– Shenali D Waduge –
The Prime Minister of Thailand arrives in Sri Lanka on May 31, 2013 to mark the anniversary of a highly significant Buddhist event. Her arrival is to promote Buddhism and commemorate the Buddhist links between the two nations. Given the nature of her visit it is questionable why the Minister and Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs have excluded ALL the renowned Buddhist Organizations most of whom have direct links with Thailand and who are patronized by the Thai King himself.
While including as invites all and sundry the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry has left out sending invites to the Regional Centers of the World Fellowship of Buddhists led by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, World Fellowship of Buddhists-SL Branch, German Dharmadutta Society, SUCCESS Sri Lanka (Jayagrahanaya), and other leading Buddhist organizations like Dharmavijaya Foundation and YMBA.
The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) is given patronage by the Government of Thailand and its main office is currently situated in Bangkok and has special patronage of H.E. the King of Thailand and the patron of the WFB is a relative of the King of Thailand. Even the Thai Prime Minister and the local Thai Embassy officials will also wonder why key lay Buddhist Organizations are not part of the invitees and may read their absence differently – so is there a hidden agenda?
These Sri Lankan Buddhist Organizations have every right to have an audience with the Thai Prime Minister to discuss matters concerning the challenges to Buddhism both locally and internationally, but the question is why have these local heads being deliberately left out.
This is not how the External Affairs Ministry, its Minister and its Secretary should follow protocol. Should we be surprised that when proper protocols are not followed and the voice of the Buddhists is disregarded that the country had to witness a self-immolation of a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka whose appeals were ignored and led him to sacrifice his life for a noble cause while his other brother joined a long list of soldiers (Ranaviru) who defended and died and thereby sacrificed his life on behalf of the Sri Lankan nation. The country is morally indebted to this patriotic family.
The External Affairs Ministry need to correct this “mistake” forthwith and extend invitations to the heads of these Buddhist organizations as guests alongside the preferred list that has been already been prepared and sent.
The Buddhist public asks for no less.