A timely move | Daily News
 Amending Buddhist Temporalities Act and draft of the Theravada Monk Discourse Bill:

A timely move

The approval of the Cabinet has been granted to amend the Buddhist Temporalities Act to suit the present and to draft the Theravada Monk Discourse Bill. The Government presented this proposal and the Maha Sangha commented on the amendment of these 91-year-old Acts.

Registrar of the Asgiri Maha Vihara Chapter Dr. Medagama Dhammananda Nayake Thera:

It was in 2012 that a dialogue was held regarding the amendment of the Buddhist Temporalities Act. That was on behalf of the 2600 Sri Sambudhathwa Jayanthi. Discussions were held for this purpose and arrangements were made to bring in 05 acts and one among them is the Vihara Dewalagam Act. Discussions were also held with all factions and preparations were made to present them in parliament and agreement was reached and it was ready to be brought to parliament.

Although the government of good governance of 2015 also arranged to include this in the parliamentary agenda a court case was file against this act. This was in objection to prohibiting Bhikkus from preparing auspicious times and other tasks. Later they too were amended.

There were demands from time to time to bring in this bill with amendments.

Although there was a problem regarding voting according to the old 1931 Act in the appointment of Diyawadana Nilame positions of the Sri Dalada Manligawa, Maha Nayaka Theras and Anunayake Theras proposed amendments for it and worked to bring it back.

We appreciate it being brought to parliament at this moment of time. It was through the Maha Viharas that arrangements were initially to bring in this act. The Mahanayakes, Anunayakes of all factions and sects as well as the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs, lawyers and other individuals joined together.

That fact that it is being brought to parliament at this time is very much appreciated and it will be of benefit to the Buddha Sasana. Through this, if lands belonging to the Buddha Sasana are being occupied without permission, the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs or the relevant temples will be able to get them back. This is appreciated as a very good thing.

Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University, Aggamaha Panditha, Professor Kumburugamuwe Vajira Nayake Thera

After 91 years, the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to amend the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance Act, is fulfilling a need of the hour. We are aware of the fact that several attempts were made previously to amend this act. However, due to the inability to come to an agreement on the ideas and proposals presented by various parties, it was not possible to complete this task of amendment. Some of these acts and ordinances are outdated. They should be revised in a timely manner. It is an achievement that relevant stakeholders have reached an agreement on the proposed amendments. Similarly, it is important to decide to amend this bill by taking into consideration the suggestions and ideas presented by various parties. We, as the Maha Sangha wholeheartedly bless this work of the government.

Chief Sanghanayaka of the two districts, the North and Central Provinces, Chief Incumbent of the Anuradhapura Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Maha Vihara, Most Venerable Nugethenne Pagngnananda Nayake Thera:

It has to be mentioned that Cabinet approval being granted for the amendment of the Buddhist Temporalities Act is a timely need. Our proud history centered on the Malwatte- Asgiri Ubhaya Mahavihara Dalada Maligawa and the identity of the Ramagngna and Amarapura Nikayas and land belonging to those temples which were offered by ancient kings should be provided with ownership. The Nayake Thera who said that many people have seized these lands by now, also said that they should be released and used for advancement of the Sasana.

Also, this is a matter for happiness, a problem that has existed for a long time which needed to be solved by way of a timely need. We need to preserve the heritage of our ancient temples, dewalas and villages. We cannot allow these to go to ruin. These should be preserved and should be used for the advancement of the sasana.

The Chief Adhikarana Sanghanayake of the North-Eastern Provinces, Chief Incumbent of the Mahavapi Maha Vihara, Arantalawa International Buddhist Center President, Shaasthrasthrapathi Kirindiwela Somarathana Nayake Thera:

It must be said that it is a timely step to amend the 91-year-old Buddhist Temporalities Act with the blessings of the Maha Sangha of the three Sects. This ordinance is which existed from the time of the foreigners should be amended to suit the present. It has to be mentioned that this endeavour has received the blessings of all the Maha Sangha from all the Sects. Therefore, we too will support this amendment.

Chief Incumbent of the Bentara Meddewela Sri Khettarama Gnanarathana Buddhist Center, Sasana Shobhana Keerthi Sri Kavya Panditha Nillamba Chandarathana Thera:

This proposal is a good proposal in terms of the sasana. Amending the Buddhist Temporalities Act is when considering in terms of the sasana a great benefit to Buddhism. The Sambuddha Sasana will benefit immensely from this. It is required for the improvement of the sasana. All of this should take place on the blessings and approval of the Mahanayake’s of the three sects, and the Anunayake theras. I appreciate such a task being done in the face of the challenge targeting the Sambuddha Sasana. Bringing in amendments, is beneficial not only for the Sambuddha Sasana, but also for solving the problems of other religions which is much appreciated.

(Rakshana Sriyantha, Dharmadasa Siriwardena,Galle, Digamadulla Special W.Chandrapala)

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