Buddhism and Christianity: Towards an ecumenical education in the Sri Lankan setting

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education Major in Religious Education and Values Education

Subject Categories

Buddhist Studies | Christianity | Religious Education


College of Liberal Arts


Theology and Religious Education

Defense Panel Chair

Andrew B. Gonzalez, FSC

Defense Panel Member

Basilio P. Balajadia
Fernando Elesterio
Ferdinand D. Dagmang


This dissertation is an attempts to promote ecumenism in the Sri Lankan setting. For this purpose the researcher has chosen two world religions, Buddhism and Christianity, that have existed side by side in Sri Lanka for many years.
Buddhism which was introduced to Sri Lanka in 247 B.C. by Mahinda, son of the famous Indian Emperor Asoka, has flourished all these centuries, enriching the lives of the majority of Sri Lankans. It has cultivated noble ideals and virtues, notably upekkha (equanimity), karuna (compassion), metta (kindness), mudita (gladness at another's well-being and ahimsa (non-violence) which the researcher considers very significant for the uplift of the people. Basing itself on Buddha's four noble truths and the eight-fold paths, Buddhism promulgated laws and regulations for peace and prosperity of its adherents.
Christianity was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1500 A.D. by the Portuguese and the Spanish missionaries, after the historic exploratory voyage of Vasco da Gama, the great Navigator. Christianity flourished in areas occupied by the Portuguese colonizers. The Dutch Calvinists who followed them and later the British Anglicans promoted Christian ideals and values, especially through the educational institutions. The Sermon on the Mount, in particular, the Beatitudes are the hallmarks of Christianity which have moulded and formed the Christians in Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately, violence, destruction, and death which are the negative aspects of life, are threatening the peace-loving people of Sri Lanka, challenging the unity of the people and national integrity.
The researcher therefore suggests ways and means of discovering the finer qualities of these two religions that will help the people of Sri Lanka understand the sacredness of life, the importance of national unity, integrity, peace and harmony. The points of convergence or similarities of both religions are truly remarkable and can pave the way for ecumenism. The points of divergence or differences are confined to doctrinal matters. They are non-threatening and do not form a major obstacle in dialoguing with each other in a spirit of tolerance and acceptance. Drowning their differences, people must learn to accept each other and strive towards unity, peace and harmony.
The researcher also suggests a syllabus that can be used in schools, because he feels that young minds can be trained to accept the values in religion and put them into practice. A syllabus has been designed for one full year with appropriate subject-matter, model lessons and methods of evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of the program.
The researcher hopes that this modest contribution will enhance the process of peace and pave the way towards an ecumenical education in the Sri Lankan setting.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

vi, 275 leaves, 28 cm


Buddhism--Sri Lanka; Christianity--Sri Lanka; Christian education--Sri Lanka

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