22 September, 2020

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A Light Of The Nation Extinguished

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass L. Usuf

Mass L. Usuf

Death is inevitable….” (Sutta Nipata. vss 574-93).

Death is certain for the one who is born…” (Bhagawad Gita 2:27).

Death is certain and appointed for every man” (Hebrews 9:27) of the Bible.

Every soul will taste death and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Chapter 3 Verse 185) of the Quran.

These are noble sayings and messages delivered to mankind by great religious reformers which stand good up to date despite the passage of eons.

The Most Ven. Aggamahapanditha Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Rathanapala Mahanayake Thero, the chief incumbent of the Asgiriya chapter, of the Shamopalika Maha Nikaya would have spoken about, contemplated and, in fact, prepared himself for this inevitability. Being in the fold of the Dhamma, he would have very well known what Gautama Buddha said to the monks while at the Brick Hall at Naadika.

Asgiriya Mahanayake Thero

Asgiriya Mahanayake Thero

“Mindfulness of death, monks, if cultivated and frequently practiced, brings great fruit, great benefit; it merges in the Deathless, ends in the Deathless. Therefore, monks, you should cultivate mindfulness of death.” (Anguttara Nikaya 8 : 37)

In contrast to death, the dhamma teaches in relation to life, to subdue craving (tanha). This creates attachment in life and that is the beginning of everything which ultimately determines one’s khamma. Little wonder, the outspoken late Mahanayake Thero once made a statement reflecting this principle at a function where the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened a refurbished monastery last year. He warned state officials that unless they serve the public to the best of their ability now they will have to pay for those lapses in the next birth. This is the type of guidance and directions that this country is going to lose by the demise of this great Elder.

He was born to a humble family in 1930, in Udugama in the district of Kurunegala. He was ordained in 1944 and has since, as a Buddhist prelate, been of great service to the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka and also in foreign lands.

As a prelate he had to walk the thin line that divides worldly life and the dhamma. He knew that his voice in national issues was significant but, also, was cognizant of the principles of the dhamma that he had chosen to live upon. His life is thus punctuated with many instances where it depicts how cleverly he handled matters of importance to the sangha or the country.

When the Supreme Court in 2008, remanded Ven. Pannala Gnanaloka Thero of Welikadawaththa Buddhist temple for 14 days for failure to appear in Courts for the hearing of fundamental rights violation case pertaining to noise pollution, the late Mahanayaka Thero commenting on the incident which took place at the Supreme Courts of Sri Lanka, said that all civilians including the clergy of all religions as well as the citizens should respect the law of the country and the traditions.

He did not reserve his feelings when asked by the former US ambassador Michele J. Sison, who paid a courtesy call on the Prelate, about a statement on the impeachment of the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Shirani Bandaranayake. The late Mahanayaka Thera said that they had issued the statement to the effect that all were equal before the law of the land, but it had become apparent now that some were using it for their own agendas.

He said, “When politicians find it difficult to achieve their personal agendas they try to bring disrepute to those who abide by the law. We observed that some were bent on creating a situation to embarrass those who uphold the laws of the country,” the Mahanayake Thera said.

With regard to monks in politics, he was reported in the dailies to have said, “I am not for or against monks doing politics and we can’t ask them to refrain from doing so. It is much better for political leaders to discourage the monks from entering the political arena”. His position was crystal clear and an eye opener to all those in robes who clamour and claim to be of service to the dhamma while dabbling in the realm of politics.

The subtle bhikkhu diplomacy is seen in his statement when the U.S. Ambassador paid a courtesy visit to the late Chief Incumbent of the Asgiriya Chapter. It was a time soon after President Barrack Obama was re-elected to the Office of the President. The late Mahanayake commended the assistance rendered to Sri Lanka by the US government and extended his blessings and good wishes to President Barack Obama who had been re-elected for a second term. “The US government has helped our country in the past and does so in the present. We hope it will continue it in the future as well,” he said.

Towards ensuring the continuation of moral standards of this country and protecting it from waning, the late Mahanayake was in the forefront. Addressing the media at the temple premises, he voiced his opinion vehemently against the proposed casino resort saying, “If the government, another entity or person is about to start a Casino business in this country, I would be the first to take to the streets. This country does not need such games. The entire Sangha will take to the streets if this continues”

The late Mahanayake Thero had the honour of functioning as the Anunayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter from 1998 and the Thero had been inducted as the Mahanayake Thero in the year 1999. The Mahanayake Thero who had been In charge of Maligawa Thewawa services for over 14 Years had been greatly honored and revered by both the Sangha and the general public for the selfless service rendered to uplift the dhamma.

This rare personality, great teacher, exemplary monk and upholder of the dhamma shall be remembered for years to come with much respect and honour.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    12

    Excellent homage to a quiet achiever.. Much merits for sharing.

    • 1
      4

      Mass L Usuf:-

      I thought that Muslim writers were able to think clearly.

      You have proved the exception.

      • 0
        3

        Massa Usuf,I too am sorry about this man’s death. He should have lived another 100 years and suffered.He relished wealth in the form of Benz cars. He provided Pirith Noole to criminals, killers, rapists,gangsters.His worst crime was opposing the opening of the ropad opposite Dalada Maligawa to vehicular traffic.Remain happy that I ma not the President of this country. I I was, then I will tie all those who oppose the opening of the road to trees opposite the Dalada Maligawa, park diesel vehiles opposite where they are tioed with the exghaust near their nose and keep the vehicle engine running 24x7x360 days

  • 17
    10

    Anything but a Light. The man who opposed the opening of the road for the convenience of the general public who are greatly inconvenienced by its continued closure. One who has spent millions of rupees of Public funds overseas to remain alive at 85 years. Also as one who was in cahoots with the Corrupt MR, propping him to rob this nation in return for perks as Benz cars thrown his way. Is this the light this nation needs? Sorry facts are stubborn. What hypocritical lives they lead pretending to be exemplary. Real HUMBUG indeed.

    • 12
      7

      There are few factual inaccuracies there.

      His medical costs were bourne by the Singaporean doctor who treated him.

      The traffic will keep growing. The solution is not opening more roads.

      He did not openly condemn BBS nor did he openly condemn LTTE attack on many Temples around the country. That does not mean he was silent.

      • 9
        7

        There is a difference between being silent on LTTE and silent on BBS.

        He was a buddhist leader who did not condemn the acts of one of his own.

        Of course, I have not a monk who practices buddhism in sri lanka, they are there for their own pleasure, he was one of them and nothing more.

        • 10
          6

          Every one wants Buddhists to be DODO birds,

          Some HINDU, CHRISTIANS AND Muslim places are former Buddhist worship sites.

          No one talks about how Portuguese destroyed Buddhist temples and build churches on those sites.

          • 0
            6

            Jim softy

            “Some HINDU, CHRISTIANS AND Muslim places are former Buddhist worship sites.”

            They were ALL Native Veddah Aethho sacred sites and scared land before the Paras brought their Para beliefs to the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

            Why is that there are hardy any Para-Tamil “Buddhists” whereas there are many Para-Sinhala “Buddhists” in the land of Native Veddah Aethho?

        • 8
          1

          Buddhism flourished when the Buddhists were sincere.

          How can you expect Buddhism to flourish and grow when 90% of Sri Lankan Buddhists are drunkards and gamblers and a massive percentage of Sinhala women are washing Arabs toilets for a pittance in the Middle East.

          Gnanasara is Gota’s mouthpiece. Gota thinks and Gnanasara speaks. And due to these 2 opportunists Buddhism’s image is tarnished for ever.

          • 1
            1

            It is also commonly believed that MaRa’s three Royal Babies [Edited out]

        • 2
          0

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 5
        5

        viybhushana:

        Instead of blabbering give a valid explanation why BBS should be criticized.

        It is chrisatians and middle eastern regions that don’t like Some buddhists behaving assertive.

      • 2
        4

        Vibhushana,

        If it is factual, then they cannot be inaccuracies. By the way did you see the funeral that was poorly attended by the people? There was hardly a crowd, except the sheds erected had the politicos of both sides to make political capital of the event and the absence of the Kandy folk was most conspicuous, possibly because they disliked this man for his attitude towards their woes.

        Did you see the extravagance of the Pyre put up by the KMC, headed by a Rathwatte brat spending millions, of course not through his own pocket but the Kandy Tax payers money, to score political points. The grandeur of the Pyre itself runs contradictory to the principles of Buddhism where it preaches simplicity and not waste. For your information the medical bill of this man has cost over Rs. 15 mil in Singapore including the cost of airfare to bring his body back. If as you say the Dr. who treated him did not charge, he must be a practicing Buddhist realising the folly of trying to resuscitate a man of 85 years going against nature.

        Had he gracefully passed off here in this country at 85 like so many others do, that Rs. 15 million could have saved the lives of so many others much younger and useful to society and their families. It is these type of Buggers who have ruined this country for all of us after Independence trying to pour Buddhism down the throats of the gullible for them to live on the sweat and tears of the masses creating Religious conflict in the country.

    • 3
      6

      Mass L. Usuf –

      The “Light” of the Nation is Extinguished.

      Gamini Says:

      ” Also as one who was in cahoots with the Corrupt MR, propping him to rob this nation in return for perks as Benz cars thrown his way. Is this the light this nation needs? Sorry facts are stubborn. What hypocritical lives they lead pretending to be exemplary. Real HUMBUG indeed. “

      Yes. Succinctly stated.

      One good news is that ultimately these Corrupt Shills who are stooges of the Politicians abs used Religion to say in power., will ultimately die, due to old age.

      One, bad news is that they will be replaced by similar one to continue the deception.

      So, must put term limits for these appointments. They hardly resign or retire.

    • 1
      4

      “The man who opposed the opening of the road for the convenience of the general public who are greatly inconvenienced by its continued closure”

      If this is true what an environmental disaster he has encouraged!

      The option being for the Government to open a thoroughfare through the Udawattekele, a natural Rainforest, which can never be recreated for thousands of years!

    • 2
      5

      Gamini:
      Congratulations on your condemnation of this man who exemplified spiritual and intellectual dishonesty. HE WAS A LACKEY OF THE RAJAPAKSA REGIME and the very quote that this stupid author uses with regard to the impeachment of the 43rd Chief Justice says it all: “When politicians find it difficult to achieve their personal agendas they try to bring disrepute to those who abide by the law. We observed that some were bent on creating a situation to embarrass those who uphold the laws of the country,” There is NOTHING resembling the simple outright condemnation that was required in this instance.
      This man was a sycophantic humbug, nothing less!

  • 13
    6

    Didn’t he keep silent when BBS monks ran amok and killed many in Aluthgama?

    He was so silent I thought he had stuffed his mouth with pittu and could not speak.

  • 4
    1

    All living beings perish after various time periods and rejoin nature –
    also known as the universe.
    If cremated, they rejoin quickly as molecules; if buried, the process is slower.
    Death is certain for all, including religious leaders, however pious they may have been during life.

    What each of us did/achieved during life is what separates the “great” from the “ordinary”.
    The “great” are those who enriched the lives of fellow humans, by deeds and not merely words.

    The mahanayake could have used his influence to condemn human rights violations and thus prevented death and disability among thousands of fellow lankans irrespective of their ethnicity.

    • 1
      3

      “The mahanayake could have used his influence to condemn human rights violations and thus prevented death and disability among thousands of fellow lankans irrespective of their ethnicity”

      That would have upset those that offered him bribes and deprived him of the luxury Benzes. Incidentaly thos Benzes were paid for by us. This shit should have worshipped us for having paid for the cars he got as bribes. .

  • 4
    7

    Mass L. Usuf I have no idea what your agenda here is. But you have chosen the wrong guy for homage. This dead man has earned the right to be sent off on his final journey in a tax free Mercedez luxury car through the crematorium.

    • 2
      8

      Navin,

      You are wrong. The Benz was not to get him to the crematorium but to go to Nirvana. Jokers, who have ridiculed the Noble Philosophy living on their wits. Flags have been distributed to be hoisted to show as if the whole country was in mourning. Judging from the crowds the organizers would have been disappointed with the full force of MR Junta attending the funeral. Dejection was written on everyone’s face including Keheliya Rambukwella’s.

      • 1
        1

        Read again. I meant ‘through the crematorium’ not ‘to’. And obviously I did not have nirvana as the destination in mind, but ‘hell fire’, or ‘suffering’ in Buddhist parlance.

  • 9
    6

    Are you all dumb LTTErs? To bring politics into a religious leader who has strived to do his best under the circumstances? He can only show the way, it is not his business to push, shove or stop anyone from doing anything. That is not his business you silly ignorant nincompoops! Your rubbish brains can lead your tongues to speak only rubbish.

  • 6
    2

    Mr. Usuf:

    We should appreciate and thank you for this article.

    • 1
      4

      Mr Usuf, CONGRATULATIONS. You have received the most odious compliment for an odious Article, from one of the most odious contributors to the Comments feature.

      Please frame it put it up in your living room and enjoy it.

  • 7
    2

    He was the closest thing to a “genuine Monk” living according to the Vinaya. A venerable, kind and courteous man and the last of his kind that we shall ever see in this benighted land.

    I knew him personally, ever since my Grandmother and I used to visit him in a small temple just outside Kandy, in the 1960’s.

    Please do not insult him !

    • 3
      0

      If anybody wants to see a ‘genuine monk’ then visit one of the many meditation centers and hermitages scattered around the country. The monks go walking on alms round. They speak little and only after careful consideration – is it true? is it necessary? will it harm me? will it harm others? They have simple names not grand titles. They are not involved in politics, business, fortune-telling. They don’t handle money. They follow the Vinaya code of discipline.

    • 1
      3

      One of those ‘grand mother’ stories!!

      Interested in the truth? “Thanha” my friend: the reason for the transformation!

    • 0
      2

      Don Quixote

      Not even the dead are spared by some bigots who use this forum . The Mahanayake may not have lived up to the expectations of some, but most of the comments here are in very bad taste , and reflect poorly on those making them .

  • 0
    1

    Can a HERMITAGE monk administer the entire Siam Nikaya from his hermitage ? Knowing this man he would have loved to cop out like that and follow a selfish path to self improvement.

    He chose otherwise and tried his best to give an example for the greater good of the sasanaya.

    You just watch those who follow him and you will beg for the return of a man such as him.

    Navin I am no friend of yours and you have now insulted my grandmother as well. I wish you people who have nothing better to do than be offensive on the net, kept your inane, insensitive comments to yourselves.

  • 1
    4

    Another Muslim trying to suck up. In Buddhism, no light is extinguished. They are reborn or attain nirvana. So, better not say things you know not.

    Any religious leader who keeps quiet for his adult like while his country burns without attempting to put out the fires is not worthy of praise. It is best to leave things at that.

    As the Christians would put it, he also serves who only stands and waits.

  • 0
    0

    Usuf?, what a disgusting typical [Edited out] . The old man was a Parasite with hardly any modern education. Thought the Sun went round the Earth and all those planets influenced peoples lives. He believed in the Cock and Bull stories as depicted in the Mahawansa. Thank God these Dinasaurs are becoming fast extinct Hope the man goes to some exotic unreal place called Nirvana.Where ever that Place is. May be a ‘Black Hole”? according to Dawkins.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Usuf,

    you think have succeeded in winning over the very people who have been strong backers of the BBS. Well done, though not surprising it is the strategy of the trader, please your enemy and hope he will not bother you anymore!

    Unfortunately the tactic of the Mussalman is well known by the Sinhalese and the Tamils!

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