Published : 8:19 am  July 11, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (414) reads | 

Untitled-2BY YOHAN PERERA The government will amend the Pirivena Education Act in order to address the issues faced by the pirivenas (or Buddhist learning centres), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the tenth anniversary celebrations of Bodhirajarama Temple in Lunawa, Moratuwa, he said the government had requested the Mahanayake Theras, other eminent Buddhist monks and the Ministries of Education and Buddha Sasana to discuss the issues faced by the pirivenas and to submit a report to the government so that action could be initiated. “President Maithripala Sirisena, the Minister of Buddha Sasana and I had had an opportunity to have a discussion with the most venerable Mahanayake Theras and other monks on pirivena education and we have requested the monks and the minister to provide a report on the current issues faced by the pirivenas.

The government can use this report to amend the Pirivena Education Act,” he said. He said the Act was introduced in 1979 by the then Minister of Education to address the issues faced by the pirivenas. He said the issues faced by the pirivenas were different then, as the main issue was the lack of funds to develop them as most of the private sector businesses which were assisting them had been acquired by the earlier governments. But today there are many private institutions which assist pirivenas. Today’s issues are complex as there are matters with regard to the dhamma, and the curriculum at pirivenas have to be revived. “We cannot sustain pirivena education if these issues are not resolved,” he said.

He said an international Vesak festival would be held in Sri Lanka next year and that the Minister of Buddha Sasana Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe had had discussions with the relevant bodies on the matter. He said there were plans to set up a joint body of countries in Asia where Theravada Buddhism is practised (such as Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka) to organise and spread the religion. He said the government had asked the Madhya Pradesh state authorities for a land near a historic Buddhist shrine in Sanchi to set up a Theravada Buddhist pirivena. “The government will not forget its duty to safeguard Buddhism and will focus on it amidst other important activities,” he said.