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Sri Lanka president advocates Buddhist philosophy to end conflict

Xinhua News Agency, May 23, 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said Monday that practicing the Buddhist philosophy would help the country to find solutions for its conflict. Addressing a Wesak Day gathering here, Kumaratunga said that peace and harmony could be well achieved if Buddhist principals are adhered to by all communities and people.

Kumaratunga said a solution to the ethnic problem in the country cannot be found through violence.

The Wesak Day, marking the birth, attaining of the Buddhahood and the death of the Lord Buddha, is marked with widespread celebrations in this Buddhist majority Indian ocean island.

Extensive illuminations and all day meritorious activities are the features of this holy Buddhist day.

The state radio, the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, said that Wesak celebrations would also be held in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the cultural capital of the Tamil community.

The Wesak Day was preceded by a week-long dispute over a Buddhist statue erected in the multi-ethnic port city of Trincomalee.

The city was the scene of a protest sometimes marked with violence as the Tamils protested the construction, claiming it was an unauthorized structure.

The protest resulted in a general shut down in the city and the worsening situation prompted the Sri Lankan president to dispatch her military commanders to the city.

The protestors have however said they had suspended the protest for two days in view of the Wesak celebrations.

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