To commemorate Vap Full Moon Poya day, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of the High Commission of India, organized an online Dhamma Discourse on “Apannaka Jataka” on 29th October, 2020.
The Jatakas are an integral part of Buddhist literature and form one of the most important civilisational links between India and Sri Lanka. To further strengthen these shared bonds, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the Virtual Bilateral Summit held between India and Sri Lanka on 26 September, 2020, announced USD 15 million grant for promotion of Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka.
The Jatakas Tales concerning the previous births of The Buddha (the Enlightened One) elucidate the importance of practicing moral and ethical virtues for attaining Enlightenment (Nibbana) or release from the endless cycle of rebirth.
Today, when world is faced with extraordinary challenges, the Jataka tales provide guidance to an individual to navigate the path of life. The significance of the teachings of the Jatakas remains as relevant in the present as they were in the past.
The Dhamma Discourse on “Apannaka Jataka” was delivered in Sinhala by Venerable Batuwangala Rahula Thero, and in English by Venerable Kamburawala Rewatha Thero. The distinguished Monks spoke about the origin, role and significance of Jatakas in general and “Apannaka Jataka” in particular. Along with the story as described by “Apannaka Jataka”, they also explained the moral and ethical lessons that we need to learn from the story. They argued that along with intelligence, one need to be wise and righteous. They also stressed the importance of sharing, caring, and cooperation as that will bring benefit to all.The participants of the Dhamma Discourse used the opportunity to ask questions on Dhamma and life. Venerable Kamburawala Rewatha Thero addressed those questions. The Dhamma Discourse ended with a prayer for everyone’s health and happiness.
Dr. Rewant Vikram Singh, Director, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Colombo, coordinated the online Dhamma Discourse, which was webcast live on the Facebook page of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Colombo.
The Dhamma Discourse on “Apannaka Jataka” was as a part of the series of initiatives undertaken by the High Commission of India to strengthen the age-old cultural and spiritual ties between India and Sri Lanka. Earlier, in June, 2020, the High Commission of India marked Poson Poya by creating ‘Poson Pavura’ – an art exhibition by Sri Lankan artists on the walls of the High Commission of India premises. In July, 2020, the High Commission of India commemorated Esala Poya by organizing an online interaction between Buddhist scholars from Sri Lanka and India. The topic of the interaction was “Dhamma for Global Well-Being” with special reference to The Buddha’s message of “Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta” – may all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering. On 2nd August, 2020, the High Commission of India marked Nikini Poya by organizing a workshop for children on “Mindfulness in Everyday Life”. On 31st August, 2020, the High Commission of India commemorated Binara Poya by organizing an online workshop titled “Buddhist Heritage Management and Conservation: From Mountains to Oceans”. On the occasion, Consulate General of India in Hambantota also organized a Photo Exhibition, “India Through Sri Lankan Eyes” at Hiththatiya Raja MahaViharaya, Matara, on 1stSeptember 2020. The exhibition displayed photographs of famous Buddhist temples in India (Dambadiva). To commemorate Adhi-Vap Poya, the High Commission of India organized a webinar titled “Ahimsa and Sustainable Living” on 30th September, 2020. The Key Note Speaker of the webinar was Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and the Trustee of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.
(By Pathum Wickramarathne)