29 October, 2020

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Buddhists! Wake Up To Protect Novice Monks!!

By Tiran Kumara Bangagamaarachchi

Tiran Kumara

Tiran Kumara

It was heard last week that a novice monk had been sexually assaulted and admitted to the Matara general hospital. But the temple, the hospital, the police and all other responsible authorities took very good care to cover up the incident. Newspapers that usually sensationalize the incidents of sexual assaults on women and children were totally silent on this act of violence. Why?

Perhaps, it is better for the young monk’s anonymity not to get into a media uproar. Yet, total silent is not healthy either. While the Buddhist temples are known to restrain and tame sexual desire, there are also numerous stories about sexual misconduct at temples and their environs. Unless those ‘misconducts’ reach the point where the victims are required to hospitalize, such incidents get hidden behind the loud sounds of “sadu” in ritual chanting. The criminals hidden under yellow robes continue to find the safety of those sacred robes.

One exits the Southern Express Way at its end at Matara, to little village called “Godagama” in which the temple in question is located. The temple is Paththarama. This monastery, to be sure, is not responsible for a shameless crime committed by two monks and a layman. The abbot and the other monks residing at the temple should not be held exclusively responsible for this. Yet, incidents of this nature that routinely take place bring so much disgrace upon Buddhist temples. Such criminal acts must not be covered up by the sound of ‘Saadu’, the ritual chanting. Sin is sin no matter where it happens.

Story of the Hospital

The novice monk, 14, was violently raped and a hospitalization could not be avoided. On May 16th he was brought to the Matara general hospital. The doctor at outpatient unit diagnosed that the young monk had been sexually assaulted. Since he was referred to the Unit on sex-related illnesses, the hospitalization was temporally avoided. An important medical officer at the hospital has his ‘private practice’ joint in front of the temple, Paththaramaya, and it is quite natural that he wanted to ‘help’ the temple. That was another reason as to why the young monk was not admitted to the hospital right away on the first day.

Even though the young monk was sent back to the temple, there was nothing the temple could do. Even at the risk of being ashamed, the monk was eventually admitted to the hospital. Then, the news reached the ear of the monk’s mother.

The Mother’s Story

“This is my elder son. I have two other children. My husband does not live with us. It is difficult for me to raise three children all by myself. That is why I gave my son away to the temple. I thought he would be fed well and educated. But a mother cannot bear what has happened to him.”

“I was told by the temple that my son was in the hospital but didn’t tell why. That was a Sunday. May 22nd. I went to the hospital on that very day. What had happened to him was something difficult to talk about and also to look at. My poor child! Three people are involved in this crime.”

“I told the police about this. But the police took three days to record my complaint. The chief monk at the temple pleaded me not to make the incident public. He said he would kill himself if I did. It was I who should commit suicide. Anyway, when they couldn’t avoid it any longer they[accused] handed themselves to the police on May 29th. They had been remanded by the courts. On June 6th, they were brought to the courts again. We are poor people. We cannot fight legal battles with powerful people. But my child needs justice from the courts because we are powerless people.”

“Everyone sided with the temple after incident. We were left alone. I am disappointed with all the temples now. I am disappointed in all the monks. I have decided not to keep my son in robe anymore.”

No matter how powerless she is us, a mother would do anything on behalf her son. This lonely woman is speaking up against the temple and against the injustice done to her son. But she only has her own courage to support her – the courage of a mother.

This novice monk has been living at two other temples before coming to this temple in the month of May. He came there to learn Pali and Sanskrit from Manthinda monastery at Matara. But only thing he got to learn was lessons of sex from the two senior monks. A layman who teaches at the monastery has also joined the monks in abusing the novice. Even thought they have been remanded, some argue that they might have handed themselves to get better safety in the remand custody.

There is no an iota of doubt that these three people have been committing similar crimes for a long time. At some temples, this ‘Dharma’ of sexual misconduct is increasingly common. Those young monks who become victims turn into perpetrators themselves when they grow up. When such incidents get out of hand and lead to harm and violence, they are secretly solved within the temples. These things, however, need to be discussed openly and seriously in our society. The monk perpetrators and monk victims are both parts of a greater tragedy. These things must not be ignored in the name of religion or the Buddhist order.

Poor parents who are unable feed their children donate them to temples need to consider that they might be putting their children at risk. What kind of service these young monks can do to the religion, the Order and the country in future, when their childhood is robbed and they are sexually abused?

Tomorrow

What will happen to the fourteen year old novice monk crushed under the grip of three adult men? These adult monks will be freed one day and return to the temple. If not, some other temple will take them back. What will happen then to the younger monks living at those temples? There is no end to this problem. If this young victim disrobes in future, his mother will have to explain why he did so to her neighbors. If the villagers get to know the real reasons for disrobing, how would they treat the child? Wouldn’t they stigmatize him? It is more than likely that this family will suffer further.

Those monks, who are running around to re-erect Mahinda Rajapaksa’s fallen political body, must come forward to face real issues wrecking their Sasana- the Buddhist order. Their priority should be to protect the Sasana for the future. They can only do so by treating novice monks with kindness and love. Those young boys donated to temples because of the poverty of their parents are not sex toys for perverse monks. It is sad that some monk-teachers try out Kama Sutra in the guise of teaching Pali and Sanskrit.

The courts will decide the punishments for the criminal monks of Matara. But renovation of this decadent temple culture belongs to leading monks and responsible lay Buddhists. Time to take up that responsibility has arrived. Not only the parliament[state], but the temple also has to change.

Buddhists rise up to save the lives of novice monks at temples!

*This article was originally published in Sinhala language weekly Ravaya newspaper on June 5th, 2016. Translated by Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    2

    Poor, precious child, helpless mother.

    “… whosoever shall offend one of these little ones…
    it is better for him that a millstone be hanged about his neck
    and he were cast into the sea.” (Words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Mark.9.42)

    • 7
      30

      Tiran kumara and Dr.Amarakeeti are trying to make mountain out of a mole hill.
      Now that the wheels of justice has started roll why make such a fuss unless there is a hidden motive.
      A child has been allegedly abused and the law has to take its course and there is no argument about it but to blame drag the whole Establishment of the Buddha Sasana is rediculous as it can get.
      If the child or the family does not get the justice they deserve then its a different proposition all together and Tirans and Liyanages can come to their rescue then.

      • 17
        3

        Have you children of your own ????????????????????????????????????
        ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

        Its a pity shaggers like you exist in this world.

        • 6
          0

          unwanted children and the social upheaval of a begging nation. Where women have to serve in ME as sex slaves.

          DOGS ARE MANS BEST FRIEND AND THEY ARE TAKEN TO BEAUTY PARLOR.
          A 3 LEGGED DOG JUST RECEIVED THE HIGHEST AWARD OF BRITISH ARMY.

      • 9
        0

        NAK, Colombo telegraph had not published comment made by me on saturday. This is not the first time such incidents had been reported.Sri lanka Guardian reported, some time back, a seduction at a Temple near Galle.In fact a photograph taken indicated the priest in action. He was near a frosted glass window and the movements could be seen.Another incident reported,I cannot remember the source, may be Ravaya or Ukthiya, years ago,the boy who was sodomized died the day following his ordination.In the instant case and in the last the police, the doctors and the temple suppressed the story.One common factor in all the cases was that the women in the area rediculed the mother of the child.Our priests speak aloud about sex in other religious organisations but help to suppress the dirt in their eyes.They speak about good behavior and this is what they do Bloody humbugs.

        Will the Mahanayake enforce these sodomists to derobe – never. Asgiriya idiot is more worried about a stretch of road over which I have driven my car over 1000 times.

        The problem is that entering the Buddhist priesthood has become a source of income for these people, nay they get free housing, many other benefits such as priority in a queue and according to a comment made recently free sex with frustrated females. The solution is to impose death penalty on these criminals, however minor the wrong is. After all Buddhism is our religion and not their monopoly.

      • 2
        0

        Send your children to the temple to get abused [Edited out]!
        Every child is precious and this has been happening all along and must be stopped!
        At least it is commendable that church has risen to accept the issue and trying to fix!

    • 9
      5

      So Sandy,Child abuse is as old as christianity itself…hah.Amazing!

      • 5
        4

        Irrespective of what religion (or fairy tale) ones affiliation lies with, the clergy (Buddhist, Christian or Muslim) has for centuries been the refuge for practicing sexual deviants. It may be homosexuality, promiscuity, sex enslavement, harems, concubines and even promises of heavenly gifts of multiple virgins, deviants will always find their satisfaction, excuses and supporters within religion orders.

    • 0
      1

      Your Christian priest do the same thing whjat these Buddhist priests do.

  • 7
    2

    Someone should conduct an investigation on all adult monks involved in various questionable activities that have nothing to do with Buddhism, mainly the violence-inciting monks in politics. Maybe they were sexually abused as novices and are now intent on taking revenge on society at large.

    Dionysus

  • 14
    0

    Our piss-poor social services must share some of the blame for allowing parents no option but to ‘offer’ their children to the Temple rather than a ‘not-fit-for-purpose Social services.

    The last place for a child to be brought up in should be a temple full of men living in some degree of isolation, privacy and independence.

    How long before we stop perpetrating our continuing practice of allowing clergy to be afforded entitlement and a status that removes them from the normal strictures of the law that apply to us all?

    We bow and scrape to anything in a robe; we give up our seats on public transport to anything in a robe; anybody in a robe goes straight to the front of any queue, enjoys a white-sheet covered front seat, and is usually non-answerable for most misdemeanours.

    It is about time that these matters (and others) are addressed at the highest levels, and the cloak of secrecy that hides these deviance’s and the identity of the (usually) men who perpetrate.

    • 4
      0

      Well said Spring Koha, I advocate death penalty as a punishment.

  • 8
    1

    Do not want to denigrate a religion for a few pedophiles’ crime. But, in the name of protecting Sasana, these criminals get every thing free, maybe lack of challenges in life indulge them into these type of activities. And, we leave these very people to guide our kids spiritually, a scary thought?.

    Religion aside, the criminal and the ones who trying to protect these criminals should see the full force of the law including the police who refuse to record the complaint for three days- IGP to note. Some here are trying to water down the whole issue as it happened in a monastery, but sweeping under the carpet doesn’t make these crimes go away. Think about the boy and his family and the poor ones that suppose to face with similar nightmares. This must end with this incident, period. Will see what judiciary is up to.

  • 10
    0

    Sir John Kotalawela once said when Buddhist monks were getting too involved with his work, must apply ‘thaara to their thatta’ and send them to the temples to practice what they preach.

    We need such brave leaders to show these Buddhist monks where exactly they belong and what they should do.

  • 4
    0

    This is another proof that no man can survive without sex on earth as this a natural urge with matuaritt and development of hormones in human body as confirmed by medical science too. With due respect to budhism I must illustrate that the majority of the monks of today who claim to be follosing the path of buddah are in fact not but engafed in acts like sex alchohol and consumption of non veg food etc. On the other side the buddhist claim that no young man or teenagee can survive without sex as its a natural human desire which cannot be prrvented. So its up to the buddhist to prove which concept is true or false. This is the reason their is just one and only rdligion on this face of earth which dont have priesthood as its just an eyewash.

  • 2
    1

    Give more protection and priority to Buddhism by amending the present constitution than what they have now to make a “Buddhist Temple” a place for rapists especially “Homosexuals” to cover up with a “Yellow Robed” to simply flush out of the country law.This append because of one cunning politician`s act of making the Buddhist temples as the “Cut Outs” in his party to cheat Village Voters.

  • 3
    3

    The child abuse is happening everywhere at every levels at the society.Whether. it is a Buddhist monk or a Catholic priest or any other does not matter.The culprits should be punished under existing laws.The thing is if the accused are influential people then the chance of getting them punished is not easy.The Vatican,Pope and also Anglican Church of England hid biggest child abuse scandals by priests.No need to call Buddhists to save children from that as they do not have power to punish accused.What rubbish idea!

  • 2
    0

    ARE THE OTHER YOUNG MONKS SAFE IN THIS TEMPLE. DO NOT KNOW HOW MANY HAVE BEEN RAPED AND THEY SHUT THEIR MOUTHS IN FEAR. WHY CANNOT THESE BIG MONKS MARRY LIKE THE CLERGY IN OTHER RELIGIONS. THEY COULD SATISFY THEMSELVES IN THE HOME, IS IT NOT. I HAVE NOT HEARD OF THESE CASES FOR THE FIRST TIME. PUNISH THESE WICKED PEOPLE IMMENSELY, LIKE GIVING THEM POISON TO DRINK OR MAKE THEM EAT THE DEADLY NIYANGALA.

  • 4
    0

    This is the first time someone is bold enough to write about this social evil. The entire soceity know what is happening but quiet because of the shame and the power the monks hold. What is the Child protection authrities doing. Child rights world organisations doing?
    These children are robbed of their childhood, homes n parents in the name of religion. Its time to speak up!How will these young monks grow up to be the next generation of leaders that uphold buddhism in our land?

  • 4
    0

    Sir John was mild, I recommend making them enuuchs or death penalty.

  • 3
    0

    It’s not only Buddhists but also all the other communities should stand for sexual violence against women and children. These monks were grown so violent during the Rajapaksse regime who were the patron of Buddhist extremists and the human animals disguised under gentle robe like Gnansara were immensely benefitted one way or the other and enjoyed all the perks from liquor to women.

    If the ministry of Buddhist Affairs fails to identify, disrobe and mete the maximum punishment for the child predators covered with the robe, then the image already damaged by BBS thugs will be tarnished to the next level.

    Also, I kindly bring the attention to the author of this article if he goes to the southern beaches, how the beach boys are exploited by foreign gay men and elderly women sometimes even with the blessing of their own mother, father an siblings.

    No men in robe or temples brought this issue to the parents or to public and the results are Sri Lanka is one of the most popular destination after Kenya for old women sex tourism. What a shame!!!!!

  • 3
    0

    I am scared to send my children to a temple, And while in the temple never let them out of my sight!

    Robing of little children must be unlawfull under human rights conventions!

    It is plainly child abuse and must be stopped!

    Can anyone understand the isolation, helplessness, hatred, pain of this abused child? Will he like the Buddhism?
    I would burn down the temple with the abusers!

    People who perpetrate these crimes must be jailed for life!

    If anyone wants to save Buddhism, Wear a robe temporary like in Thailand!

    This is shameful and for a minute I do not believe an enlightened one would have approved this practice!

    • 2
      0

      Be watchful when sending your wife to the temples , the CLEVAGE , THE CASONOVA TALKS , ECT ECT ECT.
      THESE YELLOW ROBED HUMBUGS ARE EXPERTS IN EVERY ART.

  • 0
    0

    Spring Koha,”We bow and scrape to anything in a robe; we give up our seats on public transport to anything in a robe; anybody in a robe goes straight to the front of any queue, enjoys a white-sheet covered front seat, and is usually non-answerable for most misdemeanours”. ‘
    Please corect me if Iam wrong. I thought that the religious leaders are supposed to “serve” society and not be served! Prominent seats in transport vehicles should be given to people who are old,ill, frail and disabled.

    • 1
      0

      Jaya

      ” Prominent seats in transport vehicles should be given to people who are old,ill, frail and disabled.”

      And pregnant women, children of certain age, ……

    • 2
      0

      Native Vedda, Jaya

      Religious Leaders AND Politicians must NOT forget that they exist to serve WE the people. WE the people must hold them to that sacred covenant. BOTH Religious Leaders and Politicians get drunk on POWER and PATRONAGE and that is what leads to all the evil that bedevils us.

      When they break that trust, WE all go down the slippery slope of bad governance. WE must remind them and hold them to it.

      • 1
        0

        Spring Koha

        Thanks for your wise words.

        Hope you are back, had a good time in the Big Apple.

        • 0
          0

          Thank You Native Vedda.

          Had a wonderful time I have just returned. Going to America is like visiting 50 different countries. The Presidential stuff was riveting of course, then there was the passing away of Ali, and the Sunday massacre in Orlando that will no doubt be the top subject of Presidential debates this week with Trump capitalising with his ‘I told you so’ stance.

          Never a dull moment!

          However did I get the impression that the highlight of retirement was the Saturday evening stroll on Mt Lavinia beach?

  • 5
    0

    It is well known about the happenings of sexual nature in religious communities all over the world, not only in SL but, at least in developed countries, they are coming to light & acknowledged by the Church & even the Vatican. I remember ‘jokes’ about ‘alter boys’ when I was a school boy but in our conservative SL society, these issues were never discussed in the open & continues to be brushed under the carpet.

    A few years ago, a famous Buddhist monk at the Chiswick temple in London, was found guilty of raping a child inside the temple, back in the 80s & is, I presume, still serving time in a British jail. The victim, now a doctors with her own family, had to wait until her own father died to bring charges against the culprit & even then, the majority of Buddhist community in UK, supported the monk & refused to believe her but thanks to the British justice system, the UK police managed to prosecute the monk, even though the offense took place several decades ago. In fact, the monk’s legal fees were paid for by the SL tax payer by a directive of the previous regime & many prominent Sinhala Buddhist in UK contributed as well, citing it was a conspiracy against Buddhism. The case would have flopped due to lack of evidence after all these years but several others then came forward with similar stories which the UK police diligently investigated & was able to build up a case. However, since these incidents took place some years ago, the monk managed to get off lightly & will be deported to SL after a short jail sentence. No doubt this child rpist will continue being a monk on his return to SL & will not be de-robed by the ‘Sanga Saba’.

    It is time the Buddhists in SL woke up to reality, particularly, the Mahanayakas & the Sanga Saba did their job in maintaing discipline instead of turning a blind eye to misbehavior of monks, allowing them to spread racial hatred & dabble in politics. They are killing Buddhism, not promoting, as they claim to do.

  • 1
    0

    Pillai:

    Not only theravada, but also mahayana buddhism allows the ordination of young boys. In Tibet for example, it was common for one son from the family to enter monkhood. As with Irish catholic and most religious communities, the ranks of monks and priests were fattened up by poor parents sending some of their children to the care of the institutions of religion, in order to give them shelter and more importantly, food.

    In that respect, it is no different from people giving up their children for adoption due to poverty.

    It goes without saying though that sexual abuse of anyone, child or adult, should not be tolerated in any area of life, including our households, schools or religious institutions.

  • 2
    0

    Human rights lawyers argue that the Sri Lankan media are failing to expose child abuses especially when it comes Buddhist monks in what is an overwhelmingly Buddhist country.

    Most Sri Lankan Buddhist temples have a constant stream of boys and young male helpers who live there for short periods. It is not at all unusual for temples to seek help from youths in nearby villages to prepare for religious ceremonies and in the general day-to-day running of the buildings. This, say critics, provides an ideal climate for the Buddhist monks to take sexual advantage of vulnerable and impressionable boys mostly under 16 years old.

    Research carried out by the BBC Sinhala service has revealed that over the last decade, nearly 130 Buddhist monks have been charged for sexual and physical assaults on minors in Sri Lanka. Many of these cases – especially those of a sexual nature – were barely reported by the Sri Lankan media and seldom resulted in convictions.

  • 2
    0

    I salute Tiran Kimara, Dr Liyanage Amarakeerthi, Ravaya and Colombo Telegraph for coming out to publish the appalling crimes that are being committed by our monks inside the hallowed precincts of our temples.

    The law of the land must be supreme. The temples or places of worship of all colours and hues, or the monks or the priests who inhabit such edifices, must be made subservient to the law of the land. Any police, magistrate, doctor or any other authority who will try and hush up criminal activities within these hallowed establishments must also be dealt with. The IGP must take action against his officers who failed to take the statement from the mother and also against the doctor, as doctors are required by law to report any patients who turn up for treatment as a result of crime.

  • 0
    0

    The Almighty Creator has created all His Creations with complete provisions and guidance, except human beings, other creations are at complete harmony but the human becomes a beast by obeying the evil lust shaytan, so when monks and padres practice celibacy there is no truth in it as it is humanly impossible to change the nature of the human body against its divine will so we see the world is in chaos because of the influence of the evil has caused all destruction so we cannot overcome sex abuse by monks and churchmen who forcibly deprive his/her nature to show off to the world that you are holy, that is the problem the society in Sri Lanka due to blind faith and foolishness, man man ideology can never ever change by words of condemnation. That is why Divine Guidance is important. Whoever who acknowledge the Divine Law (Sharee’a) will be saved. Verily, there is no other alternative nor short cuts, for human to live and die as a complete human but by obeying the Sharia, So monks and churchmen who have been guilty of sodomy has cheated his self by acting and show off, no human can live without marriage, same is for animals and other creations which live with complete harmony. Let us learn from Shareea, he Divine solutions to the entire humanity.

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