Goenkaji in Sri Lanka -10 to 19 May, 2006
On 17 May, Goenkaji was felicitated by the Prime Minister of the Government of Sri Lanka at a public function in BMICH.
Acharya S. N. Goenkaji honoured by Sri Lanka Bhikkhu Sangha
On 15 May 2006 in the evening, Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha, the 150-year old congregation of most respected senior bhikkhus from various monasteries in Sri Lanka, felicitated Acharya Goenkaji and conferred on him the honorary title of Pariyatti Visarada (Master of Doctrine) "in deep appreciation of his immense and invaluable contribution to disseminate the Dhamma through very lucid and clear exposition of the original teaching of the Buddha and to bring solace and peace to thousands through the practice of Vipassana meditation by establishing the Vipassana centres in India and around the world." The Maha Nayaka Thera commended Acharya Goenkaji’s work.
Ven. Chandavimala Mahathera who had rendered valuable help in the Pāli project at the VRI spoke in Sinhala and Hindi. He said, referring to Acharya Goenkaji as Guruji as is customary among Indian meditators, “So well-known is Guruji’s work among serious practitioners that ‘Goenka’ doesn’t need the addition of a title”.
Ven. Ratanapalaji gave a short speech about how he first came in contact with Acharya Goenkaji. He also spoke in Hindi. He talked about Acharya Goenkaji’s mission with his characteristic simplicity and brevity. Most of the pilgrims sat all around the central aisle witnessing the love and affection that their teacher was receiving from the Bhikkhu Sangha. Among the audience were many senior teachers of Vipassana including Mrs. Damayanthi Ratwatte.
In reply to the felicitation, Acharya Goenkaji said that he felt embarrassed to be honoured by the Bhikkhu Sangha. He likened it to a grandparent lovingly caressing a child to encourage him. He said that he gained so much strength for his Dhamma service due to the blessings of the Sangha.;
Earlier in the morning, Sangha Dana was offered in Nagavihara at Kotte in Colombo in the morning. About 125 Bhikkhus from all the Nikayas came from various parts of the island to participate in the Sangha Dana. Bhikkhus from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, as well as nuns attended this special occasion. The pilgrims patiently waited and joyfully served the bhikkhus. About 85 of the Bhikkhus who participated were old students of this tradition. The Bhikkhu Sangha gave their blessings to Acharya Goenkaji. Towards the end of the ceremony, Acharya Goenkaji gave a brief speech in which he expressed his gratitude to the Sangha for accepting alms. He said that in some countries the teaching of Dhamma spreads primarily through the benevolent efforts of the Sangha. He then cordially invited the bhikkhus to join Vipassana courses for their own benefit and for the benefit of others.
May peace and prosperity prevail in Sri Lanka
The text of the honorary citation is as follows:
Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagridharma Maha Sangha Sabha
Hereby it is very solemnly declared that in deep appreciation of the immense and invaluable contribution made to disseminate the Dhamma through very lucid and clear exposition of the original teaching of the Buddha and to bring solace and peace to thousands through the practice of Vipassana meditation by establishing the Vipassana International Academy and over thirty Vipassana Centres in India and around the world. The Supreme Council of Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagridharma Maha Sangha Sabha at a specially convened meeting unanimously decided to confer on
Vipassana Acharya S. N. Goenka
THE HONORARY TITLE
Pariyatti Visarada (Master of Doctrine) and this Honorary Title was conferred at a Special Convocation Ceremony held on Fifteenth day of the month of May Two-Thousand and six at the Siri Mangala Uposatha The Most Venerable Bellana Sri Gnanawimala Maha Thera Sri Kalyani Samagridharma Maha Sangha Sabha
Venerable Professor Bellanwila Wimalaratana Maha Thera
Acharya S. N. Goenkaji was invited by the President of Sri Lanka, to receive an honorary title in recognition of the laudable and noble services rendered by him in the cause of spread of the Buddha's teaching worldwide. On 17th May Goenkaji was felicitated by the President at a private function and conferred the title of Jina Sasana Sobhana Patipatti Dhaja, (literally the banner of the practice of Dhamma that adorns the sasana of Buddha), on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka. Heads of the Sanghas of various countries and their representatives were present. Goenkaji was requested to give a Dhamma talk. He said that for peace to prevail in a country, the leaders of the country have to walk on the path of sila, samadhi and panna. He expressed his confidence that peace will come soon to this country that has such a long history of Dhamma. Vipassana will help very much in this regard.