President Mahinda Rajapaksa said any nation needs friends and the mutual friendship between nations helps countries to accelerate progress. “Cambodia is such a friend and we are ready to extend all possible help to friends such as Cambodia,” he said after declaring open the newly constructed Cambodian Buddhist Traditional Center yesterday (Nov 26) at Upper Bomiriya, Kaduwela.
“While we are not ready to bow down to the forces that betray our motherland, we as a government prepared to give every possible assistance to a friendly nation like Cambodia to enhance education and knowledge of religion,” he said.
President said that the new Centre would be of great help to Cambodian monks coming to Sri Lanka to study Buddhism. “Our venerable monks are dedicated to spread the teachings of the Buddha to the world and I notice similar commitment in monks from Buddhist countries such as Cambodia. We are indeed proud of the great service rendered by our monks”.
Referring to ancient ties with Cambodia, he said that bilateral relations with countries like Cambodia and Laos has resulted in spreading of Buddhism to those countries.
Cambodia and Sri Lanka, like Thailand, Myanmar and Laos are traditional Therawada Buddhist countries. The bondage and the common interests and the understanding among these countries have always been great.
The Cambodian Buddhist Traditional Center has been built on a land donated by Mrs Indra Rodrigo Munasinghe and it is governed by a trust. “Cambodia has an illustrious history like us. During the kings like Yaso Varman and Jaya Barman Cambodian Buddhists developments became world famous. They gave all the support and upliftment for Buddhism in every aspect. A famous Indian historian, Professor Majumdar, in his book, ‘2500 years of Buddhism’, reveals the facts and contributions of those Kings,” the Trust said in a statement.
"It is significant to note that among the Lord Gautama Buddha’s 80 Maha Sravakas, Arahat Puma’s mother was from Cambodia. It is recorded in ‘Divyawadanaya’. Furthermore, in Madjima Nikaya, Sutta ‘Assala’ explains about the lifestyle of Cambodian people.
The Cambodian Buddhist Traditional Centre project was successfully completed due to the initial support rendered by Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Nayaka Thera.
"This amazing and wonderful display of architecture is from Cambodian Buddhist traditions and the world famous ‘Ankhowat’ style has been adopted to create wonderful architecture by the Cambodian workers and designers who worked day and night quite admirably.
"At present more than 150 Cambodian Buddhist monks are studying in Sri Lanka and also the center Executive Director Ven. Hun Khamra (Kashyapa) and his fellow monks have been rendering a yeomen service for the success of the project. It is pertinent to mention that when Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thero served for UNDP in Cambodia as an Environment Advisor he was able to find the talents from that country and thanks to him Ven. Kashypa and four other student monks, among others, are in Kaduwela,” the Trust stated.