In Conversation with Dalton Madanayaka
A Buddhist in Church
Why a man from a Buddhist background chooses to light candles in a Catholic church
Dalton Madanayaka, seeks reconciliation among his countrymen. He tries to pour a drop of water on the spark so that the fire will not burn again. This 55-year-old comes from a strong Buddhist upbringing and is the father of two teenage daughters. He lives with his beloved wife and daughters in the Kolonnawa area near Colombo. This is his interview with the Catamaran.
“I will not hesitate to do whatever I can to protect humanity” Dalton Madanayaka says, lighting the candle of love. He seeks reconciliation among the people of his country and sees it as his humanitarian duty for all people. He constantly makes prayers in the hope reconciliation.
“Some of my Christian friends, male and female, Sinhalese and Tamils whom I met regularly when I came to church, were killed,” he said in a broken voice.
He prays that such a tragedy should not happen to anyone anywhere in Sri Lanka again. He prays for the changing of minds of people to understand humanity, peace and reconciliation. He and his wife and sometimes with children together, also engage in lighting oil lamps in the morning and evening, requesting of Lord Buddha the same prayer.
Although a Buddhist at birth, and a member of a Buddhist temple, the church at Kochchikade and St. Anthony’s are very closely attached to his heart.
“The culture of the temple and the culture of the church are different. The methods of worship are different. However, I have been nurtured by both religions and so have a better understanding of human life. That understanding is a blessing from God,” he said. “I have not learned how to worship at a church. The words that came to my mind, all turned into prayers. I fell on my knees in front of St. Anthony and prayed for myself, prayed for my family and friends. I prayed and asked to help us earn a good living. Saint Anthony has heard my prayers. He gave me what I asked for and helped me to succeed in my life.”
He believes we have a duty as human beings to serve everyone as citizens of this country. It is the way to protect the nation. If all people are treated as Sri Lankans, respecting humanity and starting the day with love, maybe then there is hope for the nation.m