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WHY THE HURRY ABOUT 20A?

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by Professor G. L. Peiris

Minister Of Education

May I begin by expressing my appreciation to the Kandy Professionals Association for embarking on this very timely initiative of meeting every month, on a Sunday, to discuss in depth the issues involving constitutional reform, and the way forward in our country. I consider this an exercise of immediate relevance and value.

The decision by the Government to present to the Cabinet of Ministers the text of the 20th Amendment to modify significantly the contents of the 19th Amendment and, after obtaining the approval of the Cabinet, to move the Amendment in Parliament, has attracted considerable public interest and discussion. As a preliminary to this, I think it is important to explain to the country the need for this. The public should have a clear understanding of the rationale underpinning this reform. This is all the more necessary because of the elaborate myths which have been assiduously cultivated, skilfully spread, by vested interests throughout the spectrum of our society.

The core of their argument is that the retention of the 19th Amendment is essential to preserve seminal values which we all believe in – the Rule of Law, independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. They contend that removal or reform of the 19th Amendment is an act of treachery and that all must stand firm against it. If this is allowed to happen, so they contend, the result will be a mortal blow struck against human rights, democracy and seminal institutions including Parliament. The argument, set forth in the most emotional terms, needs to be assessed in the light of cold reason. What is the truth of this? Nothing is more crucial at this point than to inform the public mind about the reality of the current situation.

It is strenuously contended by interested parties that the 19th Amendment brought immense benefits in its wake, and that it has to be protected at any cost. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is for the entrenchment of narrow vested interests that this intricately orchestrated campaign, fortified by abundant resources and closely knit organization, has been launched. Why is 20A necessary? For a variety of reasons, no doubt. But chief among them, indisputably, is the maintenance of law and order – essential as it is for the protection of life and limb. This takes precedence over all other obligations – development in the economic, social and cultural fields.

This, then, is the principal and indispensable obligation of the State. If this duty is not fulfilled, all else become illusory.

What impact did the 19th Amendment have in this regard? The 19th Amendment categorically states that the President is debarred from holding any portfolios. Who is the President? He is the leader elected by the entire population of the country by the free exercise of the franchise. The inalienable duty of the President is the security of the State and the People. But the 19th Amendment prevents him from functioning as the Minister of Defence. We emphatically reject this position.

The 19th Amendment did contain a transitional provision. That, however, was limited in its operation to former President Maithripala Sirisena, who was permitted to hold the portfolio of Environment and Mahaveli Development during his tenure of the Presidency. This was an individual-centric provision which did not apply to Presidents who succeeded him.

For all other Presidents, the 19th Amendment imposes an inflexible bar against the holding of any portfolio, including Defence. Arguably, Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution, read together, allow and indeed require, the President to hold the Defence portfolio, but this is a matter that would require judicial interpretation, in the event of a challenge in the Courts. Is this uncertainty and ambiguity desirable? Does it buttress or destroy the human rights and democracy which are sanctimoniously appealed to?

The 19th Amendment involves a basic conundrum. Articles 3 and 4 have the effect that the President is the repository of the Executive power of the State. Article 4(b) makes it clear that the defence of the nation is an integral and inseparable element of Executive power.

The defence of the country, then, is the sacred duty of the President. This is, without question, his responsibility. What he lacks, however, is the authority required to fulfil this responsibility. Here lies a fundamental contradiction, entailing as it does dire consequences for the nation’s security.

Prior to the enactment of the 19th Amendment, the Constitution of Sri Lanka contained explicit provision in respect of Urgent Bills. In the event of an unexpected contingency, an Urgent Bill could be presented to Parliament within seven days. The legislative process in ordinary circumstances, Is cumbersome and protracted: it may not enable a swift response to an unanticipated situation. To cater for this, the pre-19A law made provision for rapid intervention through the mechanism of Urgent Bills. It is this statutory provision that is abolished by 19A which compulsorily requires an interval of 14 days before legislation is introduced in Parliament. It is scarcely difficult to conceive of contexts in which this could imperil the safety and security of our country.

We have recently seen before our very eyes the horrendous consequences that were brought about by 19A. It created, in its foundation, two potentially warring centres of power. If the President and the Prime Minister belong to different political parties, we saw for ourselves the intensity of the conflicts, in terms of values, policy and even personalities, which arose in the day to day practice of Governance. It is the people of this country that paid an exorbitant price for this state of affairs. As many as 265 valuable lives were lost in the Easter Sunday carnage. To whom do we attribute responsibilities for this calamity? The Prime Minster says: “What can I do? I am not even invited to the National Security Council”. Indeed, meetings of the Council were not held for months on end. Was information conveyed to the President available to the Prime Minister, and vice versa? There was an internal tug of war – working not together but at odds with each other.

It is in the heat of this battle that the security of the nation collapsed altogether. The evidence being given on a daily basis before the Presidential Commission investigating this tragedy, is truly alarming. On the day this occurred, I was in Munich, Germany. On the following day the New York Times – a world renowned newspaper – carried on its first page the names, telephone numbers and addresses of those who were said to be involved in planning and executing this catastrophe.

Indian intelligence had brought these particulars to the attention of the Sri Lankan Government not once, but repeatedly. However, because of the internal dissensions which went from bad to worse, nothing whatever was done to avert the tragedy.

If there had been no 19A, responsibility would have been clear and undivided. What 19A did was to split it up and create chaos. The results are a permanent blemish on our national conscience. These are the matters of which the public should be informed.

What is the constant refrain of those who insist on the retention of the 19A? They proclaim the sanctity of the separation of powers, and regard authority in an individual or institution as the death knell of democracy and the basic elements of democratic culture. They assert their resolve to resist with the utmost vigour any attempt to dismantle the dual structure embedded in 19A. Is this an acceptable position?

At its very root, 19A elevated several institutions above the President. It took away the authority, hitherto vested in the President, to make appointments to high offices in the public service and the security establishment, including the Police. It characterised the retention of this authority in the hands of the President as a danger against which the public need to be protected.

On this footing the President was shorn of these powers. But to whom were they then transferred? To a Constitutional Council dominated by representatives of non-governmental organisations. This Constitutional Council is at the apex of the structure established by 19A, and wields the authority to constitute each and all of the Commissions which are said to be independent. Without the recommendations, or the approval, of this all-powerful body, the President is no longer empowered to make crucial appointments to the public service and the Police. In this regard the President is subordinated to this body – the Constitutional Council – which is sought to be sanctified as the embodiment of integrity, impartiality and probity.

Let us take a closer look at this body, close to being deified. Its membership includes persons who can in no way be regarded as legitimate representatives of the people. The whole object of the exercise, so the protagonists of the 19A whereby, stridently tell us, is to ensure depoliticisation of the State. Their contention is that everything in our country has become progressively politicised, and that the time has come to evolve a constitutional process where persons of undoubted rectitude, far removed from partisan politics, and professing fidelity to the highest moral and ethical standards, are vested with this awesome responsibility.

This is an absolute myth. Can it be maintained, by any stretch of the imagination, that the personnel constituting these Commissions are not tainted by partisan politics? A few examples will suffice. Professor Hoole is a member of the supposedly independent Elections Commission. He is expected to be apolitical. And yet, in an interview with a TV channel, he exhorted the public not to vote for the SLPP; he said that, if they were to do so, they would certainly regret their decision in the future. Can there be a more partisan intervention, coming as it has from a member of a Commission exalted as the zenith of objectivity and political neutrality? The yawning chasm between aspiration and reality is all too evident. Practice on the ground belies the grandiose pretence.

The Elections Commission is itself the creature of the Constitutional Council, identified by 19A as the source from which all the Commissions derive their authority. Mr. Javid Yusuf is a member of this overarching body. His impartiality is, therefore, by definition, axiomatic. Nevertheless, he makes so bold as to declare to the country at large in uncompromising terms, at a public forum: “Whatever you do refrain from giving the Lotus Bud a two-thirds majority. If you do this, you cannot evade responsibility for pushing the country to the brink of disaster”. Words to this effect are unabashedly uttered by a representative of the supreme body which functions as the fons et origo of all the “independent” Commissions.

Faced with this uninspiring reality, I state without hesitation that these “independent” Commissions brought into being by 19A are far more politicised than any other practicing politician in this country. It is to Commissions of this ilk that powers denied to the President of the country are supinely entrusted.

Here is a state of affairs which defies rational understanding, by any criterion. The position of apologists for 19A is, at bottom, the following: conferment of these powers on the President is preposterous and unthinkable; they represent an intolerable affront to the basic elements of democratic culture, and to the essence of human rights. However, these same powers, in the hands of institutions created in the manner defined by 19A, are innocuous and entirely acceptable.

Does this bear scrutiny for a moment? The President of the Republic is elected by all the people of our country, for the finite period of five years, at an Islandwide election. If they are dissatisfied with his performance at the end of his tenure, they have every right and power to reject him at the conclusion of this period. But can the people, in whom sovereignty resides according to the Constitution, make a similar decision is respect of the members of the Constitutional Council and the “independent” Commissions? They are a law unto themselves, accountable to no one.

During the last few months, the President, the Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament have all changed in keeping with the democratically expressed will of the People. But members of the Constitutional Council and the “independent” Commissions remain entrenched in their positions, impervious to the winds of change. Is this defensible as the epitome of a structure of democratic governance, to be acclaimed widely?

Nowhere are the effects of the dichotomy established by 19A more apparent than in the domain of the economy. Ever increasing volumes of debt cannot provide a sustainable avenue for economic advancement. President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in his Manifesto, has explicitly underlined the importance of resiling from the debt trap. The answer is investment, which is certainly feasible, but subject to obvious conditions. The essential requisite is confidence.

In the current intensely competitive international environment for investment, confidence has to be engendered by appropriate policy initiatives. Would any investor look seriously at Sri Lanka as a destination for investment, given the conditions generated by 19A?

The contemporary Yahapalana experience under the aegis of 19A was that the Prime Minister, in the exercise of authority conferred on him, established a Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) which, in effect, arrogated to itself, under his Chairmanship, the authority to make major decisions straddling the whole spectrum of the economy, these decision being submitted to Cabinet for its mere formal imprimatur. President Sirisena, increasingly incensed by what he saw as the relegation of the Cabinet with regard to economic matters, in due course found his patience exhausted, and eventually intervened by doing away with the Prime Minister’s brainchild and substituting for it a novel institution, the National Economic Council, under his own superintendence and direction. A few months later, however, he dismissed his own handpicked Chairman of this body, declaring that the officer concerned, although drawing a handsome salary, was seldom in the country. This state of things is hardly likely to offer any incentive for investment in Sri Lanka.

These developments provide the backdrop for a series of reflections. Empirical experience has convincingly demonstrated the weakness of the foundations of 19A. In truth, political power is not to be viewed with innate fear or obsessive suspicion. The contrary is a facile assumption, intuitively made with a total lack of dispassionate thought. Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia are telling examples of Asian countries which could not have achieved the remarkable economic development they did accomplish without the advantage of strong Executive authority.

Admittedly, any system of democratic governance must contain viable checks and balances. However, as with everything else in life, there needs to be a sense of proportion. If the Executive is to be so constrained and hamstrung in every way as to make coherent decision making and movement forward impossible, the inevitable outcome is stagnation, or worse, anarchy.

This is the sad legacy of 19A which is now sought to be swept away as a matter of urgent priority.



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Features

Is ‘Knowing’ everything?

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by Panduka Karunanayake

The current fluid situation in the country has brought into focus some fundamental issues, as well. Ordinarily, in the midst of pressing problems, like what we are experiencing, it is customary to push fundamental issues to the back seat. But, it is exactly because such issues have been sidelined, in the past, that we have had to arrive in this sorry state today. In addition, in an extremely fluid and uncertain situation, such as this, the only stable and reliable position that remains for us to make decisions from is, in fact, with fundamentals.

In this essay, I wish to focus on a fundamental issue: the relationship between knowledge and expertise, on the one hand, and the societal weal on the other. This relationship came into sharp focus, in my mind, when I saw a social media posting, by one of my academic colleagues. Let me first anonymise the academic (after all, it is not only he who thinks like this) and quote the Google translation of a part of his posting:

“Everyone knows everything there is to know. Everyone can express things. There are also necessary media for that. Who are we? What do we need? No one can make monopoly decisions about, etc. Therefore, there is no democracy more than this. What is needed now is to make maximum use of that democracy.”

This argument implies that because we live in the Digital Age, where knowledge is distributed very democratically, decision-making by the ordinary citizen is at a level close to, if not identical to, that of the expert. It suggests that the next step is to discover an optimum governance mechanism. At its core is the suggestion that the time has come to supplant the expert with the knowledgeable citizen.

What is fundamentally wrong in this argument?

‘Knowing’ and ‘understanding’

‘Knowing’ is not everything. When we were schoolchildren, in the 1970s, we heard this explained to us clearly by Dr E.W. Adikaram, who made a distinction between දැනුම (‘knowing’) and අවබෝධය (‘understanding’). He pointed out that the task of education should be giving us the latter, not the former. But somehow, we seem to have forgotten (or ignored) that advice. This distinction is also seen in Albert Einstein’s famous quip that education is what is left when we have forgotten what we had learnt – අවබෝධය (‘understanding’) remains while දැනුම (‘knowing’) is forgotten with time.

The crucial point is this. The wide dissemination of knowledge that is seen in today’s Digital Age, by itself, actually promotes only ‘knowing’. We can do an Internet search and find any knowledge we want, and once we have got it, we can say that we ‘know it’ – seemingly, just like the expert. But there is a significant gap between this ‘knowing’ and the ‘understanding’ that is possessed by those who have studied this same quantum of knowledge, more systematically and in depth.

Such persons study this knowledge in relation to other quanta of knowledge, so that they are aware of a more whole, interconnected and integrated existence of the discrete quantum of knowledge. For instance, they then see not only that quantum, but also its origins, applications, limitations, fallacies and fallibilities, as well as how it is connected to the broader map of knowledge.

Of course, there are nowadays also the democratic distribution of learning experiences, too, such as open-access online courses. These would certainly give someone a much better view of the subject than a discrete webpage, but I would still caution, and point out the significant journey from knowing something to fully understanding it.

One clear indication of ‘understanding’ is the ability of the person, who possesses the knowledge, to apply it in different, seemingly unrelated situations. It is, in fact, this very point that is nowadays used by prestigious universities, overseas, when selecting students for their undergraduate courses – rather than the old-fashioned measures of superficial ‘knowing’, such as what we still mostly use here.

‘Understanding’ and ‘doing’

While there is a distinction between ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’, our intellectual growth does not stop even there.

There is a whole heap of difference between merely ‘understanding’ and ‘doing’ something with that understanding. That is because understanding occurs strictly in the cognitive domain, while applying it to actually do something requires an engagement with the real world. That requires a lot more – things that remain implicit in the real world around us, which are abstracted only to a limited extent when they are written down as ‘knowledge’.

In the past, acquiring these real-life capabilities have been given terms, like ‘skills’, ‘experience’, ‘common sense’, ‘wisdom’ and so on. A more recent practice is to categorise them also as forms of knowledge (i.e., procedural knowledge and conditional knowledge). These weave together, as a person tries to translate an idea into action, and if the person succeeds, we say that this has created ‘functioning knowledge’. Naturally, only a very limited portion of this is found in books or Internet sources, and ‘knowing’ and even ‘understanding’ are thus only a very small part of what constitutes the intellect of a person who can actually do something in real-life situations.

‘Doing’ and ‘critiquing’

Even this is not the full story. All these steps – knowing, understanding, doing – are part of generally ‘how things are’, and not necessarily ‘how things should be’. One of the most important aspects of an academic’s or intellectual’s work is evaluating this ‘things as they are’ and providing a detached, dispassionate critique of it. More conventional terms used to describe this function are ‘critical thinking’ and ‘discourse analysis’. We would expect the academic or intellectual to harness his or her extensive knowledge of the subject with regard to past events, current trends and future possibilities; to then reflect deeply, imagine alternatives and weigh their pros and cons; and to tell us how we can ‘do things better’. This is the whole process that we call (or should call) ‘research’, ‘innovation’, ‘development’, ‘creativity’, etc.

This is the full spectrum of how the human mind works as it progressively becomes more functional and efficacious: knowing, understanding, doing and critiquing. The process of education, from primary to post-doctoral, should be designed with this in mind.

Enter ‘the expert’

There are two types of expertise. The first is routine expertise, which is the ability to carry out a certain task repetitively with a minimum amount of error. It is built by systematic learning with feedback, assiduous practice and extensive experience. The second is adaptive expertise, which is the ability to face new and unprecedented situations where there are little or no known standard procedures (and thus no routine expertise) and come up with innovative solutions that provide a way out. It is built, in addition to the above, by reflective practice and experience in innovative and creative behaviours.

It is not hard to see that in recent years, we have had the need for adaptive expertise – with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the current crisis. They have called upon our doctors, businesspersons, economists, etc., with adaptive expertise, to come forward and do what they know best.

Such past unprecedented events, in our country, led to complete transformations of society, leading to better times (albeit, after decades of effort): e.g., the 1870s coffee blight and the devastating malaria epidemic of 1934-35. Those were examples of (British) adaptive expertise in action.

The ‘knowledgeable’ citizen

The citizen who now shuns expertise is a person who thinks that, because he (or she) has access to knowledge, he has already ‘jumped’ from ‘knowing’ to ‘critiquing’ and that there is no difference between him and the expert. One should avoid jumping into this bandwagon. One should also take care not to throw the expert out in a hurried attempt to throw the politician out.

We cannot build a better governing system using people who lack ‘understanding’ and expertise, notwithstanding any level of ‘knowing’ that they might possess thanks to the Digital Age. We must keep these fundamentals in mind when we explore questions, such as the place of democracy or the value of a constitution, the notion that the gap between people and experts has narrowed, that people can decide for themselves, and so on.

Our post-Independence history is a litany of how our experts failed to produce a beneficial effect in Sri Lanka while contributing to the building of other nations. The solution is to overcome the blocks to this that have existed until now – rather than shunning expertise. We need more expertise, not less.

(The writer teaches in the University of Colombo, where he is currently the Director of the Staff Development Centre. He acknowledges the mentoring of Professor Suki Ekaratne in developing many of these ideas; Professor Ekaratne founded the country’s first SDC, 25 years ago.)

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Join hands with your spiritual power to save Lanka!

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By Ven. Matthumagala ChandanandaThero
Ehipassiko Meditation Center
Calgary -Canada

When Sri Lanka was hit by the catastrophic tsunami waves in 2004, almost all citizens strived in unison to stand up as one because they perceived the calamity as a natural disaster. Without distinction of class, creed or race, people volunteered to help the victims. Monks of all sectors were prompted for action—therapeutic pirith chanting was started all over the country. Blessed water was sprinkled, especially over the coastal areas with the help of Sri Lanka Air Force helicopters. Some coastal areas had become ghastly graveyards within minutes of disaster, with thousands of dead bodies scattering in every direction. World Health Organization immediately warned of another impending threat: a wave of epidemics due to decomposing bodies of humans and animals.

However, Sri Lankans could surprise even the developed nations by recovering from this trauma so fast. The predicted epidemics could never raise their heads. So was with the Covid-19 pandemic, which was also generally perceived as a natural disaster—and people fought it with the team spirit. So far Sri Lanka has lost a relatively smaller number of lives to Covid-19 when compared to those of affluent nations, and it is certainly not just a coincidence.

However, when it comes to the unprecedented economic downfall currently taking place in Sri Lanka, rather than seeing it as yet another crisis, they have to overcome with team spirit. People have viewed it through the lens of ‘personality view’ (sakkāya ditti), and have attributed the responsibility to certain politicians, vehemently accusing and cursing the culprits. The whole effort was seething with anger, jealousy and vengeance—this is an absolute deviation from the path of Dhamma. Under such circumstances, no wonder that people could not recover as efficiently as they should in this crisis. Of course, if those politicians are guilty, suitable action have to be taken, but in a democratic way, and under no circumstances the destructive emotions like anger could be justified to come to play in a big way as has unfortunately happened (Kakacupama sutta). To be angry is like eating poison, expecting your enemy to die! If you think that you are concerned of being with crooked politicians, we should learn to be saner but not crazier.

Famous Sri Lankan poet, Mahagama Sekera, has said something pithy in his book, Prabuddha, and could be rendered into English thus: “If we could motivate people to be violent against injustice, cannot we persuade them to refrain from inequity”? This sensible question echoes in my mind every time I see a violent protest. Buddha who utters only meaningful words, had said: “Overcome the wicked by goodness” (Dhammapada). True, as ordinary people, we might not have political strength, financial power and the inheritance of an aristocratic lineage, as possessed by some politicians in this country. But we have a somnolent giant within us—the power of mind! We just have to train our mind to release this giant. Remember, through struggle comes strength—especially when we set ourself on the right path!

Once upon a time in ancient India, a seven-year-old monk was going on his rounds for collecting alms following a great master called Arhath Sariputta. This novice having observed some people were engaged in woodwork, curiously inquired from the senior monk: “What are they doing?” “They are carpenters; they bring wood from the forest—after cleaning, cutting and treating the wood, they make items like cartwheels”, explained Venerable Sariputta. Then the novice asked: “Do woods have a mind?” “No, woods do not have a mind, but humans who do have minds, creatively change wood according to their needs and make various items”, said the elderly monk. This explanation was a great eye-opener for the reflective novice. He thought, if people can change things using their minds, isn’t it possible to tame the mind using that power of mind itself? Spurred on by this incident, before long, the junior monk escaped from the King of Death (Mara)—the most difficult one to defeat!

On seeing amazing modern equipment like computers, smart phones, air planes, etc., it really makes sense if we also reflect on the fact that: “Such inventions are created by human mind; therefore, my mind is more powerful than those products.” In fact, Buddha pointed out that he does not see anything in this universe so powerful and versatile like the mind, which could become amazingly powerful and versatile upon development. Buddha also taught us how to progressively develop our mind but for the good. Even great meditators who wielded psychic power had only started their journey from the humble state we are in—so please be positive.

Now the human race is getting closer to the brink of extinction due to the dangers like adverse effects of the climate change and possible nuclear warfare. To the dismay of world-renowned scientists, some politicians have openly stated that the climate change to be a hoax— a former US President is also among them! We cannot expect political leaders, national or international, to protect the future generation’s opportunity to inhabit this precious planet. As I have argued in the previous articles, a SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION is the need of the hour.However, our immediate concern is to protect Sri Lanka from the internal and external threats, she has faced with.

According to what Buddha taught, we could employ our spiritual power to mitigate the catastrophes befall the human society. Spiritual Act of Truth (sathyakriya) is one way to achieve this noble goal. Jathaka stories reveal how Bodhisatwa (would-be Buddhas) performed Acts of Truth to ensure his own safety and of others as well. According to Mahawansa (the Great Chronicle), King Siri Sanghabo used this powerful influence to save his countrymen from a dangerous epidemic called Rakthakshi.

With the noble guidance of Most Venerable Kukulpané Sudassee Thero, the Spiritual Studies and Research Wing of Sathjana Social Development Foundation in Horana has been conducting Acts of Truth since 2008, in which hundreds and thousands of compassionate humans around the world unleash their spiritual power at one particular time, with the singular intention of mitigating the catastrophes of human society. Now a cynic might ask: of what use is your spiritual attempts, if the country is plunged into an economic crisis of this magnitude? Sri Lanka is located in an epic place in this planet—epic in many known and unknown ways, and Sri Lankans enjoy great benefits of the legacy. Together with these privileges, some additional responsibilities are also assigned to us—that is the way it is! Again and again, clouds bring us rain; again and again farmers sow seeds; again and again people eat (never tired)— therefore, why not flexing the spiritual muscles also similarly– again and again, and aggressively repeat our wholesome interventions? Because, it seems that conspiracies too are attempted again and again to unsettle the island! In fact, Dalai Lama deserves praise for saying: “Peace is not simply the absence of war. It is not a passive state of being. We must wage peace, as vehemently as we wage war.”

For the fulfilment of this lofty goal, we should find the correct method of performing it. In an Act of Truth, we have to vividly reflect on a wholesome deed we have performed, and we determine thus… ‘By the power of this truth, may the disasters heading towards the country be averted! May Buddha-sāsana and human lives be protected’!

For the success of an Act of Truth or Sathyakriya, three important conditions should have to be fulfilled:

1. The deed you reflect upon should be TRUE

2. It should have been performed by YOU

3. You have to arouse the same state of mind or pitch which has been there at the time you performed this act (e.g., If you think of an instance in which you donated something wholeheartedly, you have to recall and establish that particular mental state vividly at the time of performing Sathyakriya.

Complying with the invitation of many devotees, Ven. Dr. Kukulpané Sudassee Thero has decided to organise yet another Act of Truth on Thursday (the full moon day), 11th of August 2022, at 8:07 a.m. Sri Lanka time. In the evening also we will repeat it at the same time. If you live outside Sri-Lanka, please calculate your own local time, equivalent to the above. Ven. Sudassee Thero kindly requests the participants not to use this particular instance for achieving their personal intentions but to leave them for some other day, if necessary. We stress this point, because on some earlier occasions, some narrow-minded people were seen to ‘highjack’ such a moment, in an attempt to solve their own personal problems. Spiritual power is not for the selfish, for sure.

When hundreds and thousands of people release their compassionate mental power to the universe at a single moment in one single stream, we can generate a sort of spiritual power of tremendous strength capable of mitigating various woes currently plaguing the country.

We kindly invite all of you to participate in this great meritorious deed, with much-needed team spirit, irrespective of race, cast or creed, from wherever you are in the world, and perform the above-mentioned Act of Truth.When we set ourselves in a more humane path, instead of seething with negative emotions, and impulses, the guarding angels of the country will be kinder towards the society, extending their providence for the safety of our motherland.

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‘Slow Food’, the growing concept taking over ‘Fast Food’ rage

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Slow Food is everything opposite to the concept of fast food. While fast food involves highly processed food ingredients, ‘assembled’ together quickly, to form a meal, Slow Food refers to the inclusion of unprocessed food ingredients, cooked in an authentic manner to create a wholesome meal.

SNS:When In Rome, Do as Romans Do’ the saying literally proven right in the late 80s, in the city of Rome when a unique food movement, ‘slow food’ was born against another food frenzy, ‘Fast food’ which started from the US and has hooked the world since the 1920s.

Tradition-loving Romans who did not like the American concept of ‘Fast Food’ protested and pitted against the launch of a popular American fast food giant in the city of Bra, resulting in the birth of Arcigola, the movement against the concept of ‘fast food’ and delved into a registered nonprofit organisation known as ‘Slow Food International’.

Slow Food: The intriguing concept and why it’s becoming a global rave

The fast-paced life of the world over the decades has changed the traditional concepts regarding food. Fast food may ease our life and the choices of food but has proven ill effects on health if consumed on a regular basis. The concept of ‘Slow food’ is pitching for nothing new but promoting to go back to our roots for the food choices for better and healthier lives.

Nutritionists have traditionally vouched for the food which is locally grown and eaten the way our forefathers have consumed, and that is exactly what ‘Slow food movement is promoting’.

The natural food that grows in the region where we live is the most suitable for our body, because the same natural forces impact our body and the locally grown food. Our fore-fathers depended majorly on the local food, which is a major reason for their healthy life and longevity.

What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is everything opposite to the concept of fast food. While fast food involves highly processed food ingredients, ‘assembled’ together quickly, to form a meal, Slow Food refers to the inclusion of unprocessed food ingredients, cooked in an authentic manner to create a wholesome meal.

Where fast food offers ‘on the go’ food that can be hand-held and eaten on the go, Slow Food promotes the idea of sitting down, relaxing and spending some time chatting with family and friends, while savouring the food.

Slow Food Movement

The Slow Food movement began from people’s natural emotion associated with food. Some people opposed the rise of fast-food culture and the disappearance of local traditions and food cultures.
Slow Food movement history
The inception of the Slow Food Movement is traced back to 1986 in the town of Bra and it began as ArciGola, by journalist Carlo Petrini. In 1989, ArciGola began to be known as Slow Food, when a protest broke out against the opening of McDonald’s at “Piazza di Spagna” in Rome. Protestors opposed the American fast-food giant, for opening its outlet in Rome. The ArciGola protest delved into a registered nonprofit organisation known as Slow Food internationally.
What is the Slow Food Movement and How Do We Adhere to it?
According to Perceptions of the slow food cultural trend among the youth by Lelia Voinea and Anca Atanase, “Slow Food has become an international movement that advocates for satisfying culinary pleasure, protects biological and cultural diversity, spreads taste education, links “green” producers to consumers and believes that gastronomy intersects with politics, agriculture and ecology. Slow Food proposes a holistic approach to food problems, where the economic, socio-cultural and environmental aspects are interlinked, being pursued as part of an overall strategy.”

Slow Food, a global movement of local traditions

With due course of time, Slow Food has become a global movement, with more food reformers joining hands together to join the cause. The movement has also involved several smaller international bodies under its fold. These organisations are carrying out various initiatives within their local ecosystem and creating awareness of eating healthy and locally grown food.

Benefit of ‘Slow food’

The concept of fast food was meant to cater to the needs of those individuals, who were short of time and had a busy lifestyle. Number of such people grew over the years and fast food eventually became mainstream and an inseparable part of our lives.
Slowly, people also began to understand the importance of healthy eating instead of industrial processed food, which lacks basic nutrients. The Slow Food Movement addresses two major concerns related to fast-paced lifestyle, one is the inclusion of healthy, wholesome and locally grown ingredients, cooked by using orthodox methods. The second is to eat the meal and the food slowly, while enjoying every bit of it, as opposed to fast food.

Slow Food movement in India

The Slow Food movement has involved several organisations in India under its fold. All these independent organisations are working towards promoting positive food practices, from organic farming to eating the local food produce. Ajam Emba Adivasi of Jharkhand,
Food education for Satvik Jeevan in Gujarat, Mumbai Earth Market, Nagaland for Biodiversity & Heritage Preservation, Nilgirs Coffee Coalition and Banyan Roots, in Udaipur, Rajasthan are all working in close conjunction with the Slow Food International

Slow Food movement in Europe

The Slow Food movement is fast picking up in Europe as an industry. Working for the rights of small-scale traditional food producers and raising awareness among consumers at the very basic level. It is dedicated towards creating a better and more responsible food system.

Objectives of Slow Food movement

It is globally working on a number of issues including common food policy, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, climate change, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and responsible consumption and food labeling.

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