A book on ‘The Compassionate Buddha of the Rock,’ written by late Deshabandu Deivanayagam Pillai Eassuwaren, will be released on Sunday, 6 January, marking the first year remembrance of the author at a memorial ceremony to be held at the New Kathiresan Hall, Bambalapitiya.
The occasion will be attended by Speaker of the House Karu Jayasuriya, one of the trustees of the Lord Buddha Statue Construction Committee, as Chief Guest and MP Arumugam Thondaman will preside over the release of the book, composed in all three major languages Sinhala, Tamil and English in one volume.
DSI Chairman Nandadasa will deliver the keynote address in Sinhala. This will be followed by speech in Tamil by Kambavarthi Jeyaraj.
The book deals with the historical significance of the 67-feet tall Samadhi Buddha Statue (Meditating) – with serene beauty of the face of the Lord Buddha, the granite sculpture on the 72-feet high rock, to the Western side of the Monaragala Vidya Sagara Buddha Vihara, at Rambodagalla, near Kurunegala. This is the first time granite sculpture has come into form, after nearly 850 years of the granite sculpture era of the country.
The South Indian sculptor of world fame, Shri Muthutiah from Chennai, undertook the colossal project of revealing the complete majestic beauty bring out on a single granite rock as the Samadhi statue, employing 28 sculptors, experienced in this field beginning from the year 2002.
This masterpiece of art and sculpture, the Samadhi Buddha statue was unveiled by President Maithripala Sirisena in June 2015 amidst a large gathering of devotees.
The book ‘Compassionate Buddha of the Rock’ is a living witness to the live religious and ethnic harmony exists among the people of divergent beliefs and racial differences, living in brotherhood as one people and one country.
The book is based on an incredible story of how the amazing 67.5 feet compassionate Samadhi Buddha revealed himself in Rambadagala, Kurunegala, a small village in Sri Lanka.
It is a story of inspiration and faith. It is a story of how anyone can do anything, if only one sets one’s mind to truly achieving one’s goal. It is also the story of an unlikely friendship between a Buddhist monk and a Hindu businessman; and their efforts to create the first large granite Buddha statue 850 years after in Sri Lanka. The carving of the Lord Buddha Statue in the rock was a 13-year-long, gigantic work undertaken by Ven. Egodamulle Amaramouli Thero of the Monaragala Temple, Rambodagalla, Rideegama, Kurunegala. This was in response to some youth who wanted to revolt against the Muslims and attack mosques in return, when they had heard of the ancient Bamiyan Buddha Statues being destroyed with bombs by the Talibans in Afganistan.
The erudite monk living a very simple life, admonished the youth, citing the Buddha as a living example who never took revenge and told the youth to show compassion and if they were keen, they could commence carving the Buddha statue in the Rambadagalla rock, just close to the temple in which the monk was residing.
Taking a clue from the words of the monk, youth collected some money about Rs. 200,000 in all, came back to the monk and wanted him to commence the work of carving the statue of the Buddha in the said rock. The monk saw stars but did not hesitate to step up to the work, taking it as a challenge.
It was providence the monk happened to come face to face with the businessman and philanthropist, the owner of Eswaran brothers, Colombo, Eassuwaren, at the Ramboda Hanuman Temple placed at the highest elevation of Sri Lanka, on the winding road between the historic hill city Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.
Eassuwaren was then the President of the Chinmaya Mission in Sri Lanka, which was responsible for constructing the Hanuman temple, the Hindu god of courage, devotion and perseverance.
He, an ardent lover of the teachings of the Buddha, and lived up to the sacred teaching, the precepts of the Damma of the Buddha though a Hindu by religion, assured the monk to help him to realise his dream.
The book is a narration of events. It speaks lucidly on how rock stone was turned into a beautiful statue of the Lord Buddha and how everything went slowly and smoothly despite in the face of challenges.
The author recalls with gratitude how at one point how the former Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and former Deputy Mayor of Colombo Edward Edirisuriya came to his assistance when he (Eassuwaren) was in dire need of such help. The book was first written in Tamil by the late author himself and it was translated into Sinhala and English.