In his message for Poson Poya which marks the introduction of Buddhism to the island nation by Emperor Ashoka’s son, Prince Mahinda, in 250 BC, the Prime Minister said.
“No invasion has taken place in history to propagate Buddhism. Buddhism has a unique place among religions and philosophies because it creates a conducive environment for co-existence by respecting other religions and cultures. However, in today’s world, this noble teaching based on compassion and non-violence, has been challenged by extremist, short-sighted and violent acts. This is regretful.”
“It is our responsibility to change this situation. Let us enrich our lives spiritually, not materially, and co-exist, respecting other religions and cultures,” Wickremesinghe said.
Reasons For Concern
The Prime Minister’s concern stems from the fact that Buddhism has become a tool in the hands of Lankan politicians to whip up national jingoism and anti-minority communal sentiments for narrow political gain. A universalistic religion has been made to serve partisan ends with every political party having monks in its ranks to help score points in competitive communal politics.
Buddhist communalism and its offshoot, Tamil radical sub-nationalism, tore Lanka apart through war and terrorism over a 30 year period.(New Indian Express)