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‘Prof. Gunapala Malalasekera espoused Buddhist education’

Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama recalled Prof. Gunapala Malalasekara's contributions to Buddhism and Buddhist education in Sri Lanka and the world.

Speaking at the Prof. Gunapala Malalasekara Commemoration Ceremony at the BMICH recently, Special Assignments Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama recalled the professor’s contributions to Buddhism and Buddhist education in Sri Lanka and around the world.

He explained how most Buddhist texts are not written in Sinhala but in Pali.

Amunugama said a very significant aspect of the Buddhist revival was to draw the attention of the world to the Pali language and to bring about a revival of that language through the publication of the storehouse of Pali texts.

“G.P. Malalasekara was the chief lieutenant in that endeavour.”

Amunugama also praised Malalasekara’s commitment to Buddhist education, demonstrated through his tenures at Ananda, Nalanda, Dharmaraja and Dharmasoka Colleges.

“Malalasekara made a huge contribution by helping to produce through Ananda and Nalanda, a large number of national leaders and social workers at different levels.”

Amunugama concluded his speech with a number of anecdotes regarding Malalasekara. One, specifically, involved the influence Amunugama says Malalasekara had over Buddhism and geopolitics worldwide.

“Something that most people probably do not know is that he inaugurated the World Buddhist Congress and started a dialogue with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Harijan leader of India.That led to Ambedkar embracing Buddhism. That in turn led to Harijans, who constitute one fourth or one fifth of the population of India, embracing Buddhism,” Amunugama said.

“The entire historical development and politics of India underwent a change because of this turn of events.”