09th November 1997


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U. K. Buddhists honour prelate

Venerable Horana Pannasekhara Nayaka Maha Thera spiritual director of Themes Buddhist Vihara, Surrey, London celebrated his 80th birthday on Nov.3 1997. Ordained as a Samanera at the age of 12 at the Horana Rajamaha Vihara he spent his early monastic life studying oriental and western languages. He received most of his pre-university education in English medium and (graduated with B A Hons.) from the University of Ceylon in 1965. He is also well versed in traditional oriental study where he holds royal Pandita degree.

He taught in many schools in various provinces of Sri Lanka including as a principal of Vidyaratne affiliated University College, Horana till he retired. Before embarking on overseas Buddhist missionary work he was an active promoter of social, cultural and religious activities in Sri Lanka.

He trained himself in Vipassana meditation technique in Kandubodha Meditation Centre and Talagala Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka and in Mahayana meditation method at Ehiji Meditation Centre, in Japan. Being fluent in both oriental and western languages he became known as distinguished expositor of the dhamma to many nationalities.

He has helped the research team of professors and lecturers led by a prominent scholar professor Egaku Mayeda from Aichigakun University of Nagoya, Japan in their study of the situation and the role of Theravada Buddhism in temporary Sinhalese society in 1982 for which the Ministry of Education of Japan has gratefully recorded his devoted role.

After his retirement he served in a Buddhist missionary in Japan for some years before accepting the invitation of Ven. Pahalagama Somaratane Nayaka Thera, the abbot of Themes Buddhist Vihara 1982 to come over to Europe. In addition to the spiritual directorship, he has also been appointed as patron of the Vihara and the Themes Meditation Association. Since its inception 1992 he has been the patron of the Sri Lanka Sangha Association (Sri Lanka Sangha Sabha) of Great Britain.

Through special invitation of many Buddhist associations he has made trips across Europe to deliver dhamma talks and conduct meditation retreats. Many westerners have now embraced Buddhism under his guidance.

To mark his 80th birthday the Sri Lanka Sangha Sabha of Great Britain headed by Venerable Dr. M. Vajiragnana, the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain and the Themes Meditation Society organized several religious activities at the Themes Buddhist Vihara at Surrey, London.

No longer a bastion for the elite

By Ravana Wijeyaratne

A new lease of life has been given to the Oxford Society of Ceylon.

Oxford University once a bastion of the elite has increasingly liberalized its admission policies.

Many of the recent Sri Lankan graduates have been beneficiaries of some sort of scholarship. Today, they come from varied economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Quite a number of former Oxonians have become household names, while others have made remarkable contributions in academia. Oxford graduates such as S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Lalith Athulathmudali. Chanaka Amaratunge, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Tyronne Fernando and Prof. G.L. Peiris are but a few personalities that have made lasting impressions in the Sri Lankan political sphere. Others such as Gamani Corea (former Secretary General of UNCTAD) and Sinha Basnayake argue well for the calibre of scholars Sri Lanka has sent.

During the past few years Arjuna Mahendran, playing a Secretarial role opened a line of communication with alumni - and as a result organized two cocktail parties hosted by the British High Commissioner Mr. David Tatham, also a former Oxonian. Interested members were invited for meetings thereafter on a periodic basis - and two ideas surfaced. Firstly, the re-establishing of a Rhodes Scholarship for Sri Lanka and a debate to be held in the style and manner of the Oxford Union.

A pro-tem committee chaired by Mr. Tyronne Fernando was named at a meeting held on October 3rd 1997 under the constitution to make head way on the two goals. Already a date and venue has been fixed along with a topic to debate - "After 50 Years of Independence We Are Still Not Free''. Careful thought was given, with the aim of debating on an issue that will not create a political rift within the Oxford Society.

The aim is to inter-mix politicians from different sides of the house to bring about a display of their personal wit rather than a party dogma.

Sri Lankans and expatriates who have attended any of the colleges of Oxford University are invited to become members of the Society. Please contact Shavindra Dias on 867008.

Four piano fascination

pl_pg9.jpgFour talented pianists will undertake a musical adventure of popular old songs and light classical favourites with four Grand pianos-playing simultaneously-at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on Tuesday December 9 at 7.30 p.m.

The programme features music for all ages, Christmas carols with a sing along session with audience participation. The proceeds of the one and a half hour concert appropriately titled,"Four piano fascination" featuring Mano Chanmugam, Dilip Seneviratne, Yohan and Neomal de Alwis will go to the improvement of seven Homes, which are being run for retarded and handicapped children.

Ms. Dhushyanthi Nugawela Wijeyawardana, Appeals Chairperson, said. These children are our responsibility. The funds we can raise from this programme should lay the foundation for greater endeavours. We hope to give these children a place in the sun-with your assistance."

Four Piano Fascination is presented by Mano Chanmugam virtuoso of the keyboard, whose abilities were held in high regard by the legendary Sir John Barbirolli who wanted him to pursue the career of a concert pianist. He however, went off in another direction, to obtain honours in Mathematics and became a Mechanical Nuclear Engineer.

The others in the evening programme, Dilip Seneviratne, brothers, Yohan and Neomal de Alwis are exceptional home-grown talent.

Tickets will be available at the Lionel Wendt from November 15.

Sports for Jaipur limb users

By S.S. Selvanayagam

Loss of a major part of a limb is always associated with significant physical disability and psychological trauma. But as an initiative to encourage and empower the disabled to become self reliant, The Colombo Friend-in-Need Society has planned to hold a sports festival of Jaipur Limb Users at Police Park grounds, Havelock Town on December 14.

The organisers expect a gathering of about 300 participants at this full day event that would exemplify the determination and courage of the limb users who have been maimed mainly by landmines and pressure mines.

Prof. A.H. Sheriffdeen, the Vice President of Colombo Friend-in-Need Society said that the participants need not worry about the expenses they need to incur as all would be met by the Society.

At a press conference held at the office of the Society last Wednesday, he added that free medical service would be available throughout the day.

"We encourage anyone to participate at this event. But we need sponsorship and financial support from well-wishers as well as Good Samaritans to hold these games that would show both the determination and perseverance of the disabled to get back into society," he explained.

Dr J.K.S.Weerasekera said this is a sports event for disabled - civilians as well as service personnel and said it is being organised to fulfill the expectations of the disabled as they look forward to participating in sports. Breakfast and lunch as well as the travelling allowances would be provided to all participants, she added.

All participants will be presented with fabulous gift items while the winners will receive medals, she added. But funds are needed, she stressed.

Bicycle races, track and field events, a gymnastics display, march past as well as jumping competitions have been arranged.

Asst. Secretary Mrs Rupa de Soysa, Asst. Treasurer Ms. Sriya Perera and Sam Soundravel(Cycle Federation) too were present at the press briefing.

As a major rehabilitation centre in Sri Lanka, the Colombo Friend-in-Need Society is holding this event apparently to focus attention on the destruction caused to humanity by land and pressure mines and to instill awareness about the devastating effects on human beings.

Champs take bow wow today

The Kennel Association of Sri Lanka holds its 52nd All Breeds Championship Dog Show at Viharamaha Devi Park, Colombo 7, today. Mr. Gordon Rual, International All Breeds judge from the Kennel Club of England will officiate at this show. Mr. Rual will be accompanied by his wife. This is their first visit to Sri Lanka.

This one day show has attracted a record entry of 161 exhibits, including 3 litters. There are about 35 different breeds entered for this show. Some of the many imported dogs are being shown for the first time in Sri Lanka.

Gordon Rual has bred and exhibited dogs and has won many awards. He also maintains a Boarding Kennel.

Judging of Specials will take place in the afternoon after which the Trophies will be awarded.

Off to London

S.N. Gurusamy, retired Judge, visiting lecturer and internal examiner in Administrative and Industrial Law of Jaffna University has been invited to participate as an observer at the meeting of the EUROLAW to be held in London on November 14-16.

Seminar on Islam

The Sri Lanka Islamic Society of Maligawatte has organised a seminar for students sitting the G. C.E. (O/L) Examination 1997. The lecture will be in Sinhala on Islam, by well known lecturer Br. Ashroff Yoosuf on Saturday November 15 at Center for Islamic Studies (CIS) - Auditorium No. 15, Rohini Rd, Colombo 6, from 8.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon. Entrance is free.

Sadhu Jana Ravaya

The 'Sadhu Jana Ravaya' musical peace programme produced by Jayatilleke Bandara & Mahinda Chandrasekera will go on the boards of Elphinstone Theatre for the 350th time on November 13, '97 at 5.00 p.m. It is organised by Kelani Mittiyawatha Podu Jana Udhanaya of Colombo District.

The programme features artists from across the country.

The Housing & Urban Development Minister Indika Gunawardena will be the chief guest.

The programme is for invitees only. Passes could be obtained from the organisers.

The Programme:

5.15 p.m. Lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Chief Guest and Invitees.

5.20 p.m. Welcome address by the President of Kelani Mitiyawatha Podhu Jana Udhanaya Colombo District Mr.H.K.D.Chandrasoma.

5.30 p.m. Remembering those who sacrificed their life for the country.

5.35 p.m. Address by the Chief Guest Hon. Indika Gunawardena M.P. Minister of Housing & Urban Development.

5.55 p.m. A Veena Programme.

6.05 p.m. Address by Journalist Mr. R. Sivagurunathan - 'PEACE'.

6.20 p.m. Address by Ratnasiri Wijesinghe - 'How Songs Have Contributed for Peace.'

6.40 p.m. 'Sadhu Jana Ravaya' Programme.

8.35 p.m. Presentations to the Artists.

8.40 p.m. Vote of Thanks by the Joint Secretary - Mr. S. Balasingham.

Lecture on Librarianship

A lecture will be given under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Library Association at the British Council on Thursday 20 November at 3.30 p.m. by Dr. Mike Freeman, a professional Librarian, who obtained his PhD at Aston University in the UK.

The title of the lecture is "Current issues in British Librarianship - including Codes of Professional Conduct and Ethics".

An experimental dramatization

East Side Story- an opera written, composed and directed by Haig Karunaratne and Dolores Lanerolle will be presented by St. Mary's Convent Matara on November 15 at 6.00 p.m. in the school hall.

This original opera features 64 students . They have worked together with Dolores Lanerolle and Haig Karunaratne their directors and several teachers of the school for the last two months to put on the boards this opera which is experimental in nature.

The opera could be described as a dramatised ballad, though its three act structure takes it beyond the scope of the ballad and even an operetta.

Haig Karunaratne last produced this opera a decade ago and his twin interest in promoting theatre in the outstations and also teaching English through drama is served by this venture.

Colombo theatre goers could see this production at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on January 7 at 6.00 p.m.

Book Launches

Fragrance Lost

Bandara Jayaweera's book Fragrance Lost, will be released on November 23,1997 at the Colombo Public Library Auditorium at 3.30 p.m.

The Third Person Note

The book "The Third Person Note" written by Premil Ratnayake, will be released at the National Library Services Board Auditorium, Torrington Square, Colombo 7. at 5.30 p.m. on November 12, 1997. Chief Guest will be Mr Gamini Weerakoon Editor, The Island and the Guest of Honour Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, President, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.

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