29 July, 2021

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Buddhism Today

By Srinath Abeysinghe

Srinath Abeysinghe

Buddhism has been prevailing for two and a half millennia. Through its travel in time, it has absorbed numerous shades. In addition, with the progress made in science and technology its reach has expanded extensively. Due to this, novel interpretations to the contents in Dhamma and certain changes to its practices are heard and seen by many. Further, those new interpretations are always not from an established personalities with high stature. They become standalone interpretations and get recognized depending on the socio-political patronage they receive. In Sri Lanka today, Buddhism has been tri- polarized as per these different interpretations and practices:  Traditional Buddhism, Practical Buddhism and Fashionable Buddhism.

Traditional Buddhism

Traditional Buddhism consists of Dhamma learned by heart and practiced by natural continuity. It is mainly preached and practiced by the old generation. Neither “original” nor static in relation to time, it is a combination of the Buddhism practiced by the previous generation plus certain borrowings from the new streams of Buddhism described below. It is also vibrant as it has some new elements from the present generation. Therefore, succeeding generations can also organically bind with it. Due to its very construction, it earns respect and honorability from all walks of life including the clergy and members of the other religions as well. It is rarely questioned in public. On the other hand, it is also largely mistaken by the masses as the “original” Buddhism. Traditional Buddhism is of course reformed with the majority consensus to suit and fit to the present day. An example for this is the use of money by the monks though prohibited according to Dhamma preached by the Buddha. According to Dhamma there are ten prohibitions that monks should refrain from engaging. It starts with “Singilonakappa” (that is not to keep salt in store by a monk and in his possession for future use). The use of money is also one prohibition out of these ten. However, the lifestyle today is such that no person sees any wrong in using money by monks for their essential day to day needs.  Any minor changes to the behaviours of monks are accepted as the Buddha preached that it is up to the monks to change minor disciplinary rules according to the prevailing circumstances. Moreover, this stance of flexibility has helped emerge practical Buddhism where not only minor disciplinary rules but even Dhamma has been interpreted in a new way.

Practical Buddhism

Practical Buddhism is based on the idea of practicing simple, logical, and visible truth stated in Dhamma. It is influenced by radicalized monks in their youth. Its contents have different dimensions varying from peace to social justice to freedom to environment sustainability to patriotism and critical analysis on liberation from Samsara. These radicalization processes are more visible with the widespread use of technology. In the previous era Universities were the centers that disseminated the expressions of radicalized monks. However, the roots of radicalization of Sangha go far back in history to the struggle for independence from the British and their involvement in leftist politics. That process took sharp turns with the involvement of Sangha in JVP politics in late 60’s and early 70’s. Knowledge combinations and replication of knowledge in different fields of study have opened new possibilities leading to the birth of liberal radicals. These liberally radical monks preach Dhamma which is of practical use to the modern society. Practical Buddhism is appealing to generation “Z” who are IT savvy and think primarily in binary logic. They are attracted to knowledge which is simple and can be deduced from algorithmic building blocks.  Good and bad deeds are clearly defined to grasp as “black” and “white”. Therefore, they prefer Dhamma sermons with a set of simple instructions which are hassle free, mysticism free and direct. This make their life easy. Anything without any practical use is abandoned. Fair enough for their supposed to be fast lifestyle where much of their time is spent on mobile phones and laptops. Therefore, direct question and answer type sermons evolved instead of Jataka-story based long sermons of traditional Buddhism. Practical Buddhist monks have their own YouTube channels, blogs, vlogs, twitter accounts, email accounts, Instagram accounts and FB pages. Instant and short responses to any queries from their followers can be provided through these social media channels. The very construction of practical Buddhism makes a group of outliers. They form a new sect, the fashionable Buddhists.

Fashionable Buddhism

Fashionable Buddhism mainly shows off lots of “Amisa” Poojas and goes with large numbers. In their activities, at least one aspect calls for a large number. For example, if they are offering a “Dana” they will select a very remote temple. So here, they travel a quite many KILOMETERS spending many HOURS to offer this “Dana”! They prefer more time spent on religion. In fashionable Buddhism every miniscule matter is blown up to a gigantic scale. For example, instead of offering a basket of flowers, fashionable Buddhists would offer one million flower baskets; instead of lighting a few oil lamps, they light 84,000 oil lamps. Just think about lighting 84,000 oil lamps – even if one lights 10 oil lamps, it requires 8,400 persons to perform this task. (It should be noted that even in other religions these types of behaviors are not uncommon, and these fashionable versions exist!) The fashionable Buddhists are led by a strong, attractive, and charismatic group of monks. As opposed to the very “harsh” and direct nature of practical Buddhism, the nature of fashionable Buddhism is ultra-soft. In reciting Gathas, fashionable Buddhists choose to recite three (borrowed from traditional Buddhists) or many times a simple Gatha while practical Buddhists always explore shorter versions of reciting.

Fashionable Buddhists want to shout out and show who they are and what they are doing to show their dedication to Buddhism. Therefore, all the politicians of mass political parties prefer to go with them as their religious events are in mass scale with a lot of people’s participation. As fashionable Buddhists perform religious functions in a fashionable way, they want to get the religious function and the group to be noticed in a remarkable way. This quality of getting noticed eventually seeps even to the individual level and the followers too start to behave in a manner to get noticed by others. Then, they too become fashionable (compare with Sunday Christian Masses or Christmas Midnight Mass – there is no difference other than fashionable Buddhists tend to wear white or light colour clothing). These become marvellous opportunities to news making companies. Then, TV crews join to get their best news clips. If TV crews are present, participants need better make ups – including monks – the objective now becomes to get noticed. Thereafter, snowballing effects take place. To get noticed good clothing is required. Therefore, they go for branded clothes. But the branded clothes are made for the strictest market competition and therefore, most of the branded clothes are sexier clothes in one way or the other. When those clothing become white, they look more than sexier. In fashionable Buddhist ceremonies this has become an outcome. As a result, the request of old school monks for decent dressing to temples and religious ceremonies go unheard. The very principles of Buddhism of letting go of worldly desires are shattered.

The monks belonging to the fashionable Buddhism must keep their disciples with them continuously by addressing or meeting them frequently. Performing massive “Amisa” Poojas is not an easy task as those need massive financing, organizing and capable leadership. On the other hand, “Amisa” Poojas alone is not sufficient for a religion. Therefore, they turn to other fashionable events. With the present-day trending in Yoga, mass meditation is a very convincing and fashionable event. Therefore, fashionable Buddhists now turn to mass meditation programs and intense meditation classes. Other than those, the monks appear in TV channels and their YouTube channels with beautiful and attractive make ups and present ordinary and overly simplified sermons in video clip format.

Moreover, getting noticed by others sometimes goes beyond exhibiting branded clothes and pious faces. Some members are courageous to publicly claim that they immensely benefited from the intense mass meditation classes and achieved the status of “Sovaan”. Even monks are declaring that they have reached certain levels stated in Dhamma. It will not be so long that this becomes a fashion too and mass level achievements of reaching the status of “Sovaan” is publicly declared but it could well be very short-lived with a risk of rejection by society. (Better check with mass congregations of other religions to meet God. These massive mass congregations were unstoppable even during the present pandemic of Covid-19 because those are based on and called for showing off principle).

The funniest things happen when traditional Buddhists and fashionable Buddhists cross over from one group to the other for reasons unknown. In short, those events remind grandmas coming to girlish parties with wonderfully done girlish make ups or a playful girl showing up her youthful catwalk to grandmas in serenity in a traditional Buddhists gathering!

*The writer is an Ex-Director of the Central Bank; the views expressed are his own and should not be construed as those of the Central Bank

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Latest comments

  • 27
    2

    What kind of Dhamma that is followed by Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka who speaks and encourage violence, corruption and lies?

    • 2
      0

      “Practical Buddhism is appealing to generation “Z” who are IT savvy and think primarily in binary logic. They are attracted to knowledge which is simple and can be deduced from algorithmic building blocks. “
      That is an astonishing statement. To be charitable, the author probably knows little about gen Z and even less about IT. I know many young IT professionals. High intelligence is an absolute requisite for the job. Due to this, almost all read books and engage in lively discussions on the Web.
      Very different from “binary thinking”.
      It is the machines that use binary, not the human programmers.

      • 0
        1

        OC,

        Young kids like you and Native might not know …….. at one time we used Assembler – before the advent of higher languages that are in use today – and that was pretty close to binary programming. :))

        • 0
          0

          Nimal F,
          EQU, LDA, STA (asm) are rather less cryptic than 0111 11011 1110 (binary).
          Hey Nimal, I’m way older than you think! I have kids who talk in Java. Really.

          • 2
            0

            OC,

            Were you a programmer?

            My first job was in a team building simulators from ground up to train air traffic controllers. Some of it was programmed in machine-code – Assembler was a luxury. We used VAXELN real-time operating system. That was a lifetime ago ….. now even those companies like DEC are not there.

            Now I ask my kids to help me out with my PC!

            • 1
              0

              Nimal,
              “Were you a programmer?”
              Perhaps I know more things that I let on! I have been at it, mostly as a hobby, since 1984. It keeps the brain going, like Chess. Still do some PICs in BASIC.
              Yes, who nowadays has heard of DEC, Altair, Commodore, Sinclair…… Probably in 20 years time some kid will ask ” what the hell is YouTube?”

    • 3
      0

      People should be very clear, let alone today, “sinhala buddhism” and “Buddhism in general” are two different religions.

      Former is seen as a life style of srilanken people. Just becasue sinhala buddhist monks wear ” sanga constume” the power given to them in the society is above all prevailing laws.
      Latest Example:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VPFqBJim-w

      Could I be given the chance, if I would have sat on the road to the manner, this monk has been doing. This monk is take is acceptable but what about others, that were abused as ” decorative animals of MaRa Pohottuwa political processions and gatherings” ?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpkhwzwY36A

      Gota stays as if he is made deaf and blind by POHOTTUWA vicious cycle.

    • 3
      1

      A
      “What kind of Dhamma that is followed by Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka….?”
      The same kind as the Hinduism followed by the Saffron brigade of India and as the Christianity by Protestant Unionist clergymen in Northern Ireland not long ago.

      • 2
        1

        SJ,
        Are you trying to convince that the Dhamma followed by Buddhist clergy is not worse than that of Hinduism in India and Christianity in Northern island?
        Are you shy to talk about Quran followed by Saudi Arabia or Dhamma followed by Myanmar?

        • 1
          1

          Read carefully:
          THE SAME KIND.
          Does SAME suggest either Better or Worse?
          It places all of them in the same class.
          I though it was straightforward to see that I have no choice among them.
          *
          As per request to lengthen the list:
          In Myanmar there are the followers of Wirathu. Most clergy are tolerably sane.
          Saudi Arabia itself I will not list. There is the corrupt ruling family. Religious extremism is propagated by Wahabis, encouraged by the US and the Saudi rulers to create trouble in Russia and China, as well as Iran.
          I wonder how you forgot the Zionists.
          The list can be endlessly long.
          I was only driving a point home using pertinent examples that you should know.
          *
          You are free to add names, but it helps if they make sense.
          OK?

    • 3
      0

      The best philosophies/religions are what one can practice in the privacy of one’s mind.

      Public-practiced philosophies/religions ……… that invariably metamorphose into saving/converting others but not oneself ………. eventually turn into schemes/rackets for people to avoid a honest day’s work.

      Buddha (and Christ) was essentially a loner ……. seeking a higher truth.

      The present-day man-made hierarchical edifices of Buddhism or Christianity ……….. where everyone is fighting/struggling to climb up the ladder to become Mahanayake or the Pope …….. has very little to do with the originators of the philosophy/religion.

      • 4
        0

        Nimal,
        The Parsis seem to have the most peaceful religion. It encourages business, and you cannot convert to their religion even if you want to. Ever heard of fundamentalist Zoroastrians?

        • 3
          1

          OC,

          “Ever heard of fundamentalist Zoroastrians?”

          No, I tend to stay away from religions …….. there is nothing wrong with religions but all the faults are in what man has made of them. I dislike clannish behaviour that takes away one’s independence. I believe one can be “not a bad person” without a religion.

          I have brought up 2 kids without a religion ……. one is an Ophthalmologist and the other a Neurologist (taken after the mother, not the father) …….. they do a lot of unpaid voluntary work in places like Africa, PNG …… usually work with Christian missionary outfits (on a ship in PNG.) One doesn’t even set foot on land; go hell for leather ….and with another colleague recently did the most number of eye-operations ever performed on that ship in a 2-week period. The biggest trouble they have is, they try to convert them to Christianity and have to ward them off all the time!

          How did they become like that without a religion? Certainly not my influence; I wouldn’t give anyone a can of baked beans. I keep telling them not to waste their time and pocket the money they can earn at this stage of their lives.

          I believe …… if you look closely …… the influence religions have to compel man to do good is overstated.

          • 1
            1

            nimal fernando,
            I wish I don’t have to do this; but, I will.
            .
            Religion is only a concept. What the next man does with it should not impact you!
            …’one can be “not a bad person” without a religion’. I agree, but not totally.
            Your statement is valid only for the intelligent among us. For the rest, Religion is somewhat of a policeman!

            • 3
              1

              Nathan,

              “Religion is only a concept. What the next man does with it should not impact you!”

              True. ………. In theory, in a perfect world.

              In practice it’s a different story ……….. Look how it has impacted ….. in SL, Northern Ireland, Iran, Israel, American Fundamental Christian Southern Bible Belt …………….. to name a few ………

              “Religion is somewhat of a policeman!”

              Unfortunately, religions have become a tool of mind-control for the people who appoint themselves as “policemen.”

              If you look at the writers in this forum ……… people who are good Buddhists – who adhere to Buddha’s teachings – are people who show independence from the self-appointed “policemen ” ……. or even, from the “collective” religion itself.

              Showing “Buddhist-behaviour” – following Buddha’s example – is more important than calling oneself a Buddhist. ………… That’s what distinguishes a Buddhist from a “Buddhist.”


              I believe, it’s a crime to corrupt very young’s minds with religions at a very early age ……. when they are not in a position to make informed choices.

              If children become good responsible world-citizens on their own accord …….. they can’t be misled by corrupt “elders” as what has happened in many parts of the world.

              To each his own ……. I believe teaching independence of thought to their children is the primary responsibility/duty of parents.

              • 0
                0

                nimal fernando,
                I agree with almost everything. But, your premise is garbled!
                .
                As far as the average man is concerned, my standpoint holds. When Politicians / Clergymen are included the equation tilts in your favour!

              • 2
                0

                “I believe, it’s a crime to corrupt very young’s minds with religions at a very early age ……. when they are not in a position to make informed choices.”
                Yes, that’s where it starts them growing into tribalist robots.

                • 1
                  0

                  old codger / (nimal fernando),
                  You managed to be rational and escape growing into tribalism. Still, you don’t believe that the others could do the same.
                  .
                  During your time and mine, we learnt a lot by rote memory; Grew up to ‘understand’ the rational behind each of them.

  • 5
    2

    Vegetarianism, Fasting, Mediation and Yoga. These are the cornerstone of achieving an higher consciousness according to Buddhism.

    • 1
      0

      Hi Westham,
      That (Vegetarianism) is very interesting indeed.
      If that is correct, why are they serving chicken curry, Thora malu (Fish) at various Buddhist functions including Buddhist Vesak functions. That is not vegetarian food.
      Confusing, as the priests/elders must not permit that to happen. I believe that Buddhist Monks too participate in the meal or are they served differently?

  • 7
    2

    I respect Buddhism. Jawaharlal Nehru called Buddhism as a refined Hinduism. Hinduism is indebted to Hinduism.

    • 7
      2

      There is a slight error. It should be read as Buddhism is indebted to Hinduism.

      • 1
        0

        Mr. Ayathurai: Could you please explain (1) How Buddhism is refined Hinduism and (2) How Buddhism is indebted to Hinduism. Thank you.

        • 1
          1

          Simon
          Buddhism was driven out of India in stages.
          In Tamil regions around 9th-10th Century under Pandiya rule. More effectively by Sankara across India. What was established by Sankara turned out to be the dominant Hindu Brahmin establishment in India ever since.
          Had Buddhism continued as the mass religion it was in its early periods without royal patronage, India perhaps would have been a land of greater social justice.
          Mahayana and later deformed Hinayana Buddhism were penetrated by Hindu gods and thought.
          But what the Buddha taught owes nothing to Hindisim.

      • 0
        4

        Ayathuray Rajasingam
        Ha ha ha…… There was no Hinduism in the time of Lord Buddha.
        Who is the founder of Hinduism?

        • 4
          3

          Champa?
          Were you there when Lord Buddha found Buddhism? I think it is Sinhala or ask Rajapaksa why he goes to “Thirupathy” in India every year.

          • 3
            0

            Ajith,
            What Champa means is that there was Hinduism in India but not in Sri Lanka, where she claims Buddha was born.
            Please don’t start an argument. It is so painful for the onlookers.

            • 0
              1

              old codger
              Nope. There was no Hinduism in India (there was no India at the time) or in ancient Lanka.
              As per ancient travel records, people who were at the opposite bank of River Sindhu have been called Sindhus and their religion became Sindhus’ religion, which was later known as Hinduism. According to some records, they have worshipped Alexander the Great as their god.

        • 3
          0

          C
          Who is the founder of Taoism?
          Who is the founder of Shramanism?
          Who is the founder of Shamanism?
          What is called Hinduism is a complex of faiths and practices. It will not qualify as a religion in the sense that Christianity for example is understood. It cannot be compared with Buddhism or Jainism.
          There are monotheistic definitions for it, but it is happily a polytheistic religion the way “religion” has been in most of the pre-Christion/Islamic Old World.
          There was Brahminic Hinduism that influenced Buddhism very much after the Buddha.
          Buddhism as conceived by the Buddha rejected that caste based religion.

        • 3
          1

          Lord Buddha himself was a Hindu Prince. It is only Hinduism that has no founder, no central authority, no prescribed text, unaware where it originated, but defined or given the nature of Hinduism which made Hinduism as a Universal religion, a science, a philosophy and a way of life. Read my article in the Colombo Telegraph entitled ‘In pursuit of the nature of Hinduism’. Hinduism is the only religion that had given the age of this planet earth and that it has life.

          • 0
            1

            Ayathuray Rajasingam
            Lord Buddha was not a Hindu prince and Suddhodhana was not the name of his father. We are fortunately to be born in Lord Buddha’s land.
            India did not have monarchs like ancient Lanka.
            British writers have clearly mentioned that India had no history.
            I have no problem with Hinduism. I only raised the matter to prove the contradiction. Even Jainism has no founder. Then there was Nighanta Nathapuththa, also known as Mahavira. None of these religions have religious scriptures to prove their origin whereas Buddhism has meticulously written ancient Buddhist scriptures.

            • 2
              0

              Champa,
              Buddhism and Jainism are bi-products of Hinduism. The most ancient Hindu text to our knowledge is the Rig Veda which gives the description of earth including the movements of tectonic plates. India was once known as Bharath Varsha the territory of which was very extensive and was known as AHANDA BHARATH. I can easilt elaborate on this subject, but space is restricted.

  • 15
    1

    Unfortunately Buddhism has been hijacked by nationalists and racists. The teachings of Lord Buddha have been conveniently ignored, by those who seek to divide this nation, show arrogance to the minority, and stoop to corruption, leading to hurting others.
    The worst part of it all, is that those who wear saffron robes, and supposed to preach about not harming others, and to live peaceful lives, are now embracing politics, interfering in the government, manipulating the present regime, making demands, and urging other Buddhists to turn against the minority, even using hate speech to provoke violence . The present bunch scoundrels who now lead this country, use Buddhism as a tool, to win votes, and cause divisions.

    No unity, no progress. We will always be a third world broke nation at the mercy of other nations.

    • 10
      1

      I wonder why the author has ignored the group of Buddhists who have “discovered” that the Buddha was a Sinhalese?

      • 2
        0

        OC
        The man meant well.
        The omission was because it comes under politically fashionable Buddhism.

      • 0
        4

        old codger
        Yes. Lord Buddha is a Sinhalese. Any problem?
        Ask the Department of Archaeology why they limited excavations up to 3rd Century BC? The answer is, if they go beyond, then they will have to accept that Jambudvipa, where Lord Buddha was born was in ancient Lanka.
        Also, the timeline of Sinhalese Monarchs have been dragged down to connect us with India. Dr. Shiran Deraniyagala has found writings on potsherds in Anuradhapura that go back to 700 BC. Which king reigned Anuradhapura at the time?

        • 0
          5

          Lord Buddha was a Sinhalese. Not only Gothama or Gauthama (pronounced as Gothama) Buddha, all other three Buddhas; Kakusanda, Konagama and Kashyapa Buddhas were also Sinhalese.

          • 1
            0

            Champa,
            If you have proof, don’t hide it. The best thing is if you provide ID numbers or passports of these Buddhas. Were they vaccinated?
            Are you afraid they have Indian ID numbers?

        • 6
          1

          Champa @
          What made u to insult lord buddha? I never thought a good commenter of ur nature would ever fall to the levels. Please never insult lb just because ur kind of intoxication are beyond cure. ☹☹☹☹☹☹☹☹

  • 3
    0

    Some declaring that they have reached certain levels like sprinking water or try his miracle water to end the coronavirus pandemic. Society has becomed so fake that the truth actually bothers people.

  • 9
    2

    The author has left the real Buddhism practiced by our Lankan majority “POLITICAL BUDDHISM”. Monks have turned into crooked politicians and politicians turn to monks to stay in power. With such influence the followers too have been influenced to our own Lankan Buddhism. The thero who is currently the leading recruiter, campaigned to bring Gotha/Hitler to power has now put out vacancy ad to replace him. Requirements mentioned are suitable person should be a born SB, strictly practicing political Buddhism, ability to work in coordination with political monks (a real team player), a full fledged Pseudo politician (nationalist, patriot) with vast experience in ???

  • 5
    1

    We now have a new NIKAYA in Buddhism. The “Voice Cut Nikaya” , whose main job is to be in politics. Real buddhism has run down and fake buddhism has emerged.
    How many monks practice the basic rules. You become a monk leaving your wordly belongings, giving all pleasures, to meditate for self salvation, reduce food intake. All the monks that come on TV are overweight, doubled chinned. How did they gain such weight sacrificing the dinner?. Many have long hair and beards. They all have Bank accounts, fancy cars. Why did they become monks pledging to give all wordly things- cars, money. They get on to political stages and make speeches. It is not their job. How many hours a week do they really medidate. Most monks NIL. They use the foolish Buddhists to earn money. They talk about “SINHALA BUDDHIST COUNTRY”. Buddha the first religious leader to do away with cast, race and religious bias. Our monks are bringing racism back. See other countries- Thailand, Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia how monks behave. They really pratice the religion- daily go to the street to beg for food- as Buddha did. Compare other religions, Christianity, Islam, Hindu. Their priests are not seen giving daily political “VOICE CUTS” and misbehaving. Like how the country has gone down the drain the last 73 years, Buddhism too has gone the same way.

  • 3
    1

    I certainly agree with the author’s on concept of ‘fashionable’ Buddhism. Perhaps, the fashionable trend became mainstream after a family which made its fortune in money lending, probably thought of meritorious deeds (to balance any sins?) by sponsoring a Buddhist TV channel & organising glamorous ‘Buddhist’ social events & b’day parties to ‘elite’ monks (even a cricketer getting married in a temple) but how could ‘political’ Buddhism with thug monks spreading hatred & racism, accompanied by black shirted goons, have a place?
    There are many SL Buddhist temples in UK where the chief monk is central to fund raising & the financial aspects of running the temple. I know of an amiable & educamated Nepalese monk (who had spent many years in SL) living in a temple in London, driving his own car as he is a teacher of religious studies in the local schools but I have no qualms about it. In modern times, it is probably necessary to move with times & falls within the ‘practical’ Buddhism concept but I am most impressed with a Buddhist monastery started by an American monk in rural Hampshire in the 80s. It was originally funded by the Thai govt. & consisted of mainly converts to Buddhism. Due to its popularity, a branch has been opened near Watford & now has its own funding controlled by a lay trust.

  • 5
    1

    In Sri Lanka today, Buddhism has been tri- polarized as per these different interpretations and practices: Traditional Buddhism, Practical Buddhism and Fashionable Buddhism.
    ———-
    You forgot to add a 4th called genocidal buddhism.

  • 1
    3

    Lord Buddha’s teachings speak of simplicity which has been practiced by Sinhalese Buddhists for generations.
    Traditional Sinhalese Buddhists know what to wear and what to take with them when visiting temples.
    For example, the Sinhalese Buddhist tradition is to offer simple white flowers (depicting purity) to Lord Buddha as a reminder of the impermanence of life and all things around us. The practice is to offer an amount of flowers that can fit in the palms of your hands. Even if you carry flowers in baskets, you take flowers into your hands and offer.
    The same way, traditional Sinhalese Buddhists light simple oil lamps and incense sticks which die down after a while depicting the impermanence of everything.
    The ‘Gilanpasa’ (water, milk rice, fruits and herbal drinks) is traditionally offered in the mornings only, which is cleared before 12 noon so that they can be offered to beggars and animals in the vicinity. The ‘Gilanpasa’, flowers, lighted oil lamps and incense sticks are only tokens and therefore offered in small quantities to avoid wastage. Then there is the practice of offering alms to Buddhist monks and conducting Dansala on a large scale to offer free food, fruits, herbal or fruits drinks to people and animals.

  • 1
    3

    Today, pure Buddhism in Sri Lanka is under threat on two fronts, both led by monks.
    1. A large number of Jain Ashrams have been built in Sri Lanka and abroad under the guise of Theravada Buddhist Temples.
    For example, a non-Sinhalese, yellow-robed businessman called Kiribathgoda Gnanananda, the founder of Mahamewna Ashram, who believes that pure Buddhism is about being big, bold, gold, wealthy and excessive self-indulgence, is following Jainism in his Ashrams, misleading unassumed Buddhist devotees. All his Ashrams are built according to Indian Jain architecture seen in Ranakpur Jain Temple, Dilwara Jain Temple, Palitana Jain Temple, etc. The interior of his Ashrams which are painted in bright gold and red depict Jain Ashrams, not Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Even facial, hand and body features of Lord Buddha statues in his Ashrams are desanctified and overstylized distorting traditional Sinhalese Buddhist architectural and sculptural styles.
    There should be a law that requires all Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka to be built in accordance with Sinhalese architecture in order to preserve our Sinhalese civilization. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda should not be allowed to use the name Buddhism for his Jain Ashrams.
    1/5

    • 1
      4

      2/5
      Moreover, Kiribathgoda Gnanananda is trying to acquire the ancient Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya. It is widely speculated that his aim is to demolish the ancient temple building and arbitrarily build another of his signature Jain Ashram there. If this is allowed, Seruwila Temple will be removed from UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites and an ancient temple will be lost to Jains.
      I understand that Kiribathgoda Gnanananda’s supporters have challenged the proprietorship of this ancient temple, which is a joke. This temple clearly belongs to Kalyanavansha Sect of Amarapura Maha Nikaya and the current Chief Incumbent of the temple is Venerable Dodampahala Chandrasiri Thero.
      In the past, the Chief Prelate of Amarapura Nikaya may have allowed Development Committees of their temples to appoint Chief Incumbents. However, if there is a dispute or in a situation of loss of faith in Development Committees, the Chief Prelate has the power to revoke previous instructions as and when the necessity arises. In other words, the final decision of temple activities lies with the Chief Prelate of Amarapura Nikaya.
      Kiribathgoda Gnanananda is closely working with the Rajapaksas, India and Ali Sabry. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all Sinhalese Buddhists to come forward to defeat their conspiracy to take over our temples and distort our history.

      • 1
        4

        3/5
        .
        2. The second threat to pure Buddhism in Sri Lanka is the “Tripitaka Conservation Bill”.
        There is a heinous attempt to incorporate ‘Sharia Law’ style physical punishments and restrictions to freedom of speech and expression into Buddha Sasana by way of “Tripitaka Conservation Bill”.
        I have many questions about this Bill.
        i) It is now revealed that about 40 Buddhist monks have contributed to the preparation of the “Tripitaka Conservation Bill” (secretly), which shows that a section of Maha Sangha believes that they are the owners of Buddhism. For the information of Maha Sangha, the existence of Buddhism is based on the strength of four groups, i.e. Bhikku, Bhikkuni, Upasaka, Upasika. If Maha Sangha desires to bring in any law, in addition to Lord Buddha’s law, they are supposed to consult the other three congregations of Buddhism. Their deliberate failure to do so may have an ulterior motive.
        .
        ii) The appointment of a Director General of Buddhism with overwhelming legal powers to dictate and control Buddhistic thoughts of people, including the four congregations of Buddhism, is directly against Lord Buddha’s teachings and also our Constitution.

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    4/5
    .
    iii) As mentioned by me on May 12 also, the “Tripitaka Conservation Bill” will grant absurd powers to the Director General of Buddhism to “acquire, dispose, mortgage or sell ANY Buddhist temples, Buddhist religious sites, Buddhist cave temples, Buddhist forest monasteries, even Buddhist Pirivenas and Dhamma schools”. Moreover, it allows him to “enter into INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS with anybody. That means, he can enter into sale, lease, rental, lend or loan agreements with foreign governments, foreign monasteries, NGOs, INGOs, non-Buddhist organizations,” etc.
    This reminds me of some international agreements tabled in Parliament by the previous slave government which carried similar wordings. In addition to Ali Sabry, India and the Rajapaksas, I know for sure the US Embassy is behind this.
    The design of the “Tripitaka Conservation Bill” hints about a combination of ETCA and MCCA

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      5/5
      .
      iv) I want to ask Maha Sangha who supports the “Tripitaka Conservation Bill”, where is the original Tripitaka? Show the original Tripitaka first.
      This Bill is based on a copy of Tripitaka, the authenticity of which is not confirmed.
      According to history books, Buddhagosha came to ancient Lanka to copy Tripitaka. Then he has written new commentaries in Pali based on old Sinhala commentaries. In other words, Buddhagosha has added new theories to Lord Buddha’s teachings!!!
      I have more information about Buddhagosha and Tripitaka, which I would like to keep for myself for the time being. Was the reason to write Tripitaka in the time of King Watta Gamini Abhaya because we lost the original Tripitaka? I have had this question for a long time.
      According to our early history books, there have been Rishis in the time of Lord Buddha, who were known as writers. Isipathanaramaya or Isin Bassagala in Sri Lanka has actually derived from Isi Basinaaramaya. That means, Rishis have been frequent visitors of Lord Buddha, and therefore, there is a high chance the “missing” original Tripitaka was written by them in “Elu”.
      Needless to say, I am vehemently against the “Tripitaka Conservation Bill” which will instil unnecessary fear, distress and confusion among Buddhist devotees and also create a new schism among Buddhist monks.

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    Really, how can you define Buddhism by the actions of some individuals or the number of lamps someone chooses to light? Really dumb. Buddhism, i.e Theravaada Buddhism (also called Sinhala Buddhism by some, especially in far East Asia ) has always been the same. Even India, the birth place of Buddha and Buddhism look to Sri Lanka and Indians come here to learn the Dharma from Sinhalese monks – something that has been going on for over 1500 years, since India lost Buddhism to other religions. One of first such seekers was Buddhagosha who came here to translate the Sinhalese commentaries.
     
    ඉන්දියාවේ අපට පින්වත් ලොකු ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේ හමුවූ හැටි…
    Translation: How we in India met the cheif priest
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDd-fkedvXk
    3:22 minutes
    These Indian Buddhist monks are from different Indian states. They have come here and learnt Sinhalese and have been ordained as monks here.
     
    FYI All throughout history there have been monks who were not following Buddha’s teachings as intended, but that didn’t change Buddhism.

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      P.P,
      “Theravaada Buddhism (also called Sinhala Buddhism by some, especially in far East Asia ) has always been the same. “
      So it has always been divided caste-wise, so that some “low- caste” monks can never aspire to positions in the “high-caste” sects?

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    There will be no improvement in the conduct of the monks until all are registered and controlled. This can only happen if the SB people demand it. In the past Kings used to cleanse the sangha, there is no reason why the Government cannot do it if enough people demand it.

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      Paul

      ” In the past Kings used to cleanse the sangha, ……”

      You mean you want Gota to show the Sangha the way to Mullivaaikkal and beyond?

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    So SBs what do you think? Look at the impeccable behaviour of Western monks who live in the forest hermitages. That is how monks should behave. Once again the West has to teach us, not only good Government, but even our much talked about 2500 year old Buddhism. The next time you see a monk with a bank account or business or find him on the street shouting about China or threatening the minorities, think about these things. These men do more damage to Buddhism than an army of well funded evangelists.

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