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Mahabodhi Society to seek President's permission to invite Dalai Lama
Daily News Lanka [Saturday, January 14, 2006 08:27]
By Chamikara Weerasinghe

The Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka will seek President Mahinda Rajapakse's permission to invite the Dalai Lama to Sri Lanka to grace the occasion
of 2550th Buddha Jayanthi.

The society's chairman, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera said that thesociety had decided to ask President Mahinda Rajapakse to invite the
Dalai Lama to Sri Lanka, prior to his visit to Bodhgaya in India where President is expected to meet Dalai Lama.

As a Buddhist organisation founded by Sri Anagarika Dharmapala, the Mahabodhi Society had proposed the idea of inviting the Dalai Lama to
the 2550th Buddha Jayanthi with a vision to inspire sentiments of the Buddhist public in the country at this prime event, said the Nayaka Thera.

"We embarked on organising the event from last December. Since the day we announced how we plan to commemorate the Buddha Jayanthi this year, we
learned that many speculations have accumulated over the visit of the Dalai Lama.

Hence, the Mahabodhi Society's Central Executive Committee had decided that it should discuss the matter with all parties to arrive at a consensus.

The Thera maintained that they consider the Dalai Lama's presence in any country as a great honour.

Meanwhile, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, founder of Sarvodaya Movement and Magsaysay Award winner for peace, at a press conference on Monday at the
Mahabodhi Society's Executive Committee Room, said that he personally believed Dalai Lama's presence in the country could make a huge difference of things in relation to pacifying its conflicts within.

"I am fortunate to have had a very good relationship with the Dalai Lama over the last five years. I must say he is a reflection of human
kindness and compassion," said Dr. Ariyaratne.

"He is a spiritual leader. He once told me he had a wish to visit Sri Lanka to worship the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha and the Sri Maha Bodhi
in Sri Lanka before his death," Dr. Ariyaratne added.
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