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'Religious education, prime qualification to become a leader'



Parliamentary Secretary to the President, Kumarsiri Hettige presenting a certificate to a dhamma school student.

Religious education is one of the prime qualifications to become the leader of the country and the best example for this is President Mahinda Rajapaksa, says Parliamentary Secretary to the President Kumarsiri Hettige.

He expressed these sentiments participating as chief guest at the annual prize giving ceremony of the Buddhist Centre Dhamma School, Bodhiya Road, Ihalagama, Deniyaya recently.

It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children receive religious education, patriotic and virtuous individuals cannot be created if children are confined only to competitive education, he noted.

Hettige said," Our country needs more and more social workers. A true social worker is a righteous person devoid of selfish motives. Humanity is their forte. They think of the after world. There is a huge difference between a politician and a genuine social worker. Social workers do not enjoy special privileges and powers. While some politicians think only of power. The true social worker acts with a broader vision and sense. Teachers of dhamma schools who strive to mould good citizens for a good country are such a genuine group of social workers. They render a immeasurable service for moral uplift of our society. They should not be isolated.

There are 10,024 dhamma schools and the number of students in them exceeds 1.93 million. The number of dhamma school teachers is approximately 102,800. If parents want their children to be virtuous, they should be encouraged to pursue proper education. Due to extreme competitiveness in our education system, parents tend to forget religious education. This will result in dire consequences in the future.

It has been revealed that most of those who have been engaged in violent crimes have not received dhamma school education. Firstly, parents must make sacrifices to guide their children. One may hold a very high position, but if he or she lacks in humanity, they are of no value.

Recently there was a report of one doctor poisoning drinking water of another doctor's residence and there could not have been a better example to illustrate to indicate our social degradation. Now we have a liberated country. We were able to gain such a freedom due to the political leadership given by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

His is a character nurtured and enriched by dhamma education. Dhamma education is one of the main qualifications to become the leader of the country. Today rapid development is taking place in every sphere. But development alone cannot create a moralistic society. Parents, teachers and school make an equally important impact in instilling discipline in society.

A society fieled with people harbouring jealousy, hatred and malice is not pleasant. We must align ourselves with the teachings of the Buddha. The objective of Buddhist teaching is to impart wisdom to understand things as they really are. The system of Buddhist education promotes intellect and shows the path for liberation.

All children should keep in their mind the noble saying of the Buddha that one should be his own light. Only then wisdom and light of life can be attained. Gandhi described education as a complete picture inclusive of infant, man, body, mind and soul. The great philosopher Aristotle likened a person who has not received education to a dead person. Dhamma school teachers help children to achieve the light of wisdom overcoming negligence. The popular adage that if you are well-behaved, then even deities will worship your name" - should be inculcated in minds of all children.

It is the duty of all of us to let our children's world to bloom with fragrance as flowers. Every child is an asset to the nation. If all our children grow up with decency and sound virtues, then our future will be rosy," he said.

Divisional Secretary of Kotapola, Senaka Palliyaguruge said "We should understand the value of dhamma school education. Children are the biggest asset of parents. The dhamma school renders immeasurable service to guide children who embody our future, along the right path. Today, children do not get opportunities for appreciation. Their patriotic feelings should be brought forth. It is also important to be aware of our history. The President is making a huge effort to rebuild and revive this country".

The registrar of the Morawak Korala Sasanarakshaka Bala Mandala, venerable Thalangalle Pungnyasara Thera, the Parivenadhipathi of the Dharmadhwaja Pirivena, Deniyaya, Ven. Katuwana Chandarathana Thera delivered anusasanas and the Principal of the Dhamma School, C. Wijeratne and several others also spoke.

Kotapola Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Dayananda Abeywickrema, National Cooperatives Federation, Chairman Bandu Ranawaka, Matara District Bala mandala Chairman Mahinda Vidanapathirana and Hada Bima Authority Director K. Samantha Buddika Hettige were present.

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