The first ever Buddhist Temple in the Kingdom of Bahrain was established in 2008 in the city of Riffa by the Sri Lankan Community under the stewardship and leadership of Mr. Sumith Gunasekara. This humble Buddhist Temple was probably one of the first ever Temples to be established in the region of Middle East & North Africa (MENA). With the unstinting assistance, cooperation and patronage of the Sri Lankan expatriate community, primarily Buddhists as well as all other faiths and ethnicities of Sri Lankan origin, Ambassador of Sri Lanka, Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis along with the custodian of the Temple, Mr. Sumith Gunasekara, unveiled the Pinnacle of the first ever Bauddhist Stup/Pagoda in Bahrain coinciding with the Vesak & Poson ceremonies. A large number of Sri Lankan expatriates and non-Sri Lankans of Buddhist faith as well as of all other faiths and religions were present at this iconic and unprecedented ceremony. This Stupa/Pagoda could be, probably, the first ever Pagoda to be unveiled in the region of MENA, thus manifesting the tolerance and forbearance of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) announced the launch of a loan scheme for homestay operators across the country, in line with the Budget proposals for this year. All categories in the homestay sector namely homestays, homestay bungalows and rented apartments will be eligible for the loan scheme launched under the guidance of the Treasury and the SLTDA.
New investments in the hotel sector amounting to US $ 2.8 billion will require thousands of newly trained workers in the next couple of years. This was revealed by Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga at the 39th Graduation Ceremony of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) which was held at the BMICH this week.
A special commemorative celebration to felicitate the 50th anniversary of the writing of books by Sri Lanka’s renowned author, Dr. W.A. Abeysinghe was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on 12th June.
Sri Lanka Army wheelchair Tennis players did exceptionally well and brought honour to country by winning the championship in Men’s Doubles at Taipe’s International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament - 2018 (WCT).
In accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 54/115 recognizing the day of Vesak as an international day of observance given its significance for Buddhists all over the world, the Vesak Festival was celebrated successfully at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 24 May 2018 by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO in collaboration with Member States of the Asia Pacific Group.
The event, which was organized on the theme, ‘Promotion of Peace and Non-Violence: Buddha’s Way of Life’ was graced by Minister of Higher Education & Cultural Affairs, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as the Chief Guest. The keynote speech on “Enhancing the Spiritual Harmony of Mankind with Buddhist Teachings” was delivered by Prof. Jun Hong Lu JP, Buddhist Master, Chairman of the World’s Parliament of Religions Foundation and the Australia Oriental Media Buddhist Charity Association.
The celebrations commenced with an opening ceremony, which comprised of religious blessings by the Maha Sangha led by the Most Venerable Parawahera Chandarathana Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of the International Buddhist Centre, and cultural performances portraying the life of the Buddha as well as messages of peace delivered by representatives of other religious faiths. The representative of His Holiness Pope Francis, Msgr. Francesco Follo, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO delivered the message on behalf of the Christian faith, while Permanent Delegate of Iran to UNESCO, Ahmad Jalali delivered a message representing Islam. Rabbi Lewin Moshe, Jewish religious leader and Swami Veetamohananda, Head of the Ramakrishna Vedantic Centre, delivered messages on behalf of Judaism and Hinduism respectively.
Addressing the opening ceremony on the topic ‘Buddhism as the path towards world’s peace’, Minister Rajapakshe traced the emergence of different religious ideologies, which all teach nonviolence, peace and compassion as core virtues. Minister Rajapakshe also highlighted with gratitude the role played by the Mahasangha in preserving Buddhism.
elivering the welcome speech, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France Buddhi K. Athauda said “at a time when the world is segregated into different groups with much enmity and violence, the Vesak season is an opportune time to contemplate on the teachings of Buddha which reflects on the virtues of living in cohesion among the diversity of cultures and religions”. He also underpinned the significance of celebrating the Vesak ceremony at UNESCO, an organization created for building peace in the minds of men and women.
The Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs announced the appointment of Mr. Dehan Seneviratne as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) with effect from yesterday (4th June).