The event was held by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa, together with the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya, Ottawa Buddhist Vihara, the Ottawa Theravada Buddhist Vihara and the Sri Lankan expatriate community in Ottawa.
The programme commenced with the observance of the five precepts followed by an address by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, Asoka Girihagama. In his address, High Commissioner Girihagama outlined the background of the forum and the efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka in making the Thripitaka a World Heritage. He stated that the Government of Sri Lanka had taken action to submit the application to the UNESCO to make the Tripitaka a world heritage which would be considered at an appropriate session at the UNESCO in the near future.
The High Commissioner also explained that the Tripitaka or the three baskets of Buddhist teaching, had been made a National heritage of Sri Lanka in January 2019 as there was an urgent and essential need to prevent the Pali text from being translated or interpreted erroneously and to ensure authenticity of the Buddhist teaching.
High Commissioner Girihagama explaining further stated that due to various interpretations a proposal had been mooted from a segment of the society that another Buddhist Council (Sangayanawa) be held to clear the different interpretations in order to establish pure Buddhist teachings in the country. He further stated that following the Government of Sri Lanka’s declaration of Tripitaka as a national heritage, the Cabinet of Ministers had granted approval to make it a world heritage.
Following High Commissioner Girihagama’s address, talks on the History of Tripitaka, contents of the Tripitaka and solutions and relevance of the Thripitaka to the modern world issues were delivered by Ven. Omare Nandaloka Thero from Ottawa Buddhist Vihara , Ven. Nugegalayaye Jinanda Thero from Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Monastery and Ven. Dr. Gangodawila Chandima Thero from Ottawa Theravada Buddhist Vihara, respectively.
The Keynote address at the forum was delivered by Prof. Noel Salmond, Associate Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. In his address, Prof. Salmond discussed the various aspects of Buddhism and the contribution made by Sri Anagarika Dharmapala. He referred to his interactions with senior scholars and venerable monks in the study of Buddhism. He also recognized the importance accorded to Buddhism in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
Following the conclusion of his address, Prof. Salmond was presented with a token of appreciation and the Ven. Members of the Maha Sangha were presented with pirikara by the High Commissioner.
The forum was concluded with the serving of light refreshments to all invitees to the event.