“I have the strength to endure such insults with equanimity”

January 2, 2022 at 9:28 PM

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been bestowed with the honorary title of “Sri Lankadheeshwara Padma Vibhushana” by the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha invoking the blessings of the Maha Sangha.

The Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha conferred this honorary title on President during a special religious ceremony organized at the Kotte Rajamaha Viharaya , today (02) symbolizing the need of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s leadership for the motherland as well as considering the unblemished past and present deeds of the President.

After reading the relevant Sannas Pathraya (scroll), the Mahanayake of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha Most Ven.Dr. Ittepane Dhammalankara Mahanayake Thero conferred the honorary title of “Sri Lankadheeshwara Padma Vibhushana” on President Rajapaksa.

The welcome address was delivered by the Deputy Registrar of the Sangha Sabha, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Ven. Prof. Neluwe Sumanawansa Thero.

The Chief Secretary of Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Maha Sangha Sabha, Head of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Peradeniya, Aggamahapanditha Most Ven. Prof. Kotapitiye Rahula Anunayake Thero delivering the main sermon, said that the blessings of the Maha Sangha will be conferred on the President to build the country properly managing the remaining three years as there is still more time left.

When there is a success, there are many people to share it. But when an attempt fails miserably, the blame falls on the leader himself. Most Ven. Prof. Kotapitiye Rahula Anunayake Thero said that this was a normal situation and wished the President strength to build the country in the future bravely while facing bitter experiences in politics.

Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha Mahanayaka Most Ven. Ittapana Dhammalankara Thero who conducted the main sermon said that the awarding of this blessed honorary title would add a great strength and power to the life of the President.

The Thero said that he would always ensure to give the blessings, strength and courage of the Maha Sangha to the President.

Full text of the speech made by His Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the ceremony to confer honorary title of “Sri Lankadheeshwara Padma Vibhushana” on President by the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha –January 02, 2022 

First I would like to mention that I humbly accept this honorary title bestowed on me today by Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha. I also believe that the blessings bestowed on me will be a great strength and encouragement for me to implement the future plans of the country successfully.

Furthermore, I highly appreciate the advice and guidance given to me, and I respectfully acknowledge it. I also consider that receiving those counsels as my good fortune.

On this occasion, I would like to specially mention the fact that I was born into a Buddhist family, the disciplines I received when I am studying at Ananda College, Colombo, one of the leading Buddhist schools in the country, the inspiration I received from following the advices of the Maha Sangha and the discipline I received from serving in the Army were the factors that made my life better.

Today the Maha Sangha bestowed on me an honorary title in recognition of my service towards the country as a military officer and Secretary of Defence.

During my twenty years of military service I had been involved in military operations carried out in the initial stages of the Eelam War and Second Eelam War as well as operations carried out in the North and East areas.

Before the arrival of the Indian Peace Keeping Force, I commanded one of the four brigades in the Vadamarachchi operation, the largest operation of the time.

At the outbreak of the Second Eelam War, I commanded one of the two main brigades to liberate Jaffna Fort. I carried out several operations in areas like Welioya, Vavuniya and Trincomalee. In recognition of those services I received the Ranashura and Ranawickrama medals and President’s Award.

The Maha Sangha fully aware of the service rendered by me directly as the Defence Secretary to the end of the thirty years of war.

On the day I was sworn-in as the country’s President at the Ruwanweli Seya, I declared that I was a President elected by the majority of Sinhalese.

I firmly believe that the protection of Sinhala Buddhists, who have made so many sacrifices to elect me as the first citizen of this country and that heritage is my foremost responsibility.

I must specially mention that I am constantly committed to this cause and that the Buddhist teachings and inspiration I have received supported me to create an environment where other fellow citizens of this country can live freely without any fear or suspicion.

Venerable Theras,

Before I became the President, we all knew how the condition of our Buddhist sites like Kuragala, Muhudu Maha Vihara and Deeghawapi was, how the monks who lived there were treated and the fate of the lands belonging to those temples. We all can be happy about the current state of those temples.

During my tenure, we have assured with action that our ancient Buddhist heritage sites are safeguarded.

We were able to successfully control the pandemic that engulfed the world for two years. However, even if some people insulted me because of the economic and social hardships the pandemic has caused to the people of this country, I have the strength to endure such insults with equanimity.

Also, those who insult me have not been able to do an iota of the service I have performed to the country in my lifetime.

The ‘Kroda Wagga’ in Dhammapada says that there is no person in this world who has received either only insults or only praise.

I would like to mention at this moment that I pledge to protect and nurture the Buddhist philosophy in this country. We must always protect the Sinhala culture and heritage that has a history of thousands of years. Therefore, the government will continue to provide patronage to protect our values, traditions and customs.

I will always uphold the right of all Sri Lankans to live in peace and harmony by preserving their religious identities and to live with dignity in association with the main culture of this country that persisted throughout the history.

I am ready to embark on a new journey by overcoming the obstacles we have encountered so far, and to fulfill the aspirations of the people who elected me as President of this country.

I responsibly declare before this Most Venerable Sangha community that I am ready to take any tough or bold decisions that need to be taken in this regard.

I would like to reiterate that I respectfully acknowledge the title and blessings bestowed on me today by the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha.

I wish the venerable members of the Maha Sangha including the Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera and all of you a prosperous and a blessed New Year.

May the Triple Gem bless you!