‘Conflict Resolution’ is a popular subject of discussion among many people in the world today. The fact that it has already entered the domain of University students as well, suggests that the subject has become a popular and serious one.
A large number of world famous intellectuals and professors who have mastered this subject of conflict resolution are available today.
From family unit up to the international level, across a wide area, multifarious conflicts, from small to large have spread throughout the world. In the face of this increasing trend of conflicts, it is encouraging to see that those intellectuals in the field of conflict resolution seem to have taken a new interest on this subject.
The sources and examples they discuss constantly in their endeavour to achieve conflict resolution came to us from the Western Society. During the civil war in Sri Lanka and also communal conflicts these international peace makers or aids suppliers brought all the examples and forms from the western society. But they may have forgotten the fact that Sri Lanka is a country which developed throughout history under Buddhist way of life for the last 2500 years and more.
A Rev. Christian Father, born and bred in Sri Lanka soil and having received higher education in Sri Lanka, has come forward to discuss conflict resolution methods appearing in the Book of Five Hundred and fifty Jathaka stories from a Sociological perspective. Rev. Fr. is a pride to us and to our country.
This distinguished personage is none other than Rev. Fr. Sarath Hettiarachchi. Being a son of a Buddhist father and a Christian mother, he has a natural claim by birth to embrace religious co-existence.
About his education career, he obtained his first degree from Peradeniya University, Master of Arts and PhD from Kelaniya University and Theological degree from Serampore College, India. I recognised him as an intellectual lover of the ‘Book of Five Hundred and fifty Jathaka Stories’ because he is the only Christian father in Sri Lanka who did a study of the of sociology for his PhD.
We have seen the most intellectuals are confined to their subject of academic study, in their higher study. But Fr. Sarath is different from others and is not an intellectual confined to books.
He stood neck and neck with me and other monks and worked together to see an end to the war during that dark period of three decades. Ignoring all conveniences and going through thick forest of Vavuniya and visiting other places such as Madu Church, Malavi, LTTE headquarters in Kilinochchi and University of Jaffna, we together conducted discussions all along with armed persons, with the prime aim of stopping bloodshed among the people in Sri Lanka and create a peaceful country for all to live in peace.
During the last few days of the war, we got into a military tank and proceeded to the battle field to give moral support to about any three forces not caring the risks.
In writing this Sociological book titled “the Book of Five Hundred And Fifty Jathaka Stories And Conflict Resolution,” the writer has obtained all necessary material from books and other relevant sources as well as from practical life experiences, which, in my view, have contributed to the success of this creative work.
It is the first time that a Sri Lankan Christian father has launched a sociological book about the five hundred and fifty Jathaka stories. But, I have a special reason which overrides all other previous concern.
Our friend Sirisumana Godage invited Rev. Fr. Sarath Hettiarachchi to launch this book after printing it for a special reason.
Fr. Sarath Hettiarachchi who is loved by many a Buddhist monk as well as Hindus and Muslim religious leaders is, at present, suffering from a cancer, Multiple myeloma. According to the medical advice, this is an incurable disease.
Even to live a short period, cost of medicine and treatment is expensive, beyond the reach of any ordinary person. Speciality of this new book is that Rev. Fr. Sarath attended to all matters pertaining to the book all by himself while either bedridden or hospitalised.
We are proud of him to see him still writing the book while lying in a hospital bed fighting all kinds of aches and pains of the disease and bearing them fearlessly and courageously.
During his lifetime, when he was working hard to develop religious co-exisence among the people, he had to suffer immensely work. Many extremists criticised him and cause lots of trouble him.
A majority of them belong to the same faith as his. And yet he had courage to face such attacks although his own younger sister became a victim of a train bomb.
He continued to conduct discussions with LTTE leaders for peace because he had such intrinsic courage within him.
From his sick bed, having completed the new book titled “Five Hundred And Fifty Jathaka Stories And Conflict Resolution”, a historic sociological book, it will be launched on March 31 at 4.30 p.m. at the Colombo Public Library Auditorium by Godage Publications. Revenue earned from this book will be assigned to meet the medical expenses of Fr. Sarath Hettiarachchi for his illness.
Political leaders of all political parties, artistes, ambassadors and large number of intellectuals are expected to be present.
May Rev. Fr. Sarath Hettiarachchi be well soon. Theruwan Saranai.
Aggamaha Panditha Prof. Ven. Kamuburgamuwa Vajira Nayaka Thero,
President Inter-Religious Alliance for National Unity.