Praise for the Grand Temple of Gautama Buddha
It is with pleasure that I convey blessing and congratulations on the occasion of the opening of the magnificent temple complex built as a symbol to celebrate the 2600 years since the enlightenment of the Buddha; the Sambuddhathwa Jayanthiya. The completion of this incomparable temple, which is bound to provide joy to all devotees, in such a short time is in itself a marvel and a demonstration of the amazing acumen of the venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero and the greatness of the devotion of devotees here and abroad. By working to enhance confidence in the Buddha will ensure that Dhamma continues to enlighten the world. Devotees by following the noble path of Dhamma will lead disciplined and pure lives. This is an occasion that will open up such virtuous conduct that would result enhanced merits. This magnificent Palace built by our venerable associate Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero who is renowned for providing novel approaches, with the devotees is indeed a great offering to the Supreme Buddha. We are grateful to all those who generously contributed their wealth and efforts towards the success of this project. May the blessing of the Triple Gem provide the necessary guidance to complete the rest of the plans!
After the Buddha passed away Buddhism survived in its pristine form as a result of the efforts of the succeeding generations of bhikkhus who passed on the Dhamma by reciting orally. Even when Buddhism declines in India it continues to flourish here in Sri Lanka due to the efforts of the bhikkhus who received full royal patronage. The most important event that occurred in this regard was the writing down of the Dhamma at Matale Aluvihare. If the Dhamma was not thus encoded in books it is certain that the Dhamma in its pristine form would have not survived to this day. Deep, pure and profound was the thus far orally brought Dhamma. We see the bhikkhus of today continue their traditional heritage and duty of propagating the Dhamma from the front. In this the accolade due to venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero for invaluable service to the order of the Buddha for last two decades. Not only for Buddhist advising and providing guidance even to those of other faith to find solace in the troubled times by following the principles of the right path of the Buddha. Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero rightly accord greater emphasis to principles than to trappings. This is the need of the day. In this land of Buddhism his way is an example to others who also aspire to serve. Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero silently confronts all problems in accordance with the way of the with the way of the Buddha who always resolved conflicts by gently nudging all parties into the noble right path and not by cutting and chopping. Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero’s principles of following the Dhamma day by day win the accolade and plaudit of the public. He has been able to increase the facilities made available to meditate and worship the Buddha wo all devotees here and aboard. This services need to be greatly appreciated. One begins to realize wide range of his services when one sees the magnificent Sambuddha Palace at Mahamevnawa Monastery at Polgahawela. The stupa, temple complex containing beautiful sculptures and paintings highlighting the most striking events of the life of the Buddha enhance the confidence in the Buddha and the Dhamma. May he receive the blessings of the noble Triple Gem and the assistance of the gods and strength to continue this service with the blessings of the Sri Amarapura Maha Snagha Sabhawa.
The 2600th Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi year that followed the Lord Gauthama Buddha attaining supreme enlightenment was indeed a very significant year for the Buddhists world over who celebrated it in a grand scale. Buddhists in Sri Lanka too celebrated the Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi by engaging in numerous meritorious deeds. Stupendous creations, in the Sinhala Buddhist history have often emerged when the country was sovereign and united. We have relished this truth throughout history. The Swarnamali Maha Seya, considered to be the pinnacle of Buddhists which protected the sacred relics too appeared after the country was liberated from forty years of rule of King Elara. The Lova Maha Paya, resided by Arahaths and piously venerated by people and which resembled a divine palace was also given shape within that sovereign country. Even Gods and Brahms that cherished the Buddha Sasana extended their support to turn these incomparable creations into creations of global repute. By a strange coincidence, colossal creations dedicated to the 2600th Sambuddhatwa Jayanthi too came into being within a Sovereign state, giving us immense pleasure. Sri Sambuddha Raja Maligawa, erected in the Polgahawela Mahamevuna Meditation Centre premises in the first stupendous monastery complex ever to be built in the independent Sri Lanka. I take this opportunity to confer my blessings to all those who visited this sacred place and dedicated their wealth, labour time, architectural know-how, expertise in Arts and various other things earned the nard way in order to make this great monastery complex a reality. Sinhala Buddhist set a noble example to the entire world by building a massive monastery complex of this type which is unique in its own way and dedicating it to the Lord Buddha who deserves all kinds of offerings before anyone else does. The unflinching courage most Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero possessed to embark upon a gigantic endeavor of this kind is generously appreciated with a deep sense of happiness. It must also be noted that we are indeed lucky to have the opportunity of associating the Maha Sangha of this rare type who are a true need of the hour. I on behalf of the organizing committee, confer my blessings to all those who contributed to this splendid task by giving pride of place to virtues enunciated in Buddhism. I wish to convey my felicitations coupled with the hope that will amount to a supreme sacrifice which will enable, those who are involved in this great task of creating this masterpiece dedicated to the Mahasangha that, through its untiring efforts, enliven the noble dhamma of the Lord Buddha, to reach enlightenment.
The ‘Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa’ has been built in the Mahamevnawa Bhavana Asapuwa, Waduwawa, Polgahawela according to the magnificent vision of Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnānānanda Thero to mark the 2600th Anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Supreme Buddha. I consider it a great meritorious opportunity to be able to contribute a congratulatory message to the commemorative book being published to mark its grand opening to be worshipped by the Buddhist faithful. It is abundantly clear that there has been an unprecedented Buddhist revival in our country from the start of the year marking the 2600th Anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Supreme Buddha. I must make special mention of the fact that it is a meritorious act of the highest nature for Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnānānanda Thero to establish the Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa at a time when the minds of all Buddhists in the country are overflowing with rapturous joy and thoughts about the Supreme Buddha. In an era when the whole world is caught up in the heat of globalization, it is essential to make every effort to regularly introduce and continue activities that foster homage to the Buddha by material offerings and practicing the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha amongst our Buddhists. By establishing this ‘Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa’ containing inspiring happenings in the life of the Buddha and extremely revered events after Enlightenment, Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnānānanda Thero has accomplished a creation that generates a deep feeling of reverence for the Dhamma. Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnānānanda Thero is involved in various Buddhist activities based on his innate loving kindness toward all Buddhists of the world. With great determination I wish that he will be blessed with strength, determination, good health, and long life to engage in meritorious activities such as this and illuminate our land with the light of the Dhamma!
We are passing through a remarkable period in the era of the Gautama Buddha. Significant because the profound and untainted word of the Buddha is emerging from under a shroud designed to prevent the pristine word of the Buddha being heard. This is aided today by the unflagging will and determination and the unremitting efforts of venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero who is guiding the resident bhikkhus at the Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery. Most venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero is the shining light that serves as a beacon to guide and encourage the disciple ordained and lay to make the personal scarifies to realize the dream of constructing the magnificent Gauthama Buddha Palace to celebrate the passage of 2600 years since the enlightenment of the Supreme Buddha. As the mentor of the Mahamevnawa Monastery I am happy and fortunate to be accorded the privilege of being part of the great offering to honour the name of the Buddha. It will be an adornment to the glory of the Kayana Vansa nikaya. The occasion brings to all participants the pure joy associated with the reflection on the Buddha and the Dhamma. Giving great offerings earn great and enhanced merits. May all those associated in this magnificent offering from venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero who led and inspired the efforts of the faithful devotees to and all others who contributed acquire foremost merits from this foremost worshiping! May these scarifies serve to ensure that the light of the Dhamma continue to enlighten the world and also achieve spiritual advancement there from!
I am pleased to send this message of facilitation on the publication of the commemorative volume for the ceremonial opening of the Siri Gauthama Sambuddha Raja Maligawa at the Meditation Centre, Polgahawela, to mark the 2600 Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi, built on a concept of the Venerable kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero, found of the Mahamevna Meditation Centre. The Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero conducts his religious services for the continued sustenance, protection and nurturing of the Sambuddha Sasana with the serene intent of attaining Nibbana. I value very much the Venerable Thero's untiring efforts to build a just and people friendly society and commend his work for the dignity of Buddhism in foreign lands, too. As a people friendly Venerable Thero who has been associated with the monthly Dhamma Deshana at Temple Trees, the Many great services towards the progress of the Buddha Sasana by the Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero deserve the highest honour and appreciation by all. I extend my warmest greeting and gratitude to the Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero and the other members of the Sangha associated in organizing this event, and all others contributing to this great meritorious act, and wish that it will be a success in all aspects.
It is with great pleasure I am sending this message of my best wishes for the occasion of the opening of ‘Siri Gauthama Sambuddha Raja Maligawa’ built at Mahamevnawa Meditation Centre, Waduwawa, Polgahawela to mark the 2600th Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi. I would like to mention on this occasion with great respect the name of Most Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero, a well known preacher who played a leading role in constructing Siri Gauthama Sambuddha Raja Maligawa. It is an unprecedented era of Buddhist reawakening for the perpetual existence of the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. ‘Siri Gauthama Sambuddha Raja Maligawa’ is another result of religious and social revival of Sri Lanka that coincided with 2600th Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi. Guidance of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapakse who strictly adhere to the provision for protecting and fostering Buddhism in Sri Lanka laid down in the constitution, has been another main factor that influenced renewed Buddhist sentiments in the country. We should be fortunate and proud to commemorate 2600th Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi under such a religious leader. War in Sri Lanka has ended and people live in harmony and conducive environment is in place for virtuous living. Spiritual development in the people could be witnessed alongside economical development of the country. The blessings of the Mahasanga have been vital in the pursuit of the objective of virtuous society. If not for the selfless guidance given by the Mahasanga, as in the past in the protection of the country, nation and religion the nation would have been yet subjugation. I am confident that Siri Gauthama Sambuddha Raja Maligawa will create another landmark in Buddhist history.
2600 years after our Gautama Buddha achieved Enlightenment as the fourth Supreme Buddha of this great auspicious eon, the teachings of the Buddha have completely disappeared from India, the land of his birth. It is no secret that until recently in Sri Lanka as well, we experienced a dark era during which the Dhamma containing the Four Noble Truths was limited to libraries, when the teachings of the Gautama were forgotten, and people aspired for the Maithree Buddha’s dispensation. Most Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnānānanda Thero dispelled the darkness of that era by establishing the Mahamevnawa group of monasteries. He reopened the door to Nibbāna by teaching the eighy-four thousand aggregates of Dhamma containing the Four Noble Truths set in motion by the Supreme Buddha at the Deer Park in Varanasi, in simple language to people who were thirsting for the Dhamma. The Supreme Buddha said “Tathagatappavedito dhammavinayo bhikkhave vivato virocati no paticchanno.”which means “Oh Bhikkhus, the Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgatha shines when exposed, not when concealed” (The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, The Book of the Threes, Bharandu 131 Sutta 9.) I would like to point out that Most Venerable Gnānānanda Thero is a Sangha Elder who has succeeded in showing us the very essence of the meaning of these words of the Buddha. Not stopping there, the Venerable Thero has built the ‘Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa’ for the purpose of developing the wealth of Shraddha among people. I would like to describe this as not only an amazing construction of a temple of this era, but also as an incomparably magnificent monument to the Supreme Buddha that is capable of delighting the hearts and minds of all who see it with thoughts of the Supreme Buddha. It is no secret that this great creation will contribute to the longevity of the Supreme Buddha’s dispensation in this land. I offer my well wishes with meritorious thoughts: May this noble homage and offering to the Buddha help everyone to escape from Samsāra and achieve the bliss of Nibbāna!
It is with great happiness that I add my best wishes to the commemorative book being published to mark the opening of the ‘Siri Sambuddharaja Maligawa’ in the premises of the Mahamevnawa Bhavana Asapuwa, Waduwawa, Polgahawela. There was a great Buddhist revival around the world on the occasion of the 2600th Anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Supreme Buddha. While most of the temples in the island held special events and meritorious activities, various stupas, viharas and meditation halls were constructed to mark the Anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Supreme Buddha. It is with great pleasure that I note that the ‘Siri Gautama Sambuddharaja Maligawa’ built on this occasion in the Mahamevnawa Bhavana Asapuwa, Waduwawa, Polgahawela has been the source of joyous recollection of the Buddha in the hearts of Buddhists. According to the teachings of the Buddha, the building of temples is one of the eight great meritorious acts that generate merit day and night. Therefore, this meritorious act can be described as a source of great merit for all those who contributed towards this noble cause. It is especially noteworthy that special events in the life of the Buddha from the birth of Prince Siddhartha to the great passing away or Parinibbāna are depicted within this temple. The efforts of Venerable Kiribathgoda Gnānānanda Thero to complete such a gigantic creation within a very short period of time are commendable.