Buddhist Cultural Centre
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (May 2009)|
Buddhist Cultural Centre (BCC) in Sri Lanka was founded by Sri Lankan Kirama Wimalajothi Thero (Badu Mama), after dedicated religious service in Malaysia, Singapore and the US for nearly 20 years. It was opened on January 2, 1992 under the patronage of Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda, chief Sanghanayake of Malaysia and Singapore. Buddhist Cultural Centre was established to fill the gap in reading materials for the use of the people of the area as well as in other countries.
Thero started a small place at Nadimala, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, with a few lay devotees. He went in search of some books on Buddhism and Buddhist culture and found that the books he was looking for were not available at any of the leading bookshops in Sri Lanka. He thus started collecting books on Buddhism and related subjects.
As Sinhalese Dhamma books were out of print at that time, Wimalajothi Thero also opened a printing press for that purpose in 1995. A mobile Buddhist bookshop was also launched that year, necessitated by the unavailability of Buddhist books in all areas including Colombo and to increase knowledge in Buddhism by promoting reading habits.
The entire Sutta Pitaka i.e. Digha Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya and Khuddaka Nikaya has been translated into simple Sinhala and published by the BCC. Many other books written in English were also translated into Sinhala and published.
http://en.wikipedia.org/skins-1.5/common/images/button_link.png The BCC reprinted the Pansiya Panas Jathaka Potha in two volumes with one volume in an abridged form. Many more books including Visuddhimagga, Milinda Panha, Pujavaliya, Saddharmalankaraya were also printed. After installing a new printing press the centre started printing new books, both in Sinhala and English; well over 500 books on Buddha Dhamma, Buddhist Literature, history, culture, philosophy, languages such as Pali and Sanskrit by renowned scholars were printed there.
In 2004, a massive project of reprinting the entire Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka books was undertaken at an estimated cost of Rs. 70m. It is expected to complete this task by May 2006.
Exhibitions of Buddhist books have been held yearly since 1992 (and at times twice a year) in Colombo at the Public Library Auditorium, National Art Gallery, and all Ceylon Buddhist Congress Auditorium and in other townships such as Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle, Matara and Ratnapura, the purpose being to popularize Buddhist books. The mobile bookshop was also organized along with these exhibitions.
Mobile Buddhism Bookshop
A mobile Buddhist bookshop was launched from 1995 through 2002 by the BCC. This was necessitated due to unavailability of Buddhist books in all areas including Colombo and to increase basic knowledge in Buddhism by promoting reading habits. It was a popular program.
There is a separate section for the use of the children in the BCC which has become quite popular: The BBC undertakes the collection and printing of books designed for the children.
A new program of writing books in English was launched to cater to the children. The ‘Buddhism Graduated Course’ is a series of 8 books dealing with Buddhism. This is to fulfill some of the requirements of the pupils studying in English and of those who want to study Buddhism in English.
The ‘Correspondence Course’ containing 12 booklets was started in 1996 to cater to non-Buddhists, both local and foreign, seeking a basic knowledge on Buddha Dharma. The course is to be completed within 6 months after which a certificate is issued by the BCC.
A fully equipped meditation centre was established at Dekanduwela, Horana, in a 10-acre (40,000 m2) land in 1993 by provision of the Director of BCC, Kirama Wimalajothi thero. The centre can accommodate 40 participants at a time, and in-house training on meditation lasting from 2 days to 2 weeks are organized here.
Besides local participants including Bhikkhunis, over 2,000 foreigners have been trained by the Centre. Participants from Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, and Russia, Thailand and Sweden and other countries have attended its sessions. A one-year training course in Tripitaka Dhamma for Bhikkhunis and lay devotees is now being conducted at the Centre.
A temporary, two-week ordination program was launched in 2003, designed to give basic knowledge in Dhamma, meditation and Social Work. As the Centre could accommodate only 40 participants at a time, the course has been confined to men of the ages 18 to 40 and was conducted once every two months. The program gained popularity among the youth. After one year in this basic training, all participants were enrolled as members of the ‘Ariya Mittha Sansadaya’, the main objective being to propagate the Buddha Dhamma among schoolchildren. This activity is carried out in addition to the Sunday Dhamma School.
Ten youths were ordained in March 1995 for the purpose of spreading the Buddha Dhamma abroad. Most of them are now following higher studies in their respective foreign countries.
More Work on Spreading Dhamma
20,000 copies of ‘Buddhism in a Nutshell’ by Narada Maha Thero were distributed free of charge to quality hotels and tourist resorts in Sri Lanka for the use of visitors.
On January 1, 2008, Buddhist Cultural Center launched its online bookshop with worldwide shipping options.