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Amendment is an urgent need

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Amending the Buddhist Temporalities Act:

The approval of the Cabinet has been granted to amend the Buddhist Temporalities Act to suit the present and to draft the Theravada Monk Discourse Bill. The Government presented this proposal and the Maha Sangha commented on the amendment of these 91-year-old Acts.

Venerable Narampanawe Dhammarathana Thera:

Amending the Buddhist Temporalities Act is an urgent need. For anything to exist, it must change over time. Since the Buddha Sasana was shaped over time, the possibility of decline was minimized by holding the Dhamma Sangayana that existed until now.

In the amendment of the Buddhist Temporalities Act, Mahanayake Theras should have judicial powers regarding the handling of the sects. Political membership and candidacy for monks should be suspended. The powers of Chief Incumbents of temples should be restricted. Once Chief Incumbents pass away, all student monks should be given equal rights. There should be room for the most suitable among them to be selected. If not, one arbitrary monk become Chief is a practical situation, where other disciples discard robes is apparent. One monk should be the Chief Incumbent of only one temple. If they become Chief of a main temple, they have to assign the post of Chief Incumbent to a monk of the temple generation. Such places where amendments should take place should be checked and something meaningful should be done.


Venerable Walawahengunawewe Dhammarathana Thera:

It is a good thing to amend the Buddhist Temporalities Act. However, the Mahanayakes of the three sects as well as the Maha Sangha of the entire island should be made aware of the amendments first. It is only after that, that a dialogue should be formed.

As the Maha Sangha we do not know what type of amendments are being done to the Buddhist Temporalities Act. We are unable to say whether the manner in how a Diyawadana Nilame is appointed will be done differently or not. The Chief Prelates and the main Maha Sangha should definitely be informed regarding amendments.


Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thera:

There is no harm in amending the Buddhist Temporalities Act. However, we have to see it, which is the first thing. The second thing is that one cannot simply hold on to just one branch of the tree, which is the Sambuddha Sasana only. I am actually not in favour of even Clause 9 of the Constitution, because what is said

in there is, that Buddhism will be nourished and safeguarded while priority is granted; has it been properly defined? That is only one thing. There are many problems and I am not actually in agreement with holding on to one branch of the tree (Sasana) only. Also why are people getting worked up so much over Buddhism, these days?

(Story and Photographs by Hidogama Group Cor. Chithraratne Kaluarachchi)

Thursday, December 1, 2022 – 01:00

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