The Colombo YMBA has published a series of Text Books in six levels titled ‘Guides to the study of Theravada Buddhism’ primarily intended to provide the necessary study material, in the form of comprehensive manuals, to students of English medium Dhamma Schools, Study Centers and private candidates who prepare to sit the English medium Dhamma Examinations conducted by the Colombo YMBA.
The series comprises six text books intended to cover the syllabuses prescribed for the six levels of the Dhamma Examination scheme. The contents of the text books are summarized below.
Basic Level Book (covers the Syllabus for the Basic level)
This Text book provides a brief account of the Life of Buddha from Birth to ordination of the Chief Disciples, Qualities of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha meaning of the Five precepts, Wholesome acts and Unwholesome acts, Buddhist festivals, and ‘Blessings’ of the Maha Mangala sutta. Students have to answer one question paper on Buddha Dhamma.
Book One (covers the Junior Part I (Preliminary) Syllabus
Book Two (covers the Junior II (Junior) syllabus)
Book Three (covers the Senior Part I (Senior) syllabus)
Book Four (covers the Senior Part II (Higher) syllabus
Book Five ( covers the Diploma syllabus)
The Buddhist Publication was initiated in 1902. The journal had been started by the Colombo Theosophical Society in 1888, but found it difficult to carry on. The brains behind the YMBA like D.B Jayatilaka and A.E. Buultjens realised that the YMBA was not just an Association for being Buddhist discussion, for gatherings of like-minded Buddhists, for bana preaching, but a movement for the revival, and the restoration of Buddhism to its rightful place in this country. Hence the publication of a journal like “the Buddhist” it was realised would be of immense help to put across Buddhist, opinion in the country. It could act as the mouthpiece of Buddhists, as a watchdog for protecting of Buddhist rights and privileges and an instrument for exposures of inroads made towards the subversion or destruction of Buddhism in this country
Publication of “The Buddhist” was no easy task. There was often conflict of opinion both from a secular angle and from the clergy. Obstacles and handicaps did spring up on the way. But men like A.E. Buultjens, C.W. Leadbeater, C. Jinarajadasa and D.B. Jayatilaka who was Editor did not cave in the face of difficulties. It was at the time the only journal on Buddhism in English. In those early issues there was much discussion of doctrinal matters. D.B. Jayatilaka was a profound student of the Buddha Dhamma and the journal had the benefit of his erudition and scholarship.
The Buddhists were in dire need of this journal to spearhead Buddhist thought and opinion, to defend the positions they took in matters of public interest, and answer their critics and opponents who were many. The circumstances of its publication were hostile, but since the country continued to be bombarded by Christian propaganda it was necessary for the Buddhists to have a mouthpiece to express their views.