Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Dharmapala Anniversary

The Sunday Times newspaper in Sri Lanka carries a lengthy biographical sketch on September 18 honouring Anagarika Dharmapala’s 147th birth anniversary, which fell on September 17. Titled “I have work to do in bringing the peace of the Buddha westward,” it notes the influence of Blavatsky on his life:

When Col. Olcott and Madame Blavatsky revisited Sri Lanka, enroute to India in 1884, Anagarika had already expressed to Madame Blavatsky his desire to study theosophy and occultism from Himalyan spiritualists.

His father and elders objected but Madame Blavatsky persuaded them to give their consent. Once in Adyar in India, she also convinced the young Anagarika, that rather than studying theosophy and occultism, learning the Pali language would enhance his future aspirations.

This is followed by an equally eulogistic piece announcing “Today’s generation should honour him for his contribution to Buddhist education,” both of which can be read here.

Dharmapala on stage at the 1893 Parliament of Religions
seated next to Swami Vivekananda

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