26 May, 2022

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Buddhism Pure

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan –

Prof Charles Sarvan

K S Palihakkara, ‘Buddhism Sans Myths & Miracles’, Stamford Lake Publishers, Pannipitiya, Sri Lanka, 2003. Pages: 140.

Epigraphs: The highest expression of religion lies in the practising of morality. Gandhi

The Buddha is not someone you pray to, or try to get something from. Nor is the Buddha someone you bow down to. Steve Hagen (Zen Buddhist priest)

It may seem strange to write on a book published two decades ago and now out of print but my aim is to draw attention to some of the author’s observations on Buddhism for the benefit both of non-Buddhists and also for Buddhists so that they can make comparisons with their beliefs and behaviour. The author, Dr Palihakkara, is deceased but a friend (whom I’ve never met; a Sinhalese Buddhist in Colombo) said she was translating the work into Sinhala. I quote from the book’s back cover: Dr Palihakkara (hereafter, the Author) was Director of Education; also the Director of Pirivena Education, and the Secretary to the Oriental Studies Society which conducts examinations mainly for the Buddhist clergy. He has many publications on Education, written in Sinhala: this book too can be seen as an attempt at education. Martin Luther was a Christian monk whose aim was to cleanse Christianity of accretions which he believed led to beliefs and practices not in the original doctrine; indeed, which went against and violated original teaching. I see Dr Palihakkara as something of a Buddhist Martin Luther but, unlike Luther, without an impact: as far as I know, the book has not provoked discussion. I will return to this aspect at the end.

Buddhism has long attracted me because of its rationality and ‘reasonableness’; its emphasis on practical, daily, response and conduct, and what I may call its serene quietness. I see similarities between Buddhism and Stoic philosophy, particularly the Stoicism of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and his ‘Meditations’. (As I wrote elsewhere, adopting the words of Ben Jonson on Shakespeare, I honour Aurelius this side of idolatry as much as any.) There’s also a link between Buddhism and Existential philosophy with the latter’s emphasis on individual responsibility. For example, in Buddhism it’s not a case of “Thou shalt not kill” where the command comes from outside, but from within the individual: “I undertake not to kill” (page 54). It’s ironic and most unfortunate that Buddhism has been politicised and racialized; turned into a vociferous and violent weapon of intolerance and domination. As the Author comments, to know true Buddhism is to know more than Buddhism: it enhances knowledge about human nature and life.

I have elsewhere pointed out the distinction between ‘religious doctrine’ and ‘religion’. The former is divine in origin (Jesus Christ) or from a special, a unique, person: the Buddha, the Prophet Mohammed. On the other hand, religion with its hierarchy, its rituals, rites and ceremonies is a human construct. Unfortunately, we are careless and don’t bother to make clear whether we are talking about religious doctrine (as preached) or religion as it is actually practised and finds expression in private and public life. On somewhat similar lines, the Author makes a distinction between ‘Early Buddhism’ (what the Buddha actually taught) and ‘Popular Buddhism’. His aim is “to extricate Buddhism from the mesh of myths and miracles and metaphysics, and to present it as close as possible to the actual words of the Buddha.” Buddhism’s unique and wonderful nature has been lost, and it has now been made into just another of the major religions (Author). Early Buddhism must be rescued from the Popular Buddhism of the present. The essence of Buddhism is there in the Four Noble Truths: First, the truth or the fact of duhkha. This word, the opposite of sukha, can be variously translated as sorrow, pain or dissatisfaction. Secondly, the causes of duhkha. Thirdly, the eradication of ‘Thanha’ (or desires, of various kinds), leading to Nirvana. Fourthly, the Noble Eightfold Path. Of the three ‘Tri-Pitaka’ (the Vinaya Pitaka, Sutra Pitaka, and the Abhidharma Pitaka),  the ‘Sutra Pitaka’ is the source for what the Buddha actually taught, but even here one must be cautious because the Buddha died in 483 BCE and the scriptures were written down four hundred years later (page iii). Further, the Hindu tradition of memorizing certain sacred texts did not then exist among Buddhists, so what was written was what his close followers could remember (page 7). The Author’s aim is to sieve, sift and recover the gems; to re-present what the Buddha actually said.

As Dr Walpola Sri Rahula expresses it in his ‘What the Buddha Taught’, among the founders of religions, the Buddha is the only teacher who did not claim to be other than a human being; did not claim inspiration from any god or external power. Man is his own master and there’s no higher being or power that sits in judgement over his destiny. As the Buddha’s well-known parable of the man shot with a poisoned arrow makes abundantly clear, the Buddha was an agnostic. (Etymologically, agnostic is from ‘gnostos’, meaning ‘known’. The ‘a’ in agnostic is a  negating particle: unknown or, as here, unknowable. Similarly with “Asoka“: A + soka or sorrow. Hence, one who has, through wisdom and effort, risen above sorrow.)  But as Stephen Batchelor writes in his essay ‘The Agnostic Buddhist’, today monks “who control the institutional bodies of Buddhism” have confident answers on “whether the world is eternal or not; what happens to the Buddha after death; the status of the mind in relation to the body, and so on.” The Buddha’s caution and openness have been replaced by certitude. Certitude has led to a closing of the mind, resulting in harsh dogmatism. As Charles Darwin wrote: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”.

The Buddha did not indulge in magic, mystery and mysticism but dealt with the here and now. I cite two examples from ‘The Dhammapada: Hunger is the foremost illness. Old age in itself does not make one an “elder”. Religion has many components: doctrine, the supernatural, beliefs and myths; rituals and prayers but central to the Buddha’s teaching is reason. Indeed, the very first lines of the copy of The Dhammapadathat I have declare the essential, the crucial, role that our mind plays: “All experience is preceded by mind; led by mind; made by mind”. We are given to separating the mind and the heart, and that great poet, Yeats, seems to have erred when he wrote: God guard me from those thoughts men think in the mind alone”. I am an ignoramus on medical science but understand that our emotions arise from tissue, not in the heart but in the brain. When the Buddha said that greater in combat than a person who conquers a thousand times a thousand people is the person who conquers himself, how else is this victory, this control of self, to be achieved other than by the vigilant exercise of the mind? It’s those who are not in control of themselves, not true Buddhists, who seek to dominate others. I used to offer students the proposition that though we see through our eyes, finally we see with our minds. For example, it’s the mind which “sees” whether a little child is delightful and endearing or some ‘thing’ to be brutally slaughtered, perhaps because it belongs to another group. The Buddha’s ‘Dependent Origination’ (Paticca Samuppada) can be seen today as rational cause and effect: “I shall teach you the Dhamma: When this exists, that comes to be […] with the cessation of this, that ceases.” Sam Harris (neuroscientist, philosopher, best-selling author) in his book, The End of Faith’, comments that Buddhism is not a religion of faith but of reason and morality. Buddhism is not belief but knowing. Unfortunately, “Buddhists are so tradition bound that they just do not check the veracity of what they believe” (Author, page 20). Irrationality of some kinds is impervious to reason. ‘Maitree’ or loving kindness to all beings (the non-human included) is a central feature of Buddhism but, as the Author notes (page 63), it’s the kind mind that leads to kind speech and kind deeds. Conflict and wars begin in the mind. Much of the sorrow in this life arises from ‘Avijja’ or ignorance, be that ignorance of one’s self; of others and of the nature of life. But how is ignorance to be dispelled, other than through knowledge, that is, through the use of the mind? (A witty variation of the saying, “It’s the thought that matters” is to omit the definite article and say, “It is thought that matters”.) Enlightenment leads to ‘Anatta’ and the freeing of oneself from ‘Maya’.

Again, the Buddha is unique among religious teachers in that he urged his followers not to accept anything he said because he said it. They must think independently so that, if they come to accept his teaching, it will be their truth and no longer his. As the Author states, true Buddhism is rational (page 5) but now to question what Buddhist monks say that the Buddha said is seen as an outrage; an insult to be erased by ostracism, execration or by physical violence. So far has Buddhism drifted away from what the ‘Enlightened One’ attempted to inculcate.

A question asked in the past as in the present is why we should lead moral lives if there is no God or gods to punish or reward us. But the answer is there in the question itself: if there are no gods, it leaves only us. We then are, if not the only, the primary source of the happiness we enjoy or of the pain we experience and endure. In Buddhism, there’s no creator god; no gods to propitiate or ask for assistance. In the Four Noble Truths, the core of his teaching, the Buddha does not refer to earlier or future births, not even once (Author, page 39). In what initially may appear to be a digression, I turn to an essay, available on Google, by the Nobel Prize Laureate, Professor Amartya Sen, titled ‘The Contemporary relevance of Buddha’. Sen argues that Sanskrit had a larger atheistic literature than exists in any other classical language. Madhava Acharya, the remarkable 14th century philosopher, “discussed all the religious schools of thought within the Hindu structure. The first chapter is ‘Atheism’ – a very strong presentation of the argument in favour of atheism” (Sen). Though the concept of ‘India’ did not then exist, today we’ll call the Buddha an Indian, and the Hindu tradition has a moral element, even where it is atheistic. The widespread conviction that you cannot have a well-grounded morality if you do not somehow invoke God was firmly repudiated by the Buddha (Sen, op. cit.).

Moving to true or Early Buddhism, the Author is of the opinion that most Buddhists, particularly in Sri Lanka, “are not aware of what their religious leader the Buddha” actually taught” (page 131). One may add: Nor are they told by the monks who should correct and educate. Indeed, it’s quite the contrary. Not knowing, people can’t practice Buddhism “in the way it should be practised” (ibid). The Buddha gave Buddhists the freedom of thought over 2500 years ago, but that freedom is not used; applied and practised today (page 94). On the contrary, “staunch Buddhists” (page 110) will take as truth anything “their religious mentors” tell them. To question, to think independently, is seen as a “sacrilege” (page 131). Indeed, to accept unthinkingly is taken as a sign of their religiosity.

The Buddha’s father was not a king (page 32). Of the four kingdoms of Magadha, Kosala, Vatsa and Surasena, King Suddhodhana was head not of “a kingdom but a small province of Kosala” (ibid). The king of Kosala was King Pasenadi (page 18). Nor was there anything magical or even extraordinary in the Buddha’s birth and early years. The introduction of magic and the supernatural is “an insult to the Buddha’s religion” (Author, page 5). These may lead to Buddhism being thrown to “the dust heap as a lot of unbelievable trash” (page 19). When the Buddha was born, “the Guardian Gods” did not come down to earth to receive the baby; nor soon after did the infant walk seven steps, treading on seven lotus flowers that had miraculously sprouted (page 18). The Buddha was not sheltered from the rain by the king of the cobras. He did not visit Sri Lanka, the distance being about 2000 km. It’s irrational to believe this because there is no reference to the Buddha visiting even any other part of India “outside the Gangetic Plain” (page 25). The Buddha did not visit the heavens to preach to his mother who had died seven days after his birth (page 26). The Buddha’s death, contrary to popular belief, was not attended by anything miraculous.

The Author’s intention in rejecting such naive beliefs is not to denigrate but, on the contrary, to enhance Buddhism; to show, where world religions are concerned, its unique nature; to place it again at the rational and ethical (therefore noble) height which, in the Author’s belief, “the Master” had originally constructed. The Buddha, to use the Author’s image, had made a clearing but, over time, the jungle of myths and mystery has overrun that space.

As stated above, Buddhism in Sri Lanka is highly politicised and racialized. Though not all Sinhalese are Buddhist, all Buddhists are Sinhalese. Similarly, not all Tamils are Hindu but all Hindus are Tamil. Therefore, the domination of Buddhism is seen as domination by the Sinhalese; the denigration of Hinduism as a denigration of Tamils and their culture. Abroad, Buddhism is presented as compassionate and all-embracing; immune to the disease of colour, race and caste. But within Sri Lanka, Popular Buddhism is narrow and rejectionist, racist and violent. In this context, it will shock, outrage and incense some Buddhists to read that “almost all Buddhists practice more of Hinduism than Buddhism” (page 109). The Author states that belief in rebirth and Karma are from Hinduism (I will return to Karma later), and that many stories in Popular Buddhism, as wonderful as they are improbable, are from Indian folklore. Hinduism’s rebirth had “a deep impression on Buddhism especially after the Buddha’s death” (page 35). Given the shared ground between Hinduism and Popular Buddhism, Buddhist and Hindus may have co-existed amicably in Sri Lanka (as elsewhere in Asia and East Asia) but for the racialisation of Buddhism.

The Author makes several references to the non-existence of the soul and to rebirth. The Buddha “categorically dismissed the existence” of the soul “as all Buddhists know” (page 117). The “Buddha was the only religious leader of repute who did not preach of life after death. However, all Buddhists seem to believe in it” (page 49). The Buddha did not mention a word about another life or other worlds (page 46). “As all Buddhists know, Buddhism preaches ‘Anathma’ or no rebirth” (page 41). “We Buddhists speak of ‘sasara duk’”, sorrow in the rounds of rebirth, but the Buddha never spoke of it (page 118). Reference in the ‘Sutra pitaka’ to past lives has been slipped in by “persons who would not give up the idea of rebirth” (page 39). Gaining merit for the dead, either through prayers or offerings, is not true Buddhism because the Buddha clearly said that one person cannot benefit from the merit of another (page 78).  Evil is done by oneself alone; no one can purify another (The Dhammapada). Monks chant ‘pirith’, starting in the late evening and reciting all night, changing groups as they get tired. The practice is thought to bring blessings to the place or to the people listening. However, “it is hard to believe that a rationalist like the Buddha who rejected prayers and recitals of the Brahmins to their gods, would have himself resorted to chanting ‘pirith’” (page 66). It is yet another Hindu influence. Though it will not be admitted, Buddhism in Sri Lanka is highly ‘Hinduised’.

The Author dismisses much of what the Mahavamsa (compiled about a thousand years after the death of the Enlightened One) records about the Buddha. As already mentioned, the Buddha did not visit Sri Lanka: Author, page 25. That the dying Buddha entrusted Sri Lanka to the god Sakra is not mentioned, neither in the Maha Parinibbana Sutra (which deals with the Buddha’s last days) nor in the Sutra Pitaka (page 101). The Author, perhaps ironically, wonders why the Compassionate One did not chose his own home region for special protection rather than far distant Sri Lanka.

‘Nirvana’ and ‘Thanha’ are allied. The latter term can be translated as desire, craving or longing, and is of various kinds. The Four Noble Truths explain that the eradication of Thanha leads to Nirvana. Nirvana is not a geographical place, as in other religions, but a state of mind. One hears monks wishing Nirvana after death (page 50) but Nirvana, when it is attained, is reached and enjoyed in this life: there is no after-life in Buddhism; neither paradise to be enjoyed nor hell to be endured. “Attaining Nirvana after death is a serious misconception” (page 118). The Author says that some monks may attain Nirvana in their present life but lay people, being as it were “in the midst of life” (Christian ‘Book of Common Prayer’) cannot. All that the latter can do is to strive and struggle to reduce Thanha, and so increase Nirvana. In other words, Nirvana is to be approximated to rather than reached. (Christians may recall the saying that there are no Christians but only those who, day after day, try to be Christian, that is, to lead a Christian life.) The author advises that rather than praying and offering gifts to non-existent gods to grant their wishes and desires, they should try to reduce their thanha

‘Karrma’ means action but as the Author stresses (Chapter XV111), karma applies only to volitional, conscious, intentional acts. And ‘action’ here denotes not only the physical but also the mental and the verbal. Karma too is related to, and arises from Thanha. Since there is no rebirth, Karma is the consequence of action in the past of the present life. To link Karma to a previous birth is entirely against Early Buddhism (page vii). The concept of Karma, like that of rebirth, came into Buddhism from Hinduism (page 108). The Buddha in his Four Noble Truths, did not attribute sorrow to sins committed in past births (page 111). If a child is born with a physical or mental handicap, it is explained on the basis of  a totally unknown past birth. But today, medical and genetic sciences help us with answers (page 106). As with politics, a people’s religious beliefs and practices indicate their level of education, intelligence and mental sophistication. However, belief in karma can be very useful to political and religious leaders “for when the poor and the outcastes suffer in their poverty, sickness and squalor in their hovels” (page 120), the responsibility can be shifted, and the blame placed on “inheriting bad karma from past births”. It’s yet another instance of “Blame the victim” adopted by those with power, wealth and success. Monks who preach this non-Buddhist version of Karma are conniving and collaborating with ruling groups and individuals. Religion, no less than politics, has to do with power.

Gold is known as an incorruptible metal. Chaucer (1342-1400) rhetorically asked: If gold rusts, what will iron do? The greater the power held and the respect accorded, the greater the responsibility. And if there is a fall, the bigger and more shameful it will be. Monks are highly respected and implicitly trusted by the folk. So if they peddle fantastic tales of “myths and miracles”, devout and credulous people will take it as literal truth. If some members of the clergy “rust” in terms of veracity, then lay men and women will follow suit. The Buddha was saddened that many who wore the saffron robe had evil traits and lacked restraint; that they are immoral and unrestrained, feeding on what the people give (Dhammapada, Chapter 22). The Buddha spoke gently, and he “advised the monks to speak slowly” (Author, page 63). This, I take it, was for the benefit of both listeners, so that they could grasp and digest what they heard, and for that of the monk who spoke; that he thought of, and weighed, his words. (As the philosopher Husserl said: My words take me by surprise and teach me what I think.) But the speech of many monks today is hasty and, worse, harsh. When the Soul of Great Compassion entered a home on invitation, he washed his feet himself: today, monks expect those of the house to do it for them (pages 22-23). I quote from page 101: “The Buddha had never encouraged his followers to pray to gods, but in almost all the temples of Sri Lanka there are images or pictures of various gods in separate rooms or sections. Historians often say that this practice started with the South Indian invasions and also as a gesture to the South Indian queens whom our monarchs married. This is only partly true…” Some monks, the Author states, encourage this “practice because praying to gods “is a source of income” (page 101). Of the two ‘schools’ of Buddhism, the Theravada (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar) and the Mahayana, the former term can be glossed as The School of the Monks. The Author boldly states that today Thervada Buddhism is the ”Buddhism of the Theras (monks) rather than of the Buddha!” (page 101). “I personally think that it is high time we go back to Early Buddhism and be with the Buddha than with Theras” (Author, page 108).

To borrow words from the poet Wordsworth, the Buddha heard “the sad music of humanity” and set out to understand its causes. Turning to yet another poet, John Keats (‘The Fall of Hyperion’) writes of those to whom “the miseries of the world are misery” and will not let them be indifferent and inactive. The Buddha was the Maha Karunika, a being of the greatest kindness and, as the Venerable Rahula expresses it, so perfect in his ‘human-ness’ that he came to be seen as super-human. He was “a man endowed with super intelligence, determination and all-embracing loving kindness” (The Author, page 1V. Note: the Author writes that the Buddha was a man; not a god, not a divine being in human form). The “Buddha can stand as the greatest human being in history with his sharp intellect and bold and gentle character”. Myths, miracles and the supernatural detract from, rather than enhance his stature (page 135). The enlightenment of the Buddha is “one of the greatest events in world  history, for this was the starting point from which man began to think rationally (page 41).

This work is radical (some may describe it as iconoclastic) and those with political, religious and social influence will not draw attention to it. The most effective way to “sink” a book is to ignore it; to pretend it doesn’t exist. But why, as the Author argues, was Early Buddhism made into Popular Buddhism? What the Buddha preached were attributes such as rational understanding, morality, self-control and compassion. He did not believe in the existence of a creator God or of minor gods; he rejected the existence of a soul; denied past or future lives. Karma was the consequence of volitional action in this life. There being no future life, Nirvana should be aimed at in the here and now. The above leads to questions such as: What is religion? Is what the Buddha taught a religion, as normally understand, or a moral code? Should he be grouped with religious leaders or with philosophers? Some have argued that we should not talk of “Buddhism” with its noun-forming suffix, but of the Buddha damma or darma, that is, the teaching of the Buddha. However, such theological questions are beyond my competence – even to attempt an answer.

Voltaire (1694-1778), a Deist, said that if there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him. Despite humanity claiming it is sapient; despite our self-confidence, we need God and religion. The poet A E Housman (1859-1936) wondered how can we face our bedevilment and bewilderment, we who are strangers and afraid in a world we did not make? In the words of Matthew Arnold’s well-known poem ‘Dover Beach’, the world which seems so various and beautiful, in reality has no “certitude” nor “help for pain”. We are not safe and clear on some high mountain but are confused on a dark plain where “ignorant armies clash by night”.  God may not need us, but we certainly need God who is at once both mystery and explanation; fear and reassurance. To the Author’s “myths and miracles”, we can add hierarchy and authority; ritual and ceremony.

As a non-Buddhist, I found this work very interesting and instructive. I hope Stamford Lake will republish the book, and that my friend finishes her work of translating it into Sinhala. The latter is far more important than the English edition. More important than talking about the people is to speak for them but most important of all is to talk with the people. And to do that, one must speak in their language.

I regret the Author is no longer here to further explicate and, if necessary, defend himself from attack. But his love of true Buddhism; the highest admiration he had for the Buddha, and his impressive scholarship cannot be doubted.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    2

    If true Buddhism is to prevail in SL in its true form, the first thing that must be done is to re-write Mahawamsa. Mahawmasa is a book of myths from the start. It talks about a princess mating with a lion to produce Sinhalese. If the start is like this, one can imagine how much of (sorry for the words) “Bull Shit” must be there. Secondly, the monks should not be allowed to do business or do politics. They should follow the teaching of Lord Buddha and go on Pinnapatha (what I saw as a child) every day. If a true SLankan Buddha Sasana Law can be created at least with these two simple actions we will have Buddhism thriving in this country. No one then needs to worry about the so-called “Born Again” everyone is scared about today.

    • 4
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      Mahawansa has not been subjected to any revisions over the cenuries. And the question should be passed to ministry of regliious and cultural affairs. I wish I could know what so called doctoral candidates and what they focused on their disseratation in the recent past.
      .
      Needless to say that archaeological discoveries and all other varied kind of evidence today is considerably more than the days when they drafted Mahanwansa.
      :
      Buddhist01@ what is being practised in srilanka is not at all based on ” true teachings of lord buddha” – Nevertheless we see, our so called leaders waste millions of people s funds putting so called FAKE monks above for their own reasons. I wish I could know the size of their budget ….regarding their extra vaganza of buddhist gatherings. Can a country which is on edges now, could ever think of such level of wastful ceremoniies ?

      Either Rajaakshes are born without hearts, or they are brought up to be hearted by every means. As no any leaders done it before, they are lying to the very same STIUPID masses just for their day today political survivivals.

    • 2
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      Dear Buddhist,
      Yes the first step is to realise that Mahawansa is not the holy book it is assumed by some to quote it as absolute.
      Mahāvaṃsa is a “historical” chronology of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), written in the 5th or 6th century, PROBABLY by the Buddhist monk Mahānāma. It deals more with the history of Buddhism and with dynastic succession in Ceylon than with the island’s political or social history and covers the period from about the 6th century BC to the early 4th century AD. The text—written in Pāli, the sacred language of Buddhism—is GENERALLY CONSIDERED to be based on two main sources: a similar but CRUDER 4th-century chronicle, the Dīpavaṃsa, and ORAL TRADITION handed down by Buddhist monks. Because of the inclusion in the Mahāvaṃsa of much from these sources that is MYTHICAL OR SUPERNATURAL, large portions of the text are of DUBIOUS historicity.
      I have highlighted the words of dubious possibilities.
      Then only can we move on to the real Philosophy, as it should be understood and practised.

  • 2
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    Dear Professor Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan – Thank you for a well written and informative article.
    I am a 75 year old , narrow minded Christian, who believes what the Lord Jesus Christ said, that He is The Way, The Truth and The Life. I am so narrow , that I believe that the Bible, is the Word of God, The Creator.
    You wrote , and I quote “Martin Luther was a Christian monk whose aim was to cleanse Christianity of accretions which he believed led to beliefs and practices not in the original doctrine; indeed, which went against and violated original teaching. I see Dr Palihakkara as something of a Buddhist Martin Luther but, unlike Luther, without an impact: “
    (Cotinued below)

  • 2
    0

    (Continued from above)
    “Martin Luther was a Christian monk whose aim was to cleanse Christianity of accretions which he believed led to beliefs and practices not in the original doctrine; indeed, which went against and violated original teaching. I see Dr Palihakkara as something of a Buddhist Martin Luther but, unlike Luther, without an impact: “

    You also wrote:
    ” I have elsewhere pointed out the distinction between ‘religious doctrine’ and ‘religion’. The former is divine in origin (Jesus Christ) “

    I agree and am encouraged by that statement.
    ( Continued below)

  • 3
    0

    (Continued from above)

    You quoted :
    “Dr Palihakkara (hereafter, the Author) was Director of Education; also the Director of Pirivena Education, and the Secretary to the Oriental Studies Society which conducts examinations mainly for the Buddhist clergy. “
    In connection with rebirth and karma, as follows:
    “The Author makes several references to the non-existence of the soul and to rebirth. The Buddha “categorically dismissed the existence” of the soul “as all Buddhists know” (page 117). The “Buddha was the only religious leader of repute who did not preach of life after death. However, all Buddhists seem to believe in it” (page 49). The Buddha did not mention a word about another life or other worlds (page 46). “As all Buddhists know, Buddhism preaches ‘Anathma’ or no rebirth” (page 41).

  • 5
    0

    (Continued from above)
    You quoted Dr Palihakkara , the Author :
    “The Author makes several references to the non-existence of the soul and to rebirth. The Buddha “categorically dismissed the existence” of the soul “as all Buddhists know” (page 117). The “Buddha was the only religious leader of repute who did not preach of life after death. However, all Buddhists seem to believe in it” (page 49). The Buddha did not mention a word about another life or other worlds (page 46). “As all Buddhists know, Buddhism preaches ‘Anathma’ or no rebirth” (page 41).”

    I had read a statement that a person cannot be reborn due to karma, as ,if he is able to identify or trace his so called first birth, which according to the doctrine accepted by lay Buddhist, as due to karma. This then could not take place, as there was not previous birth to do either good or bad and so be reborn.
    You quoted the Author:
    ” “We Buddhists speak of ‘sasara duk’”, sorrow in the rounds of rebirth, but the Buddha never spoke of it (page 118). Reference in the ‘Sutra pitaka’ to past lives has been slipped in by “persons who would not give up the idea of rebirth” (page 39). Gaining merit for the dead, either through prayers or offerings, is not true Buddhism because the Buddha clearly said that one person cannot benefit from the merit of another (page 78).

    I intend forwarding this article to my former classmates who may still hold on to these myths.

    Thank you once again Professor Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan for this article and CT for publishing same.

  • 11
    1

    This article is timely. Recently I have been reading in the online SL English media many articles on a Buddhist afterlife, written by prominent persons with many qualifications importantly displayed after their names. Some were in robes, which by itself seemed to give the authors an undisputable fitness. All the writers were eager to impress their “education”. They had all the answers. I am not sure how one cultivates such arrogance and conceit. In fact, a prominent online newspaper carried two such article in the recent past.
    No dead have ever re-emerged to tell us of an afterlife except in our delusions. And such myth is increasingly being seen today for what it is.
    What is certain is that we will die, rot, putrefy become dust, mingle with the atmosphere. We will pass on into nothingness. There is nothing more.

    • 10
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      Dear Sarath,
      … All the writers were eager to impress their “education”. They had all the answers. I am not sure how one cultivates such arrogance and conceit…..
      This happens all over – even in comments on CT. “Now prove me wrong” is not a statement I would ever make.
      I admit I am fallible.

    • 8
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      Sarath
      Very true.
      Buddhism talks of ‘Karma’ but not Soul.
      Karma continues for ever in its consequences but is not reborn.
      The word itself means ‘action’.
      The terms “anicca” and “anatta” sum up the stand of the Buddha beautifully.
      *
      Many Buddhists fell prey to Brahminist concept of rebirth because it was not easy for them to accept that life begins here and ends here.

      • 4
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        Dear SJ,
        Plaudits in order for that.

  • 8
    1

    A fascinating synopsis. I’d like to point out that ‘I undertake not to kill (page 54)’ is not quite correct, it should be ‘I undertake the training not to kill’ because it is a gradual process of training the mind from where all these impulsions arise.
    .
    The worship of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha that we find today is not what was originally intended. Buddha means ‘awakened awareness’ and it is this that the Buddhist is supposed to take refuge in, not the man Gautama Buddha. Similarly Dhamma means Reality and again it is worth taking refuge in what is real in the current moment, rather than in prayers and sacrifices. Sangha indicates human ability to follow this path, animals are unable to practice awareness.
    .
    Suppose the historical Buddha never existed. Suppose the entire Buddhist teaching was dreamt up by an Inca priestess high on dope. Would it matter? No it wouldn’t. All that matters is whether the training works or not, whether it leads to greater awareness and liberation from Dukkha or not. It doesn’t really matter where it came from. The Buddha didn’t teach Buddhism he taught Dhamma. Buddhism was a name invented by Western scholars. To put it simply, if somebody proved that Alexander Fleming never existed, would we stop using Penicillin?

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    What an amazing article. Buddhism is a religion which The Buddha did not start. The Buddha started a journey of introspection and a practice of “understand oneself first, then to realise the nothingness of one-ness”. The Religion (often a “following and based on faith / “Bhakthi” in Sinhala) is different to what The Buddha started. He never wanted anyone to “follow” him or “workshop him” but anyone with an open mind to “listen to what he says” is welcome to do so and to assess the content (haethupalavaadayata baha galapaa) and if one feels it is something one can use to become a better version of oneself, then embrace it and practice it. There are no Rules, Commandments but cleansing of one’s mind of all “dirt” and the realisation of the emptiness of “clinging” (pati-ichcha-sammupaadaya). The current “Buddhism as a religion” is sometimes polar opposites of what this is and unfortunately is what most “born Buddhists” in Sri Lanka are “following”. This has led to all the unsavoury things that are attached to the Religion and then unfortunately, some feel that this is what the Buddha brought to the world. The Buddha brought the Dhamma (ධම්ම) to the world, which is very different to what we know as Buddhism. “I don’t need a rule to tell me not to hurt anyone, I choose not to hurt anyone”

  • 3
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    All religions evolved not in a vacuum, but in the historical context prevalent at that time.

    They made use of scientific knowledge current at that time whatever we may think of those stories as fairy tales.

    The society was not static, but was in motion historically from primitive communism, through slavery, feudalism and then capitalism.

    Every religion was progressive at the time they came into being since they justified the emerging new social relations in that particular area in that particular time.

    Buddha was a rebel fighting against Brahmanism supporting new egalitarians societies so was Jesus Chris against slavery.

    Over a period of time, these religious teachings had become stale, rigid, dogmatic and obsolete and also became tools serving the old reactionary social order against the new..

    Marx was correct in calling “Religion as the opium of the people”.

    Religion has become a bulwark and an obstacle against progress and modernity and also against equity, equality and democracy and the time has come to replace religions by rationalism.

    • 3
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      ‘Marx was correct in calling “Religion as the opium of the people”.’
      It will be good to quote Marx in full in this context.
      We tend to read a current meaning for opium into Marx’s text, in much the way some read rather karmic meanings into Newton’s law on action and reaction.

      • 1
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        SJ,

        You are better qualified to quote Marx in full and why you have handed me the honor is a mystery.

        Well, let me make my own contribution in my own way.

        A study of “Das Capital” reveals that Marx believed that economic relations are pivotal in social dynamics and religions are marginal.

        Religions only perpetuate illusions and distorts the reality and divert the working class from revolutionary fervor and from their historic role and serves the oppressors in their unbridled exploitation..

  • 7
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    Buddha was such an advanced thinker for his time ……. he is even more advanced today ……….. for the simplistic contemporary times.

    No one understood Buddha except Buddha.

    Only Buddha practiced Buddhism.

    Buddhism was a one-man philosophy. Buddhism was born and died with Buddha.


    It’s hard to see/find the good done by Buddha’s teachings anywhere in the world.

    The damage caused by the zillions of charlatans Buddhism has sprung up ……… it would’ve been better if Buddha was never born.

    Now, prove me wrong. :))

    • 7
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      nimal fernando

      “Only Buddha practiced Buddhism.”

      He was the first and last Buddhist.

      • 4
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        Native,

        Buddha had to renounce everything and walk into the jungles to practice Buddhism and be a true Buddhist.

        Why is that, living in utter decadence and unspeakable sin …….. I feel I’m a better Buddhist than 99.9999999% of people who call themselves Buddhists?

        Something wrong …….. somewhere ……………

        • 0
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          Dear Nimal,
          …. I feel I’m a better Buddhist than 99.99999% of people who call themselves Buddhists?….
          ….Buddha was such an advanced thinker for his time ……. he is even more advanced today….
          But you also said …..‘’ it would’ve been better if Buddha was never born…’
          Some consistency that.
          Yes to …..”Something wrong …….. somewhere”……

          • 0
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            MV,

            Please answer me this ………. what is the percentage of Sri Lankans who would’ve lived less hypocritical (hence more virtuous) lives if Buddha was never born?

            Won’t you agree it’s about 99.9999999% ?

            So, for Lankans to live virtuous “un-hypocritical” lives in accordance with Buddha’s teachings ………. they should have never been exposed to Buddha’s teachings ……. If Buddha was never born, there wouldn’t have been his teachings for people to flout: all “Buddhists” would’ve lived less hypocritical (hence more virtuous) lives!

            That’s the catch-22, only a great intellect like Buddha will comprehend. :))


            And driving time from Colombo to Galle – or most anywhere in the isle for that matter – would’ve been halved too! —— Perhaps, only EE will get that. :))

            • 2
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              Dear Nimal,
              Statements such as …” all “Buddhists” WOULD’VE lived less hypocritical (HENCE more virtuous) lives!”…
              is a hypothetical guesstimate only and nothing more.
              Had you said …’they MAY HAVE….’ is more rational.
              …If Buddha was never born, there wouldn’t have been his teachings for people to flout….
              But the problem is then with the people who flout the teachings. You do not find anything wrong with the teachings which were what you could have held the Buddha responsible for, and then decried his birth.
              Well there are 530 estimated Buddhists in the world, and quite a number are more than in name only and have found solace in his teachings.

              • 0
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                MV,

                By its nature …… a catch-22 is a mindbender ……..

                Overcome your ego like a true Buddhist ………… don’t think of this as an argument but a pursuit of truth ……… I’m sure you are one capable of “getting” it ………..



                BTW ……. I have to thank you for making me think of it ……. as usual, I was just kidding around in the forum for some fun …….. while busy doing other things ……….

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                  Moderator,

                  Could you please remove these repeated posts. Thanks.

                  It didn’t come up the usual way when I posted the first …… I thought it was lost and repeat posted it a few times. :))

              • 0
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                MV,

                By its nature …… a catch-22 is a mindbender ……..

                Overcome your ego like a true Buddhist (that you are) ………… don’t think of this as an argument but a pursuit of truth ……… I’m sure you are one capable of “getting” it ………..



                BTW ……. I have to thank you for making me think of it ……. as usual, I was just kidding around in the forum for some fun …….. while busy doing other things ……….

              • 0
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                MV,

                By its nature …… a catch-22 is a mindbender ……..

                Overcome your ego like a true Buddhist (that you are) ………… don’t think of this as an argument but a pursuit of truth ……… I’m sure you are one capable of “getting” it ………..



                BTW ……. I have to thank you for making me think of it ……. as usual, I was just kidding around in the forum for some fun …….. while doing other things ……….

              • 0
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                MV,

                By its nature …… a catch-22 is a mindbender ……..

                Overcome your ego like a true Buddhist (that you are) ………… don’t think of this as an argument but a pursuit of truth ……… I’m sure you are one capable of “getting” it ………..



                BTW ……. I have to thank you for making me think of it ……. as usual, I was just kidding around in the forum for some fun …….. while busy doing other things ……….

            • 0
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              Dear Nimal,
              ……….only a great intellect like Buddha will comprehend. :)) ……..
              And by implication you are the only other to comprehend that thinking. After all you assert, yourself, as:
              …. I feel I’m a better Buddhist than 99.99999% of people who call themselves Buddhists?….
              Good for you.

              • 0
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                MV,

                Please answer me this,

                1. There is a man who has not encountered a moral-code. He lives as he pleases without moral boundaries/restrains.

                2. There is another man who is exposed to a moral-code that the society he lives in expects him to adhere to. But he pretends he is adhering to the moral code, to please the society he lives in ……… while he lives the same life as the first man.

                3. Who is the better man?

                • 0
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                  BTW ……… Buddha had a great advantage you don’t have.

                  Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist when he first started thinking. His mind was open and pure! :))

        • 4
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          nimal fernando

          “Why is that, living in utter decadence and unspeakable sin …….. I feel I’m a better Buddhist than 99.9999999% of people who call themselves Buddhists?”

          I am confused.
          Please elaborate, the idea of Buddhism, and how you consider yourself as “a better Buddhist than 99.9999999% of people who call themselves Buddhists”

          We need to see any comparative studies that supports your views, opinion, claim, ..
          Gota very often claims he is a Sinhala/Buddhist, visits Vihares everyday, pays his obeisance to Saffronistas regularly, .. is a vegetarian, …………..
          Please tell us how you are better than Gota.

          • 0
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            Native,

            I’m not a Buddhist ……… I don’t even know what Buddha’s teachings are! So, I don’t knowingly flout them!

            I live a decadent sinful life full of debauchery. I say what I am. So, I live an un-hypocritical life.

            Live hypocritical lives, knowingly flouting Buddha’s teachings is not being Buddhist. It’s insulting Buddha!


            Since I don’t insult a great man like Buddha by knowingly flouting his teachings. I feel I’m a better Buddhist! ……… Please understand, the “operative word” here is “feel.” :)))

            It’s a catcatch-22 only a great intellect like Buddha will get. :))


            The problem you and MV ……. and many others …………… who may be reading this …….. have is, your minds are already biased ……… you are Buddhists ……..

            To understand it, one’s mind has to be pure! ………. Dare I say like ol’ nimal’s ……… and Buddha’s :)))))))


            When Buddha first started thinking, he wasn’t a Buddhist ………. his mind was pure!

  • 3
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    The most interesting and profound explanation given of “BUDDHA” was by Osho: ” Buddha has been very much misunderstood, not only by his enemies but by his friends too – in fact by friends more than his enemies. He has been misunderstood more than anybody else in the world. And the reason is that he is one of the profound masters. His insight is so deep that it is bound to be misunderstood”.

    He, Osho further says: “The first myth of man is that he exists. Man is only a possibility. Rarely has man become an actuality. Gauthama Buddha and only a few others have proved that man is not impossible”. In short, man is a “POSSIBILITY” to be whatever he wants to be.

    Gauthama Buddha has proved what a human could be and that peak achievable is far higher than the peak of Himalaya. Unfortunately, this FACT and REALITY (that POSSIBILITY) have been taken away from the man by the “Organized Friends” of Buddha.

  • 1
    1

    Religion is a crown people wear on their heads. Like Peacocks they are proud of it. It is very heavy and keep falling off. They want to pass it down as inheritance.
    Sinhalese are a tribe evolved from a group of people migrated from India some 2600 years ago.
    The crown also was received as a state gift from mother country.
    Now they are proud of it.
    It had been a difficult task keeping it balanced on head for 2500 years owing to various, incessant external incursions and intrusions.
    .
    True, if you shine a light on the crown it reflects compassion and tolerance .
    But the primate who wears it, being relatively small in comparison with other tribes around the globe, feels all the time insecure and reacts to external proddings and internal disturbances that threaten the group cohesion the same way all primates do.

    May all living beings be happy and free from suffering.
    ,-
    Soma

    • 2
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      soman

      Do you really understand, believe and practice what you have just typed above?

      “Religion is a crown people wear on their heads. “

      In the case of Sinhala/Buddhism (supposed to be a concocted religion, rather a political identity) it is the battle cry, call to arms, ….. for Sinhala/Buddhists, and a cool place for criminals, crooks, thieves, murderers, …. to hide from law, provides impunity from all crimes.

      “Sinhalese are a tribe evolved from a group of people migrated from India some 2600 years ago.”

      True but not true.
      Most of them came from south India on Kallathonies, then converted to Buddhism and Christianity, and again converted to Sinhala/Buddhism in the past 100 or so years.

      “The crown also was received as a state gift from mother country.”

      Buddha (the Awakened One) on the other hand gave up his crown sought peace. In this island contrary what Buddha’s (the Awakened One’s) actions inapt criminals are using Sinhala/Buddhism to capture power to steal, kill, …… with impunity.

      Sinhala/Buddhism (concocted by the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala) teaches ordinary people to rejoice at other people’s misfortunes, mass murder, genocide, land grabbing, persistent violence against minorities, …..

      This is another of your bull ….

      Take care.

      • 0
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        Soma
        “Sinhala/Buddhism (concocted by the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala) teaches ordinary people to rejoice at other people’s misfortunes, mass murder, genocide, land grabbing, persistent violence against minorities, …”
        To beat it all Tamil racism created a monster who terrorised the nation for 30 years who was put to shame in one go by Islamists. Both unparalleled in history of terror.

        Soma

  • 3
    1

    …………………Its ironic and most unfortunate that Buddhism has been politicized and racialised; turned into a vociferous and violent weapon of intolerance and domination………..laments Prof:Sarvan.

    This then is the cause for all the ills in this country.

    By the time of his death in 1933, Dharmapala [Anagarika Dharmapala ]had laid the foundation for the narrow and inflexible interpretation of Buddhism and this has now become a variant -Political Buddhism!

  • 1
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    An enlightening perspective worthy of an academic. I have always been sceptic about Karma & rebirth but preferred to believe in it as it gives me some sort of solace because it is the only way those who evade justice in this world finally pay for their sins. In the same way, when I see poverty & misery in the world, it seems to be an answer. Anyway, these matters are beyond my comprehension & I leave it at that. My father told me that whatever wealth I may accumulate & all the pleasure I may have, when the time comes to leave this world, one must have peace of mind & not be haunted by all the bad things done when living. So when my time comes, I would like to say ‘I did it my way’ (apologies to Frank Sinatra) for any mistakes made but knowing no one would curse me that I should rot in hell.

    Anyway, more seriously, this questions what we are taught at school with Buddhism as a subject. In UK, apart from ‘faith schools’, children in lower classes have ‘religious studies’ as a subject where all mainstream religions are given an overview, focussing on the principals, rather than rituals & folklore associated. Nevertheless, there is deep faith in god amongst many of us & in that respect, religions are doing more harm than good.

    • 1
      1

      What is being practised now is Myths & Miracles sans Buddhism. Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism.

      • 0
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        Dear VPS.
        Elaborating only.
        ……What is being practised now is Myths & Miracles sans Buddhism……
        I would prefer to put it somewhat differently, though it amounts to about the same. “Buddhism” practised now is WITH myths and miracles brought in from other religions.
        …….Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism…….
        Again to say an OFFSHOOT is not quite right. Buddhist Philosophy was in total opposition to the Hindu belief in god/gods.
        The major difference between Hinduism and “Buddhism” is the belief, or lack of belief, in a soul. Hinduism believes in the concept of a soul. On the contrary, the Buddha rejected the concept of soul or atman – “anatta”.

  • 0
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    Prof. Sarvan,

    “Much of the sorrow in this life arises from ‘Avijja’ or ignorance, be that ignorance of one’s self; of others and of the nature of life.”

    Is that so? I thought the Buddha said that desire leads to suffering. Many other religions indirectly say the same.

  • 0
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    Professor, You quoted the Author:
    “The Four Noble Truths explain that the eradication of Thanha leads to Nirvana. Nirvana is not a geographical place, as in other religions, but a state of mind. One hears monks wishing Nirvana after death (page 50) but Nirvana, when it is attained, is reached and enjoyed in this life: there is no after-life in Buddhism; neither paradise to be enjoyed nor hell to be endured. “Attaining Nirvana after death is a serious misconception” (page 118). The Author says that some monks may attain Nirvana in their present life but lay people, being as it were “in the midst of life” (Christian ‘Book of Common Prayer’) cannot.”

    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    (Continued from above)
    ” One hears monks wishing Nirvana after death (page 50) but Nirvana, when it is attained, is reached and enjoyed in this life: there is no after-life in Buddhism; neither paradise to be enjoyed nor hell to be endured. “Attaining Nirvana after death is a serious misconception” (page 118). The Author says that some monks may attain Nirvana in their present life ..”

    If what is said above is true, was Gautama selfish, when he left his wife and baby in search of what ever he wanted to achieve for himself?

    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    ( Continued from above)
    What would have Gautama’s wife have felt ,when she discovered that her husband had left her?
    Can money and wealth compensate a wife, discarded with her child? The shame she would have felt.
    2600 years ago , unlike today,women may have spoken ill of a woman discarded by her husband.

    In Matthew 1 we are told that Joseph wanted to put away Mary, without marrying her.
    The shame she would have had to bear, when , she being poor, would have had to bring water from a well, 2000 years ago.
    ( continued below)

  • 0
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    ( Continued from above)
    ” One hears monks wishing Nirvana after death (page 50) but Nirvana, when it is attained, is reached and enjoyed in this life: there is no after-life in Buddhism; neither paradise to be enjoyed nor hell to be endured. “Attaining Nirvana after death is a serious misconception” (page 118).”

    Was Gautama selfish, if it was only for this life, he attained nothingness ?

    Contrast this with the Lord Jesus Christ , who, according to God’s word, the Bible, is God , the creator,
    took on the form of a human being :
    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    ( Continued from above)
    In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
    Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness.
    And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death ,even death on a cross!
    There is life after death. The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ proved it .
    He died to save you and I from the lake of fire.
    Heaven is a gift from the creator. The unmerited favour of God for His , for you and I.
    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    ( Continued from above)
    But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference .. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
    The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    (Continued from above)
    You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
    Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    For it is by grace (the unmerited favour of God ) you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    (Continued from above)
    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

    Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    (Continued from above)
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    The Lord Jesus Christ said:
    Come unto me all you who labour and are heavey laden. I will give you rest.
    I am the way, the truth , the resurrection and the life.

    Thank you.
    Vijaya

  • 4
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    Dear Vijaya, people who lack imagination believe in various passed-down myths and legends. That is the easy option. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche told us in the 19th century that god is dead. And along with god’s death died the concept of an afterlife. Good luck with your plans for getting to heaven. An alternative would be for you to create a little bit of paradise here on earth, the only consciousness you will ever know. Do good. Love your neighbour. And leave behind a better world. That is all you will have control of. That is your only purpose.

  • 1
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    Dear readers,
    .
    I saw this article two days ago, but worrying about the current situation in this land, I got down to reading it carefully, together with the comments, only a few hours ago.
    .
    Professor Sarvan, and “Sarath” state that it is a timely to consider this book. Why? Because right now we are tearing our country apart, and some of us wonder how we can rescue it. The primary reason for these calamities is that Sinhala-Buddhists harbour notions that the Buddha is some divinity and that it is incumbent on Lankans to safeguard his teachings.
    .
    I’m an old man; Professor Sarvan is a dozen years older, a scholar committed to doing what he still can to improve the land of his birth. He regularly gives us carefully thought out articles whose intention is to contribute towards peace and reconcilliation on this island. It is clear that he is looking forward to the Sinhalese translation of this book because of the positive impact that it will have on our society.

  • 0
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    Continuing………………..
    .
    My message is simple.
    Many of you are in touch with me by email. If you need a PDF copy of K S Palihakkara’s, ‘Buddhism Sans Myths & Miracles’ please let me know. One reason for my not having forwarded this book to many may be my being a bit disorganised, but isn’t it also true that we forward, unsolicited, far too many programmes, links, and attachments to people who are not interested? It then becomes like “Wolf, wolf!”. Recipients get used to ignoring all messages. Professor Sarvan’s article here has stimulated interest, so please let me know if you’d like a copy.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

  • 0
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    Dear Sarath, Thank you for your comments.I agree with you. I lack imagination. I am 75 years old.
    I worked for 44 years and retired in Feb. 2013 at the age of 66.I am happy that I believe that there is a creator. He , created all of us equal.I am sure you too read comments posted in many articles on CT.
    The Sihalese think we own this land. We insult another group because they speak another language.
    I believe, that my ancestors came from south India.They would have originally spoken Tamil.Then they may have converted to Buddhism. Then later for benefits from the occupier, may have become Christians.

    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    (Continued from above)
    When I was young about 12 years, I heard the gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ , the creator, became a human being , lived on this earth and died for those He made in His own image.Even at the age of 12,
    I knew , I deserved to go to Hell.I accepted the gift of eternal life.
    As a Christian, I respect every human being.There are no low caste and high caste people. Like me ,
    human beings ,those who have sinned and come short of God’s standard .my concern is that everyone who may read what I have written, may accept the free gift of eternal life, which God , who created us offers us.
    (Continued below)

  • 0
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    (Continued from above)
    Sarath, you wrote:
    ” Do good. Love your neighbour. And leave behind a better world. That is all you will have control of. That is your only purpose.”
    I know that when I die , bedcause of God’s grace (the unmerited favour to mankind), I will be with the Lord Jesus Christ, our creator.Because I know, that , I do good . Not to be saved but because I am saved.
    I love my neighbour and my enemies as the Lord Jesus Christ taught us.
    I fail. I failed my late wife .
    (Continued below)

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