Thank you for dropping by,
The place was packed with monks, school kids and “daham pasal” kids. - Yes the place was packed, there were about 2000 people including the guests sitting behind the stage and outside. We made it a point to invite about 200 high school students from Colombo schools, most students were from international schools where they study in English medium, the curriculum is based on the UK system and they do not have the opportuunity to learn ANY religion as a subject at school.
It was quite clear that the majority had no idea about SuttaCentral, Yes you are correct and that was one reason to organise this event, to introduce SuttaCentral to the Sri Lanakan people who do not use it yet.
…that it didn’t actually have a new Sinhala translation of the Pali Canon, - There was no mention of a NEW Sinhala translation except that the Zoysa translation is conveniently accessible on SC.
but they kept repeating how it had the Tipitaka in 40 languages (the Sinhala talks seemed to have the wrong impression that it had some new Sinhala translation as well). - **Yes, you are right, the non-English speaking Sri Lankan Buddhists were excited, they were over joyed that they can now conveniently access the words spoken by the Buddha. I am not sure about the wrong impression, they were simply happy to know the existance of the site.
It felt like an event organized in quick time to cater to an internationally known monk -
**Yes, this event was organised within 3 weeks, it made a big positive impact on Sri Lankan people, not just Buddhists.
Yes we wanted the “common variety, non English speaking people” in Sri Lanka also to get close this “internationally known monk”. Generally it is considered a previlage.
…not because of any genuine interest or understanding of what SuttaCentral was about.
is point is a defenite NO… SuttaCentral is about breaking any boundaries between people and the words spoken by the Buddha. In that sense this event was a stepping stone and was perfectly aligned with the principles.
**** sorry but I am not sure why the writer think this event had no genuine interest or understanding of what SC is about.**
Hopefully this kind of event will inspire some local monks to re-translate the Canon in modern-day Sinhala. - There are other tanslations in Sinhala, yes it is good if this event inspire others.
Those who are fluent in English got a good introduction in what SuttaCentral had to offer which was helpful. - Of course, the English speaking lot are privileged you know. But the others also now know they can access suttas easily and they will also be benefited to a certain level.
I didn’t wait to ask for feedback from anyone - Thats okay, it was very busy anyway, but we got loads of good, honest feedback, people rang even two days after the event with best wishes, thanked for organising this event, some poor people travelled the day befoe to get to Colombo, people were sincerely happy that they were able to witness this event, be in the same room with so many Sangha, chant, hear the voice of Bhante Sujato, @sujato get to know the existence of SC, a place to go to for the words spoken by the Buddha.
honestly I think anyone who already has any interest in the suttas already knows about SuttaCentral, - Yes this is good to know. Thanks.
and those who don’t are probably not interested anyway. - I dont know what to say here except this is not a Buddhist way to think, pleawse re think this line…
I do think however that it might have been eye-opening to some kids - It was an eye opener for lots of people not just kids.
how foreigners were taking sutta study seriously. - Most people in Sri Lanka know the English speaking word is reading Suttas. They are happy about it. We did not want the non English speaking common people in Sri Lanka to feel left out, hence our effort to introduce SC to Sri Lanka.
BTW… it would have been nice if the writer gave the feedback in person rather than via @SarathW1 Anyhow thanks for sharing it.