Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) was a Srilankan Buddhist reformer and national activist and ranks high among makers of modern Buddhism. Born into an affluent Sinhala merchant family, he was a youthful convert to Theosophy. The Theosophical movement that originated in Newyork in late 19th century became an important catalyst of the Hindu and Buddhist revival. Dharmapala attended the world Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 as a Buddhist delegate. Dharmapala's 'struggle' for Buddhism in India led to a transformation of nationalism in his homeland.He castigated the British colonial administration, its local lackeys for their lack of concern and his own people for their indolence and backwardness.He was a pioneer in industrial training for the youth in Sri Lanka. In India, where he spent the greater part of his life, his main and lifelong struggle was for re-establishing Buddhist management of Buddhist sacred places particularly the MAHABODHI, the reputed location of Buddha's enlightnment, which were under Hindu control. In this endeavour he interacted closely with Indian leaders like Gandhi and Nehru. His close links with particularly the Bengali intelligentsia, the 'Bhadralok', forms an intresting part of the story. Apart from this he took a great interest in the propagation of the word of the Buddha throughout the world His missionary activities encompassed the Western world as well as countries like Japan. An important aspect of this work was the promotion of Buddhist scholarship. In the twilight years of his life he had himself ordained as a Buddhist monk in India.
Sarath Amunugama is a senior Sri Lankan politician and is currently Minister of Special Assignments. He was a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Ceylon, Sri Lanka.
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