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Writer in the making

"Person who conquers the mind, conquers the world" - Lord Buddha

The breeze that swept across the 'Mahamevna Asapuwa' brought a calm and tranquile feeling in Ayodhya's mind. The weariness she had a few minutes ago after a long trip from Colombo to Polgahawela seemed to have disappeared.

The vicinity of the Buddhist Aaranya has enthralled her with peaceful compassionate feeling. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thera walked peacefully to the main hall after another few minutes following the message sent by another Bikkhu informing about Ayodhya's arrival.

"Svaamin Vahanse (the great Lord), I am Ayodhya Weerasinghe from the 'Tharuni', Sinhala weekly woman's periodical from Lake House. As I discussed with you over the telephone, I came to get the series of articles from you for our paper on Buddhism," introduced Ayodhya. "Yes, daughter that would be a great service," responded Gnanananda Thera.

And from that onwards, Ayodhya has been writing a series of valuable articles to 'Tharuni' (our sister paper) that provided a world of Dhamma knowledge for a refined and blissful life for all walks of readers for the past one and half years.

A collection of 25 articles of this series, was printed as a book titled 'Budu Sasune Pihita Labana Pinwath Neganiyani' (For dear sisters who seeks the blissful shelter of the Dhamma) and was launched recently at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Colombo. "It was a great achievement in my life. I was so happy that I could publish this series as my first ever book as a journalist and a writer on Buddhism.

Though it is addressed as 'sisters' (women) every word I have written here was meant for the betterment of everybody immaterial of one's creed, caste or beliefs. Gnanananda Thera is a universe of Buddhist doctrine. I, myself has learnt and enriched in many ways through this series of Dhamma discussion," explains Ayodhya.

It was a time that this young author was also exploring the Dhamma following the Buddhist way of life. So the sight of the great Bikkhu drew her more to the great blissful insight. "I am a mother of three kids; Vihangi (9), Dishad (7) and Archana (2). Being a working mother and a full time journalist is not an easy task. But somehow I got the opportunity to continue the series of Dhamma article by going to Polgahawela every week.

If it was not with the immense help and encouragement rendered by my husband, Chamikara, who is also a journalist and my parents-in-law I wouldn't have been able to done this service so far," she smiles.

"There's something I would like to emphasise. There are so many young women at present who have involved in Buddhist religious activities. But from the outer appearance none can judge them as they too dress out smartly with make up and decent trendy attires.

Even during the Buddha's time, Princess Visaka was the most beautifully dressed up woman though she was the chief 'Dayika' (chief female donor) of the Gauthama Buddha Sasana. She associated the Buddha and all the Bikkhus and Bikkhunis were very closely with great respect.

But she was one of the elite women who owned the 'Maha Mela Paladana' (exquisite jewellery that covered from head to toe). But Princess Visaka attained 'Sovaan' (the first stage out of the four levels to Nibbana - 'Sovaan, Sakurdagami, Anagami and Arhath') when she was a seven-year-old.

So even such blissful ladies were concerned about their dress code. So I personally do not think that the women who follow Buddhist philosophy should restrain from trendy clothes, jewellery and make-up. But definitely whatever we adorn should be decent.

Also looking pleasant would add a few more marks for a woman to have a good family life too. Have a balance lay life is a gift. Buddhism is not only for Nibbana that preaches only 'Dukka' (the suffering side) of the life, but also a code of ethics to lead a balanced, happy and a disciplined life," advocates Ayodhya.

Ayodhya is a past pupil of St.Sebestian Convent, Kandana. After sitting for the A/L in the Commerce stream she joined Lake House following the footsteps of his journalist father late Thusitha Nanayakkara, former Deputy Editor of 'Kreeda' (Sinhala sports weekly). She started off at 'Janatha' (Sinhala evening daily paper) and then worked for sometime at the Lake House Central News Bureau before joining 'Tharuni'...

"My husband and I were ardent listeners of Dhamma preached by Gnanananda Thera's Dhamma cassettes and CDs. We even have a private library of Dhamma books at home. It was my husband who gave the idea to start the series of articles of this kind. I'm really contended that I could use my ability to do such a service. However, at first, Gnanananda Thera was a bit hesitant to talk to the media. But however I managed to get the discussion," she says.

The writers are blessed with the gift of ability to express their thoughts in a more effective way. Ayodhya falls into the category of rare writers who used the 'pen' to serve food for the mind. The second part of her spiritual series of articles appeared in the 'Tharuni' will also be out soon.

"If you are a person who lives according to the Five Precepts of Dhamma - abstaining from killing (not even an insect), refraining from stealing, avoiding false speech, abstaining from unaccepted sexual behaviour and keeping away from intoxicants, no evil would harm you.

You reap what you sow and you're the master of your ownself. None should be blamed for the bad happenings that you have to encounter. That is all due to what you have sown in your past," she advocates.

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