Colombo, April 20: Sri Lanka’s top Buddhist clergy called Mahanayakes on Wednesday called upon the President, Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and all Members of Parliament to implement the proposals put forward by them on April 4, to resolve the present crisis in the country.
Issuing a joint statement, the Chief Prelates also warned that a “Sangha Convention” would be convened if the political leadership fails to act on the proposals.
The statement contains four key proposals that should be implemented by the entire political mechanism. The statement expressed regret over the failure of the government and the politicians to pay due attention to the proposals submitted by the Mahanayake Theras.
The joint statement is signed by Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayaka Thero of the Malwathu Chapter, Most Ven. Dr. Warakagoda Dhammasiddi Sri Gnanarathabidhana Mahanayake Thero of the Siyamopali Maha Nikaya – Asgiriya Chapter, Most Ven. Dodampahala Chandrasiri Maha Nayaka Thero of Sri Kelayanivasa, Amarapura Maha Nikaya and Maha Nayaka Thero of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Most Ven. Makulewe Wimalaabhidana Thero.
The Mahanayake Theras said that as responsible citizens, determination to act without falling prey to conspiratorial machinery at this crucial juncture is an essential requirement for the country’s sovereignty and security.
The April 4 statement said: “As Mahanayaka Thera’s we are deeply saddened by the difficulties faced by the entire population of the country today due to the rising cost of living. People are suffering due to the difficulty in obtaining essential food items and medicines as well as fuel, electricity and domestic gas. As preached by the Buddha it is the duty and responsibility of the government to work for public safety by fulfilling the basic needs of the people based on the “Dasa Raja Dharmaya”.
“Therefore, we strongly believe that it is the duty of the government to avoid all unnecessary expenditure, unnecessary ministerial privileges to alleviate the economic pressure on the people at this time of trouble and to provide the necessary relief to the people expeditiously in order to fulfill the basic needs and ensure public welfare”.
The Mahanayaka Thera’s further said that they believe this massive economic crisis can only be resolved through the proper management of public finances, the elimination of corruption, the implementation of development projects based on public needs and the building of a more appropriate domestic economic model for the country based on sustainable national policies.
“The unbearable rise in the cost of living has led to the creation of unprecedented socio-economic crises in the country. In the Kutadanta Sutta it is emphasized that when the basic needs are not met, the citizen is naturally tempted to commit various unjust acts such as theft, kidnapping, corruption, fraud and murder.”
“As insensitive decision-making on public grievances exacerbates public unrest, the government must seek to win the trust of the people by intelligently understanding the aspirations of the people about the nature of the crisis, flexibly seeking expert advice, and finding solutions through a proper mechanism acceptable to the public”.
The Mahanayaka Theras further said that if such measures are not taken it will lead to new crises.
“Therefore, we believe that patience and intelligence are needed to find solutions to the various problems that have arisen in the country. We have a proud history as a proud nation that has been united and resolute in resolving various crises in the country. A case in point is the service rendered by Sri Lankans who sacrificed even their salaries to save the people from the recent global corona epidemic,” the Mahanayake Thera’s said.