IS THE MAHANUWARA DECLARATION (2017) NOW NO MORE THAN A WHITE ELEPHANT?
Posted on May 13th, 2018

By Senaka Weeraratna

IS THE MAHANUWARA DECLARATION MADE AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE UN VESAK DAY CONFERENCE IN SRI LANKA (2017) NOW BEING SEEN ONLY AS A WHITE ELEPHANT?

Senkadagalapura of Kande Uda Rata later called Kandy by foreigners (Mahanuwara by locals) who failed to pronounce Sinhala words correctly is the hub of glittering Peraheras with majestic elephants parading the streets draped in full regalia.

Kandy was the site chosen at the conclusion of 14th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations and Conference to read out the nine point  Mahanuwara Declaration by His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena on the 14th of May 2017. 

Great pomp and ceremony surrounded this event with hundreds of VIP Buddhists from within and outside the country in attendance.

Unfortunately, the nine point Mahanuwara Declaration was basically an empty vacuous and vague document not worth a second look but for three distinctive commitments which saved this document from being cast into oblivion.

They are as follows:

  1. 1.    In realizing the long felt need to have an aligned organization among Buddhist Communities underpinned by solidarity, solemn initiatives shall be taken to form such an organization with minimum delay in furtherance of our objectives and aspirations based on values and principles of the teachings of the Buddha.
  2. 2.    In consideration of the challenges faced by Buddhist communities all over the world plausible methodology shall be evolved to address and encounter them as one community.
  3. 3. (Point numbered 8).    In view of the alarming decline of morals and spirituality, steps shall be taken to set-up a media network to disseminate the message of Dhamma leading towards a virtuous life based on Buddhist principles.

The rest of the points totaling altogether six are so commonplace and hackneyed that no one could be blamed for thinking that so much of money was spent unnecessarily for this UNDV event to reach these wayside insignificant conclusions.

The saving grace of the Mahanuwara Declaration were the points numbered 1, 2 and 8.

The outline of them is as follows:

  • Formation of an International Buddhist Organisation underpinned by solidarity e.g. League of Buddhist Nations
  • Methodology shall be evolved to address the challenges faced by Buddhist communities all over the world and encounter them as one community.

3) Setting – up of a Buddhist media network

Since the conclusion of this Conference on the 14th May 2017, there has not been a single communication issued by the organizers of this International Buddhist Conference on the steps being taken to implement the points made in the Declaration.

Neither has there been any interest shown by the various Buddhist Organisations that sent representatives to this Conference in overseeing the implementation of matters mentioned in the Declaration.

If Buddhists suffer from collective amnesia in respect to discussions and conclusions reached at high profile International Buddhist Conferences aimed at protection and safeguarding Buddhism and Buddhist space, rapidly shrinking in Buddhist Asia, who should take responsibility for the future of Buddhism in traditional Buddhist heritage countries?

Senaka Weeraratna

See also

THE KANDY (MAHANUWARA) DECLARATION

https://www.news.lk/fetures/item/16727-the-kandy-mahanuwara-declaration?tmpl=component&print=1

Three commitments save UN Vesak Day Mahanuwara (Kandy) Declaration 2017

Three commitments save UN Vesak Day Mahanuwara (Kandy) Declaration 2017

 

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