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 News Letter
President of DVF appointed to the Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanti Steering Committee
The Full Moon day of the month of Wesak (May), 2011 is significant to all Buddhists throughout the world. It marks the 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment (Sambuddhatva) of the Buddha, which according to our tradition happened in 589 B.C. A joint statement was made by the four Maha Nayaka Theras of the three sects to bring this historic event to the attention of the Maha Sangha, the Government and the Buddhist community both in Sri Lanka and abroad. The theme of the commemorative celebrations is the "Revitalising and Reorganising our moral life".

In the context of numerous challenges faced by the Buddhists and the significance of this historic event, a 20 Point Action Plan was sent under the signature of the four Prelates to H.E. the President of Sri Lanka to bring about a Buddhist reawakening in the country. On the directions of His Excellency, a Sambuddhatva Jayanti Secretariat was established and furthermore a Steering Committee was appointed based on the recommendations of the Maha Nayaka Theras consisting of 18 bhikkhus and 9 lay persons that included 5 government officers ex-officio. It is a signal honour to the Dharmavijaya Foundation, which completes three decades of service to the nation this year, that its President, Deshabandhu Olcott Gunasekera, is a member of this committee.

DVF completing three decades of service to the nation this year is getting geared up to achieve the proclaimed aims of the Sri Sambuddha Jayanti commemoration on the said theme. As an initial measure, a booklet written in Sinhala by the late Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Maha Nayaka Thera, namely, 'Bauddhaya ha Bauddha Caritra', which describes who a Buddhist is and what Buddhist conduct and customs are, has been republished for free distribution with financial assistance from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Development under the Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanti programme. The booklet has a meaningful picture of a family with four children being admonished sitting at the feet of a bhikkhu in the cover page.

 News Letter
Thirtieth anniversary of the DVF
The Dharmavijaya Foundation, which came into existence in 1978, was incorporated by Act No. 62 of 1979. This year it commemorates its thirtieth year of incorporation. The concept conceived by the late Most Venerable Aggamahapandita Madihe Pannasiha Mayanayaka Thera became a reality with the able assistance given by eminent dayakas such as Mr.Olcott Gunasekera, Mr.Andrew Silva, Mr.L.S.I.Wickramasinghe and Mr. Noel Wijenaike and the result was the DVF. The Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thera was the Patron of the Foundation until his demise in 2003. The guiding principle in the work of the DVF is his most memorable words, "It is not possible to bring about development without the moral development of Man; hence, let us develop the nation along with moral development." The name Dharmavijaya denotes Conquest through righteous means, which in terms of Buddhist ethics is based on the adherence to the five precepts. Dharmavijaya as state policy was first adopted by Emperor Asoka in ancient India who abandoned war (dikvijaya) in favour of dharmavijaya and sent messengers of peace to nearby countries as well as within his vast Empire.

The aim of the DVF is the total development of man by a four pronged strategy of improving education, health, and economic standards along with moral development. In these four specified areas numerous activities were carried out by the Foundation. The number of DVF trustees is thirty (excluding the life trustees who have retired after long periods of service) both male and female and among them are eminent citizens who are holding or held positions of responsibility both in the public and private sectors. They enrich the DVF in numerous ways with dedication being counted as an asset. Since inception, a Trustees' meeting is held on every Thursday of a week, at the DVF headquarters for discussion, review and for decision making. These meetings commence with the administering of Ajiva Asthamaka Sila, five minutes of metta bhavana and a short admonition by Sastrapati Pandita Venerable Hakmana Sumanasiri Thera, who succeeded the late Mahanayaka Thera as its Patron. Much of the work is handled by the trustees on a voluntary basis and its office functions are assisted by a Manager with a limited staff. In terms of the four pronged strategy, the DVF reaches out through its network of 455 Dharmavijaya Samajayas, spanning the entire Island. At the headquarters building a vegetarian lunch service is made available with a view to promoting a blameless healthy lifestyle.

On many an occasion, the DVF was in the forefront in meeting emergency situations due to disasters natural and man-made. Hence when the tsunami struck with unprecedented devastating effects on 26th December 2004, the DVF was among those who were first in the field in providing emergency relief. Housing, education, moral, livelihood and other economic projects for the tsunami displaced were carried out with funds generated in Sri Lanka and from expatriates living in Australia, Canada, United Emirates and New Zealand. In the successful completion of these projects worth over Rs 50 million, it banked on the earlier experiences of the DVF in rehabilitating those affected by severe floods and cyclonic winds.

The DVF has in its charge a number of Trust Funds and Contributory Funds created by many, both local and expatriate, who wished to be of service to their motherland, and has an unblemished record of proper handling of funds. The funds donated specifically for educational purposes are a significant component of the trust funds managed by DVF. Currently there are 88 beneficiaries of whom 31 are University students. The most recent trusts created for educational purposes were in memory of late Mr. D.H. Pandita Gunawardena and late Mr. Gaya Kumaranatunga for providing scholarships for best students entering the University from the Weligama and the Dikwella areas respectively.

 News Letter
Religious activities to mark the 30th anniversary
A commemorative bana preaching was made by the Most Venerable Aggamahapandita Kotugoda Dhammavasa Nayaka Thera at the DVF Auditorium on the 25th of September 2009 and on October 01, an alms giving for thirty bhikkhus was organised with the participation of all trustees to bestow merit on the late Mahanayaka Thera, the late trustees and all contributors to the DVF over the past thirty years who have passed away, and to get the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem to the present trustees in keeping with the Buddhist tradition.

 News Letter
Apadana sobhini panna – Wisdom shines with morality
Since 2006, the DVF has been awarding three prizes per district to the students with the best results in a district at the GCE (ordinary) level examination and having a pass at the Dhamma School Final examination. The cut off point is the first 200 students by rank in a district. Both these examinations are conducted by the Department of Examinations and the student list is provided by the department. Besides three cash prizes of Rs 1500, Rs 1000 and Rs 750 to the first, second and the third respectively, a valuable certificate in the name of the late Venerable Aggamahapandita Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera is given to all prize winning students under the signatures of the Patron and President of the DVF and the Secretary, Ministry of Education and the Commissioner General, Department of Examinations. The cash prize of a student who has come first in a district at the GCE (Ord.) level examination and has passed the Dhamma School final examination is enhanced to Rs 2500 with the possibility of a scholarship if he/she enters a University. This important function presided by the DVF Patron Ven. Hakmana Sumanasiri Thera was held on 11 July 2009 at the DVF auditorium. The Guest Speaker was Mr. S.U.Wijeratne, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education. The Patron and the President of the DVF and the Commissioner General of Examinations, Mr.Anura Edirisinghe also addressed the gathering. The recipients were from seventeen districts Anuradhapura, Kegalle, Galle, Hambantota, Kandy, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Moneragala, Vavuniya, Matara, Ratnapura, Badulla and Kalutara. The districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Trincomalee did not have a single student within the first 200 by rank on the results of the GCE examination having a pass at the Dhamma School Final Examination. Combined with this event was the annual get-together of all scholarship holders numbering 88.


 News Letter
Certificate and Cash awards given by the Dharmavijaya Foundation for best performers both as G.C.E.(O/L) examination and the Dhamma school final examination
Forty five students were selected for awards from eighteen districts this year for performing their best both at the G.C.E.(O/L) exam and the Dhamma school final exam. Although 60 awards were to be awarded to students selected with the assistance of the Department of Examinations only 45 became eligible from eighteen districts. They were awarded at a ceremony held on the 16th of June 2012 at the DVF Head office at Sarana Road, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07. The Minister of Education Mr.Bandula Gunawardhana participated as the Chief Guest. This is the sixth consecutive year of rewarding the best performers, envisaging to give an impetus to excell in both secular and religious education modeled on the vision of the late prelate Most.Ven.Aggamaha Pandita Madihe Pannasiha Maha Nayaka Thera.
Speaking at this occasion the Minister of Education appreciated this aim of the Dharmavijaya Foundation to encourage the youth of the nation to achieve a balanced development of knowledge. He had been instrumental in getting a circular issued to schools where Buddhist children are a majority to have short chanting of pirith to involve blessings before they commence school work. Children are also encouraged to engage in Buddhist cultural activities, and he emphaiszed the need to have active Buddhist societies in schools. He made a request to the Dharmavijaya Foundation to consider providing the students preparing for competitive examinations with the facility of tution, where the need exists, which he said would be a service to the nation. The minister in his personal capacity too has given scholarship to fifteen student.
President of the DVF Deshabandu Olcott Gunasekera speaking at the occasion said that the identity of the Sinhalese needs to be protected in the existing situation where it is under threat. With a view to strengthening the development efforts of the country, Dharmavijaya Foundation aims at achieving a four-fold development, i.e. in moral, economic, health and educational aspects and on the basis of the five precepts to be observed by the lay Buddhists. Dharmavijaya Foundation with its pre-school development programmes endeavours at initial level of education to work towards this aim, as well with a multi pronged programme to encourage a healthy pattern of food consumption.
The best performers rewarded were from districts including Ampara, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Badulla, Moneragala and Nuwaraeliya. They were encouraged to speak at this occasion. Madhubashini Kumarasinghe from D.S.Senanayaka Central College in Ampara expressing her views said that she is aware of the responsibility of the youth who are to be future leaders of the country. Thisara Hettiarachchi from Thakshila Vidyalaya in Horana, Kalutara district said that they should neither misuse the knowledge acquired nor be good hearted fools. Chamika Keppetipola from Vishaka Vidyalaya in Colombo district emphasized the need for a collective effort of the youth of the country for a well balanced development.
Expressing their views some of the parents were thankful to the Dharmavijaya Foundation for the encouragement given to their children, and requested wider publicity for this wholesome effort.


 News Letter
Distribution of Laptop computers received from Australia
"Dharmavijaya Foundation
From: "Vijaya Bimbaramaya"[vijayabimbaramaya@yahoo.com]
To:[harmavijaya@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2009 2:05 AM
Subject: dharmavijaya padanama
Obage dharmavijaya padanamen apa dharmavijaya samajayata labadun mema laptop pariganaka yantraya apa sathutin baragatimi. Apa meya bohodenage pariganaka danuma wardanaya sadaha upakara kirimata apa sudanamwi sitinami. Meya labadun dharmavijaya padanamata ape sthuthiya pudakara sitimi. Oba dharamavijaya padanamata mewani samajamaya upakara kirimata thawa thawath shakthiya dhairya labeway apa prarthana kara sitimi! From:
Vinacharya taipe dhaniniasiri thero.
Sri dhammadhara dharmavijaya samajaya,
Sri vijayabimbayamaya, Gammadapitiya,
Hakmana.

We are in the threshold of a new age. This was the first time that the Dharmavijaya Foundation received an email from one of our Dharmavijaya Samajayas. We are hoping that someday we would be able to communicate with all the Dharmavijaya Samajayas through email so that communication would be faster and economical.

This became possible because of a unique donation the Dharmavijaya Foundation received from Mr Shiran Herath, the Head of IT at McGrathNicol – Corporate Recovery and Advisory firm Australia, through the kind courtesy of SPUR Victoria that freighted the 46 used laptop computers as a free donation. In his communications with the DVF, Shiran Herath made these interesting remarks, which is a reminder to every Sri Lankan abroad of their obligations to their motherland. He says, "The greatest gift of all is to help someone to acquire "Knowledge". I am privileged to be in a position to help and if my donation of the laptops has helped at least one person to gain an extra bit of knowledge, I have achieved my goal and I am ever grateful to the country and the people who provided me the opportunity to be who I am."

All coordination work in Australia was done by Mr. Ranjith Soysa, a silent worker whose love to his motherland has no bounds, and the Dharmavijaya Foundation is ever thankful for all his efforts. The computers were cleared by the DVF on 26 June 2009 and the cost of clearance including all port charges was Rs. 45,000.00 of which Rs. 10,000 was subsequently received from Mr Ranjith Soysa to defray costs. According to the wishes of the donor 11 laptops and all other accessories that were sent were handed to Mr. Priyantha Pemakumara for distribution among temples and schools in the Trincomalee district. We are awaiting a full report of the distribution of those laptops.

In order to prepare a priority list and monitor the use of computers that were distributed in 2008, a very comprehensive questionnaire was sent to all the Dharmavijaya Samajayas scattered throughout Sri Lanka. Requests were received from 123 Dharmavijaya Samajayas and from among them a priority list was prepared on pre-determined criteria by a sub-committee of Trustees. One of the considerations was a stipulation from the donors that the computers will have to be distributed in the tsunami affected districts. The recipient Dharmavijaya Samajayas according to districts are given below.

District
Number of Laptop's
Puttalam
01
Kalutara
06
Galle
09
Matara
08
Hambantota
05
Reserve
01
Total
30
Organisation
Number of Laptop's
Dharmavijaya Foundation 
03
Joint Committee of Buddhist Organisations
01
Red Lotus Organisation
01 
Along with the computers it was possible to donate a Microsoft Office XP Version 2002 package, donated by Microsoft Sri Lanka through the kind courtesy of Mr. Channa de Silva, Enterprise Leader, Microsoft Sri Lanka; and two CDs having the Buddha Jayanti Tipitaka series in Sinhala and the Chattha Sangayana Tipitaka in Pali. The latter Ti-pitaka can be viewed in 7 scripts, including Sinhala. Both CDs were a giftof Ven. Mettavihari Thera of Dhammavahini.

Mr. H.B.Herat, Secretary, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Development, was the chief guest at the distribution ceremony. Ms Durga Alwis, Treasurer, SPUR and her husband graced the occasion by their presence. It is the wish of the Dharmavijaya Foundation that SPUR continues to assist the DVF with computers so that the balance Dharmavijaya Samajayas, too, would be able get at least a computer each.

 News Letter
Lecture on Cancer Prevention and Lifestyle
Under the Health programme, the 30 years of the DVF was commemorated by having a public lecture on October 02 on 'Cancer Prevention and Lifestyle'. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Prasad Abeysinghe, Consultant Oncologist, Maharagama Cancer Institute, Maharagama, Sri Lanka. It was preceded by a video presentation on the Global Cancer Summit. The lecture was given wide publicity in the newspapers. The meeting was chaired by Deshabandu Olcott Gunasekera, President of Dharmavijaya Foundation and Sri Lanka National Federation on Smokingand Health. In the openingremarks of the Chair, the relevance of October 02 and the contribution of Lance Armstrong for a vision of a World without Cancer was pointed out. Both Dr. Prasad Abeysinghe and Deshabandu Olcott Gunasekera were participants at the Global Cancer Summit. The vote of thanks was given by Dr. Nalin Goonesinghe, Trustee and Coordinator, Health Programmes of the Dharmavijaya Foundation.

 News Letter
Conference of Presidents of Dharmavijaya Societies
A major event that is being organized in the series of celebrations commemorating the 30 years of community service of the DVF is a conference of the Presidents of the Dharmavijaya Samajayas that have been established throughout the country. It is scheduled to be held on Saturday 14th January at the Sri Vajiragnana Dharmayathanaya, Maharagama. Although in the register there are 440 Dharmavijaya societies, it is recognized that there is an urgent need to revitalise this network. These community based grassroots level organisations, whose Presidents are the incumbent Viharadhipati or his nominee, can play a vital role in achieving the theme of the Sri Sambuddhatva Jayanti, namely the "Revitalising and reorganising our moral life".

As referred earlier the Dharmavijaya Foundation was set up with the guiding motto held by the Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera that it is by moulding the character of man that a nation is moulded. The ideal Buddhist, the Venerable Mahanayaka Thera envisaged, is a man imbued with dynamism whose wise, pragmatic civic sense found expression in ceaseless service to the community. Based on this ideal, the DVF has built up its manifold activities which have to do with moral development, educational and health development and economic growth.


 News Letter
Ruwan Maluwa Senesana – Ampara district gifted with an Electric Generator
Ruwanmaluwa forest hermitage, which is situated in deep Ampara district close to …… was much handicapped due to there not being a supply of electricity. The resident monks had to undergo a great deal of hardship due to lack of proper lighting. A request was made to the Dharmavijaya Foundation for a generator that could operate with petrol by the incumbent resident monk Venerable Pindeniye Dharmasiri Thera.

The DVF was able to set aside Rs. 20,000/- for this worthy cause. Two of our trustees Dr Nalin Goonesinghe and Dr. K.D.S. Ranasinghe were able to collect the balance and we were able to donate a petrol driven generator worth Rs. 38,000/- to the temple on June 27th 2010. Dr. Ranasinghe and his family members voluntarily transported the generator and personally handed it to the monks along with sufficient petrol, bulbs and wire.

We are happy to inform that this donation has transformed the place and there is much religious activity with the active participation of the lay community.


 News Letter
Bhikkhu Hospice at Bodhirukkharamaya, Polgahawela gets a Medical Examination Room
Readers may remember the yeoman service of Venerable Amilasiri, the chief incumbent monk of Bodhirukkharama temple Polgahawela, to ageing monks. Deshabandhu Olcott Gunasekera, President of DVF, Vice President Siri Kannangara, and Trustee D.K. Premaratne, Deputy Secretary visited Bodhirukkharamaya on December 24, 2010 to inspect the new Medical Examination room that is being constructed with funds provided by Mr. Wijitha Paranamana, now working in Bangladesh, in memory of his late father who was ordained a monk and spent his last days at the Mitirigala Nissarana vanaya. He was keen to make a fitting tribute to his late father and when the DVF informed of this need he readily agreed to bear the entire cost. He has contributed Rs. 150,000/- to this project. The work has started and the walls have been built up to the roof level. We plan to finish it by end of January or beginning of February 2011.

We were very happy to see the vast improvements that have been made under the personal supervision and untiring efforts of Venerable Amilasiri. The earlier dana sala is no more and the main building, which was in a dilapidated state has been fully renovated with a wide veranda to seat over twenty visiting monks. A special image house is being constructed for the convenience of the elderly monks.


 News Letter
A special fund to assist in the education of Samanera monks at Bodhirukkharamaya
A special fund was created by Mrs. Somatunga with the DVF with a donation of Rs. 200,000/- to assist the samanera monks in their education. There are 23 resident samanera monks who attend the pirivenas nearby and it was the wish of Mrs. Somatunga, conveyed through our Vice President Mrs. Karuna Silva, that a Fund be created for this purpose. She had stated that this is her initial contribution and the Fund will be enhanced from time to time. The DVF takes this opportunity to thank Mrs Somatunga for her magnanimity and wish her long life with the merit accrued. The DVF has placed this money in a one year renewable fixed deposit and will be utilising the interest thereon from next year for the purpose as agreed.


 News Letter
Dham Nalu Rasa - A fund raiser in support of DVF activities
A dance symposium called Dham Nalu Rasa is scheduled to be held at the Kularatna Hall of Ananda College, Colombo on Saturday the 1st of November 2009 at 6.00 pm to raise funds for the DVF development projects and to make the general public aware of DVF aspirations. The arrangements for this show are handled by a special sub-committee of trustees chaired by Mrs Karuna de Silva, the Vice President of the DVF. Others include Dr Nalin Goonesinghe, Mrs Savanthi Bakmiwewa, Mr Cyril Gunapala, and Mr Sarath Dharmawardana.

Dham Nalu Rasa is a religious cum cultural event being a presentation of traditional drumming, dance items, songs and traditional orchestral music. This colourful cultural programme is directed by the well known Maestro of traditional drumming Ravibandu Vidyapathi who is a skilled dancer and choreographer as well.

It is a difficult task to bring to the proscenium stage a suitable cross section of traditional drumming, dance forms, orchestral music and songs that Buddhism has inspired in this nation's cultural history. They belonged to the celebrations and religious ceremonies of an ancient people, which to a great extent were performed in the open air or in temple and folk rituals. Ravibandu has culled from this rich repertoire an artistic creation depicting Sri Lanka's Buddhist cultural heritage. It is a fitting tribute to the ushering of celebrations marking two thousand six hundred years since the Buddha's Enlightenment.

Dham Nalu Rasa, a religio-cultural review par excellence will open with the customary Namaskara Gatha or respectful homage and invocation of blessings from the Triple Gem followed by Asadrusa Vannama, one of the traditional dance performances that pay tribute to the Buddha.

The third item in the programme is a short ballet choreographed to depict the conception of the Bodhisatta, the Buddha-to-be, in the dream of Queen Maha Maya Devi.

The next item in the programme is a traditional Kandyan Ves Dance, Su Visi Vivarana or homage to the twenty four Buddhas, which narrates the legendary events relating to the Buddhas of the past.

Himi Sanda Jinaratana is a ballet based on the theme 'ratiya jayati soko' which means, from attachments springs grief. This is the first line of a stanza taken from the Dhammapada, the sacred collection of Buddhist stanzas, which are gems of Buddhist wisdom. The ballet is based on this theme, which inspired a song composed by Visharada Nanda Malini.

Natir Puja is a song and dance composition based on Tagore's play set in the court of King Ajatasattu.

Hewisi Narthana is a dynamic drumming cum dance presentation featuring temple drums consisting of the Geta Bara, Davula and Tammattama.

Another item in the programme is Gajaga Vannama which is a traditional dance depicting the majestic gait of the Maligawa Tusker, the chief elephant of the Temple of the Tooth. It is this regal elephant that bears the sacred tooth relic placed in the golden howdah in the Esala Perahera, the resplendent procession that highlights the Esala Festival in the month of August.

The Light of Wisdom is a ballet which presents the significant events in the life of the Buddha from birth to the Mara Yuddha, which latter refers to the struggle of goodness over evil resulting in the triumphant heralding of the Enlightenment.

The programme's grand finale is Panca Thuriya Nada a presentation of traditional orchestral music and dances celebrating the two thousand six hundred years of the Buddha's Enlightenment.