Sri Lanka must declare itself a Buddhist State with Buddhism as State Religion
Before anyone takes out all the denigrative words & phrases in the dictionary, it would be wiser for them to check out where a God is officially referred in the Constitutions of other states that have a shorter history than Sri Lanka. “In the name of God the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit” has been used in legal documents in the Western world & continue to do so. All Treaties began with an invocation of God. The Federal Constitutions of the US all use “year of our Lord” & reference to God as Almighty. Likewise all of the majority Muslim nations too make no apologies when declaring their supreme is Allah. Why is it wrong for only Sri Lanka not to seal its Buddhist heritage that is far longer than the West or Muslim nations.
God is mentioned in the Constitutions of the following countries:
Algeria, Antigua & Barbuda (Supremacy of God”), Albania (“faith in God”), Australia (“blessings of the Almighty God”), Argentina (“invoking the protection of God”), Bahamas (“respect for Christian values” “Supremacy of God”), Brazil (“Protectiono f God”), Canada (“Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God”), Cook Islands (“name of God, the Almighty”), Fiji (“blessings of God”), Georgia (“proclaim this Constitution before God”), Germany (“responsibility before God”), Greece (“name of the Holy & Consubstantinal”), Hungary (“role of Christianity in preserving nationhood”), Indonesia (“grace of God Almighty”), Liberia (“gratitude to God for our existence”), Madagascar (“belief in God the creator”), Nicaragua (“belief in God”), Norway (“our values remain from our Christian & humanist heritage”), Papua New Guinea (“Christian principles… under the guiding hand of God”), Paraguay (“pleading to God”), Peru (“invoking Almighty God”), Poland (“believe in God”), Russia (“belief in God”), Rwanda (“trusting in God Almighty”), Samoa (“is a Christian nation”), South Africa (“May God protect our people”), Sweden (“Grace of God Almighty”), Switzerland (“in the name of Almighty God”), Ukraine (“our responsibility before God”), Vanuatu (“faith in God & Christian principles”), Venezuela (“invoking protection of God”),
The Irish Constitution invokes God & Jesus in its Preamble & is cited in Supreme Court rulings too. Canada too mentions God in the preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.
Bahrain (“in the name of God”), Bangladesh (“in the name of Allah”), Iran (“Islamic Republic”), Kuwait (“in the name of Allah”), Mauritiana (“Omnipotence of Allah”), Pakistan (“sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah”), Philippines (“Almighty God”), Tunisia (“in the name of God”)
There are 46 majority Muslim countries of which 23 declare Islam as State religion in their constitutions. Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The official motto of US is “In God we trust” since 1956. It appears on all US currency. US is a created country alienating & discriminating those that lived on that land for centuries. Yet, a 2003 poll by US Today/CNN/Gallup claim 90% Americans support inscription “In God we Trust”. Govt institution also display it. It appears above the rostrum of the Speaker in the House of Representatives. It is now mandatory in public schools even at State level. Inspite of objections, the US highest court continues to uphold the constitutionality of the phrase “in God we trust”. The US likes to show the world it is “secular” but when God we trust is on all currency & mandatory on public places – how can it be called secular simply because the word God is not mentioned in the Constitution. Official holidays are all Christian.
In UK – oath taking phrase is “I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God” – even non-Christians have to declare this oath!
Anyone arguing Sri Lanka should not be a Buddhist nation must first explain why it is ok for the above nations to be Christian/Islamic !
The irony is that the very nations that promote the new façade of “multiculturalism” have entrenched Christianity/Islam as their State religion but present the notion that they are “secular” and use their media to fool the world. It is without a doubt, these states give prominence to Christianity/Islam while other faiths do not enjoy privileges anywhere near those that the non-Buddhists enjoy in Sri Lanka.
The current Israeli-Palestinian issue has brought out the hypocrisies of the countries that promote “secularism” “multiculturalism” “human rights” – all are simply in voice claiming to “stand with Israel”. The question is not about who is right or wrong, but when we know innocent people on both sides are dying & suffering, how wrong is it for the powerful western nations to claim to side with just one party! This incident has exposed them badly and strengthens Sri Lanka’s case.
Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage is not a religion, it’s not even a philosophy, essentially there is no proper word suited to describe the doctrines that Buddha covered in his teachings – he was the world’s first psychologist, the world’s first doctor, the world’s first teacher, the world’s first economist and many more. All that the western world claims to have “invented” was spoken about by Buddha first. This was why his teachings spread to all corners of the world without a need for any sword or forced conversions. It was after forced conversions that humanity began to decline.
It was during the times where people lived by Buddha’s principles that our civilization thrived with great marvels, great leaders with humane & compassionate people. Today, we are living in a capitalist materialistic world where only the fittest can survive. No one cares about the weaker, in fact depopulation agendas specifically target the old, the weak & the poor. Humans have become plagued with barbarian mindsets. These are times that Buddha’s discourses and thoughts provide self-salvation & these are reasons why many across the western world are embracing Buddha, realizing they do not require to convert or pay tithe. There is a path that they are welcome to follow and that path has no discrimination, no agendas. Buddhism is not about simply rituals or ceremonies. Of course the Sinhala civilization that adopted Buddhism merged customs & rituals. Yet, the social contract of “pansil” taken by all Buddhists in the morning & evening is the most powerful contract & to be regarded as possessing a far greater role than any piece of paper that declares laws & regulations. The social contract of pansil pledges people in thought & deed and this is what needs to be harnessed extending thereafter to other realms. It is this key factor that is being subtly targeted by tapping weak Buddhists to destroy Buddhism from within & funding external entities to equally destroy Buddhism in a two-prone attack. Why are there so many well-funded initiatives against Buddhism/Buddhists & Buddhist clergy? It is because those that fund them see Buddhism as a threat & wish to nullify this using our own & whatever methods possible (cartoons/trumped up allegations/calculated framing etc).
Nevertheless, when nations that distanced itself from Buddhism is now using it as a soft power diplomatic tool, the power of what is inherent in Buddhism cannot & should not be erased by any new constitution or foreign funded initiatives.
If Buddhism was state religion prior to invader rule & lasted well over 2500 years, even followed by South Indian invaders during their rule, while even the 3 western colonial rulers also accepted its place, shouldn’t the bhoomiputhrayos seal Buddhism as State Religion of Sri Lanka? They most certainly, should!
Shenali D Waduge