Amidst the beating of ‘magula bera’, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared Siri Vajiraramaya as a Sacred Area on Sunday, 6 September 2009 by unveiling a plaque at an impressive ceremony held at the temple premises.
Accompanying the President was Hon Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Urban Development & Sacred Area Development who, by a gazette notification had declared Siri Vajiraramaya as a Sacred Area under the Town and Country Planning Ordinance (Chapter 269).
Addressing the large gathering present, President Rajapaksa said that he considered it a great honour to be able to declare a temple with a century old cherished tradition as a sacred area. “The service rendered from this holy premises will continue for another thousand years. It has been a service to the whole world. This sacred place belongs to the entire Buddhist world,” he declared.
Describing the founder of Vajiraramaya, Pelene Vajiranana Maha Nayaka Thera as an erudite scholar, the President referred to his yeoman service in the cause of the Dhamma. His style of preaching Dhamma sermons was unique, he said adding that it set a new trend.
Referring to the service rendered by Madihe Maha Nayaka Thera, the President recalled how he went from village to village serving the masses. “He went to the people, looked at their problems and tried to solve them. He served even the Harijana community in Jaffna.”
Stressing that the Maha Nayka Thera was far sighted and had a vision, the President said that he always had the interest of the nation at heart. “He did not take sides. He did not belong to any party or a particular colour. He firmly believed that without developing the human being, the country could not be developed.”
He emphasized the need to continue the service begun by the Maha Nayaka Thera
President Rajapakse also unveiled the statue of the Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Maha Nayaka Thera to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the passing away of the Thera.