Celebrating SuttaCentral in Sri Lanka


The Buddhist Cultural Centre version is known as the Buddha Jayanti edition, which was compiled in 1956 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the Parinibbana of the Buddha. It was also a time of great national and religious awakening as Sri Lanka was moving towards independence again after five centuries of colonisation (1505-1602 Portugese, 1602-1796 Dutch, 1796-1948 British).
Allow me to digress to give a bit of background. By the mid-20th century the Buddhist revival movement in Sri Lanka had gathered momentum. Immediately after the independence of 1948, people such as Prof G.Malalasekara, LH Mettananada, Ven Balangoda Ananda, Ven Abangoda Siddhartha and others had proposed a national commission regarding the grave injustices experienced by Buddhists and Buddhism in Sri Lanka during the colonisation. However, this movement was quashed, with claims it would be in violation of the Solbury agreement, which was signed before the British left.
With few options left, Sinhalese Buddhists decided to form an independent group to at least remedy the systematic attack on Buddhism through the missionary education system, which was a remnant of colonial powers.
The Buddha Jayanthi translation was protected by copyright, as one of many initiatives taken by this movement.
I hope this sheds some light on the context and why “protecting our heritage” was so important. @viriya @SarathW1
Around 2013, when we were reviewing which Sinhala translations were most appropriate for SuttaCentral the Buddha Jayanthi version was considered. At that time we opted for the Zoysa version, which is on SC now.

Last month when we were in Sri Lanka with Bhante Sujato @sujato a Buddhist group approched us to add the Buddha Jayanthi version and work is now underway to include the same on SC.


Politics is a sensitive subject, less is best.


Actually, it is available, in a way…

So, it’s good to know that Sinhala, like many Asian languages, is a diglossia.

The BJT is translated into the sahitya, or literary, form. It’s not accurate to say it is archaic (as I understand it). But it is in a form that most Sinhala find difficult and has unpleasant associations with school time.

One additional factor is that difficult to translate Pali words were often turned into Sanskrit forms. While this seems very strange, it is a strategy to solve the problem of difficult words. By not translating, you force the reader to consult the Pali (which is on the opposite page) and possible the commentary. It is done with an abundance of caution. Clearly it doesn’t make it easy for people who are not experienced. But that really wasn’t the goal of the translation (as I understand it) In this context, the “protect our heritage” comment is not nearly so nefarious. The strategy is also not quite so odd when you know that most Buddhist loan words in Sinhala are Sanskrit forms, not Pali.

Is that really true? They sell it, but they didn’t translate it. They weren’t started till 1992. I have heard that they are attempting to do a full translation, though. They have already published a full translation of the commentary.


Maybe politics isn’t the best word. In general, the Buddha might have something to say about the situation in Sri Lanka if he were there today.

There should be some effort made toward peace between Buddhists and other groups. In his own life, the Buddha stopped a tribal battle that was about to take place over water usage.


Buddhist Cultural Centre is a non-government entity. In the 1990s they raised funds to print the BJ version and many other Buddhist books which were out of print. @viriya I don’t understand what you mean by they did not translate. Around 1956 a panel of Bhikkus translated from Pali to scholarly Sinhala which is not commonly used these days. We met the head of BCC in Nadimale last month and he did not say anything about a new translation.


Yes, it is absolutely true that the BCC raised funds to do a printing in 1990’s. This was a huge act of merit because believe it or not, before that is was almost impossible to buy a print version. Most of the ones that were printed didn’t even have covers bound to them. Just signatures stitched together. If you go to an older monastery you may even be able to see some in their library. It was quite sad.

I just wanted to point out that it is not accurate to say that “the BCC version” = BJT. The BCC just reprinted. I don’t think they even typeset it.

At one point the the Taiwanese group CBBEF also did a free reprint.

I can’t remember who told me that the BCC was doing a new translation. I spoke with the director several years ago but I can’t remember if he is the one who told me.


Yes, and where is the Tamil tripitaka? Its almost as if the monks in SL haven’t still arrived to the print age, much less the IT age. Most temples hardly use their print copies… Maybe they rely on memories?

I understand Buddhism thrived in Tamil nadu, at the time of Ven.Buddhagosha and he stopped there before coming to Sri Lanka.

with metta


Check your to-do list. It may be hiding there. :slight_smile:

Seriously, better to do than to criticize.

And there is this…


Tamil Dhammapada

I see SC already has a Tamil Dhammapada and a few suttas in the MN.

14th most used language with 68 million people using Tamil.

I wonder if anyone knows if there are further translations being done in Tamil?

with metta


I wonder if there’s any news.


news about…