Established in 1977 under the guidance of Aggamaha Pandita Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayake Swamindrayan, Dharma Vijaya Foundation was incorporated in 1979 by an Act of Parliament No. 62. It is registered with the Department of Social Services as a recognized charity as well as a community development agency. Accordingly, the financial aid received by the foundation is exempted from income tax.
Dharmavijaya means conquering by righteous action. “Samavayo eva sadhu” – “Peace is fine” is our motto. Our aim is to work for the good survival of all living beings and the environment based on tolerance, harmony and kindness according to the five principles taught in Buddhism.
Purpose of a trust
A trust can be created for any legal purpose. A person has the ability to create a trust with anything of financial value, such as money, real estate, jewelry etc. According to the existing law of Sri Lanka, a well-established trust operates in accordance with the terms and conditions of the “Trust Ordinance”. Creating a trust means signing an agreement to hand over the said property or the money earned from it to another legally authorized person or institution, with their consent, to be executed according to the terms or conditions of their choice, in accordance with the terms of the Ordinance, for a legal purpose that is good for the society of their choice and letting that authority or institution execute for himself. The trust is bound to be executed by the authorized person or institution on agreed conditions for the purposes agreed upon during his lifetime as well as after his death.
The persons involved in a trust are:
The settlor, the trustee and the beneficiary are three. According to Section 7(a) of the Trusts Act of Sri Lanka, any person of full age and of sound mind who is legally capable of forming a contract and is not disqualified by law can create trusts for a legitimate purpose. According to section 10 (1) a trustee can be a person or body who can hold property. Section 9 (1) provides that a person may be a beneficiary of a property.
There are 3 types of valid trusts in Sri Lanka namely Declared Trusts, Approved Trusts and Charitable Trusts. Trusts which are for public or private benefit or for the benefit of a section of the public can be created as “charitable” trusts.
What are the conditions?
The terms and conditions of a trust are formulated according to the purpose of the trust and they must be lawful within the provisions of the Trust Ordinance. The property itself or a part of it or the income from investing/developing it, or all of it, can be given for the benefit of someone else, for the betterment of a charitable institution. It may vary in terms of scholarship support, medical aid, expenses for surgery, for a sacred or other place of his choice or for some activity in a selected area, etc. The terms agreed upon by the parties will ultimately become the binding terms.
How to set up a trust?
A trust can be created by writing one’s last will or deed, or by writing an unsealed document during one’s lifetime, or by following the responses prescribed by law. Accordingly, if a person wishes to use his property during his lifetime or after his death or for the benefit of someone else, he can establish the trust by writing a deed establishing the trust and transferring it to the trustee or by preparing a last will and testament. When a trust is created by a last will, it takes effect after the person’s death.
What is the role of Dharmavijaya Foundation?
Dharmavijaya Foundation, a government approved charitable organization, assumes responsibility as a trustee and applies the legal responsibility assigned to this foundation by any person for the benefit of the beneficiary in accordance with the conditions created by the creator of the trust.
Dharmavijaya Foundation operates under a registered constitution. The Foundation is governed by a 30-member Board of Trustees and all decisions are made by the unanimous consent of the Board of Trustees, based on majority consent. The Board of Trustees will continue to meet every Thursday of the week at Dharma Vijaya Foundation headquarters at 4.30 PM. The Board of Trustees which met under the auspices of the founding patron of Dharma Vijaya Foundation Aggamahapanditha Most Venerable Madihe Pangnasiha Mahanahimi Thero after his demise is currently meeting under the auspices of Tripitakacharya Shastrapati Rajakiyapandita Pujya Hakmana Sumanasiri Thero who is his senior student.
Election of officers of the Board of Trustees shall be by majority vote at the Annual General Meeting. The members of the Board of Trustees are volunteers who do not receive salary or benefits. These members, who held senior positions in the public and private sectors in various services such as administration, management, accounting, engineering, law, banking, ambassador, etc., are responsible for making the decisions of the board of trustees.
Dharma Vijaya Foundation currently holds 77 trusts. All accounts are audited annually by a firm of chartered accountants and the account report is published. Accordingly, the net value of trust funds at the end of 2021 is 32.2 million rupees. Every year details of activities and expenditure during that year are sent to the settlor in charge.
If we briefly state the nature of the works carried out by the trusts so far, all the works are under the 4 main areas of education, health, economic and moral development, giving scholarships to lay priests, providing basic necessities for Monks, providing support to Gilana monks, providing medicine, raising Dhamma schools, Buddhism Extension activities, various activities to develop human morality, development of temples, grant of Dhamma school scholarships, provision of spectacles, contact lenses, disaster relief, construction of houses for poor families, implementation of rural development projects to alleviate poverty, supply of drinking water, controlling the spread of non-communicable diseases It also includes activities such as working to reduce the use of tobacco smoke, and preventing animal cruelty. These functions are carried out by the Dharma Vijaya Societies established in 468 temples in the island.
If you also wish to create a trust
If you are also interested in joining the Dharmavijaya Foundation and participating in the above-mentioned charitable activities and working for the good of both worlds, if you intend to use the wealth you have earned during your life or after your death for the desired purpose, please contact us at the following address and phone number. Visit our website for more details. Confidentiality of the details provided by the Trustee will be maintained at the discretion of the Trustee.