The whole day of the 14th September 2017 was dedicated to the school children programme in which about 164 children from the 14 charitable schools of the locality participated in drawing, speech, essay-writing and devotional song contests designed for presentation on Buddhist theme and particularly on contribution of Anagarika Dharmapala. Prizes were given to the winners of top three position of different categories. All other participants were given consolation prizes.
Venerable monks, dignitaries, guests, pilgrims, tour leaders, teachers and honourable members offered flower bouquets to the statue of founder of the Maha Bodhi Society, Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala on 17th September 2017 at 3.30 p.m. Then the Public meeting was started in the Anagarika Dharmapala Memorial Hall with lighting of the lamp amidst Jayamangala gatha chanting. The welcome song by the students of Maha Bodhi Vidhyapeeth was followed by the welcome speech by Ven. P Seewalee Thero, General Secretary. He said, ‘the founder had taken so much pain in his life-long struggle for the restoration of the Mahabodhi Temple and propagation of Buddhism in the land of its origin – India. He made extensive tours, delivered speeches and called for the unity of the Buddhist World. Among his great works are establishment of the Maha Bodhi Society in May 1891, organising the first Buddhist International Conference at Buddhagaya in October 1891, publication of the “The Maha Bodhi” journal in May 1892, participation in World Religious Congress in Chicago in 1893, building centres of the Maha Bodhi Society at Buddhagaya, Kolkata, Sarnath and other Buddhist places and bring awareness toward the great Buddhist Culture of India. We can assess his stamina and untiring efforts of tireless working through his writings and works. In those days so much amenities and facilities were not available; even then he could do a lot through his firm determination. Today we are living in technically so advanced age that so many places of the world can be covered in a day and message and information can be circulated in minutes. Let us assess ourselves, how much we are doing for the cause of the Dhamma.’
Sri Dasho Passang Dorjee, President and former Speaker of Bhutan in his presidential speech emphasised to strengthen the cultural relation with other Buddhist countries of the world and to work for long lasting values. The Chief Speaker of the meeting was Deshmanya Prof. J. B. Disanayake; the Chief Guest was Hon’ble Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, The Speaker of the Parliament, Sri Lanka; the Guest of Honour was Hon’ble Vijayadasa Rajapaksha, Ex-Minister of Buddha Sasana and Justice, Sri Lanka and H. E. Mrs Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in India also spoke on some special contributions of Dharmapala on International platforms. The programme was steered by Sri Kiran Lama. Vote of thanks was proposed by Dr. Kailash Prasad, G. B. Member. The meeting was attended by Most Ven’ble Napana Perasiri Mahanayaka Thera, Chief of the Ramanna Mahanikaya; Most Ven’ble W. D. Sri Pannananda Nararatana Mahanayaka Thera, Chief Asagiriya chapter; Most Ven’ble N. D. Sri Sangharakshita Vijithasiri Anunayaka Maha Thera of Malawata chapter; Most Ven’ble T. Ananda Mahanayaka Thera, Chief Amarapura Nikaya.
On this occasion three books were released by the dignitaries on the dais, 1. Sambodhi 2017, 2. Venerable Brahmachari Devapriya Valisinghe and 3. Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Foster – Queen of the Empire of Righteousness.