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Old 15-10-15, 07:40 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Mr. A. E. Buultjens B.A. Cantab.


Mr. A. E. Buultjens was the first from St. Thomas' to pass the Cambridge Local - both Junior and Senior
- and having passed in the Calcutta entrance in the First Class - I became the prime favourite with Warden Miller.
In 1884 I won the University Scholarship of 150 a year tenable for 4 years open to the whole island and thus obtained a triumph for Warden Miller and St. Thomas' College.
I left for England and entered St. John's College, Cambridge University.



Why I became a Buddhist


The text of a lecture delivered by the late Mr. A. E. Buultjens B.A. Cantab. On 25th March 1899 at the Buddhist Headquarters, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Why I, though born and educated as a Christian, gave up my belief in Christianity.

Why I became a Buddhist rather than a Muhammedan or a Hindu?

I was born of Christian parents, amidst Christian surroundings and influences and associations. At that time the Christians of Matara, about 400 in number were divided into denominations, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian or Dutch Reformed Church, Wesleyan and Church of England.

Hence at about the age of one year, I was reported to have been duly taken to the Church of England by an admiring circle of relations and their friends and there handed over to the tender mercies of the Rev. Abraham Dias - a gentleman who is Sinhalese by nationality though rejoicing under a Hebrew and Portuguese name.

I am told that at his hands I duly received the rite of Baptism, a sign of the cross on my infant forehead with water, and thus I was stamped with the hallmark or rather the watermark of a Christian. Tradition dose not say whether I objected to this treatment by infant struggles and kicks, but I am inclined to think I protested by setting up a continuous scream and howling.

Till the age of 14 I remember I was under the tuition chiefly of Mr. R. H. Leembruggen, now government Inspector of Schools and of the Rev. J. Stevenson -Lyle. I recall these influences of early life, because the impression of that tender age often follows us through our life. The child is often father of the man.

Now Mr. Leembruggen was not a churchgoer, and was reported, in the family conversations of the time, to be an avowed free thinker and agnostic. He did not, I must say, at any time talk to the boys against the Church. But his example has had a great effect upon my mind - for all his school boys held him in the greatest awe and veneration as a strict disciplinarian of my other tutor, "Father" Lyle as he generally was known, I can recall strict high Churchman or Ritualist, and during the 6 months I was boarding with him, he impressed upon my mind the extreme importance of minutely following the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, of fasting on Saints days, of dully attending "matins" and "evensong" daily in his private chapel.

He was so pleased with my proficiency that on Prize day he presented me with a Book of Common Prayer and an imitation of Christ. "Father" Lyle was a man of strong determination, but somewhat impetuous.

He lived a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice. He was suspected at that time as a Jesuit agent of the Pope of Rome. A great controversy was going on in the Diocesan Gazette between the High Church and Low Church parties.

My father was a staunch opponent of the lighted candles, wafers and other innovations of "Father" Lyle and the High Church party. The opposition used to meet in my father's office for discussion and for indicating attacks upon the Ritualists in the Diocesan Gazette.

As a boy I used to listen in silence in a corner of the room to these discussions, and a spectacle of a Church divided against itself must have had a most edifying effect on my mind!

Shortly after Father Lyle seceded from his allegiance to the Bishop of Colombo and the Church of England, and "perverted" to the Church of Rome. With Father Lyle went Father Ogilvie and Father Duthy away from the Anglican to the Roman faith.

When I think today of the number of clergymen who helped to mould my mind, I am surprised that I am not occupying the pulpit of a church to defend the faith of the Church.

Rev. William Henley took me in hand in conjunction with Father Lyle. He was then fresh from England, and plain Mr. Henley, a schoolmaster. Of religion he taught me little, but I thank him for making me proficient in Latin Grammar and in the game of chess.

From the age 14 to 19 I was brought under the shadow, and influence of the Cathedral of St. Thomas' College, during the regime of Rev. Warden F. E. Miller and Sub-Wardens Rev. T. F. Faulkner and Rev. H. Meyrick. During these 6 years besides being thought the subjects required for the Calcutta and Cambridge Local Examinations, we were carefully drilled in an intellectual knowledge of the Book of Common Prayer and the several books of the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, together with a critical acquaintance with the commentaries and the original Greek of Gospels.

I devoted myself to these studies and obtained so great a proficiency that the first year I topped the list in the examination for the whole upper school and obtained the much-coveted Bishop's prize.

At this time, what with having been the first from St. Thomas' to pass the Cambridge Local - both Junior and Senior - and having passed in the Calcutta entrance in the First Class - I became the prime favourite with Warden Miller. During all these 6 years, according to the rules of the college for Boarders, every boarder is obliged to attend College chapel morning and evening, every day.

I had already some 3 years previous to 1884 - a year important in my life - received the rite of confirmation, or the laying on of the Bishop of Colombo on my head, as a token of my being confirmed as a member of the Church of England. And right here let me say that I do not acquiesce in the compulsory baptism performed on me "by pastors and masters" when I was a legal "infant". I denounce the practice and rebel against it as an infringement of the rights of the children.

I have started the foregoing by way of introduction, to explain the remote conditions and circumstances, which ultimately led to the position I took up later when I gave up my belief in Christianity. It was at St. Thomas' College itself that I received the first hint, that I entertained the first passing doubt, about the truth of Christianity.

Last edited by sriyanj; 15-10-15 at 08:12 PM.
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