Tag Archives: convert

Ananda College, Sri Lanka Pays Homage To American Colonel Henry Olcott, Its Founder.

prizesAnura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.
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by Anura Guruge


Ananda_CrestRelated posts:
>>
List of prizes at Ananda.
>> Ananda College prize giving 1969.

++++ Check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ or search ‘Ceylon’ for other posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

OlcottAnanda11


Colonel Henry Steel Olcott [2 August 1832 – 17 February 1907], born in New Jersey, an officer during the Civil War, and a member of the committee that investigated Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, is NOT a well known figure in the U.S.

Not so in Sri Lanka (once Ceylon).

Henry Steel Olcott is a well known and well respected legend. His greatest and justified claim to fame is that he founded a number of Buddhist schools in Ceylon, my old alma mater, Ananda College, in Colombo, with 6,000 students in my time [i.e., 1958 to 1967] and now [per Wikipedia, 5,000], the largest. We were ‘taught’ about Olcott and his picture hung in the school (and I must admit that he comes across as being a bit scary, when you are a 6-year old boy in shorts, not used to men with such luxuriant beards).

Olcott other claim to fame was that he, with his ‘good friend’, Russian-born Helena Petrovna Blavatsky [1831 – 1891], converted to Buddhism in Ceylon — at that time the highest profile Westerns to do so. They were also the founders of the (to me the always very strange and confusing) Theosophical Society.

Anywho, I just thought I would share this with you. Checkout the Theosophical Society. It might appeal to YOU.

Blavatsky_and_Olcott

Blavatsky and Olcott in 1888 (from Wikipedia). Ananda College was founded 2 years prior to this picture being taken.


German Evangelical Floating Bookstore ‘MV Logos Hope’ Visits Sri Lanka.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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 .by Anura Guruge


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I had an e-mail this morning from one of my (many) cousins in Sri Lanka that he had visited the ‘Book Ship’ “Logos Hope”, at the (famed) Colombo harbor, and had bought himself an Atlas. He asked me whether I was familiar with the ship. I was not. I knew of the various floating universities, and even remembered visiting one in that very same harbor, 50 years ago.

He, as is his wont, send me an URL to a local newspaper with a story about the ship.

Click to access ...

Click to access …

Being the cynical soul that I am, I needed more ‘G2’ especially given the name. So, as is my wont, I Googled it.

Wikipedia, had all that I needed to know:

click ...

click …

All was clear and I fully understood the motivation and name.

I find it amusing that the ‘Daily News‘, that used to be quite a newspaper when I was young (albeit that being 50 years ago), totally missed the point.

My cousin too had not noticed. Not that it matters.

Missionaries, of all flavors, have been visiting Sri Lanka, with mixed success for nearly 3,000 years. All the major religions in Sri Lanka are obviously imports, viz. Buddhism (˜70% I think), Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. We don’t have many from the Judaic persuasion as this true story (retold by me (and you really must read it)) exemplifies — though there is a movement afoot (supported by a couple of my cousins) to prove that the (last) Buddha was born in Sri Lanka (as opposed to India). Yep, pigs will fly. My ‘immediate’ family, though I now realize I was adopted (actually a mix up at the hospital à la ‘The Other Son, was a mix of Buddhists, Baptists and Catholics, with my surrogate father (as opposed to my adoptive father), a Baptist.

OK, I will confess. Efforts to evangelize Sri Lankans, into any religion, bothers me. As the newspaper article indicates we tend to me ‘trusting’ folks, easily swayed. It is like giving candy to kids. But … My cousin was happy. He paid about $5 (in Rupees) for an good world Atlas from the U.S. He got a deal.