Independence Day Message
Posted on February 3rd, 2011

Ven. Walpola Piyananda, Chief Sangha Nayake of America

Feb. 4, 2011, Long Beach, California

             As we celebrate the 63rd Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence, I would like to draw your attention to two of our most important philosophical guidelines:  The first is, do not forget your mother who gave you birth.  The second is, do not forget your country where you were born. In regards to the second, my Independence Day message to you is that we have to learn to work together, settle our differences, communicate with one another, and move forward on our path to make Sri Lanka prosperous, and a place where all Sri Lankans feel at home.

          A good example of working together is our hand.  In order for the hand to work properly all five fingers need to cooperate with one another.  The thumb would like to dominate by saying “I’m the strongest, therefore, I’m the boss.”  The index finger would immediately shout back, “I’m the one who points the way, therefore, I should be the boss.”  The middle finger raises his voice and says, “I’m the tallest, therefore, I should be the leader.”  The fourth finger retorts, “I’m the one people adorn with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires.  I certainly should be the boss.”  The fifth finger struggles to make itself heard and says, “Whenever people show respect to a shrine or to others, I’m the one in front.  There is no question, therefore, that I should be in charge.”

          These arguments will never solve anything, because none of the individual fingers can ever be the boss.  They have to work together as the complete hand “”…” and then they can accomplish anything they desire.  Taking this example, Sri Lankan people are extremely intelligent people with many, many talents.  However, we have learned from the past that if they don’t cooperate with one another “”…” and communicate effectively “”…” they cannot produce positive, long-lasting results.

          Let us please forget our ethnic and religious identities, and not call ourselves or see ourselves as Sinhalese, Tamil, Burgher, Buddhist, Hindu or Catholic.  Let us first identify as Sri Lankans “”…” learn to see the bigger picture and the larger context or goal.  If we do this, then nothing can stop us from great success as individuals “”…” and as a collective Sri Lanka.

5 Responses to “Independence Day Message”

  1. Daya Hewapathirane Says:

    Most Venerable Nayaka Thera,

    You have stated that “..we have to learn to work together, settle our differences, communicate with one another, and move forward on our path to make Sri Lanka prosperous, and a place where all Sri Lankans feel at home.” Can this ever be possible when from historic times, the Tamil community has acted and continues to act in ways that are contrary to these noble national objective?

    Your message should reach out to the minority communities in Sri Lanka – the Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers, Catholics, and Christians who time and again have failed “to see the bigger picture and the larger context or goal”, that you have mentioned. When self interests govern their actions how can we as a nation attain great success?

    Divisive tendencies are common among the minorities of our country, and it is this attitude that needs change if we are to progress as One Nation, as One Sri Lanka. Your message should in actual fact be directed at them.

    Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    This is wise, Life Supportive advice for all from Ven. Piyananda. Thank you.

  3. jimmy Says:

    I am a tamil
    I love you Chief

    God bless you richly

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Much better than politicians’ complex rubbish statements.

  5. ranjit Says:

    We always wish to be like five fingers. without calling yourself I am the boss lets work together unitedly to usher a new Sri Lanka under the noble guidence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ven.Walpola’s example was perfect but dont know how many will understand that all five have to work together to achieve our goals. Ven priest should preech these noble words to our Opposition traitors first because they dont respect our Buddhist religion even.They just simply go to the Temple to please the people, they sometimes make silly jokes about our noble religion and laughed about it. Buddhist clergy should take the lead and work together to make a just society for all peoples to live happily and unitedly.

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