Secularism and Constitution  

Secularism and Constitution  

“Many things can be achieved by appointing the right person at the right place. Capable persons should be appointed irrespective of religious differences, If true Dhamma is practised, this will eventually lead the way to good governance in our country.” 

– Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera 

Today is Nikini Full moon; Lets resolve to make Sri Lanka a secular state with Dhamma which does not belong to any religion, occupying the Foremost Place  

 The concept of secularism makes a state officially neutral on themes of religion, it does not support a particular religion or religions. A secular state treats all its citizens equally in spite of their religious affiliations, and avoids favoured treatment for an inhabitant from a given religion over other religions. A Secular state does not have an established religion.  

The present Constitution of Sri Lanka makes ‘Protecting and upholding Buddhism, foremost place for Buddhism, while being open to other religions’, as stated is the responsibility of the Government. A country being secular does not mean the people are not religious. Though the people can be religious, the country neither supports nor go against any religious practices. The state respects the citizen’s choice of following any religion. A Secular Society they say, is based on science, freedom of inquiry, reason and humanist morals, but Principles of Dhamma covers all such phenomena. Our goal should be not to foster, not encourage partisan politics or divisions; as Dhamma does not believe in such divisions. We divide the humanity into various classes castes, races and communities and make them realize from the tender age that they belong to such and such caste, race, religion and nationality; initially, we inculcate the concept of divisions into the young minds; and subsequently make a futile attempt to instil a false or an artificial idea of cohabitation, reconciliation, compromise, reunion and unity-in-diversity. Every man creates an image of himself based on the teachings of society and parents in his mind. He believes this image is actually he, and he will kill and die for it.  

Craving of the Ego  

Since birth people are trained to see themselves as special, they are confident to believe superior to those who do not belong to the same background, language, religion, culture and country. As long as they see themselves different from one another, the craving of the ego expands even more. But that is all a pretence, an illusion generating a division between humankind to make them believe in the unreal enemy. If most people have confidence in a creator who created this universe, then how can anyone question the importance of creation? Your feelings towards others who do not belong to your clan become negative without proof or validity.

They can use your hatred to help them with their hostility towards these men, while both you and the hated people become victims of manipulations for somebody else’s achievements. Blinded by your antagonism you believed them and became filled with revulsion towards the innocent factions; while the provokers are gaining your trust to use you for further violence towards the group.  Don’t allow yourself to be used, reject the illusion that you must hate to endure, and take on the reality of human love, and sympathy to all that live. 

 The Ten Royal Qualities (Dasa Raja Dharma)   

The exalted nature or the importance of the ten qualities and its relevance and necessity for implementation makes Dasa Raja Dharma an everlasting apparatus in good-governance. Now in our process of learning through numerous educational institutions, professional institutions and through on-the-job training process we come to acquire certain perceptions and certain skills about leadership and the attainment of objectives. Such learning has its relevance, but it also has its limitation. Being learned is a necessary condition for the fulfilment of objectives for a leader. However, learning is only a proximate cause for the realisation of those objectives.  

Very often we discover, in spite of education, learning and training that results don’t match our expectation. Every so often the outcomes end up in failure. This is due to, in spite of great effort and concentration, little attention being paid to the realisation of certain essential root causes. These ten qualities, the foundation on which to build up, the guidance to path that goes to make up those original conditions. If the foundation is weak the results, will not be in harmony with one’s anticipations. The Dhamma identifies ten principles of good governance as follows: dâna, sîla, pariccâga, ajjava, maddava, tapa, akkodha, avihimsâ, khanti, avirodha. The meanings of the ten dharma are-  

Dâna – Giving  

The practice of generosity, charity and sharing. The basic needs of the people have to be provided by the government under this principle.  

 Sîla – Moral integrity  

This indicates the moral liability of the government. The rulers’ righteous conduct paves the way for to right progress of the entire nation. All development projects rest on the morality and integrity of the rulers.   

 Pariccâga – Philanthropy  

Sacrifice of personal pleasure and comfort and of personal assets for the benefit of the country are contemplated in this principle.  

 Ajjava – Uprightness  

The rulers should desist from deception, false pledges and all types of pretension. They must be genuine and Transparent according to what they say.  
 Maddava – Gentleness  

The rulers must be sympathetic and kind, soft, tender and approachable. This is the principle which says the ‘rulers are not masters but the servants of the people’, be observed.  

 Tapa – Self-control  

Self-indulgence and luxurious living are banned for the rulers. Moderate living is taken into account here. It is not the rulers but the people who should enjoy the results of good governance.  

 Akkodha – Absence of anger  

They should be free from taking revenge. Never act and speak with resentment in public. Abstinence is what is expected from them.   

 Avihimsâ – Non-violence  

The promoting of peace comes within the scope responsibility. Refraining from harassing others and abusing powers to harass others.   

Khanti – Patience  

They should maintain a good temperament, show qualities of forbearance, patience, and understanding. They are not to be annoyed, instigated and deceived by any word or action of friends or foes. They should expect criticism with equanimity.  

Avirodha – Absence of obstruction -the will of the people should be respected at all times. 
The opposition should not be suppressed. Confrontational attitudes and policies are to be done away with. They must always strive for amity, unity and concord.  

Lichchhavis – ‘Meeting peacefully, Discussing peacefully and Dispersing peacefully’  

The UNP-led alliance’s election manifesto was released on July 23, 2015 at Vihara Maha Devi Park. At its end PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s message says:  

‘The system of government we hereby envisage must be one that is acceptable to all. It is our view that it is most befitting at this stage to take into account what Lord Buddha had stated in relation to a State administration. During the period of Lord Buddha , Nepal Terai zone, and the river bank of the Ganges were ruled by the Lichchavi King lineage. This can be regarded as an ancient kingdom which administered the State through dialogue and consensus. Some of the policies of this Kingdom incorporated the disciplinary laws of the Sangha members. Lord Buddha stated, during the reign of Wajjin rulers their prosperity and consistency were due to State administration via dialogue and consensus. This truth is still tenable and valid.’  

 The Lichchhavis, are a people of Northern India settled in 6th–5th century BC, on the north bank of the Ganges in what is now called Bihar. Licchavis were famous for their republican government, which had a ‘Parliament’ of the heads of the leading Kshatriyas. They were, for a long time the rising power of Magadha, forming a confederacy with many other groups. Vaishali was the capital of the Licchavis, world’s first Republic, in the Vajjian Confederacy. Known as ‘Ganaraja’ the chief representative was elected by the people. The king acted on the advice and the consent of the Ganaraja in governing the country. The concept of unanimity was among the Lichchavis of Vaishali, where they took decisions on any big issue after consultation and compromise. The enemies of Lichchavi’s were afraid of them because of this spirit of unanimity. Once, Ajathashathu, who was the King of Magadha thought of invading the Lichchavi state. He however wanted to seek the advice of the Buddha.  

“Ajasathu, no one can touch the hair of a Lichchavi so long as they meet together regularly, take unanimous decisions, exchange views cordially, do not breach laws, admire the words of the elders, honour the female members, attend religious worship and honour their saints.” Ajathashathu gave up his ambitions.

About editor 3017 Articles
Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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