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May 11, 1998 03:23 AM
by Clare Povers
Fellow List Members today is A special Buddist Day! Just a reminder of the little book The Buddhist Catechism by Col Olcott .in its 45th edition in 1970 since first edition of 1881.He wrote a new Preface for the 33rd when at Adyar 17th May 1897. It is in agreement with the Canon of the Southern Buddhist Church and recommended to teachers in Buddhist schools and to all others who may wish to impart information to beginners about the essential features of our religion. This was writted in 1881 at the Vidyodaya College Colombo by H. Sumangala, High Priest of Sripada and Galle, and Principal of the Vidyodaya Parivena. In the Preface is stated "....It is very gratifying to a declared Buddhist like myself to read what so ripe a scholar as Mr. GRS. Mead author of Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, Pistis Sophia, and many other works on Christian origins, thinks of the value of the compilation. He writes in theTheosophical Review "It has been translated into no less than twenty different languages, and may be said without the faintest risk of contradiction, to have been the busiest instrument of Buddhist propaganda for many a day in the annals of tht long somnolent dharma. The least that learned Buddhists of Ceylon can do to repay the debt of gratitude they owe to Colonel Olcott and other members of the Theosophical Society who have worked for them, is to bestir themselves to throw some light on their own origins and doctrines". I am afraid we shall have to wait long for this help to come from the Buddhist bhikkhus, almost the only learned men of Ceylon; at least I have not been able during an intimate intercourse of twenty-two years, to arouse their zeal. It has always seemed to me incongruous that an American, making no claims at all to scholarship, should be looked to by the Sinhalese to help them teach the dharma to their children: and so I believe I have said in an earlier edition, I only consented to write THE BUDDHIST CATECHISM after I had found that no bhikkhu would undertake it. Whatever its demerits, I can at least say that the work contains the essence of some 15,000 pages of Buddhist teaching that I have read in connexion with my work. HSO ADYAR 7th February 1903 Col. Olcott dedication: In token of respect and affection I dedicate to my counsellor and friend of many years, Hikkaduwe Sumangala, Pradhana Nayaka Sthavira and High Priest of Adam's Peak (Sripada) and the Western Province, The Buddhist Catechism, in its revised form. Adyar, 1903 Of interest on p.42 Q Has not the Buddha summed up his whole doctrine in one gatha, or verse? A. Yes. Q. repeat it? A. Sabba papassa akaranam, Kusalassa upasampada Sachitta pariyo dapanam- Etam Buddhanusasanam. "To cease from all evil actions, To generate all that is good, To cleanse one's mind:This is the constant advice of the Buddhas"... So as to-day is Wesak, Vaisakha (Sk.) Vesakha(Pali) hope this way of using his energy and his relaying of words, will be of interest. Clare Namaste!