Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blavatsky and the Buddhist Revival in Sri Lanka

LankaWeb, a site with a claim of being “Sri Lanka's first Social Media website in it's true sense. It's a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers,” for January 1, 2011, and the Asian Tribune for January 2, 2011, post a July 30th 1914 speech by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam at Mahinda College, the Buddhist boys’ school in Galle, Sri Lanka, that was the result of the theosophists’ work there. He mentions his association with Col. Olcott and Mme. Blavatsky:

In Mahinda College you have the best of all memorials of my friend Colonel Olcott, and a living testimony to the beneficent activity and influence of the Theosophical Society, which he founded, and to the public spirit and piety of the Buddhists of the Province. I can well remember the inauguration of the Society in 1880 by that remarkable woman Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott. I was then Police Magistrate of Kalutara, and they visited me there. Buddhism in Ceylon was at that period at a very low ebb indeed. It had been abandoned by men of light and leading, especially among the English-educated classes. Those who remained Buddhists were too often ashamed to acknowledge it. In the Courts I was sometimes saddened to see in the witness box Buddhists pretending to be Christians, and taking their oaths on the Bible. I am not a Buddhist or a Theosophist; but I was much pleased to give Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott such help as I could in their mission to restore the influence and prestige of Buddhism in the Island. What a change they have wrought in Ceylon, and how far and wide over the earth, they have spread the influence of Buddha’s teaching!

The rest of his talk, posted as “Sinhala Buddhist Revival—Advise From A Great Tamil” is available here.

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