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Dr. Kohona calls for the revival of the Fa Xian spirit

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Sri Lankan ambassador to China – Dr. Palitha Kohona has said that Sri Lanka was ready to welcome Chinese travellers in the same spirit as it had welcomed Fa Xian 1600 years ago.

Dr. Kohona was the chief guest speaker at the 1689th birth anniversary celebration of monk Fa Xian at the city of Linfen in Shanxi.

While marveling at the incredibly arduous journey undertaken by Fa Xian, he welcomed the revival of the spirit of adventure, travel and discovery by today’s inheritors of the Fa Xian tradition.

Dr. Kohona shared the same thoughts at a meeting with the Secretary of the Party Leadership Committee, Hao Zhong Xiang.

Fa Xian was born in Linfen and Linfen hosts an elaborate Fa Xian (Pa Hien) memorial. He started his epic journey in search of the original Vinaya (discipline) texts of the order of Buddhist monks at the age of 65. He learned Sanskrit at 70 in order master the texts available in India. After crossing the scorching Gobi Desert and traversing the daunting Hindu Kush mountains on foot, he reached Taxila. In India, he acquired the texts that he wanted and visited the holy places of Buddhism. Given Lanka’s reputation as a centre of Buddhist learning, he traveled to the “Lion Kingdom” by sea. After spending two years in the Lankan capital, Anuradhapura at the Abhayagiri Monastery, he returned to his homeland at the age of 79 via Java with his precious collection of Buddhist texts. He wrote about his pioneering and daunting journey (Records of Buddhist Kingdoms) and translated the holy texts to Chinese. His influence on Chinese Buddhism is seminal.  Due to the impact Fa Xian’s journey had on opening up trade and travel routes, he could be described as an early pioneer of the BRI concept and globalisation.

Today, Linfen is priding itself as the birthplace of Fa Xian and may even be considering setting up an adventure travel option along the route taken by the indomitable Fa Xian.

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Election Commission invites tenders for election stationery

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The Election Commission has announced a call for tenders to procure essential stationery, including indelible ink, for the upcoming election. 

The required items include photocopy and printing paper, printed and data-printed envelopes, pens, pencils, carbon paper, staplers and stapler pins, calculators, and other necessary supplies for the election process. 

Tenders will be opened on August 2nd under the national competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile, Deputy Postmaster General Rajitha Ranasinghe stated that preparations for the Presidential Election are ongoing despite a staff shortage. 

He confirmed that 8000 mail delivery staff will be deployed for relevant tasks. 

However, the Election Commission and relevant authorities have been informed about the staffing issue.

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Sri Lanka announces squad for home series against India

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Sports Minister Harin Fernando has approved the 16-member squad for Sri Lanka’s upcoming home series against India, with Charith Asalanka named as the Captain.

The squad includes notable players such as Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, and Chamindu Wickremesinghe.

India’s tour of Sri Lanka will feature a three-match T20I series followed by a three-match ODI series.

**Sri Lanka’s 16-member squad:**

1. Charith Asalanka – Captain
2. Pathum Nissanka
3. Kusal Janith Perera
4. Kamindu Mendis
5. Dasun Shanaka
6. Wanindu Hasaranga
7. Mahesh Theekshana
8. Matheesha Pathirana
9. Nuwan Thushara
10. Dunith Wellalage
11. Dushmantha Chameera
12. Binura Fernando
13. Dinesh Chandimal
14. Avishka Fernando
15. Chamindu Wickremesinghe

ODI Series at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
– August 2
– August 4
– August 7

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Hospital to be established at Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya

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The Health Ministry has announced plans to construct a peripheral hospital within the Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya premises to serve the large number of devotees and nearby communities.

A special discussion on this initiative was recently held at the temple, led by the Chief Incumbent, Ven. Pahamune Sri Sumangala Thera. 

The Chief Incumbent highlighted the temple’s significant daily visitor count of around 1,000 devotees, which swells to over 50,000 on Poya days and exceeds 100,000 during Poson and Esala Poya days. 

Currently, devotees who fall ill are transported to Polonnaruwa Hospital, a process that will be significantly eased with the new hospital.

Under the Health Ministry’s directives, two ambulances from Polonnaruwa General Hospital have been stationed at the temple to assist sick devotees. 

The new hospital will provide much-needed relief to the local villages of Sungawila, Katuwanwala, Galkanda, and Kandakadu.

Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala outlined the facilities of the new hospital, which will include an outpatient department, an emergency treatment unit, male and female wards, and residential quarters for doctors and health staff. 

This hospital will function as an affiliate of Polonnaruwa General Hospital, with staff being deployed from the main hospital.

A special Cabinet paper for the hospital’s construction is set to be presented, with an allocation of Rs.100 million for the project this year.

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