Sri Lanka’s prime minister has once again reiterated his government’s pledge to “do more work” to protect Buddhism on the island, as talks over a new constitution continue.
Speaking at a Buddhist function in Colombo, Ranil Wickremesinghe said that “our work is to protect the teachings of the Buddha”.
“As a government we will do more work to protect Buddhism," he added.
He went on to state that there was no need for him to boast about his work in fostering Buddhism on the island. "Publicity is not needed to protect Buddha's dharma,” said Wickremesinghe. “Popularity is not a deciding factor to be a follower of Buddhism. That is the true Buddhism. No need to beat a drum claiming to be a Buddhist… Those who work for the benefit of Buddhism only prove their devotion through actions and not words."
Speaking explicitly on a new constitution for the island, which has been the subject of intense debate, Wickremesinghe added,
"These days there is a big crisis called a constitutional crisis demanding the foremost place for Buddhism in the Constitution. I would like to tell our Maha Sangha that Buddhism has the foremost place in Constitution and we should work towards it. We all should play a role in the development of Buddhism."
Proposals for a new constitution were slammed by Sinhala nationalists, including former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who oversaw a military offensive that massacred tens of thousands of Tamils. Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s president also said he was "not aware" of moves to bring about a new constitution for the island and warned “foreign forces” were operating on the island after meeting with Buddhist monks in Horana.