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Mahanayakes join anti-casino campaign

2013 Dec 06

Venerable Mahanayakes of the three nikayas have urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa in writing to take all measures possible to stop casinos, gambling and gaming from being further promoted or halt such businesses completely. They have pointed out that this is the wish of the religious leaders as well as several hundreds of thousands of righteous people in the country, who are opposed to the proposed casino ventures, and any action taken by the President to halt such ventures will be most salutary and a boon not only to the people, but also to the government.



In a letter dated 2 December, addressed to the President, Ven. Mahanayake Theras, while emphasizing on the aforementioned facts, have invoked the full blessings of the triple gem and the Sacred Tooth Relic on the President.



The letter, written in Sinhala under the signatures of Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya, Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sumangala Thera, Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya, Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Thera, Mahanayake of the Amarapura Nikaya, Most Ven. Davuldena Gnanissara Thera and Mahanayake of the Ramanna Nikaya, Most Ven. Napana Premasiri Thera, reads: "If any man gets addicted to womanizing, liquor or gambling, it marks the beginning of his end."



In the letter, Ven. Theras have also pointed out that the Buddha had taught how to enjoy the pleasures of the material world and also about material pleasures, and through his preaching and panchaseela precepts, it can be learnt how the present administration and economic systems should be run.



"Our country was considered the most blessed because of our intelligence even though we are poor. Not because of the unintelligent wealthy. No matter the amount of wealth, there is no wealth to match the wisdom, as revealed in the Ummagga Jathaka. Wisdom is established only when virtues accrue. Without virtues wisdom cannot flourish.



"What purpose is served by corrupting the cherished moral values of many hundreds of thousands of people and sacrificing their future only to provide employment to about 4,000 people and just to accumulate wealth? What is the development that can be achieved in a country that is making money out of the vice of gambling? These questions shall be addressed intelligently. The eagerness to promote foreign tourism and thereby developing the country should not outrun the sacredness of our Buddhist precepts. The threat it poses to the pious lives of every religious person is no small matter. Hence, we who have learnt a lesson from the past must formulate an economic policy that will allow us to embark on development that is built on the cornerstones of material and spiritual values. Now the time has come for that step to be taken. After taking stock of ourselves, let us look into the past and make sure we are moving in the right direction.



"By trying to please only the eyes, ears and noses of the people through development, the floodgate for murders, robberies, rapes and bribery will only be opened widely, and that is absolutely sure and there is no doubt about it. Hence, the benefit that can accrue to the country by the development should be reviewed and reconsidered.

"The greed stemming from the assumption that money will flood into our motherland because of foreign countries, will not only pave the way for the destruction of our religious values, wasting the time and wealth of our people, but also be the cause of devastation of families with children.



"It is well to understand intelligently, as the foreigners destroy the country, addiction to heroin, liquor and illicit sexual activities will increase. It should therefore be intelligently assessed, what disruption to our society can follow and the destruction that can befall this country if casino business is introduced. It is therefore our perception that by going against the panchaseela precepts, the whole country is going to be plunged into a grave disaster."


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