Thursday 16 January 2020

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

16 January  2020

Common Logic Or Buddha Sasana?

Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution requires the government as follows:

 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).’

The following report by Republic Next raises the question as to whether the above requirement of Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution has been satisfied by the current Government?

[The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to draft a Bill called the National Intelligence Act to protect the duties, responsibilities, provide impunity and legal powers to State Intelligence Officers.]
In Buddhism there are 10 Royal Virtues that a government has the duty to develop. Avirodha seems to be the Virtue that best fits the need in relation to development of law. As per my understanding, Avirodha means no obstruction. Wikipedia presents it as follows:

[Avirodha: agreeability. He should respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony. Absence of obstruction. He should not obstruct the will of the people. In other words, the country must be ruled, not by opposing progress, but by giving approval to those steps which are beneficial to his people.]

In democracy, when the Government’s side  acts on its own – by ignoring Opposition in Parliament – it is in practicing Avirodha only over those who elected the government. This is what the current President declared and the Sinhala-Buddhist Opposition in Parliament (UNP) has also confirmed this structure. This was 53% of those who exercised their franchise. One is entitled to conclude that 47% opposed the current President. We the People are entitled to ‘see’ not only that 47% through the main Opposition but also demand that as per Buddha Sasana – the President has the duty to win over the 47% to satisfy the criterion of Avirodha.

In secular language of Democracy this is two thirds – i.e.- 67% approval.

As per the above report:
[According to Co-Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena, the decision was taken by the cabinet to protect Intelligence officers being targets of political vendettas.
 He told the regular Cabinet Press briefing today Jan 15, that there were instances during the Yahapalana government’s rule where the intelligence officers were in remand for a long time and salaries being cut off by the government.
The Minister said Intelligence officers had rendered invaluable service to the country sacrificing their lives to provide vital information to win the 30-year separatist war.
He added that the new Act will give powers for intelligence officers to protect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country while preventing threats from extremists and identifying specific threats to communities in the country in advance.]

The above confirms that the proposed law is to Oppose the previous Government which at the moment has 106 seats and with Tamil National Alliance which is the permanent opposition of the current government – this becomes 122 seats opposition the current government by its structure. This being 54% of the Parliament – the cabinet would need to do dynamic work to educate the Opposition to confirm Avirodha.  

The President as the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers is responsible to satisfy himself that he has two thirds approval of the current Parliament before presenting such a Bill. Otherwise we the People are entitled to conclude that the President is imagining such an approval rating which he did not get through the 2019 Presidential Elections. The risk of such imagination in a ‘free’ environment is mind collusion with young and the restless to cheat the People. The essential criterion in relation to successful passage of this law is ājjava – Uprightness – presented as follows by Wikipedia:

[ ājjava: Uprightness. He must be free from deception, false promises and pretensions. He must be sincere and must act on his words. He should promise only what he is able to do, then only people repose faith in him.]

Where one does not have the structural mandate – one has use the existing mandate and not use imaginary majority power that one does not have.

Buddha Sasana requires much stronger self-discipline than Common Secular law. If Sri Lankan Buddhists cannot deliver such leaders – then they need to repeal article 9. Otherwise they earn the curse of Buddhists who do practice the tenets as per their positions in society.  

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