Hela Values

Hela Values

Humanity     Self-sufficiency     Wisdom

Throughout our history, amidst the ever changing socio-political-economic landscape, our Hela values of Humanity, Self-sufficiency and Wisdom have remained constant. These timeless, ancient and sacred values remain the key to peace and prosperity for all who live on our Island.



Humanity is at the heart of our Hela value-system. With humanity we the Hela have built and sustained family, friendships, community and a great civilisation. Our friendly smiles are a window into this quality of humanity. It is hard to fathom, yet one finds it; each and every day, all around this great Island nation. We could describe our Humanity as morality and goodwill. We could also described it as loving-kindness - the driving force for many of our social endeavours. Our humanity is respect towards elders and affection towards children. In the Buddhist tradition, we act humanely by: first doing no harm, i.e. the 5 Precepts and then doing good, i.e. the 4 sublime virtues: compassion (karuna), loving-kindness (mettha), appreciative-joy (muditha) and equanimity (upekka).


In the simplest sense, Self-sufficiency is 'producing what we consume and consuming what we produce'. Self-sufficiency to the Hela is also about sustainable prosperity. For example: A rice farmer may produce what he consumes and consumes what he produces and could be deemed to be self-sufficient. However, if his farming practices degrades the soil or pollutes the environment, then his farming days are numbered. His productivity will decline and his livelihood will not be sustainable.

As far back as the oral tradition goes, it appears that the indigenous Hela always adopted a self sufficient and sustainable lifestyle. In keeping with this value, the Hela built vast networks of reservoirs, like non other in the world. The abundant water supply that nourished the iridescent-green rice fields of ‘Lankapura’ (King Raavana’s capitol) are well documented in the Ramayanaya and the The Mahavansa. The Mahavansa describes how Kuveni (A Hela princess) offered Vijaya (founder of the Sinhela royal dynasty) water from a reservoir and later, rice as a meal.

"Let not a drop of water flow onto the sea before it is used first in the service of man." - King Parakrama Bahu I.

Today, more and more people are realising the value of a sustainable livelihood. We are all trying to reduce our 'carbon footprint'. We are re-discovering the value of local production for local consumption (i.e. self-sufficiency) with concepts like 'carbon miles' and heeding calls for sustainable prosperity.

[Related links: Soil Association, CSIRO, America discovers self-sufficiency]


Heladiva was once renowned as the 'Island of teaching'. Even today, the Hela hold learning in the highest regard and place much value in education. Through learning we gain knowledge and wisdom for our self-actualisation. It is also through the attainment of Wisdom that one is able to purify and perfect one's character.

The collective Wisdom of the Hela encourages the practice of following the middle path (i.e. avoiding extremes). For example: To add value to a product one could rely on the high technology of large machinery; this is a quick option but a very costly investment. Similarly, to add value to a product one could rely on the low technology of simple tools and human labour; this is a cheaper option but a very time consuming one. Between these two extremes one finds a better solution: Intermediate technologies that add value to a product relatively quickly and efficiently at a lower cost.

[Related Links: Intermediate Technologies, IT Example, Small is Beautiful, E.F. Schumacher]

Intermediate Technologies

Video Link

In the Buddhist tradition, Wisdom is the knowledge, understanding and practice of the Nobel 8 fold path. The Hela are used to the practice of this path for over 2500 years. (Nobel 8 fold path: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration).



The value of Values

Indigenous cultures have a unique and timeless relationship with their land of evolution. This sacred relationship lives on in the indigenous value-system. Having evolved over millennia; and proven by the test of time, the indigenous value-system has the power to bring people together and to enhance our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.


The indigenous value-system also offers non-indigenous peoples the knowledge on how best to achieve wellbeing in the indigenous environment. Respecting and adopting the indigenous value-system is the key to experiencing this wellbeing.

Our Hela value-system, like other indigenous value systems are harmonious and wholesome and proven by the test of time. They have great utility. They are a great wealth - to all who live on our Island.

These Hela values are depicted in our new Hela Standard.