Tagged: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: an illustrious destination for Buddhist heritage tourism

(VIET NAM NEWS) — This year Sri Lanka celebrates its 70th Anniversary of Independence and 48 years of formal diplomatic relations with Viet Nam. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Viet Nam Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake shared a message with Viet Nam News readers about the mutual co-operation between two countries and the achievements of Sri Lanka in the recent years.

Looking back at Sri Lanka’s progress over the past 70 years, we are proud that the free education and free healthcare systems in the country outshine all others. They have led Sri Lanka to become a country with a high level of human capital, currently ranked 73 in the Human Development Index. Above all, Sri Lankans can be proud of their democratic traditions, having gained universal adult franchise in 1931, for both men and women. On the economic front, Sri Lanka has reached Middle Income Status with per capita GDP of US$ 3,835.

Sri Lanka’s relations with Viet Nam are rooted in the two countries’ affinity for Buddhism and were later nurtured through Sri Lanka’s strong solidarity towards Việt Nam’s struggle against colonialism.

Although Buddha was born in modern-day Nepal and lived in India, it was in Sri Lanka that Theravada Buddhism continuously flourished in its purest form.

According to the Sri Lanka’s historical chronicles, the Buddha visited Sri Lanka three times.
Arboreal: Painting at Kelaniya Temple by neo-classical artist Solias Mendis (1897 –1975). This painting depicts Ven. Sangamitta, arriving in Sri Lanka, with the sapling of the Bodhi Tree, from the original Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya, India, in the third century BC. — Photo courtesy of the embassy

In the third century BC, Emperor Asoka of India sent his own son, Venerable Mahinda, to introduce Buddhism to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. The Mihintale area, where the two met, was later declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the King and is the world’s first wildlife sanctuary. Later, he also planted the Sacred Bo sapling, brought by Venerable Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Asoka. While the original Bodhi Tree disappeared in India, the Sri Maha Bodhi continues to grow in Anuradhapura and is recognised as the world’s oldest tree with a recorded history.

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Sri Lanka declares emergency amid Buddhist attacks on minority Muslims

(NPR) — Mobs made up mostly of Sri Lanka’s predominately Buddhist Sinhalese majority torched Muslim homes and businesses in the island-nation’s central hills near Kandy, a day after the government imposed a state of emergency to quell days of violence.

As NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports tensions between the two communities, which burst into open hostility on Sunday, have been growing in recent months, with hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.

According to Reuters, Muslims have also been targeted for allegedly vandalizing Buddhist archaeological sites and some Buddhist nationalists have “protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim Rohingya asylum seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, where Buddhist nationalism has also been on the rise,” the news agency writes.

The Associated Press reports:

“Hundreds of Muslim residents of Mullegama, a village in the hills of central Sri Lanka, barricaded themselves inside a local mosque after Buddhist mobs attacked their homes Wednesday morning accusing them of stealing the donation box of a nearby temple. At least 20 Muslim homes appeared badly damaged and flames engulfed one two-story home.

The Muslims hiding in the mosque, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals, said police prevented them from saving their property and did nothing to stop the attackers.”

As part of the emergency decree issued on Tuesday, the government ordered telecommunication service providers to block access to Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp. Colombo says the social media platforms were being used by extremist groups to incite violence.

The Hindu newspaper in India writes that violence began Sunday as a road-rage incident “… in which a group of Muslim youth beat up a Sinhalese driver, who later succumbed to injuries. Police arrested the youth, and 24 other suspects in connection with the ensuing violence and arson attacks, which claimed the life of one Muslim youth in Digana town, Kandy. Amid mounting criticism of the police’s ‘poor response,’ President [Maithripala] Sirisena on March 6 declared Emergency Rule – a move that, according to his Ministers, allowed the government to summon the Army into ground action.”

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