A Committee has been appointed to present recommendations to the government on how to deal with those who misinterpret and spread falsehoods about the Buddha's character, the Tripitaka and Buddhist sacred sites.
President’s Media Division said the decision was made in response to a written request made by the Mahanayake Theros of Tri Nikayas to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa when the Buddhist Advisory Council met at the Presidential Secretariat on March 19, for the 9th time.
Puravidya Chakravarthi, Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera, Vidyodaya Parivenadhipati Ven. Balangoda Sobhitha Nayake Thera, Deputy Registrar of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven. Narampanawe Ananda Thera, General Secretary of the Asgiriya Maha Vihara Chapter of the Siyam Maha Nikaya Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thera, Deputy Registrar of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Ven. Nedagamuwe Vijayamaithri Nayaka Thera, Chancellor of the Rajarata University, Chief Incumbent of the Mirisawetiya Raja Maha Vihara Ven. Ethalawetunawewa Gnanatilake Thera, Ven.Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera, Ven. Prof. Induragare Dhammaratana Thera and Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thera have been appointed as the members of the Committee.
“Sri Lanka is the major center of Theravada Buddhism. Those who are masquerading as faithful followers of Buddhism and as Buddhist monks are trying to distort the basic teachings of Buddhism. The government must intervene swiftly to thwart the planned conspiracy to destroy pure Theravada Buddhism”. The Maha Sangha also stressed the need of an initiative to defeat the heretics academically.
These heretics have been systematically insulting the monks who are engaged in the task of protecting the Buddha Sasana and the Tripitaka. The Maha Sangha expressed regret over these happenings and highlighted the importance of paying immediate attention to these manipulatory activities that are being carried out through social media networks.
The need to regulate places that are maintained as centers of faith and disease treatment was also discussed.
Protecting and preserving the Tripitaka means defending our Buddhist heritage and culture. The Maha Sangha stressed the need to expedite the drafting of the Tripitaka Conservation Act, pointing out that declaring the Tripitaka as a World Heritage Site alone would not ensure it.
The need to strengthen the Buddhist Books and Publications Regulation Act designed to mark the 2600th Sambuddha Jayanthi was also discussed at length. It was decided to present the draft to the Parliament following due amendments and proposals from the Maha Nayaka Theras within a month.
During this meeting, the progress of actions under the Antiquities Ordinance which was amended to conserve antiquities and consolidate national heritage was also reviewed.
Many archaeological monuments in our country represent Buddhist heritage. The Maha Sangha highlighted that it is not appropriate to look at these archaeological monuments in the same way that an old coin or antiquity is looked at, and emphasized the need to consider the ideas and suggestions of the relevant Nikaya headquarters in making decisions.
The Maha Sangha drawing the attention of the President to the difficulties faced by the Bhikkus in maintaining Aranya Senasanas requested to create a conducive environment for the Bhikkus living in the Aranya Senasanas.
From ancient times the Maha Sangha had made great sacrifices to protect the environment and the faunas. It was emphasized that the Theros would never harm the environment and would not advocate anyone to harm the environment.
Rural folks, who represent about 75% of the country's total population, have been suffering from a variety of economic and social problems for a long time. Theros commending the example set by the President in going from village to village addressing the issues that ail them, requested the President not to stop this initiative just because of the falsehoods spread by certain groups.
The vast majority of the people contributed to bring the incumbent government to power. The policies that had been approved by the people must always be protected. The President emphasized that his goal is not to promote himself but to protect policies that were supported by the people.
President Rajapaksa said that so many mudslinging campaigns are being carried out against the government by those who are oppose these policies and these campaigns are well funded. “These conspiracies should be exposed to the public as soon as possible.” he further added.
Bhikku members of the Buddhist Advisory Council, State Ministers Vidura Wickramanayake and Vijitha Berugoda, Principal Adviser to the President Lalith Weeratunga and several other officials were present at the meeting.