8 August, 2022


Death Of Sobitha Thero Created A Leadership Vacuum

By Kamal Nissanka

Kamal Nissanka

Kamal Nissanka

Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero was a learned prelate in damma but his dedication to the fulfillment of social justice through practical means and engaging in social engineering earned him a great respect among politically conscious Sri Lankans in the recent past.

In the early part of 2014 Ven. Sobitha invited the Liberal Party to join the movement in search of a common candidate to face the 2015 presidential election and as the secretary of the party, I readily and unhesitatingly accepted the invitation and participated in most of the meetings at Naga Viharaya and other venues. In the beginning of that movement the prevalent view was that the Ven. Sobitha would come forward as the common opposition candidate but he slowly moved the idea that the common candidate should be found from the political arena itself and understood his limitations in the field of politics showing maturity and broad mildness.

It is not controversial that the idea and the movement for common candidate was launched by civil society organizations and mainly by the National Movement for Social Justice headed by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha. The movement was able to mould and cement the concept of “good governance” ( yahapalanaya) to the movement in search of a common candidate for 2015 presidential election.

Though Ven. Sobitha had displayed a brand of Buddhist nationalism in the late eighties in the new millennium he side lined himself from extremism and in the present decade appeared as a Buddhist humanist and preached on national harmony , national integration and equal rights of all people though he did not propose any specific model for state structure.

Ven. Sobitha was straight forward in criticizing corruption, family bandism and crony capitalism and gave inspirational and intellectual leadership to intelligentsia of the country against 18th amendment, control of judiciary by ruling regime and other evils.

Liberal party of Sri Lanka feels that the real and practical respect for Ven. Sobitha could be paid only by pushing his policies forward and no other way. It also feels that as Mahathma Gandhi of India who had given spiritual leadership against British rule, Ven. Sobitha gave spiritual leadership to the right thinking people of Sri Lanka by peaceful protests and agitations to overcome an authoritarian family administration that was installed in Sri Lanka after the war victory. Liberals also feel that a great vacuum is now created in the people’s movement with the passing away of the learned prelate as the aspirations of good governance in the January 8 victory are yet to be fulfilled.

Liberal Party of Sri Lanka wishes that Ven. Sobitha may attain nibbana in accordance with his beliefs based on the doctrine of Lord Buddha.

*Kamal Nissanka – Secretary General, Liberal Party of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 8

    Ven Sobitha is already in history books of Sri Lanka for what he did on 8th January 2015 , unthinkable.

    It was a surprise indeed , no any politician ever dared , taking the bull by it’s horns, a Spanish bull if I may say so, roaming freely in Colombo streets, was finally brought to it’s knees, by this saffron clad Buddhist monk, leaving others, all over the world, in disbelief.

    We need Ven. Sobitha again to be born in this country.

    But he deserves ultimate bliss of Nibbana for what he did to Sri Lankans,

    May Ven. Sobitha attain Nibbana.

    • 2

      Confused by the claim that Rev. Sobhita’s demise leaves a leadership vacuum.

      What about the leadership being provided by the Liberal Party that has as mush popular power base as the National Movement for Social Justice –
      Less than 100 people. So why not continue the struggle?

    • 2

      His legacy will never be able to replace by anyone. He has guts to discuss issues not harming any other non-buddhist communities.May you attain Nibbana my most sacred Sir!!!!

    • 2

      You and your efforts in bringing peace to this nation is unique

      May you attain Niwan !


      “Candle In The Wind”

      Goodbye Norma Jean
      Though I never knew you at all
      You had the grace to hold yourself
      While those around you crawled
      They crawled out of the woodwork
      And they whispered into your brain
      They set you on the treadmill
      And they made you change your name

      And it seems to me you lived your life
      Like a candle in the wind
      Never knowing who to cling to
      When the rain set in
      And I would have liked to have known you
      But I was just a kid
      Your candle burned out long before
      Your legend ever did

      Loneliness was tough
      The toughest role you ever played
      Hollywood created a superstar
      And pain was the price you paid
      Even when you died
      Oh the press still hounded you
      All the papers had to say
      Was that Marilyn was found in the nude

      Goodbye Norma Jean
      From the young man in the 22nd row
      Who sees you as something as more than sexual
      More than just our Marilyn Monroe


  • 5

    With the demise of Venerable Sobitha Thero 21 million Sri Lankans have been orphaned.This is what all these tributes from Sri Lankans across the religious and ethnic divide means.Please see one of his moving videoed speeches that appears in the Asian Mirror website.It is amazing.

    Rest in peace Reverend Sir.Rest in peace thou true son of our beloved Lanka.

  • 10

    Mr. Nissanka,

    “Though Ven. Sobitha had displayed a brand of Buddhist nationalism in the late eighties in the new millennium he side lined himself from extremism and in the present decade appeared as a Buddhist humanist and preached on national harmony , national integration and equal rights of all people though he did not propose any specific model for state structure.”

    Ven.Sobitha Thero’s contributions to the regime change this year is praiseworthy. During JRJ’s time, his name was associated with Sinhalese extremists. From far away in the US, I am not sure when and how he became a Buddhist ‘humanist.’ In fact, it is not clear if he was only concerned about the thuggery and corruption of the Rajapaksa regime, or if he was also concerned by the regime’s racism. But if the story of his humanist transformation is true, it needs to be applauded by all.

    I think there must be many more such humanist monks in SL leading quiet lives. We can only hope that they emerge from obscurity and become activists, leading a grass roots effort to transform the attitudes of the Sinhalese people. Only such an effort can build a modern plural democratic state with a just solution to the Tamil and Muslim peoples.

  • 6

    To my knowledge, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero was the most respected, kind and loved human being in Sri Lanka. He should be conferred the title of Mahatma or Father of Nation.

    We, Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, have always cried that Sri Lanka has never produced a great national leader.

    But, he was surely such a great man, great leader and wonderful human being; he was such as national leader and well deserves the title of Mahatma or Father of Nation!

    Rest in Peace, Guruji.

  • 4

    No other priest from any of the Buddhist sects had Ven Sobitha’s courage in the face of the intimidation, threats (spoken and unspoken) and the general atmosphere which prevailed before the 8th of January.

    In fact they were milder than sheep or should I say meek as mice; in fact cowards. This priest had guts.

    For leading and raising such a spirited oppositional voice, the nation today salutes him like no other.

    • 3

      Rajapakshes must be made accountable for this monk’s unexpected death. As we are all aware, Rev. Sobitha thero was very unhappy the way Rajapakshe treated his own people. There is nobody fought to add anything against the Rajapakshe misadminstration than the thero did. Please rewind RECORDS added to Sirasa Satana – most respected great monk had every guts to call a spade a spade. It was all for the silent and blind folks that have no powers to get rid of Rajapakshe regime. From lately held elections, we became more clear that every 2nd of the nation is proved to be supporting Rajapakshes and their crime friendly acts. There Rev Sir could not make his mind. Even after the newly elected govt appointed corrupted men as ministers to their survivial, great Thero has openly added his crtics saying that govt should come with an open apology – NOT respecting people s rejection but to appoint ones for the surivival of National govt – did not please the thero at all. All these should have leave him very unhappy in his last days. To me, this monk is no comparable to anyone we had sofar. Sir, obata niwan suwaya – may you attain Nirwana!

  • 2

    The Mahanayake’s though holding the highest seat of Buddhism in this country are known for their silence on issues of concern to this country playing political games for ulterior benefits, thus actually being insults to Buddhism. Ven Sobitha Thera was one unique individual who carried the righteous path beneficial for all people of this country thus becoming a beacon to persons who valued humanity and thus gaining respect of all communities and religious leaders of Sri Lanka, something the shameless Mahanayake’s have never achieved.

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