From left: Ven. Kotapola Amarakiththi Thero, Ven. Dr. Akuretiye Nanda Thero, Ven. Akmeemana Dhammapala Thero and Ven. Makulewe Sudassana Thero
By Nuwan Senarathna
The Government has declared the week from 16-23 March as the ‘Tripitakabhawindana’, with the aim of getting the Tripitaka volumes declared as a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage document.
During this week period, special programs will be conducted at all Buddhist temples and Dhamma schools around the country. Addressing the media in Colombo on Thursday, Ven. Dr. Akuratiye Nanda Thero said on 23 March, a national festival will be conducted with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena at Maha Maluwa of the Dalada Maligawa with the participation of 5,000 Buddhist monks from all parts of the island.
“On 23 March, we expect to submit a request letter to UNESCO representatives seeking World Heritage recognition to the Tripitakaya,” he added.
Nanda Thero pointed out this move is the best initiative taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to preserve the valuable teachings of Lord Buddha for the next generation. He noted the Tripitaka was symbolic of the rich history of the country that was enriched by Buddhism, which was passed from India during Emperor Ashoka.
The Tripitaka was declared as a National Heritage on 5 January by President Sirisena at the historic Aluviharaya temple in Matale with the blessing of the Maha Sanga. During the ceremony, President Sirisena expressed his intention to declare the Tripitaka as a World Heritage.
Addressing the celebration, the President stated that Tripitaka would be protected from misuse and will not be issued without approval from the Government. He noted the Tripitaka can only be translated or edited by a statutory academic council to prevent any attempt to damage or distort the Tripitaka.
Pic by Ruwan Walpola