[CITIZENS' Mail - (10-09-2018)] | Daily News

[CITIZENS' Mail - (10-09-2018)]


There appeared in all newspapers, both Sinhala and English, the fears expressed by Opposition members in Parliament that the existing provision in the Constitution which states – CHAPTER 11 – BUDDHISM-9 The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place accordingly, it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Article 10 and 14[1][e] will be replaced or diluted.

Going by experience, what has the existing provision done to promote and foster Buddhism? It has been a tool in the hands of politicians to get political favours to be in power and in turn the Sangha too takes advantage to demand favours, thus making Buddhism a bartering business.

Readers will remember the active role played by a well-known Chief Incumbent of a Raja Maha Viharaya conducted Bodhi Poojas and also distributed Sil Redi for the victory of a certain political party leader and his party to come to power. Then a leading Buddhist monk allowing his temple premises to be used as a political party office, organising Pindapatha to pay a fine imposed by courts. Best not mention the behaviour of some Buddhist monks. What is the result of this provision?

The Sangha neglect their legitimate religious duties to preach the Dhamma and conduct Buddhist rites and rituals, thus depriving devotees of their spiritual needs. To prove this allegation, I would wish to place my humiliating and disgraceful experience at a very famous temple where a recognised Chief Buddhist monk, now no more, when I complained of a monk in his temple had refused to issue me a Pirith Noola requesting to come later.

He said that tying –Pirith Noola has become a nuisance and hinders other work. I fail to understand what his other work was: probably politics as was seen during the Presidential elections.

If that is being the real situation where politics rather than protecting and fostering Buddhism takes advantage, then the committee responsible for drafting the new constitution should seriously think of how to avoid this calamitous situation.

To be honest, it is the innocent Upasaka and Upasikas who protect and foster Buddhism and also the Sangha by providing all their needs. Aren’t our local and foreign Buddhist organisations doing a magnificent job to popularise Buddhism without government intervention and support? Leave the Maha Nayake Theras and Head of Nikayas to shoulder that responsibility of promoting and propagating Buddhism and let politicians rule the country to bring peace, harmony, development and prosperity. Hence should there be any need for government intervention to protect and foster Buddhism. It is certainly counterproductive.

G. A. D. Sirimal



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