India High Commissioner’s visit to Vidyalankara Pirivena

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –On March 25, 2021, High Commissioner Mr. Gopal Baglay visited Vidyalankara Pirivena in Peliyagoda, one of the leading Theraveda Buddhist Monastic schools in the world, established in 1875.

High Commissioner prayed at the shrine room in the campus which houses sacred relics of Lord Buddha and paid his respects to Venerable Welamitiyawe Dharmakirthi Sri Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thero, Principal of Vidyalankara Pirivena and Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya. The High Commissioner designate of Sri Lanka to India H.E. Mr. Milinda Moragoda was also present during the visit.

Venerable Welamitiyawe Gnananrathena Thero, Director of the Vidyalankara Pirivena recalled India’s close association with the Vidyalankara Pirivena. The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad had attended the inauguration ceremony of the Vidyalankara University as the Chief Guest in June 1956. Other prominent persons from India who visited the Pirivena included former President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in his capacity as the Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University in 1944, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Smt. Indira Gandhi, Prof P.V. Bapat etc. Many Buddhist scholars from around the world, including from India, have been educated and contributed to academic activities at the Pirivena.

The High Commissioner interacted with the faculty of the Vidyalankara Pirivena and discussed ways to build on the strong historical and cultural links between India and the Pirivena in the field of Buddhism. In this connection, it was agreed to explore cooperation in the field of capacity building through exchange programmes and assistance in research activities at the Pirivena.

The shared heritage of Buddhism is one of the strongest and most abiding links between India and Sri Lanka. The Governments of India and Sri Lanka are currently discussing joint projects for promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries, for which a grant assistance of US$ 15 million was announced by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi last year.

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