Recently there had been much talk on the provision of a clause in the new constitution to be framed that Buddhism should be given the rightful place and that the existing clause ‘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…’ should be maintained.
Politicians, as usual, gave much prominence and also the Buddhist prelates and organizations. The question arises, could only the State provide protection and foster, when it is also the duty of the Sangha to help the State to provide such protection and fostering.
A news item in the Mawbima Sinhala Newspaper of August 26 in its front page reports a case where a Buddhist monk Cheevara Dariya had stolen a necklace worth over Rs.3 lakhs from a Upasaka Amma and had given it to his mistress at Naula. On further search the Police had found that this Cheevara Dariya had stolen jewellery earlier and had pawned them through his mistress.
Protection and fostering Buddhism includes the Sangha as well. Buddhism and Sangha cannot be separated, hence the conduct of the Sangha should also be looked into, which is the main duty of Mahanayaka Theras and heads of other Nikayas. It serves no purpose in having in print the clause mentioned above unless the Sangha cooperate. Else, it will be a mockery, having an ineffective clause or provision in the Constitution.
It is my humble belief, if exposures of this nature, given in Mawbima Sinhala newspaper are given prominence in the dailies, there could be a change in the behaviour of the Sangha.