The title Buddha is given to a person who is an enlightened being. It comes from the root BUDH in Sanskrit, meaning “to know”. Buddha is a person who understands the truth, he is a finder and a proclaimer of the truth. The historical Buddha that we know of is called “Siddhartha Gautama” Gautama, being his family name. He was born in 563 B.C ( now believed to be 623 B.C)  His father was Suddodana and the mother was Mahamaya. At the time of the birth, the father called various famous astrologers to the palace to ask about the child’s destiny. Although all the people who were there agreed that he would either be a very great ruler or a very great sage, one of the ascetics there was quite convinced that he would be the future Buddha. There are new views expressed now which locate the birth and parinibbana of the Buddha in Sri Lanka. King Asoka’s supposed pillar edict in Lumbini has now been proven to be a fabrication of Anton Furer who was later dismissed by the Government of India.


Before we come into an analysis of the four Noble truths we should have some idea about the meaning of the word “Dhamma”. Four Noble truths will also come under this Dhamma. The word Dhamma comes from the root word “Dara” which means uphold and this covers the fundamental rules operating in the universe and also the rules of righteousness or ethical element and all these are contained in the “Dhamma”.

Dhamma is called the medicine of all the medicines in the world, manifold and various, there is none like the medicine of Dhamma.

Buddhists are taught there are various great qualities of the ocean found in the Dhamma. They say that the great ocean slopes and inclines and there is no sudden precipice since the great ocean gradually shelves. The great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt. This is the sixth wonderful and marvelous quality of the great ocean. This is how they speak of the greatness of the Dhamma or the great teachings and they also believe that the Dhamma is to be realized by the wise and not by the foolish……



Prof.Lakshman’s talk on History and Culture of Sri Lanka which also contains details of Buddha’s three visits to Sri Lanka.

Click to read Mahavamsa– Mahavamsa is an important Buddhist document of the early history of Sri Lanka, beginning near the time of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama. As it often refers to the royal dynasties of India, the Mahavamsa is also valuable to historians who wish to date and relate contemporary royal dynasties in the Indian subcontinent. It is very important in dating the consecration of the Maurya emperor Asoka, which is related to the synchronicity with the Seleucids and Alexander the Great.

Some deeper questions for doctoral students.

  • What is Alayavijnana? Is it the same as citta, manas or vijnana? Why is citta defined as mano-centered vijnana?
  • Is vitakka present in jhana. This is the subtle aspect of ‘thought’ that is carried over into jhana, when the coarse aspect, the verbalization, is left behind….Click to read
  • How do we remedy emotional imbalances in Conative, Attentional , Cognitive and Affective states?

Recommended reading for doctoral students


………It just happened that during the age in which the word of the Buddha was preserved in writing, Buddhism had flourished and spread to several countries, becoming their state religion. Each country created an official version of the Pali Canon of its own and took care of it from generation to generation to ensure that it would remain unadulterated and complete. A case in point is Thailand, where there were rehearsals conducted in the reigns of King Tilokaràja (or Tilakaràja) of the Lanna Kingdom and King Rama I of the present Rattanakosin period.

In each recension of the Pali Canon, the participants will bring together the different versions from all the countries involved and cross-check them to see whether there are any discrepancies in wording down to the letter.

Theravàda Buddhism is, therefore, legitimately proud that the original Buddhism has been preserved. In contrast, as has been universally recognised by Buddhist scholars and academia worldwide, no matter whether they profess Mahàyana, Theravàda, or Vajrayàna Buddhism, the Mahàyàna sutras of the âcàryavàda school were composed later, not preserving the original, authentic teachings. The majority of these scriptures are now lost. As a result, it has been acknowledged that the most complete, original teachings of the Buddha that are still available today can only be found in the Pali Canon of Theravàda Buddhism……..Pali Canon by P A Payutto

In the early nineties, I met Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bikkhu Nyanaponika at the Forest Hermitage Kandy after which I completed the research in 1999 comparing Buddhagosa’s Vissudhimagga with Karl Bath’s Dogmatics dealing with  sin vs suffering. Featured Publications: Other Publications and Research: Religion Blog


………...I will touch on meanings that highlight Buddhagosa’s and Barth’s understandings of the fallen state of life, especially as we see differences between them.

This concerns a crucial aspect of contextual meaning as examined earlier, how we know about Unsatisfactory nature and sin. For Barth knowledge of soteriological wrong is unequivocally derived from knowledge of the soteriological solution. Knowledge of Jesus Christ precedes knowledge of sin just as the Word spoken in Jesus Christ precedes everything that has come into existence, including the introduction of sin into creation.  A relationship of priority, we might even say, causality exists here. Jesus Christ is prior to everything else God in Barth’s theology and this knowledge causes or gives rise to an awareness or knowledge of sin…………………


Selected Titles:

Buddhism and the God-idea,by Nyanaponika Thera (1994)

Buddhism in a Nutshellby Narada Thera (1982)

A Buddhist Response to Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (1994)

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Excerpt — Introduction only)ed. by Bhikkhu Bodhi (1993)

Courageous Faith,by Nyanaponika Thera (1994)Devotion in Buddhism,by Nyanaponika Thera (1994)

The Progress of Insight: A Modern Treatise on Buddhist Satipatthana Meditationby Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (1994)

Seeing Things as They Are,by Nyanaponika Thera (1994))

Click for full list from Buddhist Publication Society



 Forest Hermitage, Udawattekelle, Kandy, Sri Lanka whee I met Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


Sin Vs Suffering comparing Karl Bath’s Dogmatics with Vissudhimaga

A usual observation is that comparison is the fundamental way to gain an understanding of anything. Succinctly, all knowledge is comparative. This dissertation illustrates, in an intentional and explicit way, this observation with the claim that comparative inquiry evinces insights and truths that non-comparative inquiry does not. The difficulty of this claim is twofold: first, it would be difficult, if possible, to study something non-comparatively with the purpose of showing what is not learned in the process. Thus there is no counterpoint against which to contrast the knowledge gained from this comparative study….

Visuddhimagga is the ‘great treatise’ on Theravada Buddhist doctrine written by Buddhaghosa approximately in the 5th Century in Sri Lanka. It is a manual condensing and systematizing the 5th century understanding and interpretation of the Buddhist path as maintained by the elders of the Mahavihara Monastery in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is considered an important Theravada text outside of the Tipitaka canon of scriptures even though many Hindu and Patanjali concepts have also found its way into the manual which appears to have distorted the original hela meanings.

Click to read

Additional discussions covered many profound subjects such as janas, enlightenment, rebirth, mind & consciousness. We also participated in meditations that were held in the beautiful, serene settings of Nilambe, Sri Lanka and discussions with Prof.Ediriwera Sarachchandra on Buddhist Psychology of Perception.
 With Dr.Balasing after the Buddism seminar Norton Bridge, Sri Lanka 2 Oct 2015
buddhism (2)
Teaching Buddhism and other  religions at Haggai Institute, Hawaii, USAHaggai

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