An international conference to mark the completion of 1620 years to the historic seafarer of Ven. Fa-Hsien Thera of China and of the Silk Route, was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the BMICH yesterday.
The conference organised jointly by the Housing Construction and Cultural Affairs Ministry and the Buddhasasana and Wayamba Development Ministry was graced by a large gathering on Sri Lankan and Chinese delegates including the Maha Sangha.
Addessing the conference, Housing Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa said that Ven.Fa Hsien Thera came to the country1,620 years ago aiming to gain a thorough knowledge of the Vinaya Pitakaya of the Thripitakaya.The Thera arrived in India on foot across mountainous terrain, water and thick forests in search of clarifications for the Vinaya Pitakaya. Finally, since the Thera couldn’t obtain the knowledge he sought about the Vinaya Pitakaya, he decided to visit Sri Lanka, which is blessed with Theravada Buddhism. “The journey of Ven Fa-Hsien Thera took 12 years and he started the journey at the age of 65.
The Thera had stayed at Abhayagiri Temple for two years and learned Theravada Buddhism especially the Vinaya Pitakaya and translated it to the Chinese language. He completed his noble journey at the age of 79 on returning to China, where he began preaching Theravada Buddhism,” the Minister added.
According to Ven.Fa Hsien’s notes there were 5,000 Bhikkus in the Abhayagiri Temple at that time, and there were 60,000 Bhikkus in the country, Premadasa noted. The Minister added that everyone was duty bound to work to strengthen Theravada Buddhism. Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, addressing the conference, said the historic voyage of Ven.Fa-Hsien thera has strengthened bilateral ties between China and Sri Lanka.
‘The friendship between the two countries, that commenced with the foot steps of Ven. Fa-Hsien Thera, has come to a climax now,” he added. He further added that the notes of Ven.Fa Hsien Thera had revealed that Sri Lanka was advanced in the education, religion, social and cultural spheres among others.
Budhasasana and Wayamba Divelopment Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera said the people of the world were searching mental peace by following the noble preaching of the Buddha.
“People tend to gain internal peace by following the way described by in Buddhism,” he added. As Buddhists, we have a challenge to safeguard and protect the real Buddhism and the preaching of the Lord Buddha, he added.