27 October, 2020

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BBS: Bullocks, Balderdash & Showmanship

R.A.Ratwatte

R.A.Ratwatte

BBS seems to be the most important letters of the alphabet today, in Sri Lanka. Before I express my opinion on what is going on let me establish my credentials. I am a very proud Sinhala Buddhist of up country origin. I have served a full five year term as a Basnayake Nilame, looking after the historic  Maha Vishnu Devalaya at Lankatilleke in Pilimatalawe. I also come from a family that has carried out tasks of this nature over generations. I am laying emphasis on this point as I will need it later in my argument and also to point out that I have personally spent more of my funds and those of my friends on contributing to the upkeep of the religious traditions of this Country than the BBS collective has probably done! This is not to say that money is everything but to lay emphasis that one has to have earned the right to speak, as was the case before the advent of the internet and anonymity giving rise to the non-use of credentials. By funds of my friends I mean both national and non-national friends and above all friends of all religions and faiths! I am proud to have Christians of both major denominations as my dear friends and a Muslim or two who I would consider brothers.

This utter balderdash that is being carried out by a bunch of IDIOTS in the name of the Sinhala race and the noble doctrine of the enlightened one, the Gauthama, The Lord Buddha, has got to stop right now! Since this looks like another political “jilmart” by the ruling family to distract the public, it will be difficult to do. Those who are being ruled in this Country are still euphoric over the supremacy of a bunch of lazy farmers turned three drivers, supposedly depicted by a war victory. These morons are still “grateful” and for as long as their wives work in semi slavery in the Middle East and keep sending them money to fuel their alcoholic binges, they don’t care about the future of their motherland!

The tragic part of this cancer that is ravaging our land being allowed to get out of control, lies more than partly with the temple trustees and the Nilames who have taken office recently. I come from a family that has a proud tradition of providing LEADERSHIP to the Buddhist religious fraternity of this land. A Nilame was a layman in charge of running the worldly affairs of a temple. Worldly affairs because a true Buddhist monk living in accordance with the Vinaya cannot and will not, get involved in such affairs. The Nilames originating from the stock I refer to did not profess to be vegetarians and teetotallers, they did not wear white kapati suits at every occasion they were LAYMAN! They lived normal lay lives and their function was to bring a lay perspective to the running of the affairs of the temple. In other words, common sense and realism, tempered with a realistic sense of values was what they inculcated into the system of temple administration. They were people with character and personality and they had associated with the priests of their areas since birth and had been unofficially” selected” from large families by the elders of the family and the priests themselves.

What I am trying to say here is that there was mutual respect among the lay trustee and the priest concerned and advice was given and taken freely. It was not a question of simply trying to please the priest in order to be re-elected at the next election as is the case today! Today we have half educated and semi-literate and in some cases geriatric priest ordering layman around and trying to “run” the Buddha Sasanaya in the lines of what they think is a profit making and “successful” business venture !

This is what has led to the BBS which in my estimation stands for BULLOCKS, BALDERDASH AND SHOWMANSHIP. Bullocks and balderdash do not need to be explained to the reader of this piece, who undoubtedly will fall into the “Colombian” category but showmanship I must elaborate on. Imagine a life cloistered away in a temple which you have joined well before puberty, often with a near useless degree and facing the rest of your life in these circumstances. The option of renouncing your robes exists and is often taken up but the problem here is that you degree is largely useless for employment. Watching the often despicable example depicted by the senior priests who you come under, adds to your frustration and disillusionment. There is no respected layman of your age for you to confide in, but there are those willing to listen to you and encourage you for their ulterior motives and gain. What happens you most often get led astray and you need to leave your mark on this thrice blessed land, you must make a difference, YOU MUST PUT ON A SHOW!

What is really needed is a sansodhanaya of the sasanaya or a cleaning up . I can assure you now that no political party has the “cohunes” (or is it bollocks!) to make that happen. What can happen however is for the Buddha Sasana Ministry to re-look at the Basnayake Nilame and indeed the Diyawadana Nilame office and those that occupy it. Select your candidates carefully and do away with the ridiculous election system that is now in place. Appoint a Nilame for a minimum of 10 years and do so after all credentials are checked by a panel of peers. Oh I know politicization is a risk and indeed would probably be the reality but that is the case now too and any even slight change could only be an improvement!

We need rational, realistic and educated leadership for the Sasanaya going forward. In the name of Lord Vishnu the designated protector of Buddhism in this land I beg for it !

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Latest comments

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    Dear Rajitha
    I am really heartened by your article! Everything you say is absolutely true, and I am happy that a person with your credentials has said this.
    We have a beautiful country. Having lived in Australia (which is another beautiful country!), I chose to return here to live, because it is my HOME!
    Let not separatists from both sides continue to divide us.
    I am thrilled with what has happened in the North. The calibre of people being appointed to positions of power there are incredible – the way it should really be. It is a lesson for the Sinhala people to follow.
    Let’s stop this vanquishing mindset and get on with the job at hand, without playing to the gallery.
    I am not for any separate state, but this argument has gone on for long enough, and the people WHO MATTER have spoken at the elections. The Government MUST listen!!
    I wish more people like you would voice their opinions without just saying “what to do” in order to protect their own interests.
    Keep trucking on!
    Cheers
    Suresh

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    What a jackass article – lashing out in every direction after starting out with a boastful paragraph. Generalization to the optimum and trying hard to justify the glory of the Kandyans. Well, as we all know, it is pure Kerala – from your Thuppotiya to the Gedi Male and the Hansa Puutuwa. As you parade in your puffed up refinery with adulation of the serfs, you really must think that you are someone special. Well, you are not – Nilame titles are bought or are bestowed based on you caste and so called connectionind to the British. The pale skin and the light eyes of the Ratwattes et al belies the fraternity with the occupying British and hence the Wallawas and privileges.

    Stop pontificating – start getting real. Buddhism is about the teachings of Buddha – simple, factful and to the point. It is not about wrapping yourself in 30 meters of silk with daggers sticking out and having the faithful carry a Muthukude over your ego-infested head.

    No facts, not real points but just the arrogant assumption that everyone will listen to a Ratwatte.

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    Sinhala Modaya Kavvum Kanda Yothaya is the first thing I learend in Sinhala.
    Those days Budhist Monks came with Bowl with litttle oil in it to get offerings.That means they will not handle money direct.
    Now the venerable Monk is talking about Bank Account and he will be the first one to withdraw and deposit elsewhere, meaning that he is floating in money.
    Now we hear about Monks having raped and murdered being arrested and sent to prison.
    So that is the fate of Budhism and well utilised by the Govt.
    May God save Budhism from the Governors.

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