A statue of gratitude for Cyril De Soyza

"It was Sir Cyril De Soyza, who shouldered the burden of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Kiri Wehera shrine at Kataragama which was hidden in the jungle. It was he who set the foundation for the revival of Kataragama City. Therefore, the erection of his statue in Kataragama is timely, "said Ven. Heelle Gunananda Thera of Dharma Nikethanaramaya, Sella Kataragama, welcoming guests at the ceremony to unveil the statue recently.

The Chief Incumbent of Gangaramaya of Hunupitiya, Colombo, Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thera addressing the gathering said it was natural for countries to have epochal personalities born to shoulder the responsibilities of destiny.

Sir Cyril De Soyza served in the Upper House of the Parliament for 14 years as Chairman as well as Vice Chairman. At a time when all were floundering in their efforts in completing the rehabilitation of Kiri Wehera, he ensured its completion crowning the effort by making it possible for Dudley Senanayake, the then Prime Minister to unveil its pinnacle marking the beginning of Buddhism in Kataragama.

Prior to that Kataragama was dominated by Hindu devotees. Sir Cyril assisted not only in rehabilitating Kiri Wehera but also in the development of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya. He went on to help in rehabilitating the Kalutara Bodhi premises including the introduction of a magnificent shrine, mobilising the help from lawyers including his own brother V. T. De Soyza. The excellence in his system of work was not just starting something but the measures to sustain the continuity of work through the facilitation of resources. The secret of the success story of both Kiri Wehera and Kalutara Bodhiya is there. The erection of a statue for Sir Cyril De Soyza is very timely, the Ven Thera added.

The Chief Incumbent of Naga Vihare of Jaffna and Anunayake of Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikaye and its Secretary, Ven. Brahmanawatte Seevali Thera, said that even Lord Buddha mentioned in his sermons that people who are grateful are not many. That was why, Lord Buddha preached before everything else about the significance of showing gratitude. We are showing our gratitude to Sir Cyril De Soyza by unveiling this statue, he said.

The Secretary of Samastha Lanka Shasanarakshaka Mandalaya, Ven Henaduwe Gunananda Thera addressing the gathering mentioned that it was useful to have the statue of this rare individual who was an excellent Buddhist leader, for future generations to see.

Ancient kings developed this country based on the concept of the tank and the shrine. This is evident in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Magampura, Wellassa, where the ruins of those can be seen still. In ancient times, the statues of those who initiated such projects were erected close by. The shrine at Kalutara is the only one such excellent structure erected after the ancient kings did so.

What he did for the improvement of education is also great. His efforts to improve spiritual knowledge through the Young Men's Buddhist Association were also invaluable, the Ven.Thera said.

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