France Sri Lanka Cultural Exchanges - Suriyakantha

  The bilingual site devoted to the cultural life in Sri Lanka and in France                                                        
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Le site bilingue consacré à la vie culturelle au Sri Lanka et en France

H O M E   /   I N  B R I E F



Sri Lanka / France












Fascination of the body

Paul Cézanne

In the Light of Gauguin


Jean de La Fontaine

Malraux / Segalen


Pigeon houses in Quercy






Death Penalty

Mental Health



Miniatures of Kangra, India



    Roger-Pol Droit, David Streight, Pamela Vohnson

    Paperback: 304 pages
    Publisher: University of North Carolina Press (2003)
    ISBN: 0807854492

    The common Western understanding of Buddhism today envisions this major world religion as one of compassion and tolerance. But as Roger-Pol Droit reveals, this view bears little resemblance to one broadly held in the nineteenth-century European philosophical imagination that saw Buddhism as a religion of annihilation calling for the destruction of the self.

Originally published in France in 1997, this book traces the history of the Western discovery of Buddhism. Droit shows that such major philosophers as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hegel, Cousin, and Renan imagined Buddhism as a religion that was, as Nietzsche put it, a "negation of the world."
In fact, says Droit, such portrayals were more a reflection of what was happening in Europe at the time--when the collapse of traditional European hierarchies and values, the specter of atheism, and the rise of racism and social revolts were shaking European societies--than an accurate description of Buddhist thought.
Droit also reflects on how this history continues to echo in contemporary Western understandings of Buddhism.
The book includes a comprehensive bibliography of books on Buddhism published in the West between 1638 and 1890.

the silence
of the extraordinary faces.
The great smiles.
and yet subtle.
Filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything,
rejecting nothing...
I was knocked over with a rush of relief and thankfulness at the
clarity of the figures,
the clarity and fluidity of shape and line,
the design of the monumental bodies
composed into the rock shape and landscape,
figure, rock and tree.

    I don't know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic illumination...


The Asian Journal of THOMAS MERTON
New Directions Book, New York, 1975.
Cover photograph by Thomas Merton.

Thomas Merton, Cistercian monk (1915 - 1968) Ceylon November 29 - December 6, 1968.


      Lightning over that drowned valley
      Thomas Merton who died of electricity

      Michael Ondaatje - Handwriting - Poems,
      Vintage International, New York, 2000.

On the book-shelves of our library.

Thomas Merton

  • The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (1975)
    edited from his original notebooks by Naomi Burton, Brother Patrick Hart and James Laughlin. Consulting Editor Amiya Chakravarthi (New Directions Books, New York).

  • Journal d’Asie

  • translated by Jean-Pierre Denis - Preface by Jean-Yves Leloup (Criterion, 1991).

  • La nuit privée d’étoiles (The Seven Storey Mountain)
    translated by Marie Tadié (Albin Michel, 1951).

  • Zen, Tao et Nirvana

  • translated by F. Ledoux - Preface by Marco Pallis (Fayard, 1986).

  • La Sagesse du désert (The Wisdom of the Desert)

  • translated by Marie Tadié (Albin Michel, 1987).

  • La Paix Monastique (Monastic Peace)

  • translated by Marie Tadié (Albin Michel, 1990).

  • Nul n’est une île (No Man is an Island)

  • translated by Marie Tadié (Points Sagesse, 1993).

    Gilles Farcet

  • Thomas Merton, un trappiste face à l’Orient
    Preface by Marie-Madeleine Davy (Albin Michel, 1990).



    Thomas Merton - Ceylon,       
    Nov 29 - Dec 6 1968,
    the ultimate journey...

      Suriyakantha looks for accounts and documents about the one week visit of Thomas Merton to Sri Lanka, a few days before his accidental death in Bangkok.
      The purpose is contributing to a better knowledge about the short journey of this monk who, in Sri Lanka and mainly in Polonnaruva, lived a deep spiritual experience.

      This research is a part of an editorial project.

      Contact us

    Stepping into the Cistercian Abbey of Silvacane...


    The Cistercian Abbey of Silvacane, which narrowly escaped from the demoli- tion during the French Revolution, has been restored.


    Founded in 1145 in La Roque d'Anthéron (Bouches-du-Rhône, France), it has preserved a coherent medieval architecture and plundered many times by the Protestants and Catholics from 1570, then sold in auction, it could have been totally ruined.

    The abbey, which sheltered about twenty monks in the XIIIth Century, was used as a farm till 1950.

    The work of restoration was led by respecting the Cistercian ideal : the law of simplicity and poverty of the reformed Benedictine Order, which has been initiated in Citeaux (Burgundy) in 1098.

    In September 2001, has been inaugurated the magnificent stained glasses done by Sarkis - a Turkish born artist who lives in Paris - for the refectory, where the monks were dining silently during the reading of the Scriptures.




    Architecture de Vérité
    L'abbaye cistercienne du Thoronet
    Lucien Hervé
    Editions Phaidon, Paris, 2001.

    The Abbey of Thoronet, one of the marvels of the Cistercian architecture of the 12th Century, is located at the heart of a wooded valley in Var (South-East France).

    With the photographs taken in the mid 50s by Lucien Hervé, and with an introduction by Le Corbusier (1887-1965), the Abbey is presented along a full day, capturing the changes of light and the play of shadows on the volted stone walls, both in inside and outside.

    The foundation of the Abbey of Thoronet goes back to 1160; the construction started around this period and ended between 1180 and 1190. This monument is one of the masterpieces of the Roman architecture in Provence, in which all the decorations were banned.

    The pictures of this book witness the truth
    Le Corbusier