Ven. Sobitha Thera: The first ordinary citizen to be given state funeral — Ranil

Published : 7:12 am  November 13, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (329) reads | 

By Sandun A Jayasekera
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at yesterday’s funeral of the Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera said the Thera was the first ordinary citizen to be given a state funeral.   Speaking at the funeral ceremony at the Parliament Grounds, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the late Thera was not a politician, Nayaka Thera of a Nikaya, Trade Union leader nor the head of any religion in the country.

“Why he was give such honour? He was loved and respected by all Sri Lankans regarless of their ethnicity, religion or social status. It is because he was a member of the Sangha and a follower of the Lord Buddha. He took much pains to create a better and just society and give people solace and happiness for more than four decades,” he said.  

Premier Wickremesinghe said the good works of the late prelate were not restricted to words alone. He had fought boldly and tirelessly to bring about an era that maintained the rule of law and to create a decent and just society and to safeguard the sovereignty of the people. He gave the leadership to the masses and came forward to protect those ideals under trying conditions.  He said the Thera believed that we must create a just  society in Sri Lanka that treated all its citizens equally like those in the US, Australia and Europe.

His thinking had an impact on all Sri Lankans. His positive and noble approach at a difficult time in the country was able unite all Sri Lankans to work towards a common cause which succeeded in the end. He led this national campaign without a slightest concern for his health and this ultimately led to his untimely demise.  He said the Ven. Thera, before he left for Singapore, had spoken with him for more than an hour from his sick bed, and discussed how they could expedite the journey to a just society and good governance.

 “But, he left us before we fully attained those noble goals. It is the duty, commitment and responsibility of all of us to create the country and the society the late Thera wished for. That is the greatest tribute we could pay him,” he said.