President Maithripala Sirisena opted for a pragmatic approach to the concept and asked that his government do their best to adhere to principles of good governance amidst challenging circumstances.
“When you take the current government, some people look at it and say ‘Yahapalanaya’ with pride while some say it with ridicule,” the President said. President Sirisena was speaking at the launching of the book ‘Buddhist Ideals of Good Governance’ at Waters Edge, Battaramulla yesterday.
“We all know that in Buddhism, we have the five precepts and the eight precepts and there are many Buddhists in this country and the world over. But, the problem is how many of these Buddhists by name live up to the true philosophy.?
Many take up the five precepts but how many actually keep it?,”the President said.
“This is similar to the concept of Yahpalanaya. How many truly live by the principles of Yahapalanaya. When you talk of the principles of good governance as prescribed by The
Buddha, at times, we think can we even pragmatically achieve one percent of that?,”the President asked.
“Having completed two years in office, the people in this country now have some measure of how much of good governance the President, the Prime Minister and the ministers have adhered to.
“To implement the concept of Good Governance in a society which has gone far beyond it is no easy task. To implement this within a society which functioned under politics, ways of thinking and alternative pathways to that of good governance is a challenge- similar to the keeping to the
five precepts”, the President further explained.
The President added,“The only solution we have is to do our best as we know how”.
Ven.Dr.Tampalawela Dhammaratana Thera who is a co-author of the book also handed over a concept paper to establish an International Institute of Good Governance in Sri Lanka and
asked that the President make it a place to train future politicians and civil servants.
“Good governance can be the best gift we can bestow from our Buddhist heritage this year. It should be the hand book that future leaders should follow,” the Thera said.
“The Buddha instructed many rulers without being a politician himself. The Buddha asked that they practice civilised human behaviour in politics thereby ratifying good governance policies and advocating righteous administration,”Ven. Dr. Dhammaratana Thera said.
The other co-author of the book Prof.Francois Chenet stressed that with the future of politics predicted to be more unstable, it was necessary for leaders to ensure that societies are more open, equitable and transparent.
“It is always the ruler that makes the age, he creates the environment for change,”the Professor said.
Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka, Minister Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, MInister Arjuna ranathunga, Deputy minister Karunarathna Paranawithana and Media Secretary Nimal Bopage participated in this event.