FROM BUDDHISM FOREMOST TO ECONOMY FOREMOST
Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution states:
[9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and 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 Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).]
Ms In her article headed ‘What is the Sri Lankan President up to?’, Ms Shenali D Waduge expresses as follows:
What if beneath this, a covert operation is at play maneuvering the protestors from one side & the President from the other?
We can put this doubt to rest if the protests stop no sooner a so-called national government is installed & the charismatic vote commanding PM is removed. Sign of things to come is the removal of the Buddhist Ministry as a separate ministry in the recent gazette.
It must be clearly mentioned that all leaders have only shown cosmetic allegiance to Buddhism & have not fostered Buddhism as the constitution has mandated. They have only used Buddhists to come to power & allowed non-Buddhists to destroy Buddhism thereafter.]
As per my understanding, Ms Waduge is a Buddhist and hence expresses on behalf of that community. Hence her disappointment over the abuse of Buddhism by politicians is taken as being valid. But not so her declaration ‘allowed non-Buddhists to destroy Buddhism thereafter.’
This conclusion would be valid only if the non-Buddhist Sri Lankan covered by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e) had expressed it on the basis of belief in her / his own religion. The basis common to both is the belief in the Constitution. The mistake made by Parliamentarians is to let it vanish into oblivion. As per my knowledge – no non-Buddhist parliamentarian opposed the imbalance in this article which promotes inequality in some and indifference in others. The former effectively ‘accepted’ junior status. Buddhists had both – foremost status as well as ‘freedom’ of choice. Article 10 for example states:
[10. Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.]
Article 14(1) (e ) states:
[14(1) (e )Every citizen is entitled to –the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching;]
If therefore a Buddhist chose to be a Hindu by practice, s/he is covered by these two articles. They effectively renounce their government position and become Opposition in Parliament. In other words every believer in a religion other than or in addition to Buddhism, is a Natural and permanent Opposition to the government. This included all heads of governments after 1972.
As per Equal Opportunity principles - we share quietly our Common Values and Oppose expressly where we believe through alternate forms. The latter requires ‘distance’ so we do not ‘see’ and copy.
As per the media reports – Tamils in North are neutral in the current issue. Those who quietly carry the war pain – without expecting compensation from a government their – confirm that they have the intelligence to prevent another war. Those who ‘demand and/or take compensation lose their independence and therefore the right to self governance.
A true Buddhist would beg for essentials rather than live beyond her/his means
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