarika Dharmapala (1864–1933), born Don David Hewavitarne in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was a scholar and writer who dedicated his life to the protection and promotion of Buddhism. Dharmapala means “protector of the Dharma,” while Anagarika—a term coined by Dharmapala—means “homeless one,” and denotes a status between that of a monk and a layperson. Dharmapala was also a founder of the non-violent Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism movement. He is credited with leading the revival of Buddhism in India, and was the first Buddhist in modern times to teach the Dharma on three continents—in Asia, North America, and Europe.
Sirisena noted that there were many lessons to be learned from Anagarika Dharmapala’s philosophy that could be used to promote Buddhism, build a strong society, and discourage the consumption of drugs and alcohol.
“Although extremists at that time tried to brand Anagarika Dharmapala as the leader who promoted the Sinhala race, he was not a Sinhala extremist but a leader who wanted to build the nation by promoting unity and harmony among all races,” Sirisena said. “We as a nation should therefore utilize the customs, traditions and practices and policies enunciated by Anagarika Dharmapala in a timely manner to rebuild our nation as an enlightened nation internationally.” (Daily News)
Dharmapala’s vision, Sirisena said, had three main facets: the first was a campaign to rebuild Sri Lanka in the wake of centuries of colonial rule, the second was the fostering of a Buddhist revival, and the third was the building of a disciplined society with the help of the temperance movement. “These three factors contained in the Dharmapala vision [are] suitable for us in the present day too,” he said. (Daily News)
According to Sirisena, Anagarika personified great qualities similar to those propounded by the Buddha. “Through his national movement, he taught the manner in which Sri Lankans should move forward by building their nation. He taught us that while following the Buddhist philosophy we should promote indigenous industries and learn English and Tamil in addition to Sinhala to compete and win [in] the international world.” (Daily News)
Anagarika Dharmapala’s vision relevant in present day – President (Daily News)
The president reiterates that it is a timely need to extensively propagate the Anagarika Dharmapala philosophy (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation)
President graces the Ven. Dharmapala anniversary celebrations (The Nation)
Use the philosophy of the great Anagarika Dharmapala to build the future of this country – President (NEWS.LK)