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 Post subject: Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple by Ven. Saranankara
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:32 pm 
Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple by Ven. Saranankara

A well-researched mini-thesis on the Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple

by R. M. A. B. Dassanayake

Title: Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple
Author: Ven. Saranankara

The above titled book/booklet containing 72 pages inclusive of relevant illustrative data dwells on the historical and religious significance of Matale Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple.

The book deserves the readership of all those concerned and interested in the study and appreciation of historical sacred monuments.

Its author, Venerable Saranankara has painstakingly collected from several sources relevant historical data and has presented in concise but aptly explanatory form the importance, sanctity and the hallowed ritual traditions connected with this ancient rock cave edifice.

Aluvihara is famous as a sacred image store house as well as a monastic residence for the Bhikkhus.

The fifth Buddhist Council termed Dharma Sangayana Assembly was held in this monastic centre where the Tripitaka - Three-fold Basket of Dhamma expositions - was codified and recorded in the form of ola manuscripts, during the first century BC as revealed in rock inscriptions and also adduced by English historians such as major Forbes (Eleven years in Ceylon - 1840) and H. W. Cave (Ruined cities in Ceylon 1887)

As already commented by M. C. Gopallawa, Governor, Central Province in his excellent foreword to the book, the author Ven. Saranankara has provided in this well researched mini-thesis all relevant facts and figures relating to the ancient origins and the present standing of the Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple.

He has delved into the subject matter of the Tripitaka — the Tripartite Basket of Dhamma — exposition and presented in a condensed and impressive form its significant concepts pertaining to the Vinaya (Discipline) Sutra — (Discourses) and Abhidhamma (Higher teachings) composition.

It is this exalted rendering of the Tripitaka that had been committed to writing from the oral, memorised version explained by the Arahants soon after the demise of the Buddha.

The author also comments on the recent re-writing of the Tripitaka at Aluvihara by erudite elder monks during the period 1981-1991 under the supervision and collaboration of the prelates of the three Nikayas Siam, Ramanna and Amarapura sects.

All these writings were done on the Ola Palm leaf pages. In this context the author gives some informative comments on the processing, texturising of the Talipot palm leaves for the purpose of utilising them to write on with a stylus — a pencil-like pointed instrument. Mention has also been made of the papyrus scroll writings by ancient Egyptians.

All in all, the book under review is an impressive document devoid of high flown pedantic — verbiage. All relevant information is given in a straight-forward manner and not in the style of a voluminous treatise. It is a praiseworthy offering — although to seasoned readers and writers some of the expressions appear a little awkward in phraseology.

It is presumed that this is the first English book written and compiled by a Buddhist monk in Matale district.

All encouragement should be given to Ven. Saranankara to continue writing English texts on the Dhamma and related issues.

Winding up this brief review I would like to thank Mr. Richard Basnayake, retired school principal for providing the book for my perusal.

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