Asoka Weeraratna Birth Centenary (1918 – 2018)
Posted on December 9th, 2018

Press Release German Dharmaduta Society

The 100th Birth anniversary of Asoka Weeraratna will be commemorated at the Mahaweli Centre, Colombo commencing at 3.00 p.m. on Wednesday December 12. 2018

Asoka Weeraratna, born on 12th December 1918 in Galle, played a pioneering role in the dissemination of Buddhism in Germany in the post war period through the German Dharmaduta Society that he founded in 1952. He converted Dr. Paul Dahlke’s Das Buddhistische Haus in Berlin – Frohnau, into a Buddhist Vihara in 1957 by stationing Buddhist monks on a long term footing to spread Buddhism in the West.  He established the Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya (Mitirigala Forest Hermitage) in 1967 and entered the Order of the Sangha in 1972 as Ven. Mitirigala Dhammanissanti. His name finds resonance alongside other world renowned Buddhist missionaries of the 20th century, for establishing the oldest Theravada Buddhist Vihara in Germany, which has now become the seat of Theravada Buddhism in  continental Europe, conducting a variety of Buddhism related activities.  

A highlight of the event will be the release of a commemorative postage stamp and a Special Commemorative First Day Cover in honour of the Birth Centenary of the late Asoka Weeraratna, by the Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Post.

Life and Legacy of Asoka Weeraratna

Leading Buddhist monks including Ven. (Dr.) Omalpe Sobitha Thera, Ven. Uda Iriyagama Dhammajiva Thera, Chief Preceptor (Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya), and Buddhist lay leaders such as Mr. Jagath Sumathipala, President, All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Professor Jayasiri Lankage (President, German Dharmaduta Society) and Mr. Senaka Weeraratna ( Hony. Secretary, GDS), Mr. Ranjith Wickrematilaka (President, Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya Sanrakshana Sabhawa) and Mr. Hemantha Ranawaka (Secretary, Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya Sanrakshana Sabhawa) will be addressing the meeting dealing with the life and legacy of Asoka Weeraratna to posterity. A Short documentary will also be screened.

Recital of Poems (Kavi), and a short drama focused on the espousal of vegetarianism and the success Ven. Dhammanissanti achieved in lobbying former President R. Premadasa to stop State Patronage of Inland Fisheries in Sri Lanka, will be staged by children from the Bodhiraja Childrens’ Home, Embilipitiya.

German Dharmaduta Society

December 05, 2018

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