New Book ‘Buddhism in Germany’ by William Peiris
Posted on December 28th, 2021

Senaka Weeraratna

Buddhism in Germany by William Peiris focuses on the contribution made by the German scholars towards the spread of Buddhism in Germany in particular, and the West in general. The Book narrates the manner in which Buddhism was spread in Germany, who gave leadership in promoting Buddhism and the manner of reception and attitude of Germans towards Buddhism. 

Germans have demonstrated exemplary conduct in the acceptance and practice of Buddhism. In Germany it is not intellectuals alone who have embraced Buddhism but even a good number of ordinary common people have adopted Buddhism as their way of life. 

In her Foreword, Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike, then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (January 1975) says as follows:

” This is a book that should be read by every Buddhist, for it contains the story of ‘ Buddhism in Germany’. 

The idea of disseminating the Dhamma in Germany originated with a son of the soil, Asoka Weeraratna, (now the Ven. Dhammanissanti of the Nissarana Vanaya, Mitirigala).  He had the active support of his elder brother Dharmasena, with whom he was engaged in business in Colombo, in sending out to Germany, the first and only Buddhist Mission, and of acquiring the late Dr. Paul Dahlke’s Buddhist House in Berlin from his heir by the German Dharmaduta Society of Sri Lanka. 

My husband, the late Prime Minister, Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, took a great interest in this project and helped it to the best of his ability. In fact, it was he who had the honour to carry on his head the golden relic – casket, leading a procession to the Colombo Port and hand it over to the Mission to be taken to Germany in 1957. 

The Mission is doing excellent work under the direction of Sri Lanka Buddhist monks resident in Berlin.

The author (William Peiris) is well known as the biographer of Sir Edwin Arnold, the celebrated author of the beautiful poem, The Light of Asia, published by the Buddhist Publications Society, Kandy in 1970, and The Western Contribution to Buddhism published by a Delhi firm in 1973. He has been a Journalist for well over half a century and a radio broadcaster for many years.

I have much pleasure in recommending this book.”

In another Foreword, Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Thera, founder of the Buddhist Cultural Centre, who was instrumental in publishing this Book, says:

” A landmark in the German – Sri Lanka relations is the Ceylonese Buddhist Mission to Germany which was inaugurated under the auspices of Asoka Weeraratna in 1957.  It was headed by Ven. Soma Thera of Vajiraramaya. 

We of the Buddhist Cultural Centre have great pleasure in placing this book – Buddhism in Germany – at the hands of the English readership. At this instance we particularly like to place on record our indebtedness to Manjari Peiris, the beloved daughter of William Peiris, for providing us with the long forgotten and shelved book and all other paraphernalia and facilitating it as we are publishing it for the first time.” 

This Book published in 2018 is now available at the Bookshop of the Buddhist Cultural Centre, No. 125 Anderson Rd, 

Nedimale, Dehiwala. Price – Rs. 380 per copy.

Senaka Weeraratna

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