Miguel Angel Card Ayuso Guixot
Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue has said that the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic would strengthen bonds of friendship and further unite people in service to the human family, adopting “a culture of dialogue as the path, mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.
The following is the text of the message issued by Miguel Angel Card Ayuso Guixot. MCCJ, President, to mark Vesak: On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. I am writing to YOU on the occasion of the feast of Vesak to offer my heartfelt greetings. It is my prayer that this annual Buddhist festival commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Gautama Buddha may bring joy, serenity. and hope to the hearts of Buddhists throughout the world.
The current world situation. tragically marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. challenges the followers of all religions to collaborate in new ways at the service of the human community. In his Encyclical Fratelli tutti, signed in Assisi on 3 October 2020, Pope Francis reiterated the urgency of a universal solidarity that allows humanity to overcome together the difficult crises that threaten it, because “no one is saved alone” (Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, 322).
The Vesak greetings, of which we celebrated the 215????” anniversary last year, have highlighted many of the values we hold in common and the wisdom that supports the collaboration we foster, especially in addressing times as hard as the present one. The suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of our shared vulnerability and interdependence. We are called to discover and practice the solidarity enshrined in our respective religious traditions. As Pope Francis says, “ancient stories, full of symbolism, bear witness to a conviction which we today share, that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationship with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.” (Pope Francis, Message for the World Day, of Peace, I January 2021).
The Buddhist teaching on Brahma Viharas (Four Heavenly Abodes or Virtues) offers us a timeless message of solidarity and active care. In speaking about metta (loving kindness), it exhorts followers to extend boundless love to all. “As a mother even with her life protects her only child, so let one cultivate immeasurable loving-kindness towards all living beings” (Metta Sutta). As the Buddha taught, practitioners are equally encouraged to “make haste in doing good deeds: one should restrain one’s mind from evil: for the mind of one who is slow in doing good tends to take delight in doing evil” (Dhammapada. 116).
May dramatic situation of the COVID-19 pandemic strengthen our bonds of friendship and further unite us in service to the human family, adopting “a culture of dialogue as the path, mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard-(Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti. 285).
Dear Buddhist friends, these are the thoughts that I wish to share with you this year. Let us look forward to the future with hope and serenity. Happy Festival.”
Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.
The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.
NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.
Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.
Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.
The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.
MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.
The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.
Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.
The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.
In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.
Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.
Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.
PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs
A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.
Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture
Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.
The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.
FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
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