When President Maithripala Sirisena was about to embark on his first trip to China as President, a group of Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy requested that the Dalai Lama visit Sri Lanka. Foreign Ministry officials had objected to the request of Sri Lanka’s clergy, claiming that it would it will stir up a hornet’s nest. Many people believed Maithripala would allow the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka because the Maithripala-Ranil government is friendly with India. Even during Mahinda’s government, the Sri Lankan Buddhist monks requested that the Dalai Lama visit Sri Lanka, but Mahinda’s administration refused.
Mahinda’s government did not want to anger China and allow Dalai Lama to come to Sri Lanka. The permission request for Dalai Lama to come to Sri Lanka has been there for a long time. The Dalai Lama requested permission from previous governments to visit the ‘Dalada Maligawa’ and Sri Maha Bodhi but permission was denied. Many believed that when Mahinda became president the Dalai Lama would be allowed to come because Mahinda gave a special place to Buddhism and Buddhist monks. But Mahinda did nothing to anger China.
Discussion about the Dalai Lama has started once again because recently as the Nayake Theros of Sri Lanka on their visit to India met the Dalai Lama and invited Dalai Lama to come to Sri Lanka. The Nayaka Theroes of Sri Lanka met the Dalai Lama when the Chinese were reluctant to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt. The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka was disturbed when the Budhist Chief monks requested the Dalai Lama to come to Sri Lanka. An official from the Chinese Embassy went to meet Malwathu Mahanayake Thero and requested him not to allow the Dalai Lama to come to Sri Lanka. The Chinese embassy official said that if allowed, it would have a severe impact on Sino-Lankan relationship. China sent a letter expressing willingness to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt amid the Dalai Lama’s visit disagreement.
An official of the Tibetian government said that the Dalai Lama has not decided to come to Sri Lanka. He must have felt that he will not be allowed to come to Sri Lanka. In this regard, the Mahanayake Theros who invited the Dalai Lama to come to Sri Lanka did not respond. Sri Lankan government using the Dalai Lama to influence China is not good for Sri Lanka as a Buddhist country. The Dalai Lama said that he has no intention of coming to Sri Lanka; he must have realized that the Sri Lankan government is using him as a tool.