Government seeks guidance from Maha Sangha to face socio-economic challenges – GL

The advice, guidance and blessings of the Maha Sangha was needed by the government to address the enormous political, social and economic challenges that need to be faced when establishing peace following the conclusion of the war, said Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G. L. Peiris. He also said that the Mahinda Chintana envisaged that monetary gains alone were not important when attempting to establish an orderly and value based society.

The Minister was speaking at a Sangha Conference organized by him to brief the chief prelates of the temples of the Western Province, Zone 2 sector, on the work related to the elections and other government activities. Zone 2 comprises the electorates of Moratuwa, Ratmalana, Dehiwala Kotte and Kesbewa.

The conference was held at the Sunethra Devi Pirivena in Pepiliyana under the patronage of Prof. Kamburugamuwe Vajira, Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University. A large number of Chief Incumbents of temples, Nayake theras and Ministers participated.

Prof. Peiris said the country was facing many challenges at present. "We are strong enough to meet these challenges. At a time when peace was being established while the war was about to be concluded, the President has taken steps to bring about a spiritual renovation in addition to material progress, as envisaged in Mahinda Chintana.The government was not concentrating only on earning more and moremoney. The "Mathata Thita" programme was discouraging alcohol and tobacco use, which had brought a large revenue to the government coffers. In addition, initiatives such as development of dhamma schools, supporting temples without facilities and giving appointments to prelates as JPs had been done to revive the religious spirit."

The Minister also said that obtaining advice, guidance and blessings of the Maha Sangha when initiating any important activity was an ancient tradition. This conference was in respect of this tradition.

Prof. Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera, the Chairman of the All Ceylon Prelates Association (Samastha Lanka Pavidi Sammelanaya) and Chancellor of the Sabaragamuwa University said that the foreign agents based here had not been able to show that the humanitarian operations carried out by our heroic soldiers to free the innocent Tamil civilians were inadequate. He said, "our friendship, brotherhood and generosity should be shown to the Tamil people who, for a long period had been bred in an atmosphere to hate Sinhala people."

Vajira Thera said the President and the government would face the immense task of developing the North and the East after the conclusion of the war and that the support and blessings of the Sangha would be with them for this endeavour.

The Secretary of the All Ceylon Prelates Association (Samastha Lanka Pavidi Sammelanaya) and Presidential Advisor Watinapaha Somananda Thera said that it was important to work to gain the confidence of the hundreds of thousands living in the Wanni who were coming to the areas controlled by the security forces. He also stated that the President, while winning the war should provide necessary facilities to the people of the north, and also build a bridge of friendship between the peoples of the north and the south as soon as possible.

Minister of Health Protection and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva and several other bhikkus, also spoke.

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