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POSTED AT 09:19 AM 07-01-2019

President to seek UN assistance to help make Tripitaka a World Heritage

Tripitaka declared National Heritage

The proclamation of the Tripitaka as a National Heritage took place at a ceremony at the Aluviharaya in Matale under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday. Pictures by Sudath Silva

President Maithripala Sirisena who declared the Sacred Tripitaka of Theravada Buddhism as a National Heritage on Saturday, said he would request the assistance of the United Nations General Secretary to get it recognised as a World Heritage by UNESCO.

The President was addressing the National Ceremony to mark the declaration of the Tripitaka as a National Heritage held at Aluviharaya in Matale.

The President said the Venerable Maha Sangha offered him counsel and made several requests in the past to make this a reality.

On September 13, 2018, they submitted a Cabinet memorandum recommending that the Tripitaka be declared a National Heritage. While it gave him personal satisfaction, he considered it as a great merit to have been able accomplish this task during his tenure of office as President.

The President said the Tripitaka gifted to Sri Lanka during the advent of Arahat Mahinda Thera was protected by the Sri Lankan Sangha generation by oral tradition until its was transcripted on Ola leaves at Aluvihare in the 1st century BC during the reign of King Walagamba. It is considered the oldest book in Sri Lanka. During the 2500th Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi celebrations held in 1956, it was edited and published as a complete book under a programme held under the patronage of late Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Nayake Thera and Editorial Board headed by late Ven. Labugama Lankananda Nayake Thera.

The President said during the first Dharama Sanghayana the Dhamma taught by the Buddha during his 45-year life time was decided into three sections Vinaya, Sutta, and Abhidharma. After the demise of the Buddha his Dhamma was protected by his followers by using a systematic programme.

“The Tripitaka is the only source which helps a person to identify the true and complete form and nature of the pristine Buddha Dhamma,” the President added.

The President said the declaration of the Tripitaka as a National Heritage would also offer it a legal basis and protection preventing any disastrous by interested parties.

Here after only a prominent intellectual panel would be allowed to translate or edit the Tripitaka.

The President said on behalf of the government and in his personal behalf he wished to thanks every one who helped in this endeavour of declaring the Tripitaka as a national heritage including the Maha Sangha who offered blessings and guidance, the Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Buddhasasna Ministry of Cultural Affairs and all other institutions.

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