Geneva celebrates Tripitakabhivandana week | Daily News

Geneva celebrates Tripitakabhivandana week

The scholarly discussion
The scholarly discussion

An interactive scholarly discussion on the significance of the Tripitaka as a world heritage took place at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva, continuing the week-long Tripitakabhivandana celebrations.

The event was also intended to raise awareness among all the States including the States that follow Buddhist traditions, to join hands with Sri Lanka in realising the initiative taken by President Maithripala Sirisena, to inscribe the Tripitaka on the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ Register.

Organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, the event brought together the Maha Sangha, members of the diplomatic community as well as Sri Lankans living in Geneva, to reflect on the spiritual, historical as well as global value of the Tripitaka - the foremost doctrine of Buddhist teaching. A strong call for the recognition of the Tripitaka as a shared heritage of humankind was echoed.

A scholarly presentation on the topic, ‘Why the Pali Tripitaka Should Be a World Heritage?: Sri Lanka’s Contributions to the Buddha vacana’ was delivered by Ven. Deegalle Mahinda Thera, Professor in Study of Religions, Philosophies and Ethics, College of Liberal Arts of the University of Bath Spa in the United Kingdom. The scholar monk eloquently elaborated on a number of landmark events and key personalities involved in preserving this intrinsic body of Dhamma through centuries.

Spiritual Advisor to the Geneva Buddhist Vihara and the Zurich Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Walpola Kalyanatissa Thera, and President of the International Buddhist Foundation in Geneva and Chief Incumbent of the Geneva Buddhist Vihara Ven. Halyale Wimalarathana Thera addressed the audience on the value of the Buddhist doctrine and the significance of the Tripitaka, while Chief Sanghanayake of Switzerland and Chief Incumbent of the Geneva International Buddhist Centre Ven. Dr. Thawalama Dhammika Thera moderated the discussion with the participants and speakers.

The Chief Incumbent of the Toronto Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Keembiela Kassapa Thera also participated in the event. Among Heads of Missions and senior diplomats who graced the event were the Ambassadors of Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Mongolia, the United Kingdom, India, and Pakistan and the Representative of Nepal.

Addressing the event, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez highlighted the significance of the Tripitaka as the foremost compilation of Buddhist philosophy and as a repository of spiritual knowledge that is close to the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans as well as millions of people over the world.

He made these remarks underlining the need for collaboration among all Member States in recognising it as a world heritage.

“For millennia, the Tripitaka has been a shared heritage of the Asian communities, and over the years, there is growing worldwide interest in the study of Buddhism, most notably in Europe, North America and Australia. This is because there is increasing recognition that Buddhism, in essence, is a way of life and a philosophy that could be easily related to and practised by anyone anywhere,” he said.

Delivering concluding remarks and vote of thanks, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, Samantha Jayasuriya elaborated on the strong inter-linkages existing between the fundamental values of Buddhism such as equality and loving kindness for all living beings, and the modern-day discourses on protection and promotion of human rights and non-discrimination, gender equality, for which Geneva serves as the global centre. She stressed that the teachings of Lord Buddha, which the Tripitaka reflects with authenticity, enshrined at its core, the values of equality and non-discrimination, that underpin human rights.

It concluded on a spiritual note, with the venerable monks chanting seth pirith.


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