Valuable letters handed over to Sarnath museum

Monday, November 22, 2010

BHOPAL - The Anagarika Dharmapala Museum of the Maha Bodhi Society of India has been gifted original letters written by two venerable Sri Lankan Buddhist monks who helped revive Buddhism in India.

Family members of the late Devapriya Valisinha handed over the original letters between Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) and Devapriya Valisinha (1904-68) at Sarnath in Madhya Pradesh.

The nearly 150 letters date back to the 1920s and 1930s. Most of them are in Sinhalese language, said Sri Lankan diplomats who attended the event Sunday.

The documents were handed over at a ceremony to mark the 79th anniversary of the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara in Sarnath.

Those present on the occasion included Gunawardena Valisinha, the late Valisinha’s nephew, his wife and close relatives including P.R. Jayasinghe who had kept the letters safely for decades.

Indian Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam and devotees from several Buddhist countries were present.

Valisinha was general secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society from 1933 to 1968.

Having come to India under the tutelage of Dharmapala, he later took up the responsibilities of the Maha Bodhi Society.

Chief among them was the passing of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Act in 1949 based on the recommendations of a committee headed by the India’s first president Rajendra Prasad.

Valisinha spearheaded the ‘Save Buddha Gaya’ campaign after the demise of Dharmapala.

Filed under: Religion

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