Report of the Buddha Sasana Presidential Commission -2002, Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations
Posted on July 6th, 2017

Buddha Sasana (Chapter 1)

Posted on May 1st, 2012

Buddha Sasana (Chapter 1)

The Commission recommends the following definition to the term Buddha Sasana”.

12.1 Buddha Sasana is defined as the Buddha, the nine super-mundane (navalokuttara) Dhamma, the Sangha, the Buddhist temples (viharas) with their ancillary structures, forest hermitages (aranya senasana) and meditation centres, Bo trees, stupas, image houses, relic chambers, dhamma books and libraries, designated buildings for performance of vinaya acts by the sangha (uposathagara), fields, gardens and properties belonging to the Buddhist temples, Buddhist education, devalas, nuns and nunneries, the laity who had taken refuge in the Triple Gem, Buddhist literature, culture and civilisation, Buddhist festivals and processions (peraharas), Buddhist customs and traditions, Buddhist principles and values and all that are required for its perpetuity .

12.2 It shall be the responsibility of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana in terms of Chapter II of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The Government, all institutions and the citizens are bound by the constitution of that country. Therefore, it is inferred by the Commission that the constitutional obligation accorded by the Constitution of Sri Lanka to give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana devolves on the Government of Sri Lanka, all state institutions, other organisations, and all its citizens. (1.26)[1]

Buddha Sasana and the Government of Sri Lanka (Chapter 2)

12.3 In both written and oral representations made to the Commission it was mentioned that in spite of the constitutional protection accorded to Buddhism and the Buddha Sasana by the Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka, in reality, such protection was not received. In particular, it was mentioned repeatedly that the so-called protection was confined to the Constitution only, and no laws or regulations have been promulgated to make it justiciable. We too accept this position. (2.36)

12.4 We recommend that necessary legislation and regulations be promulgated to give meaning to the 1978 Constitution’s provision to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana in accordance with the interpretation given to the term Buddha Sasana” in Chapter 1 of the Commission’s Report. (2.37)

12.5 Considering the fact that the majority of the people of Sri Lanka have been Buddhists from time immemorial and the country’s identity is firmly established on Buddhist culture and values, we recommend that measures should be taken to arrest any attempt to change that status by improper means. (2.38)

Bhikkhus (Chapter 4)

12.6 Any Nikaya having under its jurisdiction a minimum of 100 temples should be provided all facilities by the State to maintain its secretariat. (4.7)

12.7 Instead of a Sanghadhikarana Bill, it is recommended that a bill to provide legal power to the katikavata of a Nikaya should be incorporated by an Act of Parliament. (4.12)

12.8 The draft Katikavata Act (that was submitted to the Commission) should be so amended to provide greater responsibility to the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs, to implement the decisions taken by the Nikayaheadquarters and to enable the appointment of enforcement officers under the Commissioner  (4.14)

12.9 The application for registering novices (samaneras) and higher ordained monks (upasampada bhikkhus) should be channelled via the respective Nikaya headquarters. The responsibility of certifying the accuracy of the data should devolve necessarily on the Venerable Mahanayaka Thera of such Nikaya. (4.17)

12.10 The application for the Bhikkhu Identity Card should be forwarded, along with the application mentioned above, through the Nikaya Headquarters. (4.18)

12.11 Donning a bhikkhu’s robe by any person having no legitimate right to do so should be made a grave offence and the penalty should be the same as for the fraudulent wearing of an official uniform. (4.23)

12.12 The present method of appointing a viharadhipati should be changed. A Nikaya Katikavata should be so amended to include necessary provisions for appointing a Viharadhipati. The decision taken in accordance with the provisions of a katikavata should not become a cause of action (causa agendi) in any court of law. (4.26)

12.13 Every temple should get registered with the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs. The Buddha Sasana Fund should be utilised for providing the basic four requisites of monks and the maintenance of temples in difficult areas. (4.27)

12.14 Samanerayatana or Training Institutes for Novices should become the cornerstone of the proposed bhikkhu education structure. The certificate of training as a novice issued by a Samanerayatanaya should be made mandatory for Pirivena education. Pirivenas and Uttara Bhikkhu Niketanas should be established for higher education of bhikkhus who successfully complete training at a Samanerayatanaya. (4.48)

12.15 The practice of classifying pirivenas into Mulika PirivenaMaha Pirivena, and Pirivena Vidyayathana should be discontinued and all the three types of pirivenas should be called  pirivena . A bhikkhu should be able to sit the Pracina Prarambha, Pracina Madyama and Pracina Avasana Examinations from one and the same pirivena. (4.50)

12.16 Training in Bhikkhu observances and conduct (acara samacara), and development of correct attitudes should be compulsory in pirivena education. (4.52)

12.17 Uttara Bhikkhu Niketana should be established for those bhikkhus who do not enter the pirivena stream after the training at a samanerayatana. (4.53)

12.18 An institution to be called the Mahavihara Uttara Bhikkhu Niketana should be established for further training of those who have successfully completed the five-year course at a Uttara Bhikkhu Niketana and those who have successfully completed pracina prarambha and pracina madhyma examinations. (4.54)

12.19 Training at the Pirivena Teachers’ Training College should be made compulsory for all teachers in Pirivenas. (4.55)

12.20 Training in Meditation methodology should be made compulsory to all pupils at the Sariputta Education Institute. (4.56)

12.21 The Buddha Sravaka Bhikkhu University and Buddhist and Pali University should be merged. Admission should only be for bhikkhus, both national and foreign. (4.57)

12.22 A Committee of Maha Theras should be appointed by the Supreme Sangha Council to examine and decide on the establishment of new temples. (4.64)

12.23 The Commission recognises that bhikkhus should refrain from party politics and that they should maintain their independence to admonish any political party that comes into power. Accordingly the Commission recommends the following Code of Practices to be observed by all political parties restraining them from enticing bhikkhus to engage in party politics.

– Political parties should refrain from enrolling bhikkhus as members of their parties.

-Political parties should not involve bhikkhus in party political activities.

– Political parties should not give nominations to bhikkhus at pradeshiya sabha, provincial council, and parliamentary elections.

Furthermore, all Nikaya headquarters should request all political parties not to give nominations to bhikkhus at any election. (4.68)

12.24 The Commission received many complaints regarding the eight requisites (ata-pirikara), which are the most important of the requisites of a bhikkhu. The following recommendations are made after considering these representations.

—  Of the eight requisites, the bowl, the single robe, the double robe, the bathing robe, the belt, and the razor should be of a usable quality. Hence, standards should be set for them.

–  All robes should be prepared according to vinaya specifications.

– The bowl and the two robes of the eight requisites should be kept separately so that the purchaser could inspect these items.

– The eight requisites should be reasonably priced. The name of the maker and the standard registration number obtained from the Ministry of Buddha Sasana should be displayed.

– In every township a shop approved by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana should be established for the sale of eight requisites that have been made according to specifications. (4.70)

12.25 New appliances and goods as well as modern technological devices should be used, if at all, in a manner that will not transgress the rules of discipline and external deportment of one who has gone forth. Accordingly, it is suggested, that

– All upasampada and samanera bhikkhus should be donning robes that are only yellow and brown in colour and not of any other.

– Bhikkhus should not use umbrellas of different colours and sizes and should use only black, yellow, Burmese and the talipot umbrellas.

– Bhikkhus should not use cloth satchels that have been stitched out of dark cloth such as dark red, dark blue etc and should use only those that have been stitched out of yellow and brown cloth.

– Slippers of different designs and colours that are not in keeping with a bhikkhu’s demeanour should not be worn. Slippers with toes and heels closed as is the case of shoes should not be worn.

– ‚  Large handbags with heavy loads should not be carried when travelling.

–  Cameras, video equipment, cellular telephones should not be used in public places and on public roads. If and when required these could be used appropriately and with decorum. (4.71)

12.26 At a time when the 250th year of the Siyam Maha Nikaya is being commemorated, the attention of all bhikkhus should be drawn to the practice of doing the round for alms (pindapata). Going on pindapata helped immensely the life of Venerable Pindapatika Asarana Sarana Welivita Saranankara Sangharaja Thera and his Buddha Sasana revivalist movement, The Commission recommends that the attention of all bhikkhus should be drawn towards re-commencing the practice of doing the round for alms. (4.75)

12.27 Bhikkhus should refrain from improper conduct and unsuitable avocations. If such a situation arises the Commission recommends that the Nikaya or Chapter to which the erring bhikkhu belongs should bring it to his notice. After admonition he should be placed on probation or Ayati saUvara. In case of a bhikkhu who do not accede to the advice or admonition so given, the Sangha Council of the Nikaya or the Chapter to which he belongs should conduct a disciplinary inquiry against such a bhikkhu and punish him suitably. (4.76)

Lands belonging to Buddhist Religious Places (Siddhasthana) and Temples (Viharas) (Chapter 5)

12.28 A Land Settlement Commission for settling lands belonging to Buddhist Religious Places should be set up to settle lands belonging to temples and devales and vest them accordingly. (5.31)

12.29 Article 24 of the Services Tenure Ordinance (Rajakari Seva Ordinance) No. 4 of 1870 should be amended to free service lands (praveni idam) from prescriptive ownership under the Prescriptive Rights Ordinance. (5.32)

12.30 The Rajakari Seva Ordinance No. 4 of 1870 should be so amended to enable payments to be made in lieu of rajakari in accordance with prevailing rates. (5.32)

12.31 Steps should be taken to survey the bandara land and rajakari pangu land and the boundaries should be demarcated. (5.33)

12.32 Because persons performing rajakari to Buddhist religious places are not entitled for the benefits under the Employees Provident Fund, membership of the Sri Lanka Social Security Board should be awarded in such a manner that they get some form of security when they become old. Any contributions should be made by the respective Siddhasthanaya. (5.35)

12.33 State land that are situated within the boundaries of the temple land (viharagam) used by persons performing rajakari to the Sacred Bo Tree should be reserved for the future benefit of their next of kin. (5.39)

12.34 The State should intervene in returning the temple and devale lands taken over under the Land Reforms Act. (5.40)

12.35 Suitable amendments should be brought to the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance No. 19 of 1931 to enable a simple method, similar to provisions in the Waqf Ordinance No. 51 of 1956, to certify the right of ownership of land belonging to Buddhist religious places and devales. (5.43)

12.36 A separate division under a Commissioner should be created in the Department of Buddhist Affairs to look after matters pertaining to ecclesiastical property. (12.47)

12.37 An Advisory Board for development of ecclesiastical property should be named to advice the special division mentioned above. (12.47)

12.38 The leasing of land belonging to Buddhist religious places to non-Buddhist persons and organisations should be prohibited.

Buddhist Sacred Objects and Archaeological Monuments (Chapter 6)

12.39 It was revealed in evidence that the lands belonging to the Muhudu Mahaviharaya in Panamapattuva and the historic Buddhist sacred site in Kuragala, Balangoda had been encroached by the Muslim community. The lands belonging to these two religious places should be recovered and the two sites should be conserved in a manner that their sanctity is preserved. (6.16)

12.40 Existing archaeological, immigration and emigration, and import -export laws pertaining to the protection of Buddhist monuments should be systematised and enforced rigorously. Maximum punishment should be imposed without delay to those who vandalise archaeological objects. (6.19)

12.41 The government should give maximum attention to implement existing laws relating to export to foreign countries of archaeological and sacred objects such as ancient Buddha statues, leaves of ola manuscripts. (6.20)

12.42 Steps should be taken with the use of new technology to improve the security of those places where Buddhist archaeological objects of value are kept. (6.21)

12.43 The Treasury must ensure that adequate monetary provisions are made available to provide the needed security to Buddhist Sacred Objects and Archaeological Monuments. (6.22)

12.44 Government institutions should provide safety devices such as iron safes to safely keep the highly venerated and valuable sacred archaeological objects. (6.23)

12.45 The Commission recommends that the security of places where highly venerated objects of archaeological value are preserved should be made the joint responsibility of the Viharadhipati, a responsible officer of the Department of Archaeology and another responsible state official such as the District Secretary / Divisional Secretary. (6.24)

12.46 Arrangements should be made with the assistance of organisations like the UNESCO to bring back to the country the sacred and the archaeological objects that have been removed during colonial rule. (6.25)

12.47 Awareness programmes such as workshops should be organised for school-going children, elders, and community based organisations in order to provide a clear understanding and awareness of Buddhist archaeological monuments. (6.26)

12.48 For the protection of sacred and archaeological objects voluntary committees comprising of persons selected from the dayaka sabhas of the respective temples should be appointed. (6.27)

12.49 Sites that have been abandoned and where sacred and archaeological objects have been located should be identified and developed. In this respect measures should be taken to install bhikkhus after providing the basic amenities and settling people nearby for support of the bhikkhus. (6.28)

12.50 We recommend that the Antiquities Ordinance be so amended to require the registration of Sales outlets of artefacts. (6.29)

12.51 Important historical Buddhist sites that have been identified so far should be declared as sacred sites. (6.30)

12.52 Necessary steps should be taken by the State to maintain, develop and conserve important Buddhist sacred sites in Sri Lanka. (6.30)

12.53 A Master Plan to protect and conserve sacred sites should be formulated. A Sacred Sites Development Authority should be established for its implementation. (6.31)

12.54 The work on the Anuradhapura Sacred City that has got delayed should be completed expeditiously and Anuradhapura should be transformed soon to a sacred area that reflects the cultural attributes of the period. (6.32)

Dasasil Mathas (Chapter 7)

12.55 A Dasasil Matha Advisory Council, comprising of five dasasil mathas, should be established under the Supreme Sangha Council for their welfare and perpetuation. (7.12)

12.56 The existing code of conduct for silmathas should be updated and operationalised after obtaining the approval of the Supreme Sangha Council. (7.13)

12.57 Those under the age of 18 should not be admitted as dasasil mathas. (7.14)

12.58 When becoming a dasasil matha, the ten precepts should be received only from a upasampada bhikkhu or a dasasil matha who is over thirty years of age and has been a dasasil matha for a minimum of 10 years. They should register with the Department of Buddhist Affairs within three months of becoming a dasasil matha. The Department of Buddhist Affairs should design a suitable form for such registration. (7.15)

12.59 In addition to the National Identity Card, a special identity card, similar to the one issued to bhikkhus, should be issued to dasasil mathas under the signature of the Commissioner of Registration of Persons. (7.16)

12.60 The government and the general public should be encouraged to provide educational and supportive facilities to dasasil mathas in order to make them more useful to society. (7.17)

12.61 To improve the educational standard of the dasasil mathas educational institutions with residential facilities should be established throughout the country according to needs. The teaching of Pali, Sinhala and the Tripitaka Buddha Dhamma should be made compulsory in these institutions. Practical training should be given on subject areas like administration of nunneries, performing rites and practices, conducting dhamma discussions, and chanting of pirith. Subjects like family counselling, ministration to the sick, community service, pre-school education should be included in the curriculum as optionals. (7.18)

12.62 All dasasil matha upasikaramas (nunneries) should be registered with the Ministry of Buddha Sasana. (7.19)

12.63 The Ministry of Buddha Sasana should implement a programme of either funding directly and/or channelling private funding through the Ministry for the maintenance and development of registered upasikaramas. (7.20)

12.64 Each upasikaramaya should have a dayaka sabhava (committee of benefactors). The Viharadhipati of the nearest temple should be appointed the patron of the dayaka sabhava. (7.21)

12.65 If the dayaka sabhava so decides, the land on which the upasikaramaya is situated could be vested with the Dasasil Matha Trust of the Public Trustee Department for its continuity in the future. (7.22)

12.66 On the demise of the Chief Dasasil matha of an upasikaramaya the appointment of a dasasil matha to the vacant post should occur with the consent of the majority of all dasasil mathas resident in that upasikaramayaand of the dayaka sabha. Within one month the Department of Buddhist Affairs should be informed of the appointment. (7.23)

12.67 The ‘Jatika Silmatha Mandalaya’ (National Silmatha Council) that is in existence at present should be restructured to allow district and island-wide representation. (7.24)

Bringing Buddhist lay society to the path of righteousness (Chapter 8)

12.68 The temple should become a place that would draw lay persons. (8.3, 8.4)

12.69 The village-temple nexus should be strengthened. (8.5,8.6,and 8.8)

12.70 Every child should obtain his/her education in the religious environment of his/her religion at birth. The Commission considers this an inviolable principle and based on this the Commission makes the following recommendations in regard to pre-schools that are mushrooming daily.

—  A national policy should be formulated in respect of child nurseries / pre-schools.

—  Every child should be allowed to grow in his/her religious environment” should be the bedrock of such a policy.

—  The object of pre-school education (in respect of Buddhist children) should be to provide the foundation either at home or the child nursery for the child’s growth as a righteous Buddhist child.

—  A programme should be launched to provide pre-school training to children in the child’s own home environment, based on the UNICEF Home-based child development programme”, which should be given greater publicity.

—  Whatever the religion of the party that runs a pre-school, there should be a Buddhist environment for Buddhist children in that pre-school for their personality development.

—  Enabling provisions should be there for a Sasanarakshaka Mandalaya to oversee all the pre-schools that fall within the limits of that Sasanarakshaka Mandalaya.

—  Wherever possible, child nurseries should be established for Buddhist children, in temple and upasikaramayaprecincts.

—  Silmathas should be given a good training in pre-school education and their services should be obtained to run pre-schools. (8.9)

12.71 The religious environment in a school should be in accord with the religion of the majority of the students. (8.10)

12.72 With the aim of establishing a healthy society a programme should be launched in all schools, irrespective of religion, to promote in a practical way noble human qualities of generosity, loving-kindness, compassion, patience, altruistic joy (at others’ attainments), equanimity and also the social virtues contained in the five precepts. (8.11)

12.73 The Commission was informed that in teaching Buddha Dhamma in schools there were many shortcomings. The Commission recommends the under mentioned remedial measures to overcome them.

—  As in the case of subjects like mathematics, science and English, specialised teachers should be appointed for the teaching of Buddha Dhamma. For this purpose a scheme should be evolved to get the services of bhikhus, silmathas, and those who have passed the Bauddha Dharmacarya examination. If there is a difficulty of increasing the teachers’ cadre, we recommend that suitable bhikkhus and silmathas from nearby temples and upasikaramas be appointed as external teachers on the payment of honoraria under an approved scheme. This will also help in strengthening the village-temple nexus.

—  Similar to laboratories for practical science training, a special classroom for Buddha Dhamma should be assigned, wherever possible, for providing practical training in Buddhist religious observances, meditation etc.

—  The Ministry of Education should send circular instructions to all school principals directing them to block in the timetable of a school the required periods for the teaching of Buddha Dhamma before the school interval.

—  We suggest that in the higher classes an additional period, over and above the two periods per week set aside for religious education, be allocated for practical Dhamma training. By practical training is meant the implementation creatively of programmes that would instil in the minds of children such qualities like the four brahmaviharas (viz. loving kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity) that could be used in personality development. (8.12)

12.74 We recommend that there should be a very close tie up between the teaching of the Buddha Dhamma in daily schools and the temple dhamma schools. We recommend that a common syllabus be developed for the teaching of Buddha Dhamma with emphasis on imparting knowledge in the daily schools and practical training on observances, duties, and the cultivation of virtues in the Dhamma schools. Textbooks should be prepared accordingly. (8.14)

12.75 We also recommend that the examination system for Dhamma schools should also be revised. It is sufficient that the Colombo Young Men’s Buddhist Association conduct only the Grade 9 examination. The Dhamma school final examination and the Dhamma Teachers’ examination should continue to be held by the Commissioner of Examination as at present. (8.15)

12.76 Subject to the recommendations at 12.74 and 12.75 above, the proposals of the Presidential Committee chaired by the Most Venerable Welimitiyave Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thera, the Parivenadhipati of the Vidyalankara Pirivena and the Chancellor of the Kelaniya University, for improvement of Dhamma schools should be implemented. (8.16)

12.77 The following recommendations are made to rectify the injustice that had happened to Buddhist children when assisted schools were taken over by government in 1962.

—  In order to prevent any injustice to Buddhist children, schools that belonged to the Buddhists and are run at present, as government schools should be categorised separately and be not subjected to the two-mile rule when admitting Buddhist children.

—  The assurance given by the government at the time of take over of these schools that the percentage of Buddhist children in a school at the time of take over will be maintained in the future should be made legally binding.

—  If Buddhists come forward, they should be allowed to establish new Buddhist assisted schools for Buddhist children. (8.17)

12.78 The Government should recognise the causes for social decadence and should take timely action to avert them. We recommend the following special measures for establishing a righteous society.

—  Before the enactment of new laws, the Government should re-establish the Rule of Law and re-build the confidence of the people by implementing existing laws expeditiously and impartially.

—  The Government should establish good governance by eradicating the much heard of bribery and corruption in the administrative set up and by compelling politicians, as a matter of priority, to act in an exemplary manner, both by example and precept, for building confidence in the administrative machinery.

—  The Government should save children and youth from cigarettes and alcohol, which are becoming more and more accessible, by increasing their prices and reducing availability. The operation against illicit liquor and narcotics should be implemented island wide with equal tempo without any political interference.

—  The Government should prohibit the sale of alcohol and cigarettes within 500 metres of places of worship, schools, and public places where children gather. Steps should be taken to get rid of existing sales outlets that contravene this rule after giving one year’s notice. The distance rule should not be relaxed because of tourism.

—  A long term plan for the development of an economy that do not promote trade in animals, flesh, harmful drugs that include tobacco and alcohol, weapons, and poisons, which are the five prohibited trades in a Buddhist economy.

—  Sale of alcohol and tobacco in Sports clubs should be completely banned.

—  There should be a total ban on the import and distribution of sex films, newspapers, magazines, videos, CDs etc. that rouse carnal desires. The existing laws relating to these should be strengthened and their implementation intensified.

—  There should be checks on advertising of films.

—  Strict control should be exercised on Western films, Hindi films, teledramas and advertisements that are shown over the electronic media and in hoarding, because they dramatise violence, sex and sexuality, and defiles motherhood, the family institution, care of parents and elders, and the moral principles contained in the five precepts.

—  A code of ethics and a media policy for the electronic and the print media for safeguarding the culture and upbringing unique to this country should be developed as a matter of urgency and a Media Council with full powers of implementation should be established by law. (8.19)

12.79 A Buddhist Community Development division should be created in the Department of Buddhist Affairs for implementing the recommendations given above in respect of the Buddhist lay society. (8.20)

Conversion of Buddhists to other Religions (Chapter 9)

12.80 As a result of the systematic and subtle design for converting Buddhists to other religions Buddhists as a percentage of the total population has declined, whilst the percentages in respect of other religions have increased. (9.43 to 9.49)

12.81 Violence has erupted already in certain parts of the country due to conversions of Buddhists to other religions by unethical means. Hence, immediate measures should be taken for preventing any religious conflicts in the future.  (9.50)

12.82 With 70% of the population Buddhists, all the qualifications are there to make Buddhism the State religion of Sri Lanka. (9.51)

12.83 A Law should be enacted to prohibit religious conversions using unethical and provocative methods, which also should be made an offence under the Penal code. (9.52)

12.84 An Inter-Religious Consultative Body with representations from all major religions should be constituted to resolve through discussion any issues that arise.  (9.53)

12.85 Before a new missionary or fundamentalist organisation is registered prior approval of the Inter-Religious Consultative Body should be obtained. (9.54)

12.86 The members of the Inter-Religious Consultative Body should be appointed according to the population percentage of the respective religions. The approval of the Supreme Sangha Council should be obtained for the members appointed to represent Buddhists. (9.55)

12.87 All information in respect of religious places of worship, prayer centres, pre-schools, non-government organisations, and other special projects should be available with the Divisional Secretary of the area. The Divisional Secretary should have the authority to inquire into any matter regarding the institutions mentioned above. It should be made obligatory to provide any information required by the Sasanarakshaka Mandalaya. (9.54)

12.88 The Sasanarakshaka Mandalas should be given the power to inquire into complaints received regarding conversion of Buddhists to other religions. (9.55)

12.89 Before extending, constructing, or establishing new churches or prayer centres, their need has to be ascertained by the Divisional Secretary of the area at a public inquiry and the approval of the Inter-Religious Consultative Body obtained. (9.56)

12.90 Buildings that have been put up for purposes, which are not religious, should be estopped from been used as churches later. Since the conducting of mass prayer sessions in ordinary homes and public buildings has become a threat to peace, holding of such prayer sessions in ordinary homes and public buildings should be stopped. (9.56)

12.91 Laws pertaining to the issuance of visas to foreigners coming to Sri Lanka should be made stringent. Rules and regulations should be framed to make it compulsory for the Competent Authority to obtain the approval of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana before issuing visas to foreigners coming for missionary activities. (9.57-1)

12.92 The visas of those who engage in missionary work of converting people, after having come to Sri Lanka on the pretence of social service, should be withdrawn. (9.57-2)

12.93 At the time of issuing visas the purpose of visit should be mentioned clearly. An endorsement should be made in the passport to the effect Prohibited to engage in missionary work” in all cases except those referred to in paragraph 12.91. (9.57-3)

12.94 In the agreement that is signed between the BOI and foreign investors there should be specific clauses to prohibit their engaging in religious conversion activities in the pretence of social service and to have complete transparency in the investments and the activities undertaken as part of corporate social responsibility.  (9.58)

12.95 The licenses of those organisations that had come to Sri Lanka in the pretence of doing social work and are engaging in converting Buddhists to their religions should be cancelled. (9.59)

12.96 At the time of registering foreigners and Non-Governmental Organisations arriving in Sri Lanka to do social service, an investigation should be conducted to ascertain whether the intended social services and their objectives are beneficial to the country or not.  (9.60-1)

12.97 Foreign funds brought by these organisations to Sri Lanka should be remitted either through the Central Bank of Sri Lanka or an approved Bank and the utilisation of such funds should be under Government supervision. The annual reports and the financial reports of these organisations should be public documents. (9.60-2)

12.98 Along with the registration of religious or missionary organisations, a declaration should be obtained that besides caring for the religious life of their own adherents they will refrain from evangelical work of converting other religionists to their own religion. (9.61)

12.99 Buddhist organisations and affluent Buddhists should come forward to alleviate the living conditions of Buddhists, because the main reason for Buddhists in Sri Lanka getting converted to other religions is poverty. (9.63-1)

12.100 Arresting of Buddhists becoming non-Buddhists should be added to the aims and objectives of all Buddhist organisations, and the attempts at converting Buddhists to other religions at the village level should be thwarted.  (9.63-2)

12.101 As soon as information is received of conversions of Buddhists to other religions, the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and the Sasanarakshaka Mandalaya of the area should be informed. (9.63-3)

12.102 Buddhist organisations that are now defunct should be made active, and all the Buddhist organisations should take the lead in a Buddhist revival. (9.63-4)

12.103 The weakening of the temple-village nexus is an additional reason for the current spate of conversions and hence the temple-village nexus should be strengthened.  (9.62)

12.104 Every temple should become the focal point of a village. It should take the lead in organising pre-schools, dhamma schools, youth services centres, counselling services, information units, public libraries etc. The bhikkhus should minister to all needs of their devotees.  (9.62- 1,2)

12.105 When devotees living within the village limits for supply of alms to a temple fall sick, the resident bhikkhus of that temple should visit them in hospital or homes, to the extent possible and bless for their speedy recovery by chanting pirith. (9.62 -3)

12.106 Very resourceful social service projects that could enliven the youth of either sex should be started under the leadership of the temple. The bhikkhus should look after the religious and devotional needs of their devotees.  They should do the alms round as frequently as possible. They should win the confidence of the devotees. (9.62 – 4 & 5)

12.107 The Buddhist community should be alert. No sooner they get to know of any conversions of Buddhists they should immediately inform the chief monk of the temple, the Sanarakshaka Mandalaya and those Buddhist organisations that work against such activities. (9.64 -1)

12.108 The Buddhist public should be prompt in lodging a complaint with the Police regarding the following.

—  Holding prayer meetings at Prayer Centres in a manner that disturbs the neighbourhood such as creating loud noises or other disturbances.

—  Conducting healing campaigns that are a threat to public health.

—  Visiting homes and attempting to teach Christianity by coercive means against one’s wish.

—  Without your approval, teaching Christianity to your children, engaging them in prayer meetings and divine services, and coercing them to indulge in immoral behavioural practices among youth groups.   (9.64 -3)

12.109 The Buddhist public should be alert to inform promptly the District Sasanrakshaka Mandalaya when they get to know of instances such as constructing prayer centres without the approval of the local government authority, use of school buildings or community centres as prayer centres, and constructing churches and mosques without the consent of the majority of the population. (9.64 -4)

12.110 It should be understood that it is the bounden duty of the government, the entire Buddhist population and the Buddhist organisations to protect the Buddha Sasana by curbing the power forces that are against Buddhism. (9.65)

Other Matters (Chapter 10)

Forest Hermitages

 12.111 The Commission recommends that suitable action be taken to settle land title of Forest Hermitages where such titles are not yet settled, supply water and electricity where such amenities are not available, and provide necessary facilities for foreigners who have come to learn and practice meditation.  (10.7)

12.112 State authorities should take action to settle boundary disputes of forest hermitages that have legal ownership to their land, stop squatters constructing homesteads in such land illegally, and stop the destruction of the serene atmosphere by the activities of illicit timber dealers.  (10.8)

Improving quality of Buddhist programmes over the electronic media

12.113 A Media Training Centre should be established for the training of bhikkhus in proper use of media in delivering sermons etc. (10.10, 10.11 and 10.12)

12.114 A special training programme should be designed for media personnel producing Buddhist programmes at the Media Training Centre referred to above. (10.13)

12.115 The approval of a specially constituted Board appointed by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana should be obtained for scenes depicting a Buddhist monk in teledramas or other theatrical shows.  (10.15)

12.116 We recommend that a National Media Policy should be drawn up as a matter of urgency to cover both the state and the private media network for safeguarding Sri Lanka’s identity and for preserving her unique social value system, which is based on and nurtured by Buddhist culture. (10.16)

The four Poya days

 12.117 Full Moon days should be declared as religious Poya holidays and the poya days of atavaka (eighth day after the full moon day), amavaka (day of the new moon) and pura atavaka (eighth day after the new moon) as religious days. (10.17)

12.118 The Poya days should be utilised officially to re-establish and foster social values that are getting eroded daily. (10.19)

12.119 The Radio and television stations should play intermittently a thematic tune on other Poya days in order to remind the listeners/viewers that the day is a religious day. In programmes broadcast on Poya days special attention should be given to promoting values and observing good practices. (10.21)

12.120 Special programmes should be organised at temples on all four poya days and at 6.30 a.m. (6.00 a.m. earlier time) the pealing of the temple Bell should be done to remind the Buddhists of the Poya day. (10.22)

12.121 A Tripitaka Texts and Buddhist Publications Fund should be created for translating, printing and publishing Buddhist books. (10.23)

Including History and Sinhala Literature into the school curricula

12.122 History and sinhala literature should be included as subjects in the school curricula. (10.24 – 10.28)

Buddhist Societies, Associations and Buddhist Trusts

 12.123 It is our view that Executive Boards or Committees, including the President, of Buddhist Societies, Associations and Buddhist Trusts, besides the constitutional accountability to its membership, have a responsibility by the entire Buddhist lay community because the Buddhist public in general have contributed towards increasing their assets. When disputes arise in the administration of Buddhist Societies, Associations and Buddhist Trusts a system should be devised (as detailed in paragraph 10.30) to settle such disputes. (10.30)

12.124 We also recommend that the necessary laws and regulations be enacted by Parliament to implement the recommendations at paragraph 10.30. (10.30)

12.125 There should be laws to control the installation of religious symbols on main roads, junctions and crossroads. (10.31)

12.126 Except on special occasions in respect of all religions, the use of amplifiers in a manner that disturbs the neighbourhood under normal circumstances should be stopped. (10.32)

Structural Changes (Chapter 11)

12.127 There is a need for a supreme body to take final decisions on matters pertaining to the Buddha Sasana and to give advice continually for the advancement of the Buddha Sasana. To meet these objectives, we recommend that a Supreme Sangha Council be established by an Act of Parliament. (11.2)

12.128 The Supreme Sangha Council should consist of 21 members. (11.3)

12.129 The functions of the Supreme Sangha Council should be as follows.

—  Provide guidance and directions to Government on all matters relating to the foremost place given to Buddhism by the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

—  Give directions on matters relating to the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana.

—  Take policy decisions regarding Buddhist temples and monasteries, Bhikkhu education, development of temple land, and betterment of the Buddhist community and give necessary directions on questions that arise.

—  Take policy decisions on general issues relating to the bhikkhu community that are outside the purview of the respective katikavat and give necessary directions on questions that arise.

—  Give directions to protect the Buddha Sasana from dangers arising internally and externally.

—  Take decisions on all matters connected and incidental to the perpetuity of the Buddha Sasana

12.130 There should be a separate office for the Supreme Sangha Council and the Secretary of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana should also be its Secretary. (11.5)

12.131 As the responsibility of implementing the decisions of the Supreme Sangha Council is that of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, the high officials of the Ministry should be devout Buddhists. (11.6)

12.132 The post of Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs should be upgraded to that of Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs. A senior member of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service should hold this post. He should have had wide experience in Buddhist affairs, be fully committed to the advancement of the Buddha Sasana and have gained the confidence of the Maha Sangha. (11.7)

12.133 For organising effectively the important tasks devolving on the Department concerning the Buddha Sasana, it is recommended that there be six posts of Commissioners of Buddhist Affairs to be in charge of the following six divisions. They are Buddhist Temples and Monasteries, Ecclesiastical Education, Ecclesiastical Property Development, Finance and Planning, Buddhist Community Development, Secretariat of the Supreme Sangha Council.

12.134 A new building with all facilities should be constructed to house all the departments and institutions that come under the Ministry of Buddha Sasana. (11.10)

[1] Refers to the chapter and paragraph number of the Main Report of the Buddha Sasana Presidential Commission

2 Responses to Report of the Buddha Sasana Presidential Commission -2002, Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations”

  1. lingamAndySays:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 9:03 am   edit

Ref:The Commission recommends the following definition to the term Buddha Sasana”.

seem to be good recommendations but who is going to implement !!!!

  1. Fran DiazSays:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 6:30 am   edit

The need of the hour is practical Buddhism.

In order to survive in todays world, almost all Buddhists find it difficult to keep to all of the Five Precepts e.g. Panathipatha vera mani sikka …” Daily life involves getting rid of insects (prolific in the tropics). Buddhists too consume some meat (mostly chicken) & fish and eggs. Also, Fishing, poultry framing for meat & eggs, keeping cows for milk are economic activities and ought to be open to Buddhists too.

Does the answer lie in not taking the vow (Precept) that one cannot keep ?

We think that taking the vows in Sinhala language will make it more meaningful and it will easier for a person to decide whether to take a particular vow or not.

I am aware that I am stepping into ‘turbulent waters’ here. I am writing in looking for answers with offence to none. We are at crossroads here in Lanka, with Buddhist precepts vs Development (with trappings of Progress). Let’s get together and decide on a practical way to Develop, keeping to the Buddhist Teachings as much as is possible in a practical way.

 

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