According to the constitution, Buddhism should be given priority

  • That responsibility is entrusted to the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.
  • Failure to support this priority constitutes a violation of the constitution.
  • Every citizen has the right to freely choose whether to believe in any religion or not.
  • The sole patient entrusted to my care was on the brink of death but is now gradually recovering.
  • I extend my gratitude to the Maha Sangharatna for their guidance and support throughout that program – Says President at the inauguration of the “Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre” in Kiriwatthuduwa.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored that according to the constitution, prioritizing Buddhism is imperative. He emphasized that the responsibility of upholding this principle is vested in the executive, legislature and judiciary. He emphasized the indisputability of this matter.

The President further stated that if anyone seeks to alter this principle, should endeavour to amend the constitution accordingly.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks during his participation in the inauguration ceremony of the “Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre” constructed in Kiriwatthuduwa, Homagama, (01).

The President emphasized the imperative acknowledgment that all three branches of the government, executive, legislature and judiciary should accord priority to the Buddhist doctrine within the country. He underscored that failure to support this principle constitutes a violation of the constitution, emphasizing that all members of parliament are obligated to uphold and protect the constitution.

The President emphasized the need for acknowledgment that the executive, the constitution and the judiciary, as the three branches of government, should prioritize the Buddhist doctrine within the country. He emphasized that failure to support this principle constitutes a violation of the constitution, emphasizing the obligation of all Members of Parliament to protect it.

The President highlighted that the constitution of this country outlines people’s sovereignty, prioritization of Buddhism and preservation of territorial integrity as its core principles. He stressed the importance of consistently advancing while safeguarding these principles, emphasizing that any opposition to them constitutes a breach of the constitution.

Additionally, the President shared that he was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the treatment of a critically ill patient. He noted that the patient, who was on the brink of death, is now showing gradual signs of recovery. The President conveyed his heartfelt appreciation in advance for the invaluable guidance and support provided by the Maha Sangha throughout this endeavour.

As per the suggestion of the late Chief Registrar of Sri Lanka Ramanya Maha Nikaya, and the Chief incumbent of Sri Dhathumaluwa Viharaya Kohuwala, Venerable Mapalagama Siri Somissara Nayaka Thero, and upon the recommendation of current Chief incumbent of Sri Dhathumaluwa Viharaya Kohuwala Venerable Pitigala Sonuttara Nayaka Thero, the “Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre” has been established to cater to the needs of monks locally and internationally.

The”Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre” comprises a five-story building and a three-story building, facilitating simultaneous treatment for fifty monks. Its amenities include 20 rooms, a ward yard, an alms hall, medicine stores, emergency treatment units, office rooms and hostel for doctors, ensuring comprehensive care and accommodation for those in need.

Under the supervision of qualified medical professionals, facilities have been established to provide treatment for sick monks. Additionally, a conducive environment has been created to accommodate five hundred monks for meditation practice.

The construction of this Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre has been accomplished through the labour contributions of the Sri Lanka Army, supported by both local and international donors.

Venerable Bhikkuni Neunghaeng, the Chief of the Buddhist hospital in Ulsan, South Korea, and SinDaw, a Bhikkuni Kaushon from the Long Fong Monastery in Taiwan, have generously contributed to the medical equipment of this facility. Their contributions were made in response to an invitation extended by Venerable Katuwana Wijithawansa, Sri Lankaramadhipathi, Hethu , South Korea.

The President, after unveiling the plaque and inaugurating the Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre, proceeded to conduct an inspection tour of the facility.

During the ceremony, homage was paid to the current Chief incumbent of Sri Dhathumaluwa Viharaya Kohuwala Venerable Pitigala Sonuttara Nayaka Thero, for his national and religious service. Furthermore, acknowledgment was extended to him for his dedication to establishing the Gurudev Suva Arana Gilan Bhikshu Centre, catering to monks both domestically and internationally. This gesture served as an expression of gratitude from the Sri Lankan Ramayana Maha Nikaya. Following the conferral of the Sri Sannath Patra honorary title, the President presented the vijinipata to him.

The President also bestowed a commemorative gift upon Venerable Neunghaeng, the head of the Buddhist hospital in Ulsan, South Korea, who generously provided the essential medical equipment for this monk hospital centre. Additionally, a commemorative gift was presented to Mrs. Sandhya Kantilatha, who graciously donated the land for the construction of this Bhikshu Hospital.

Continuing his remarks, President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated,

This marks the establishment of the first dedicated hospital for monks in Sri Lanka. While our country’s hospitals have traditionally accommodated monk wards, this facility is distinctively reserved solely for the care of sick monks. The government extends its gratitude to all contributors, particularly the efforts led by Bhikkuni Neunghaeng of South Korea.

I wish to emphasize that we have sought on-going support from the Ministry of Health – Indigenous Medicine section to sustain this endeavour, and I assure you that such assistance will be forthcoming. The government is also committed to providing resources for the continued development and enhancement of this hospital.

Moreover, situated in a stunning natural setting, it is imperative that we prioritize the protection of this environment as we progress forward with this project.

An argument has emerged advocating for the separation of government and Buddhism. However, considering the legal framework, every citizen in our country has the right to practice the religion of their choice, or to hold no religious beliefs at all.

Moreover, our constitution mandates that any government should accord priority to Buddhism. This responsibility is not solely vested in the government but extends to the state as a whole. Therefore, the support of all three branches of the state—the executive led by the President, the Parliament led by the Speaker and the Judiciary led by the Chief Justice—is essential to uphold this principle.

Failure to provide this support goes against the Constitution. As Members of Parliament, we have all taken an oath to uphold the constitution and it is incumbent upon us to adhere to its principles. Despite the conflicts experienced in our country, such a request has never before been raised or discussed.

It is essential to recognize that the three branches of government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary should prioritize the Buddhist doctrine within our nation. While debate may arise regarding the specifics of implementation, the fundamental principle remains indisputable. As a government, it is imperative that we adhere to it. If there is a desire to amend this principle, it must be done through constitutional amendments.

The constitution of our country underscores three fundamental principles: people’s sovereignty, prioritizing Buddhism and maintaining territorial integrity. It is imperative that we uphold these principles as the basis for our actions. Any opposition to these principles is deemed a violation of the constitution.

At present, our hospital is caring for numerous patients, and I have been entrusted with the responsibility of treating one particular patient. We are making gradual progress in treating this critically ill individual, engaging in on-going discussions to ensure the best possible outcome. Healing a patient is not an instantaneous process; it requires time and dedication. It is estimated that it will take another three to four years to fully treat this patient. However, we are grateful for the opportunity to undertake this important work. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the venerable Maha Sangha for their invaluable support in this endeavour.

Chief incumbent of Sri Dhathumaluwa Viharaya Kohuwala Venerable Pitigala Sonuttara Nayaka Thero,

There was a time of profound difficulty in our country, characterized by long queues and numerous challenges. However, since assuming leadership, the President has guided our nation to the position we are in today. This is an undeniable reality that all must acknowledge. It is his efforts that have afforded us the opportunity to convene for this religious ceremony today, a fact we are deeply appreciative of and will always remember with gratitude. Despite the demanding nature of his current responsibilities, the President’s participation in this endeavour is sincerely appreciated and acknowledged.

Minister Bandula Gunawardhena,

Throughout history, there exists a record of special hospitals being established in ancient times to cater to the needs of the Maha Sangha Ratnaya, who devoted themselves to safeguarding and upholding the Buddha Order in our country. Following independence, various governments have allocated separate wards for monks within both local and foreign hospitals. While three Ayurvedic hospitals and numerous local Western hospitals have accommodated monk wards, the recent history of our country has not witnessed the construction of a dedicated hospital for monks.

In light of this, Chief incumbent of Sri Dhathumaluwa Viharaya Kohuwala Venerable Pitigala Sonuttara Nayaka Thero, has made a significant sacrifice amid numerous challenges to realize this noble endeavour. With the assistance of Army and contributions from local and international donors, this admirable act of charity has been made possible.

Upon explaining the purpose of this initiative to the President, he instructed us to extend full support, recognizing it as a constitutional responsibility to nurture and preserve Buddhism in accordance with the Constitution of our country.

The event was attended by numerous dignitaries, including Mahanayaka Aggamaha Pandita Most Venerable Makulewe Vimalabhidhana Nayaka of the Maha Viharavanshika Sri Lanka Ramanya Maha Nikaya, Most Venerable Dr. Niangoda Vijitasiri Nayaka Thero of the Malvathu Vihara Sect of the Maha Viharavanshika Shyamopali Maha Nikaya, Rajakeeya Pandita Atipujya Galapitiyagama Vimaladhamma Nayaka Thero, Chief incumbent of Nikaveratiya Samadarapitiya Sri Palitha Vidyatana Piriven Viharaya of the Sri Lanka Ramanya Maha Nikaya, Rajakeeya Pandita Atipujya Matale Dhamma Kusala Nayaka, Depury incumbent of Mattakkuliya Sri Wickramadhapati Sri Lanka Ramanya Maha Nikaya, Anunayaka Dr. Atipujya Valegoda Gunasiri Nayaka Thero of Thalangama Mayurapada Piriven Maha Viharaya, Sri Lanka Ramanya Maha Nikaya, Judicial Sanghanayaka Aggamaha Pandit Professor Most Venerable Attangane Ratanapala Nayaka Thero, incumbent of Tambuttegama Samadhi Buddhist Centre Sri Lanka Ramanya Maha Nikaya, Deputy incumbent of Udarata Amarapura Nikaya, Most Venerable Nikapota Chandajoti Nayaka Thera, Mahanayake Aggamaha Pandita Most Venerable Trinikamale Ananda Thero, Bambalapitiya Siri Vajiraramadhipati Sri Lanka Amarapura Dharmarakshita Mahanayake thero and the Maha Sangha, led by Anunayake Swami.

Among the distinguished attendees were also local politicians, including State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Sisira Jayakody, a group of esteemed guests comprising foreign Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Army Commander Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela of Sri Dalada Maliga, and devotees from both domestic and international spheres, including the Buddhist delegation from South Korea.