President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Buddha Gaya must result in restoration of a noise free environment around Maha Bodhi Temple
Posted on February 6th, 2013

by Lankesh

When Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse visits Buddhism’s most sacred and holiest place of worship “”…” Buddha Gaya in India, in a few day’s time he is going not simply as the head of state but also as the leader of an ancient Buddhist country.

Sri Lanka holds an unique place in the world, with the longest continuous history of Buddhism of any nation. Buddhism has been the major religion in the island since its official introduction in the 3rd century BC by Arahant Mahinda, the son of the Emperor Ashoka of India, and over 70% of the population is Buddhist. The Sangha (Order of Monks) has existed in a largely unbroken lineage since its introduction in the 3rd century, and Sri Lankan monks and lay people have played a prominent role in spreading Theravada Buddhism to Asia, the West and even Africa.

Buddhism is so integral to the national identity that it is explicitly included in the Sri Lanka’s Constitution. Article 9 states:

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).”

As the ruler of Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapakse is the current custodian of modern era Buddhism with a legacy that places Sri Lanka at the forefront of protecting and fostering Buddhism in its universal dimension as the Sinhalese Buddhist Kings had done throughout ancient times. Thus, President Rajapakse is well placed to give voice to the Buddhists the world over. His message must be universal in terms of facing the challenges that have befallen Buddhists in the current context as a result of visible expansionist actions by mainly Muslims in different parts of the Buddhist world including Sri Lanka.

Buddhists today are worried and display grave concern. Mosques are emerging in close proximity to Buddhist temples situated in sacred areas. Buddhist lands are being encroached, mosques are using loud speakers causing much harassment to the meditative and reflective Buddhist devotees and especially in the most holy site of Buddhism i.e. Buddha Gaya. Throughout the day the regular cycle of adhan ‘calling for prayer’ from the minaret speakers in a recently built Mosque can be heard throughout the Mahabodhi Temple Complex.

This is a deliberate ‘in-yer-face’ insult and humiliation to Buddhists. Such incursions should not be allowed and it should be none other than the President of Sri Lanka who must rise to the occasion and categorically stress the need for Muslims to become introspective and realize that they too would not like if loudspeakers were to disturb their prayers. The removal of this Mosque outside of the radius of the UNESCO declared World Heritage Site as well as the immediate halt of the use of loudspeakers is what Buddhists expect President Rajapakse to convey to the relevant authorities in India as well as the leaders of the Muslim World.

4 Responses to “President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Buddha Gaya must result in restoration of a noise free environment around Maha Bodhi Temple”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    The president should remove mosques close to Buddhist sacred areas in SL.

    There is no need for people to take matters to their own hands.

  2. Voice123 Says:

    In a properly functioning democracy, it is always the role of the government to IMPARTIALLY administer the law regarding such matters. People should NEVER take such matters into their hands.

  3. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Buddhist heritage, Sinhalese heritage are in grave danger already from this menace. With ever multiplying numbers, they are imposing their will on the country and its people. They are taking us down the road old Afganisthan, Pakisthan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Maldives, Malaysia went. Within a few hundred years arriving in those countries they made the Buddhist numbers to almost zero. Sri Lanka is fast becoming their next victim. We all can see where they are leading us now. ( )riya law, halal,eyesore mosques every nook and corner of the country. They’ve shown their rutlessness, disrespect to natives by bulldozing ancient temples, encroaching on Buddhist sacred places like Kuragala, even building an eyesore next to our sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya. It is laughable hameed lebbe had the nerve to complain to the President that his lot are getting harassed by non-believers. We all wonder why? Shamelessness has no bounds when you believe in a lot of bullxxxx. Two main political parties are responsbile for strengthening this conniving people. None of them ever thought of forgetting party politics and joining the government of the day and get rid of the crafty lebbes. So ever since they set foot in the Parliament their me, me, me and my folk agenda succeeded. Now they have become so powerful, they dreaming about islamic state in Sri Lanka. What these lebbes should understand is, they managed to steal those countries during pre-internet, pre-TV days when people didn’t know what was happening other parts of a country or the world for that matter. Today people get to know what is happening around them and take actions. So the lebbes should stop multiplying, stop building these eyesores in every street corner and be citizens of Sri Lanka. Be grateful to the host country. Learn to live like the Chinese when they are in a different country. Or Do as Romans do when in Rome.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Vice,

    Agree with the first sentence.

    What if it is not properly functioning? Then the WORST thing is to PUT UP with this BS. Then the LEAST bad option is for the people to take matters into their own VOTING hands.

    That is DIRECT democracy.

    e.g. PTOMS, Banda and Chelva agreement, May 2009 public celebrations

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