Sinhala Buddhist monks from leading chapters met with Sri Lanka’s president this week to signal their approval of his governance so far and blamed the previous regime for the economic crisis the island faces.
“Nayaka Theros of all three Chapters said that they approve the conduct of the President and the Government,” said an official presidential press release.
The monks also “unanimously agreed with the decision not to convene the dissolved legislature”, claiming that the country “should not be put in jeopardy by reconvening the old Parliament”.
“Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thero said the previous Parliament should take the responsibility for the current financial crisis in the country,” the press release added.
Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, an accused war criminal, also announced that he will hold monthly meetings with the senior Buddhist clergy “and expressed his anticipation of "blessings and guidance of Maha Sangha as he stated in front of Ruwanweli Seya and during the assumption of office”.
Sri Lanka’s Sinhala Buddhist monks have a long and powerful history of influence over the state. As Rajapaksa was inaugurated last year, he vowed to lead the government based on “Buddhist philosophy” and paid tribute to his Sinhalese voters, as he took up the office of president in an overtly religious Buddhist ceremony in Anuradhapura.