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Asoka Weeraratna Remembrance Day
Promoting Buddhism on the Internet

German Dharmaduta Society

The German Dharmaduta Society, being mindful of the increasing need to adopt modern technology particularly in the Information Technology field for the purpose of learning and spreading the message of the Buddha, will be sponsoring the visit of the Australian Buddhist monk, Ven. Pannyavaro Thero, the Webmaster and pioneer of the ' BuddhaNet ', to Sri Lanka in early July, 2001. The 'BuddhaNet' is now one of the world's largest and most popular Buddhist websites on the Internet. It draws about 200,000 'hits' per day.

Ven. Pannyavaro on this visit will:
a) deliver the keynote address on the topic ' E - learning Buddhism on the Internet ' at a Public Meeting to be held at the Mahaweli Centre Auditorium, Colombo 7, on Saturday the 7th of July 2001 commencing at 3.00 pm, to commemorate the second death anniversary of the Founder of the German Dharmaduta Society, Asoka Weeraratna ( later known as Ven. Mitirigala Dhammanisanthi Thero ) who passed away on July 2, 1999, and
b) conduct a workshop on ' Buddhism on the Internet ' with Mr. S.T. Nandasara of the Institute of Computer Technology ( ICT) of the University of Colombo, at the ICT on Sunday the 8th of July 2001 from 9.00 am to 2.30pm.

Ven. Pannyavaro's keynote address on the July 7, will be followed by a panel discussion, which would also include Ven. Mettavihari Thero ( Webmaster monk of the Sri Lanka based website ' Mettanet ' ) and Mr. S.T. Nandasara. This panel discussion will be open to public participation. Professor Emeritus Mahasara Gunaratne will deliver a commemorative talk on ' The life and work of Asoka Weeraratna ' on this occasion.

The Workshop on the July 8, will be confined to 20 Information Technology professionals who wish to develop new Buddhist websites, and for those persons who wish to sponsor such websites. This Workshop is expected to lay the groundwork for establishing Buddhist websites based in Sri Lanka that will project Buddhism and the country's rich Buddhist Heritage to a worldwide audience.

Ven. Pannyavaro is also a qualified meditation teacher. He received his full ordination under the Sangha Raja of Thailand. During more than 25 years of monastic training he has studied and practised meditation in all of the major Theravada Buddhist countries ie. Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, including long periods of intensive practice of Satipatthana - vipassana meditation at the Mahasi Sayadaw Centres in Burma. He has received training under Ven. Sayadaw U Janaka of Chanmyay Yeiktha, Burma, who is the foremost disciple of the renowned Burmese Meditation Master, the late Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw. Ven. Pannyavaro has also studied meditation under the late Ven. Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera of the Mitirigala Forest Hermitage, which was founded by Asoka Weeraratna in 1968.

Ven. Pannyavaro has helped in the building of a number of the very early Buddhist communities and centres in Australia. He founded BuddhaNet, a computer information network, in 1993. He first used computers for simple desktop publishing, and with the gift of a modem discovered the on-line community and BuddhaNet came into being. It was Australia's first Buddhist Website. Its website address is: www.buddhanet.net. It provides unique, comprehensive directories of Buddhist Centres and Temples worldwide. It also provides the Internet's finest collection of professional - quality PDF files of Buddhist scriptures and explanatory works aimed from children to the most learned scholar, and an unparalleled collection of other text files and information on Buddhism.

The ' BuddhaNet' has an existing potential audience of over 60 million Buddhists online (the majority of whom are from Western countries) with a further outreach of over 400 million as the Internet continues to integrate into Asian economies. There is a tremendous web interest in Buddhist countries, with the Vietnamese - Americans and Japanese leading the world in web innovation.

Ven. Pannyavaro will be leaving for Germany on the 12th July and reside at the Berlin Buddhist Vihara for a short period of time. He will conduct Vipassana meditation classes at the Vihara and also assist the German Dharmaduta Society to develop its Berlin Vihara website in Germany.


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