මෙයින් අවුරුදු 240 කට පෙර අසනලද ප්රශ්නම අදත් නොයෙක් දෙනා අසයි. බුද්ධාගමේ මුලික ඉගැන්වීම ගැන අද බෞද්ධයි කියාගන්න අප වැඩි දෙනෙකු තුල නිසි අවබෝධයක් නැත. 1873 අවුරුද්දේ මොහොට්ටිවත්තේ ගුණානන්ද ස්වාමින් වහන්සේ කල දේශනා වලින් මේ කාරනා ගැන නිසි අවබෝධයක් ලබා ගන්නට අපිට හැක. රණ්ඩුවක් හෝ බැණ ගැනීමක් නොව පානදුරා වාදය එකම ධර්ම සංග්රහයක් බව දැනගෙන සියල්ලන්ම මෙය කියවත්වායි මම ඉතා ඕනෑ කමින් ආරාධනා කරමි.
In 1873 , there was much ridiculing of Buddhism through books and pamphlets written in the vernaculars which Christians distributed in propagating their faith. This was beside the mass proselytising of Buddhist children through the school system. These resulted in an open challenge being made by Ven. Mohottiwatte Gunananda to the Christians to defend their faith. It was accepted by the Christian clergy. This led to three public debates one at Uyanwita in 1866 CE, the second at Gampola, in 1871 CE and the last at Panadura in 1873 CE.
There was wide coverage in the Press for the Panadura Debate where rules were laid down for fair play. Reports of the debate and the efforts made by the Sinhala Buddhists to safeguard their rights reached America and inspired a. young American lawyer, Henry Steele Olcott to come to Sri ‘Lanka in May 1880 CE and fight the Buddhist cause. The defeat of the Christians in debate, more than anything else, broke the myth of the infallibility of the Christian Church and was one of the major contributing factors to the Buddhist revival in the country.
The records of the historic Debate that brought back the respect of the noble religion in Ceylon during the year 1873 is made available here for your reading. You can buy the hard copy titled “පංච මහා වාදය ” which contain four other such debates held during this period at various towns.