President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says the Sacred Tooth Relic protected our Motherland and its people right throughout.
We pay homage to the most Sacred Tooth Relic the same way we venerate the Buddha said the President adding that we are obliged to pay our veneration to the most sacred Tooth Relic in accordance with our ancient customs.
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President made these remarks at the ceremony to announce the successful completion of the Dalada Perahera in Kandy today (4).
In keeping with the traditional customs Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Dala Bandara presented the Sannasa (scroll) of the successful conclusion of Kandy Esala Perahara to the President.
President planted a Na sampling at the premises of the President’s House in Kandy to mark the occasion.
President posed for a group photo with Diyawadana Nilame, Basnayaka Nilames and officials who supported the conduct of Perahara.
Donations to Pitisara Devalas were handed over by the President.
The Governor of the Central Province Lalith U. Gamage presented a book titled “Poojaneeya Dalada Sanskruthiya” to the President.
Madam Ayoma Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, government officials and several other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Speech by His Excellency the President at the conclusion of Dalada Perahara
At President’s House, Kandy
Hon. Prime Minister,
Secretary to the President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the entire Buddhist fraternity of the country I warmly welcome, with due respect, the Diyawadana Nilame and Basnayaka Nilames of Sathara Devala and other Devalas who are present here today to inform the successful completion of Dalada Perahera conducted according to ancient customs and traditions.
We are obliged to pay our veneration to the most sacred Tooth Relic in accordance with our ancient customs. The annual Dalada Mangalyaya has been held successfully by adhering to health regulations.
I recall with gratitude the guidance and the blessings of the Maha Sangha including Maha Nayaka Thero of the Malwatta Chapter Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero, Maha Nayaka Thero of the Asgiri Chapter Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero and the Anu Nayaka Theros.
Today we all feel the joy of fulfilling a responsibility that has historically been entrusted upon us. The Sacred Tooth Relic is our most treasured jewel. We pay homage to the most Sacred Tooth Relic the same way we venerate the Buddha.
We preserved that ancient tradition by holding the 1700th Dalada Perahera festival. We carried forward this important tradition. We continued in the path taken by our ancient kings.
Hon. Prime Minister, Diyawadana Nilame, ladies and gentlemen,
Ever since the Sacred Tooth Relic brought to our country, we, as a nation committed to protect the relic. We protected the sacred tooth relic and venerated it continuously amidst numerous obstacles.
Despite various invasions and threats, we have a history of our Maha Sangha performing the respectful rituals to venerate the Sacred Tooth Relic, which we consider as the Living Buddha. When we go through that history we feel a great pride as well as an immense devotion and a sense of uniqueness in our affinity towards the most Sacred Tooth Relic.
We all acknowledge that blessing of the Sacred Relic to our Motherland and its people was more than we protect the Tooth Relic.
We consider the Sacred Tooth Relic as the most revered treasure in our country. When any calamity befalls on the nation or the people, we all think about the Sacred Relic. Our mothers seek the blessings of the Tooth Relic for their new born.
Since olden days, it has become a habit of ours to seek the blessings of Dalada Hamuduruwo when the country is in danger or in the face of an imminent threat.
The benefit of the Tooth Relic for more than two thousand years is a living experience of the people in this country. People still continue to pay their homage that commenced since the era of King Keerthi Sri Meghawarna. The righteous echo of veneration is being heard more and more, day by day, for the betterment of the country.
That is the miracle of Dalada Hamuduruwo. What we depict from holding processions in veneration of the Sacred Tooth Relic is that centuries-old tradition of ours.
Our country was fortunate to receive the Tooth Relic. None of the countries in the world where Buddhist live do not blessed with this treasure.
King Guhasiva told Price Dantha, the custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic to “take the Relic to the land of Sinhala where the devoted Buddhists live”.
According to legend, the phenomenon of Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka while facing many challenges, has been close to our hearts since our childhood.
When the history strokes its pen to tell the story of how a miracle occurred when the King Meghawarna received the Sacred Tooth Relic with utmost devotion, it had risen to the sky to prove its authenticity.
From that time onwards our ancient kings risked their lives to protect the Sacred Tooth Relic. The tooth relic became a symbol of status denoting the right to ascend the throne. A belief grew that whoever possessed the Sacred Tooth Relic had a divine right to rule that land.
They committed their lives to protect the Sacred Tooth Relic during the eras such as Kalinga Magha as well as during the invasions of Portuguese and the British. Even in times of famine the rituals performed by the monks for the Sacred Tooth Relic were not neglected.
The 1710th Kandy Esala Perahera also known as The Festival of the Tooth is written in the history of this country due to those great sacrifices of ours. At present, even we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot avoid rituals that are performed to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic. That is the expectation of the whole nation. I believe it is also a wish of the entire Buddhist world.
The people of this country expect from us a country that deserves for the blessings of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Only by building a disciplined country we can fulfill the aspirations of the people.
That is why we promised the people to build a virtuous society under the ten-fold programme of the ‘Saubhagyaye Dekma’. We need a society where social justice can be found anywhere in the society.
It is the hope and determination of all of us to see a tranquil and peaceful society in our country. I have appointed the Buddhist Advisory Council to provide guidance and extend blessing in this regard.
Mahanayake Thero, Anunayake Theros and the Maha Sanga visit the Presidential Secretariat on every 3rd Friday of the month to offer invaluable advice to guide Sri Lanka.
I have committed myself to follow these instructions in order to develop this country and preserve its unique heritage. It is one of the duties of my government to continue the generations-long tradition to facilitate the role of the Bhikkus.
The Perahera is one of the most precious cultural festivals. We have preserved the talents of local artistes as well as the art forms inherited from generation to generation since ancient times. The government is taking measures to protect as well as to promote this heritage.
In the recent past, giving of tame elephants for the Perahera festivals at temples and Devalayas has also become a problem. Such a situation will never occur in future. The government considers tame elephants as part of our culture and our heritage.
We appointed a Presidential Task Force to protect the relics in the Eastern province upon request by the Sanga. As the Theros rightly stated, 99% of our relics are of Buddhist heritage.
We have to accommodate both religious and archaeological value to them. The government is attempting to amend the Antiquities Ordinance to establish an acceptable ordinance for the country.
Not only that, we have already concluded the draft of the new National Education Policy. It had been a long-awaited change and a request by the experts in number of fields. We will heed to the recommendations of the Buddhist Advisory Council when forming national policies relating to other fields such as health and agriculture as well.
Any leader who will be elected to govern this country in the future will be able to move the country forward according to those policies. We have successfully comprehended the setback caused by the policy reformation with the change of each government.
During the past one month I have travelled across the country and met with members of different communities. As a result of this I was able to get a clear understanding regarding their needs. A clear title to the lands to prove ownership, land fit for agriculture, facilities to build a permanent house, National Schools for the benefit of the future of the children and demand for clear drinking water are among the requests of the public that should be fulfilled.
Unquestionably, I will fulfill these needs of the public.
To achieve this target, I am ready to appoint and work with a new cabinet consisting of competent newly elected MPs.
I will build a country that will prevent the recurrence of these issues.
Honorable Prime Minister, Diyawadana Nilame and other dignitaries
No country will move forward with inefficient public servants. A country without bribery and corruption will always achieve their development goals.
Moreover, we will not allow anti-social entities such as the underworld and drugs to destroy our society.
We need to properly comprehend our culture, integrity and heritage that go back to thousands of years. I believe the peaceful environment the temples, churches, mosques and kovilas create is invaluable.
I am bound to respect and venerate the Sacred Tooth Relic as the leader of this nation following the footsteps of our royalty in the past. I will not shirk my responsibility to continue the tradition of safeguarding peace, justice, law and order in the land which is blessed by the presence of the Sacred Toot Relic. It is my bounded duty as the leader of this country.
Therefore I am prepared to carry out duties I have been assigned by the Sacred Tooth Relic along with the other duties I have been entrusted with the government. Only if we preserve our pride and heritage, we could deliver a proud nation for our future generations.
We have revealed our vision through the government’s decisions since its assumption of duties. When we develop this country and breed exemplary citizens, when we secure national and religious co-existence our Sacred Tooth Relic will be immortalized for the generations to come.
May you all be blessed by the Sacred Tooth Relic.