Following the declaration of the Thripitaka as a World Heritage by President Maithripala Sirisena, the Embassy of Sri Lanka under the aegis of the Venerable Maha Sangha in France, organized an event to celebrate the ‘Thripitaka’ and to reminiscence on the significance of the Vinaya, Suthra and Abhidhamma Pitaka at the International Buddhist Centre in Paris on the 24th of March 2019.
The celebration commenced with the Buddha Pooja followed by the opening remarks of Ambassador Buddhi K. Athauda who elaborated on the history of Buddhist Literature, highlighted that the efforts made by the Maha Sangha to preserve the oral traditions of Dharma following the Maha Parinibbana of Lord Buddha more than 2500 years ago until the Buddha’s teachings were committed into writing on palm leaves in the first century BC at Aluvihare in Matale. He further explained how the Sri Lanka Government together with the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO in Paris were working tirelessly towards the inscription of the ‘Thripitaka’ in the ‘Memory of the World Programme’.
The Chief Incumbent Maha Thero of Sri Lankan Buddhist Temples in France mainly Ven. Parawahara Chandaratana Nayaka Thero of the International Buddhist Centre, Ven. Murungasyaye Gnaneeswara Nayaka Thero of the Dhammachakka Buddhist Association and Ven. Kongasdeniya Ananda Nayaka Thero of the Jathawana Buddhist Vihara delivered Buddhist sermons highlighting the importance of the ‘Thripitaka’ to the modern world.
Thereafter, a detailed description of how the Sangha with the assistance of King Valagamba made arrangements to recite the Buddhist teachings to commit the Dhamma to writing was given by Shrasthapathi Rajakeeya Panditha Mulane Gunananda Thero followed by the explanations given by Kandavinne Rahula Thero on the annals of Buddhism, on the three Buddhist councils which were held at Rajagaha, Vesali and Pātaliputta in India respectively and finally the fourth Buddhist Council, which was held prior to the recording of Scriptures in palm leaves at Aluvihāra.
The programme was concluded with the serving of light refreshments to all invitees.