Sri Lanka has been suffering from the Covid-19 virus since the beginning of March 2020. Some people, who have been infected with this virus, caused to spread this virus throughout the country by traveling to many places and associating with many people, including their relatives and friends. As a result, more than 40000, people have been continued and some selected areas were completely shut down. The Government imposed a curfew all over the country, and some districts: Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, and Jaffna were named the red areas. All the religious observances have been stopped, even at Poyadays, Buddhist devotees were requested to do religious activities while staying at home.
Sri Lanka’s Government, Army, Police, doctors, and other relevant stakeholders are working day and night to protect the people from this dangerous virus, disregarding their life in danger.
All the shops, supermarkets, and Government offices were kept closed for a certain period and at present, a system has been introduced to order the food items from the selected several supermarkets via the internet or the telephone but unfortunately to get that chance has to wait for a long time perhaps, few days. Educated and rich people who have such facilities are capable to do that but not for others. Some vegetable sellers a time to time sell food items alone on the roads, but the choices are not many, and also need money to buy.
More than 1500 families are living in shanty houses, along the coastal area between Mount Lavinia and Dehiwala. Most of them have no proper income sources to cover their day-to-day living expenses, and they are doing odd jobs in Colombo city. This is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious area hence, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, and Hindus are living together.
The Curfew has been imposed for the last few weeks and still it is continuing. Under this chaotic situation, these people have faced big economic problems even buying food for surviving. Since these economically needy people have no way to live, most probably they will engage in thievery around. Because of this situation, other people are living in fear of them.
Considering all these miserable conditions, the most Ven. Senior Prof. Medawachchiye Dhammajothi Thero, distributed dry rations for the people, living around his temple in Mount Lavinia. He selected 900, the poorest people from the 1500 people. 100 milk powder packets were given to families who have children. The difficulty he faced was there is no place to buy such a huge number of dry rations in Colombo city. So, it happened to him to buy these things from the Medawachchiya area and deliver them to his temple in Mount Lavinia, Colombo. Other activities related to this meritorious deed, such as going to these shanty houses and selecting poor families, counting families with children, packing those items into bags, etc., were also not easy tasks. The other problem is that body is allowed to go out of their houses and gather in one place because of the curfew.
The Buddha Said. “Jagadupakrutireva mama Buddhapuja” (helping people (in need) is the offering to me). With respect to the Buddha’s word, Ven. Dhammajothi, as a Buddhist monk, decided to help these people, with the help of some of his foreign students.
Pointing out the above word uttered by the Buddha, he motivated these foreign students to help him to fulfill this meritorious deed, saying them that they must look after these miserable people living around. It is the correct way to offer the Buddha rather than offering him many other ways. It is the best way for them to follow the Buddha as young educated and wise Buddhists. At this difficult time, they have a way to live without many prejudices, because they have accumulated enough merits in their previous lives, doing meritorious deeds, such as donating food, money, knowledge, etc., to others. So, they have a good education, good jobs, and sound income. Strong and wealthy humans should protect economically unhealthy human beings, irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion.
May the noble triple gem bless you always.
Senior Professor (chair) Ven. M. Dhammajothi Thero
See the video of RfP Sri Lanka activities.
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