(TibetanReview.net, Jul09’23) – A senior Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka has said Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had formally accepted an invitation to visit his country. He has made this remark while addressing a symposium on the occasion of the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate’s 88th birthday. It remains doubtful, however, whether Sri Lanka, which is in serious financial debt to China, will issue him a visa.
The most Ven. Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Mahanayake Thera of the Amarapura Sri Sambuddha Shasanodaya Maha Sangha Sabha, has made the remark while speaking at the ‘Multilingual Scholarly Symposium’ held at the University of Kelaniya on Jul 6 as a tribute to the Tibetan spiritual leader.
The event was held with the coordination of the University’s Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Department of Philosophy and the Department of Sanskrit & Eastern Studies as well as that of the Foundation for Buddhist Brotherhood, International Buddhist Confederation and the Sri Lankan Tibetan Buddhist Brotherhood Society, reported srilankamirror.com seen on Jul 9.
The Mahanayaka Thera has said the invitation was extended in 2022 when His Holiness had resumed his annual visit to Bodh Gaya, after the Covid-19-lockdown break of three years, and the Mahanayake Thero called on him with a Sri Lankan delegation.
The Mahanayaka Thera has underlined the economic benefit as well of a visit by the Dalai Lama. He has noted that such a visit would also mark the arrival of countless Buddhist devotees around the globe which will definitely lead to a revival of tourism as well as foreign investments.
Cash-strapped Sri Lanka was previously reported to be prepared to export some 100,000 endangered toque macaque monkeys to China. Some 30 petitioners, including the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, went to court against the proposal, which was eventually scrapped, reported Reuters Jun 27.
The island nation, facing its worst economic crisis in more than seven decades, was considering a proposal by a Chinese private company to capture and export the monkey for zoos in China, but it was suspected that the animals were intended to be supplied to laboratories as well.
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Earlier, in a special interview with Sri Lanka Mirror last January, Mr Hu Wei, Acting Ambassador of China in Colombo, had warned that a visit by the Dalai Lama could damage the friendship between Sri Lanka and his country.
Mr Hu had also spoken of having discussed the matter with other senior monks in Sri Lanka, namely the Maha Nayaka Theros and other monks during his visit to Kandy at that time. He distributed aid to monks and laypeople there and was assured that none of those monks had extended such an invitation, the report said.
China considers any visit of, or meeting with, the Dalai Lama, or even marking his birthday, a violation of its so-called one-China policy as well as interference in its internal affairs.
China calls Dalai Lama a separatist leader, although he only seeks genuine autonomy for his occupied homeland as guaranteed in China’s constitution.