Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya said that the Buddha Sasana Karya Sadhaka Mandalaya that has the four Most Venerable Mahanayaka Theras as its Anusasakas, has discussed the proposed Act for the Registration of 'Katikāvat of Theravada Bhikkhu Nikayas', in minute detail and a set of important recommendations have been submitted.
“It is the considered view of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha that the adoption by Parliament of the Bill after incorporating the suggested amendments will be very beneficial to both the Buddha Sasana and the Bikkhu Sangha,” Supreme Patriarch of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya, Most Venerable Dauldena Ñānissara Thera said yesterday.
To protect and perpetuate the Buddha Sasana is the paramount duty of both the Maha Sangha and the laity. In keeping with the traditions championed by the rulers of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Government is bound by its constitution to protect and foster Buddhism.
It is clear that the tradition of promulgating Katikāvat in Sri Lanka originated in order to protect and administer properly the conduct of members of the Maha Sangha who are obliged to protect the Buddha Sasana and the ecclesiastical practices. From the end of the Anuradhapura period until today, on the advice and recommendation of the Maha Theras well versed in the Dhamma and the Vinaya and who bear the responsibility for the perpetuation of the Sasana, our rulers compiled and adopted Vihara (Temple) Katikāvat for the administration of Temples and Bhikkhu Katikāvat for administering matters relating to the monastic rules of discipline of monks.
At present, in all the three Nikāyas, and sometimes in the different chapters of the main Nikāyas, katikāvat have been prepared keeping in mind the aforesaid purposes. The responsible monks of the respective Nikāyas have prepared these katikāvat not at the behest of government but following tradition in order to administer well the bikkhus of a particular Nikaya, the temples, monasteries and the temple-land they hold; and more particularly, for the purpose of bringing into being a well disciplined bikkhu society.
When implementing the provisions of these katikāvat that have been prepared according to the Dhamma and the Vinaya following traditions, the perennial problem has been the lack of any legal backing for such katikāvat. It should be understood that by legal backing what is meant is not for the government to force down rules of conduct for monks but to get legality for the consensus and decisions duly taken by the Sangha.
One of the main topics discussed in the Reports of the Buddhist Committee of Inquiry (1954), the Buddha Sasana Commission (1956), the Presidential Buddha Sasana Commission (2002), the 2550 Buddha Jayanthi (2006), the 2600 Sambuddhatva Jayanthi (2011) and other such memorable occasions was the promulgation of Bikkhu Katikavat. Hence, it is commendable that the present government has gazetted a Bill for the Registration of Theravada Bikkhu Nikaya Katikāvat in compliance with the wishes expressed by the Maha Theras versed in the Dhamma and the Vinaya; thereby fulfilling a need of the Maha Sangha.
At the moment, there is wide discussion on certain defects and shortcomings of the Katikāvat Registration Bill. The Buddha Sasana Karya Sadhaka Mandalaya that has the four Most Venerable Mahanayaka Theras as its Anusasakas, has discussed the Bill in minute detail and a set of important recommendations have been submitted. It is the considered view of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Mahasangha Sabha that the adoption by Parliament of the Bill after incorporating the suggested amendments will be very beneficial to both the Buddha Sasana and the Bikkhu Sangha.