Thai Buddhist delegation arrives
COLOMBO: The arrival of Thai Buddhist delegation is a symbol of the
long lasting relationship between the two countries which maintained
close cultural and religious ties for more than two centuries, Urban
Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardane
Addressing the media at Hotel Cinnamon Grand, Minister Gunawardane
said the arrival of the 81 member Buddhist delegation including 46
Buddhist monks was on an invitation extended by him to the Thai
Government during his visit to Thailand to take part in the Vesak
Minister Gunawardane said Ven. Upali Thera from Thailand arrived in
Sri Lanka in the 19th century, to protect Buddhism at a time when Sri
Lanka's Buddha sasana was at a threat from Portuguese imperialists.
"Upali Thera gained the goodwill of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe and
instructed the king that the Dalada Perahara should be paraded in
streets in the Kandy city", the Minister added.
"The arrival of the Buddhist monks would cause considerable cultural
and political revolution in both countries", the Minister said.
Addressing the event Ven. Phara Thpsophen Thera, Rector of
Mahachalalongkronrajavidyalaya University in Thailand said the visit was
a golden opportunity for them to study the way the Sri Lankan Buddhists
practising the religion. During their five day stay in Sri Lanka they
will visit Maharagama, Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Anuradhapura.
The Thera said that the delegation met Prime Minister Rathnasiri
Wickramanayake and had bilateral talks regarding the future welfare of
Agreements were also signed by Prime Minister and Thpsophen Thera to
uplift the Buddhist education in Sri Lanka and Thailand, providing
scholarships to Buddhist students in Sri Lanka and to develop tourism
"The higher ordination of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka depleted
following the arrival of Portuguese in 1505.
"The then King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe sent a delegation to Thailand
in 1753 seeking the assistance of Thailand Government. Following the
request of the King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe Ven Upali Thera arrived in
Sri Lanka after a difficult journey and ordained two Buddhist monks
including Saranankara Thera", the Thera added.