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Sunday, 24 April 2011

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"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him." - The Buddha

Sambuddhathva Jayanthi:

Improving moral behaviour


This is not just a celebration.
The Sambuddhathva Jayanthi could bring about an enduring improvement in social and moral behaviour.
 

The 2600th anniversary of Buddha's Enlightment - the 2600th Sambuddhathva Jayanthi will be observed in May and which will be marked by a series of events to be held throughout the island.

The Sambuddhathva Jayanthi organising committee under the Ministry of Religious and Moral Uplift says a number of program have been finalised to mark this anniversary. The main religious ceremony will be held on Vesak Poya day at the Anuradhapura sacred city.

A large number of devotees will observe sil on that day. A religious program will be held in temples and Buddhist centres throughout the island.

A well-planned program of work has been prepared, incorporating activities both at religious and secular levels as well as at individual and social levels. Priority is being given to changing human behaviours as is expected in the Buddha's teachings. The Steering Committee of the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Secretariat highlights a three year plan of action be initiated together by the Maha Sanga, the Government and the public under the guidance of the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Theras of the three Nikayas.

For the Government, the commemoration program of the 2500th Buddha Jayanthi provides an exemplary precedence for this effort. "Preparations for the celebration of the 2500th Buddha Jayanthi commenced in 1944 reaching an apogee in 1955.

The population of Sri Lanka in 1944 was 6,276,000 and according to police reports, the number of crimes recorded during that year was 34,623. The population rose to 8,589,000 in 1955, but the number of crimes did not rise with the increase of population, and in fact, the number went down to 18,163.

In 1944, there were 617 homicides. In 1955 , it had come down to 466. This proves that a religious reawakening could diminish crime and enhance moral behaviour in our society," States the secretariat.

This is not just a celebration. The Sambuddhathva Jayanthi could bring about an enduring improvement in social and moral behaviour.

This would be a more dynamic process to prevent any further decline of social and moral values. There should be a Buddhist reawakening in the country entered round all temples.

As appropriate , relationships between the laity and the Sangha need to be affirmed for enhancing confide fence in the Buddha , Dhamma and the Sangha, morality, generosity and wisdom. Religious activities in schools should be designed in a manner to infuse greater discipline among school-going children.

This event would be a golden opportunity to bring unity among all Buddhists in the world; to gain an insight into the problems the Buddhists are facing in the practice of their religion, and also economically , socially, and morally; to find solutions to these problems; and in general to make Buddhist thoughts and the Buddhist way of life a living reality.

The human development process or the moral regeneration of our society that will commence in view of the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi should continue far beyond 2011 so that the world at large could gain lasting benefits.

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him." - Buddha


Sambuddhathva Jayanthi programs

The government has taken steps to allocate Rs. 130,000 to 2,600 underdeveloped Dhamma schools in the country this month to mark the 2600 Sambuddhathva Jayanthi. According to the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs, Chandra Prema Gamage the schools have been identified already by the Department of Buddhist Affairs with the assistance of the Divisional Secretaries in 20 districts including Ampara, Vavuniya and Trincomalee.

The Department has already obtained the approval of the Sasanarakshaka Balamandala Secretary Theras, and the identified Dhamma schools will be provided funds to improve facilities such as the provision of desks and chairs for these schools.

The Department hopes to utilise the services of the people of the area to make the Dhamma school upgrading program a success.

Meanwhile, the National Heritage Ministry plans to commemorate the 2600 Sambuddhathva Jayanthi by holding an archaeological exhibition under the guidance of National Heritage Minister, Dr. Jagath Balasuriya. The exhibition which will highlight the expansion of Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka and the contribution made by Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism throughout the world is scheduled to be held at the BMICH from May 21 - 28. The Ministry also plans to display the sacred relics of the Buddha which have been brought from Ghandhara.

Plans are also being made to launch mobile archaeological exhibitions at school level throughout the country with an aim of creating an awareness of the rich Buddhist heritage of the country among schoolchildren.

The renovation of the Mahamevna Park at Anuradhapura, Neelagiri Seya and Digawapi Seya are also to be carried out under this programme.

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