One of the fascinating problems in the history of modern Theravada Buddhism is the manner in which the Western scholarly definition of that religion has been appropriated, albeit with a variety of modifications, by the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. This form of Buddhism is the official one held by the government and voiced by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Reginald Copleston, Bishop of Colombo, noted in 1879, that the secretary of ‘an obscure society’ was corresponding with monks, ‘hailing them as brothers in the march of intellect’ and praising them for their spirited anti-missionary and anti-Christian challenges. The ‘obscure society’ that Bishop Copleston referred to was the Theosophical Society, whose secretary was Colonel Henry Steele Olcott. Olcott wanted to consolidate these early contacts with Buddhists and on 17 May 1880, he, with Madame Blavatsky and several other theosophists, arrived in Sri Lanka for this purpose in the port of Galle.