Book Review - Dhamma-Vinaya: Essays in Honour of Venerable Professor
Dhammavihari (Jotiya Dhirasekera)
Editors: Asanga Tilakaratne, Toshiichi Endo, G. A.
Somaratne and Sanath Nanayakkara.
Published by Sri Lanka Association for Buddhist
Studies (SLABS), 2005
Venerable Professor Dhammavihari (formerly Jotiya Dhirasekera) is a
reputed scholar in the field of Buddhist Studies both nationally and
This illustrious scholar has a long span of career, first as a
teacher at the University of Peradeniya where he imparted knowledge and
vision to a vast number of pupils, second as the Editor-in-Chief of the
Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, and third as the Director of the Postgraduate
Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya.
As a member of the Sangha, the Venerable Professor now dedicates
untiringly his energy and expertise to the dissemination of the Dhamma
and Vinaya as taught by the Buddha.
It is therefore very opportune that Sri Lanka Association for
Buddhist Studies (SLABS), which was formed in October 2002 with the idea
of working for the advancement of Buddhist studies and research as one
of its objectives, has brought out the felicitation volume to honour
Venerable Professor Dhammavihari whose advice and guidance as a member
of the Advisory Panel of SLABS is greatly appreciated by its members.
The present volume consists of seventeen learned articles and a list
of publications of the Venerable Professor at the end.
It begins with "A Pen Sketch of a Remarkable Teacher" by Mrs. Eileen
Siriwardhana, a renowned writer and one of the Venerable Professor's
earliest pupils, who unfolds her pleasant memories and her first
encounter with him at the University of Peradeniya.
Professor Oliver Abeynayake re-examines the content of the Buddha's
Enlightenment in his "An Inquiry into the Mechanism of Enlightenment".
Professor Lily de Silva deals with the subject of aesthetics in
Buddhist perspective in her article "Aesthetics as an Expression of
Religio-cultural and Spiritual development."
Professor Toshiichi Endo's article "The Atthakatha as Source-material
of the Pali Commentaries" examines the category of the basic sources for
the present Pali commentaries called the 'Atthakatha' and suggests that
this genre of sources came to be completed as fixed documents by the
time of King Vattagamani Abhaya of the 1st century B.C.
Professor R. A. L. H. Gunawardana in his lucid and informative
article "The World of Theravada Buddhism in History" systematically
traces the historical evolution of the theravada tradition in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Ananda W. P. Guruge, a well-known diplomat and scholar, writes on
the subject of the Chinese version of the Vinaya Commentary in his
article "Shan-Jian-Lu-Piposha as an Authentic Source of the Early
History of Buddhism and Asoka."
This is a study, firstly, of the Chinese translation of the
hitherto-believed-to-have-been Pali Samanatapasadika of Buddhaghosa and
secondly, of the reassessment of this source for the study of Asokan
"The Buddhist Goddess Vasudhara" by Professor Ratna Handurukanda is
an edition and an English translation of the Sanskrit text named 'Arya-sri-vasudharaya
Her meticulous care in the field of editing Buddhist texts is shown
here again in every minute detail. Professor D. J. Kalupahana writes on
the theme of environment in the Buddhist perspective in his article
"Early Buddhism and the Environment".
He concludes by quoting a verse from the Suttanipata that having had
the opportunity of performing meritorious deeds in the past and being
able to establish oneself properly are the conditions that lead to the
creation of appropriate environment for living.
Sanath Nanayakkara's articles entitled "The Impact of Sickness,
Deformities/Disabilities and Punishment on the Granting of Admission and
Development of Emancipatory Knowledge" deals with the interesting
question of whether one who is deformed or disabled can attain the final
goal of Nibbana.
He concludes that most of the 'disqualifications' to be admitted into
the Sangha have no bearing on the cultivation of panna; even the deaf
and blind can in fact attain the final goal of Nibbana.
Prof. P. D. Premasiri's article "The Early Buddhist Teaching on
Transience, Immortality and Liberation" is a lucid exposition of the
Buddha's teaching on Nibbana.
Dr. G. A. Somaratne attempts to clarify the definitions of Citta,
Manas and Vinnana as found in Early Buddhism in his lengthy article "Citta,
Manas and Vinnana: Aspects of Mind as presented in Early Buddhist Pali
Samaneri Suvimalee discusses problems associated with gender in her
paper "The Female in Early Buddhism: Sex Equality and Social Gender."
This is based on a research undertaken by the writer for a postgraduate
Prof. Asanga Tilakaratne writes on the question of the origins of
Theravada from a perspective hitherto untapped in his insightful article
"Personality Differences of Arhants and the Origins of Theravada: A
Study of Two Great Elders of the Theravada Tradition: Maha Kassapa and
Ananda." Mr. Senarat Wijayasundra's paper is "The World View of
Theravada Buddhism" which deals with how the Buddha viewed the World.
Prof. Ratna Wijetunga addresses the question of women's liberation as
depicted in the Pali Canon in his article "Pali Canon on Women's
The original version of this paper was read at a seminar held at the
University of London. "The History, Iconography and Iconometry of the
Buddha Image in Sri Lanka" is the paper by Prof. Chandra Wikramagamage
who is one of the few Sri Lankan scholars specialized in Buddhist art.
Prof. Chetiya Witanachchi examines the myth of the Deva-Asura battle
as portrayed in Buddhist literature in his article "Conflict and Its
Resolution in a Buddhist Myth." The Volume ends with a list of Venerable
Professor Dhammavihari's publications compiled by Mrs. Manel