Head Priest of Leading Sri Lankan Buddhist Tradition Sustains Relations and Mutual Support with Shinnyo-en

June 24, 2012
Tachikawa, Japan

His Holiness, the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero, Head Priest of the Asgriya School of the Sri Lankan Siam Nikaya Buddhist monastic order, visited Japan during the week of June 24th as part of the centennial celebration of the birth of Shinnyo-en’s Co-founder, Tomoji Ito.

His Holiness Ven Buddharakkitha, along with a high ranking delegation of clergy from the Asgiriya School, one of the oldest and largest Theravadan Buddhist traditions, visited the main Shinnyo-en training center and temple, the Ogen’in Center, in Tachikawa as well attending events a Shinnyo-en sites in Kyoto and Osaka.

His Holiness Ven. Buddharakkith said, “It is the responsibility of a Buddhist community to show those in society how to lead a life of sincerity, and to show them ways of overcoming their pain and sadness. I think that Buddhism will continue to spread around the world.

As Shakyamuni himself said, it is important for people to act altruistically with wisdom and compassion. While there are many kinds of Buddhism in the world, including Theravada and Mahayana, our goal as Buddhists, however,is one and the same – to create a peaceful world, where we live for other and for the happiness of others.”

Shinnyo-en and the Asgirya School have had cooperative relationships since June of 1986 when the Head Priest at the time, the Most Venerable Palipane Sri Chandanada, visited Japan and presented to Shinnyo-en’s Founder, Shinjo Ito, a sapling grafted from the sacred Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka (itself believed to have been grafted from the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, India, under which Siddharta Gautama is said to have achieved enlightenment.).

In September of 1986, the Asgiriya School had conferred upon Shinjo Ito the honorary degree of Mahayana Buddhadharma Vishsarada Keerti Sri, the first time this honorary degree had been bestowed on a non-Singhalese in over a thousand years of the history of the Asgiriya School.

In 1987 Shinnyo-en opened a free nursery school in Colombo, Sri Landa with the goal of providing free, quality education. Other cultural and philanthropic exchanges developed over the years, including, in 2003, the donation by Shinnyo-en of a Friendship Gate to the Asgiriya Head Monastery in Kandy, Sri Lanka, on the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the first monastic ordinations at the Asgiriya School. Shinnyo-en also provided aid in Sri Lanka, through its volunteer group, SeRV, after the December 2004 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.

Most recently, in 2010 Shinnyo-en continue to support primary education in Sri Lanka through support of a primary school in the Ulkkulama Vavuniaya district, which had been badly damaged by civil strife in Sri Lanka.