31 October, 2020

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Child Ordination – A Different Perspective

By Mahendra De Silva

Sharmini Serasinghe as usual has written a thought provoking and interesting article on child ordination in Sri Lanka. I agree with some of the reasons she gives to explain why it is wrong.  I myself was fully against it for a long time until I change my views after speaking to some learned monks on the subject. The purpose of this article is to look it from a different angle and suggest the best possible way this could be accomplish to satisfy everyone, if a child really wants to ordain as a priest at any age.

First of all if we take the 10 training principle Sharmini has provided, I do not think it could do any harm to a child if they decide to accept and follow the precepts.

  • I undertake to abstain from harming or taking life
  • I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given
  • I undertake to abstain from any sexual contact
  • I undertake to abstain from false speech
  • I undertake to abstain from the use of intoxicants
  • I undertake to abstain from taking food after midday
  • I undertake to abstain from dancing, singing, music or any kind of entertainment
  • I undertake to abstain from the use of garlands, perfumes, unguents and adornments
  • I undertake to abstain from using luxurious seats
  • I undertake to abstain from accepting and holding money

Sharmini claims that abstaining taking food after midday will harm a growing up kid. But if we see the Samanera monks in temples, most of them appear to be healthy and happy. We hardly see any sign of malnutrition on them.  It is a fact that most of the kids (except for the kids living in extreme poverty) eat much more than their requirement.  The parents in general provides maximum for their kids and they want them to be happy at any cost. This desire very often spoils our kids. Since there are no restrictions in eating not only kids, even adults overeat and have to face obesity and other health problems.  Human body is quite capable of managing with 2 meals if the mind can be trained to accept it and be happy with it.  If a Kid could undergo this training happily it is a discipline that would help him throughout his life. It would also be an achievement which even adults find it difficult to practice.

Child MonksWe should not forget that Buddha ordained his own child Rahula at the age of 7. I, myself was confused why he did that for a long time. But now I realized that Buddha did it because he thought that is the best gift that could be given to his Son.  As ordinary people we think happiness comes only with pleasure we are craving to enjoy all the time. We believe that,  having fun, getting a great job, earning money, getting a partner, children, reputation are the purpose of life and it would give us real happiness in life. But in Buddhism and in reality all these will be impermanent and would lead to increase in suffering. Only way to find real happiness is by developing the mind though the practice of 8 noble paths and understanding 4NT.  Sharmini questions how can a child of 7 years understand these concepts even adults do not understand it properly. My answer is that understanding is a gradual process that comes with the practice and discipline and the earlier you start the process easier it would be. Pleasure is like glue that when touched, it will be difficult to come out of it. The more you experience it more you want it. It will be a herculean task or swim against the current if someone wants to get rid of desires after starting to enjoy it. It is always easier to train and discipline as a kid than as an adult. The chances of success are more.

Sharmini is questioning what gives one the right, including parents, to commit these innocent and trusting young, to a life-sentence of deprivation.

As far as I know whenever a kid is ordained it is done with the consent of the kid. It is possible that in addition to the attention and respect a kid may also want to ordain to avoid the misery at home due to the poverty.  Someone can argue that child at age seven does not have the capacity to analyze everything to decide what is best for him.  I suggest that National Child Protection Agency should involve in this process to investigate the request before ordaining the kid. They should be satisfied that child’s desire is genuine and has not come with outside influence.  Then Agency should follow closely and monitor the progress of the ordained Kid.  Temples that have Samanera monks should be routinely visited by NCPA officials to ensure that no abuse is taking place. I also believe that Samanera monk should have the freedom to disrobe at any time he feels doing it.  NCPA officials should explain these to Samanera monks. The Chief Priest who ordained the monk should agree in writing to that effect.

It is a social problem in Sri Lanka that majority view the disrobed person as an outcast. People do not look favourably on people who have disrobed.  I would condemn this attitude more than ordaining kids. Many Buddhist countries in Asia including Thailand, routinely allow parents to ordain their kids in temples for period of time. Some of these kids decide to continue the priesthood. Others go back to normal life after a period. In these counties people regard it as an added qualification if someone has been ordained as a monk even for short time. It shows that person has undergone training and discipline in life.  People would have a respect for the person who has sacrificed the lay life even for a short time.

It is cruel for society to have a prejudice against disrobed monks.  If we can change this attitude it will create an environment where any priest or Samanera could disrob and start an ordinary life if they no longer able to continue the life as a priest. This change in thinking will encourage parents to ordain their kids for some periods to make them discipline.

We all know the problems of the modern society. Very often both parents go to work. Most of the time kids hang around with their friends or neighbours. If there is no proper supervision,  Kids always get attracted to  television, video games, violent movies, many electronic devices, bad companies and even to drugs.. We hear horrible stories where mother going abroad and children are abused by drunkard father, relatives or friends. Many kids in our country live in poverty or in troubled homes. Stress and neglect at home take an obvious toll on kids as they grow up. Many decades of research have documented the psychological consequences in adulthood, including struggles with depression and difficulties maintaining relationships. Now studies are finding that a troubled home life has profound effects on neural development.  In my view a temple environment is far more desirable for such kids, provided they have a desire to be a monk. We only hear bad stories, but I know there are great devoted Monks who look forward personally the development of the Samanera monks in his charge. These Samanera monks get a balanced education and even have facilities to expand the knowledge on Philosophy and Languages and continue studies in higher levels. Sharmini should know that most of the senior Priests in Vajirarama, including Ven Piyadassi, her favorite monk was ordained when they were kids.

In conclusion I suggest that if parents and kids of any age agree, kids should be allowed to be ordained after a proper investigation by NCPA. Kids who want to ordain should be informed that it is their right to disrob whenever they feel uncomfortable in continuing the priesthood. NCPA should monitor the development of the Samanera monk. If for some reason a Samanera monk decides to leave the priesthood, NCPA should step in to ensure that a smooth transition takes place to normal life. I believe that majority of the kids who are ordained spent a happy priesthood and work honestly and with dedication to attend the purpose of priesthood. We all condemn extremist Buddhist monks and some distorted ways Buddhism is practiced in Sri Lanka. However I believe still there are large number of good Buddhist monks and temples who are doing a noble service by spreading correct message of peace and compassion to the people.

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  • 3
    4

    A sensible and reasonable way forward. No doubt it will be torn to shreds.

    • 2
      2

      Good article. Poverty is the reason for Child to be ordained as monks, at least they get 02 meals til noon rather than dying of poverty.

      • 1
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        You can two meals to a child without getting them in hock to something they don’t understand.

    • 0
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      Similarly, then one can argue ‘if parents and kids of any age agree, kids should be allowed to have SEX after a proper investigation’.

      It is also with this ”parents and kids of any age agree, kids should be allowed to join after a proper investigation” that is perceived by under age fighters for imortal-martyrdom.

    • 1
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      Dear Mahendra De Silva,

      1. This is child abuse by the parents, under duress abused by the senior monks. Children miss their childhood. The same was done by the LTTE in recruiting Child Soldiers. If they want new monks, let them make the decision when they are 21 years old, mature and can make an independent decision. Poverty is not a good reason. Would you give a child for slavery because of poverty? imagine the psychological trauma a child had to go through to be separated from family;y and friends.

      2. Buddha made the voluntary decision when he was 29 years old! This is way it should be. Ordaining 7 year old children under duress by the senior monks and the patents should be condemned. This is child abuse. Period.

      3. This is the same child abuse carried out by the tribal elders giving 8-year old girls in marriage to 60-year old men. This is perpetuation of the monk, priest and mullah hegemony. So, the Samaneras become fodder for the older monks. When they run out of Samamnrsas, they go after other children. The supporting evidence is given below.

      Child Abuse by a Monk in Habaraduwa

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNSC93mPs4I

      Child Abuse in Tibet by the Child ordination and by Monks.

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

      Uploaded on May 29, 2010 She sent her grandson to school with the idea of providing him with proper education to make him a good person. The Buddhist monk in charge of the temple asked her to send the child to the temple and she sent him there because they were poor. There was no possibility for them to pay the money for tuition fees. That was the reason why they sent the boy to the temple school.When the child began to refuse going to the temple school so adamantly, grandmother had to look for the reason. It was then only that she discovered that the child who was sent to learn good behavior, ethics and Buddha’s Dharma from the monk had in fact been abused by the monk.

  • 4
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    why does Buddhsim not allow female monks?

    • 2
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      Dear RajasH,

      There are ordained ladies in Buddhism.

      They are known as Samaneri (novice Buddhist nun), and Bhikkhuni (fully ordained nun).

  • 4
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    we can draw parallel ot LTTE child soldiers.
    as long as it’s not your own child it’s acceptable

  • 17
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    I do not believe children should be ordained as monks under any circumstance. These children should be given the opportunity to grow up and be educated like all other kids. Even when children are ordained as monks, I believe they should learn the regular curriculum. Any time spent studying Buddhism and engaging in Buddhist practices should come only as an addition to that.

    Personally I’m very much skeptical whether there is any truth in what Buddhist philosophy says about karma, how it leads to rebirth and in rebirth itself. Hence it is questionable at best for a person to devote his whole life to investigating this material only. This should not be confused with living one’s life according to good practices espoused in Buddhism or committing oneself to social work.

    Normally when scientific discoveries are made, scientists are also able to explain lesser complicated phenomena in terms of new theories proposed. Though Buddhism explains rebirth, it does not explain any of the modern scientific discoveries which are of far lesser complexity.

    Take for example new discoveries made in medicine! How many people would have been saved had we known about Penicillin or how to vaccinate against Smallpox 2500 years ago? Smallpox is believed to have emerged among humans about 10,000 BC — way before Buddha’s time!

    Surely if anyone had the capability to see into past lives and beyond he could have foreseen the common pathogens around us and cures for illnesses caused by them right?

    I take this example precisely because I see no reason why Buddha would not have disclosed these facts if he had known them. One can argue why Buddha may not have educated people of the time about modern physics and chemistry but not medicine!

    What is the Buddhist explanation for suffering caused by disease? What is the Buddhist explanation for not taking medicine to alleviate this suffering?

    Surely if Buddha did not know about the simpler things, his knowledge of things which are even more profound is very much doubtful.

    • 1
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      I agree with you but your stance is not based on any acceptable logic. I know personally, as a monk for 41 years who ordained after completing o/ls on my own will, how negative the the ways we have to be spent the times. If you can find the book, “Ape Lokuhamuduruvange SIvura”,and read it. It says how a temple enviornment should be and train a monk to be effective than saying slogans against anyone in wrath.

    • 3
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      So Navin, you have covered Child ordination, Karma, Rebirth, Medicine and Disease. Did you never think of finding out what the Buddha taught and why? Try addressing your questions to a monk who knows and practices the teaching.

      http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ask+a+monk&page=1

    • 1
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      Dear Navin
      your doubts enquiries and explanations are quite reasonable.in buddhism
      This is mentioned as “vice kichcha” If you meet a prudent teacher he will be able to explain it to you but not in a space like this it is a very deep subject and Lord buddhas doctrine has the eternal cure for all the diseases.If you are born only you have to suffer with all these things. his medicine is for not to be born again.

      • 2
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        If you are born only you have to suffer with all these things. his medicine is for not to be born again.

        Very simple, so in other words if mankind gives up Carnal Desire the Human race will cease to exist. Does it mean that all have gone to Nirvana? Although he profess to know everything, yet he prefers to meet a Prudent Teacher to explain as a forum as this, is inadequate to discuss.

        It is not necessary to give up carnal desire to cease mankind, but a man made Nuclear explosion would suffice to send all to Nirvana.

        What fertile minds there are to propagate Belief? Belief thrives on Poverty and Despair and some enjoy Life what they are born to, while the rest prepares for life after.

        • 2
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          Gamini where is this Nirvana people are to go to? Is there Belief in Buddhism or is there Confidence based on personal experience?
          I’m sorry to say that your ignorance of Buddhism is astonishing.

          • 1
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            My question too is where this Nirvana is? If you have heard of someone who has confirmed, please enlighten us. Has even Buddha confirmed?

            Is it astonishing to you that if there is no Human life on earth, either way that I have listed above, then there is no Suffering for mankind? Is that state, Nirvana? I am ignorant and you are the clever one. Could you answer please?

        • 0
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          Perfectly true.
          People who decry desire do not say that the enlightenment or realization of Truth they are after is the ultimate pleasure they long for,without realizing the contradiction and the inherent absurdity involved.
          Is it not a type of neurosis they are happy to suffer?

          • 1
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            Is it not a type of neurosis they are happy to suffer?

            To be frank, if there is any truth to Rebirth, I would like to be born again and again as a Human in this world always. I have enjoyed every minute living so far and have never suffered, except little ups and downs which I believe is part and parcel of life. As said there is no pleasure without pain. I have no qualms with those striving to go to Nirvana, a state with no confirmation so far by any living or dead. I am only sad there is no confirmation of Rebirth either. As for the Life I am enjoying now, I have no regrets whatsoever.

          • 0
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            To be frank, if there is any truth to Rebirth, I would like to be born again and again as a Human in this world always. I have enjoyed every minute living so far and have never suffered, except little ups and downs which I believe is part and parcel of life. As said there is no pleasure without pain. I have no qualms with those striving to go to Nirvana, a state with no confirmation so far by any living or dead. I am only sad there is no confirmation of Rebirth either. As for the Life I am enjoying now, I have no regrets whatsoever.

    • 1
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      I wondered why those poor families still offer their young ones to the temples knowing all facts related to the abuses becoming rapidly on a rise today. Is this not similar to offer own cow to butchers? Why I have been saying this is those parents should be well aware of the fact – related to increasing numbers of the abusive monks in many temples. As no times in the past, many among the buddhist monks are reported to be over abused by all nature. They are proved incidents that describe some monks being drunk have driven the long vehicles and injuring the innocent pedestrians( this is no body else the most popular Ghanasara the lead of BBS backed by Gota), while many have been in these activities on a regular mode, but all these are without the knowledge of the samaneras ^s parents. Offering at least one of a family to Sanga can allow them to collect more merit (pin) is an another myth among the stupid buddhists. Latter is just believed by them but I really dont think can be found anywhere in buddhist literiture. Even if this could have been mentioned in lit, parents should have to consider the abusive nature of the temples in current srilanka. Besides, the poverty in Srilanka is not comparable to that of philiphines or India where some streets kids have to collect the left overs of the meals and cook them for their own consumption. Lately, there was a program in one of the european TV channel, in which they reported how the Philiphine street kids have to collect the meal rests to survive there.
      There exist poverty in SL, but the levels are not comparable to those of Brasil, India or similar countries. Authorities should help the poor more than anyone else in the country to alleviate poverty, not allowing them to get rid of their lovely ones offering them to abusive temples. If the states of those temples are considered to be fine, some could still offer their lovely ones, but today^s abusive levels, parents should study the temple conditions being offering their kids to them.

    • 0
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      Navin@

      Interesting what you added here :)

      But dont you know that what is discovered by scientists sofar regardless of the fields what they are, very tinier than what is not discovered
      ” WHAT BLACK IS NOT BLACK”.

      How many more years would it take cancer researchers to find good therapies to heal incurable cancers ? ..

      At the time, the question arose why the senior buddhists have not updated the Mahavamsa since 6th CE, I asked this myself, why did those senior buddhist professionals incl. highly respected monk to have NOT done anything with updating. That could have done that in a form of dissertations. Then the Mahavamsa^s latest version could guide buddhist much better.

    • 0
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      Navin,

      “Surely if Buddha did not know about the simpler things, his knowledge of things which are even more profound is very much doubtful. -Navin”

      Yes, the information Buddha and the many Prophets and “Gods” had 2,500 to 5,000 years ago was very limited, with a flat Earth, a Sun going around the stationary Earth etc. The Greek philosophers, the Islamic philosophers and the Buddha philosophy all had their errors. Buddha did two experiments trying to find a “solution” for suffering and they were not the answers. The people who follow religious dogma are ignorant, mislead, confused, brainwashed from a young age and do not have the intellect to separate fact, fiction and pure imaginations.

      The best explanation for suffering of living beings is given by Charles Darwin, based on his original work on the Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection.The losers in Natural Selection suffer and go extinct. There is new evidence as to why this happens from molecular biology and in the DNA switches.

      Evolution – What Darwin Never Knew – NOVA PBS Documentary

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBRbCLI4zU

      Published on Jul 11, 2012
      DOWNLOAD BOOK ( pdf ): http://www.mediafire.com/?39l9wwiurjn
      READ ON-LINE: http://archive.org/stream/originofspe
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      Entertainment
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  • 6
    1

    Mahendra,

    Has any of your children being ordained?

    If as you suggest that Buddha did the right thing by ordaining Prince Rahula, why did he lay vinaya for ordaining afterwards, when his father King Suddhodhana vehemently protested? This act of Buddha ordaining is incompatible, to have erred being so knowledgeable.

    You also state, ‘Sharmini claims that abstaining taking food after midday will harm a growing up kid. But if we see the Samanera monks in temples, most of them appear to be healthy and happy. We hardly see any sign of malnutrition on them’. The truth is that most Monks eat even after noon, so you will never see them malnourished, just like they seem happy to you, although many are molested and are frightened to complain.

    Go to any Temple and see how the young Samaneras play cricket in the afternoons while the senior monks are resting? Today many a temple has become Tuition Centres where classes are held for both sexes. If you see the mockery that goes on where the young priests are involved in romances you can have a good laugh. After all Buddha enjoyed seeing more Cabaret than today’s youth and his share of fun with the dancing harems as there was no TV for evening entertainment then. So how can you or anyone else decide that a child who will be coerced has decided on his own free will?

    • 0
      0

      Whats your complain? If young monks are learning dhamma in the morning and playing cricket in the afternoon it is good for their health, and mental welfare. Good exercise, learning good team work and playing fairness hopefully; I would enourage it. Get yourself a life, you adult. Don’t be jealous of young samaneras.

      • 0
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        Kaputu Bo,

        Yes learning Dhamma in the morning exercise playing Cricket in the afternoon for health and mental welfare for the team work displayed for the whole world to see the level of Intolerance of their Frustration which is in stark contradiction, encouraged by your ilk is what is being discussed.

        My concern is not sparked from Jealousy, but through Compassion and Concern of safeguarding the young being exploited by individuals as yourself in sheep’s clothing to be precise.

        • 0
          0

          What an idiot. It is people like you who show fake concerns for kids turn up to be the biggest “Kotiyas” on earth. If anyone is suffering from frustration we need not look far to see an old codger like you kept in chains during your childhood. Where were you brought up, in a mission hostel abused by men in garb?

          • 0
            0

            Kaputu Bo,

            Your Stupid vituperation, unable to address the issue trying to reverse the allegation must be pricking your conscience of your guilt. Judging from your response it is not difficult to understand as to who is frustrated. Why, were you abused in a Mission Hostel? On the contrary, I have been brought up in a very comfortable Home atmosphere and always had the Love and Care of the family. I believe it must be Luxury for you, being born without. By the way, were you an ‘Abiththaya’ in a Temple?

  • 6
    0

    Only children from poor families are ‘given’ by parents,to become samaneras.
    Not a single rich kid becomes or is allowed to become a samanera.
    Does this not show that buddhism thrives on poverty?

    • 2
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      The richest man in Malaysia only had to watch his only son,heir to a multi million dollar wealth ordained himself as a Buddhist monk in Thailand while visiting his grandma after graduation in US.
      Some poor and needy do get in the robe for that but it is not limited to the poor. If one has the Samsaric practice one will naturally get attracted to it.

      • 2
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        NAK

        Ananda Krishnan, a Tamil Malasian of Sri Lankan origin, is the second richest man in Malaysia who is estimated to be worth $10 billion. He managed to accumulate such a huge wealth despite the Bhumiputra policies of his country.

        His only son Ven Ajahn Siripanyo ordained as Buddhist monk after having graduated in the UK not at the age of 7 years.

        Here is something that will help you to calm your restless racist mind:

        [Ven Ajahn Siripanno gives an enthralling Dhamma talk on the timeless teachings of Ajahn Chah. The talk was given at the Ajahn Chah Remembrance Day on 16 January 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

        http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/ajahn-siripanno.html%5D

  • 5
    1

    Justice you know nothing about the kids come to temple in idea of ordaining. There are rich children but the problem is they all have different kinds of persuasive backgrounds.Most of them are from broken families. This defect affects to their entire lives negatively. Another thing is the economics part of this, You know nothing of this. J.R. Jayawardhana started giving Rs.600 to one Samanera studying at pirivenas and Rs.125 for lay student. CBK increased this amount to Rs. 1400 and Rs.600 consequitively. Then it turned into a mine to the directors of Pirivenas. If you like to launch a secret investigation you can find there are people who sell these children to the Pirivenas from rural areas of the country. As an Ex. Unagalawehera Colany in Hingurakgoda, there is no family where there is no at least one returned home disrobed. These are topics should study sociologically and provide counselling to these people psychologically. All falks here are just boast emotionally. Wise-reflection is the only way the Buddha recommended to know and see things as they are.

    • 0
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      The presidential system is the cause of all ills.Jayawardeana pretended to be good buddhist, he was a grand womaniser

  • 5
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    Mahendra De Silva

    Have you allowed any of your children or grand children to be ordained? Now that you think it is a right pratice why don’t you encourage them?

    As long as it happens to others it is good but when it happens to self it may not be so.

  • 0
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    Mahendra,
    As a comment to your “gradual understanding process” of 10 vows.. For example what a 7 year or 10 year child knows about sexual conduct/contact? Their physical or mental sexual desires are not arose at that age, so how does he make such a commitment or promise? When a Samaneara or any Buddhist kids asked to say these phrase by adults, aren’t we practicing them simply to lie . Isn’t this a “Gradual process” to make them big lairs in their later stage of life???
    Same goes with most of these vows, simply children make promises in front of their elders without any understanding on what they really promises or taking a vow?
    In 21st century almost all children have access to basic and essential formal education, so nobody should be allowed to become community leaders who could not complete 12 years of education successfully.
    Anura

    • 1
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      Not understanding is not lying. They will be more inquisitive of what they don’t understand and they will when the time comes.

  • 1
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    One thing that Theravada Buddhism has not done is evolve and adapt to the changes of society.

    Was there no provision made for this in the doctrine ? If so isn’t that strange for a philosophy that has lasted thousands of years ?

    Maybe this sort of change to the Vinaya was never meant to be ?

    Almost unbelievable from the teacher who always spoke of the importance of adapting to the audience and preaching in different ways to people of varying intellects !

    • 1
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      Haven’t you heard of Akaliko? Timeless.

    • 1
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      Don, That’s why it is called Theravada. Real Buddhist who Realised that heart consciousness cannot be awakened by mind and intellectual arguments, borrowed the concept of God from Hinduism, then became Mahayana, who shake hands with all other religions and nations which most popular in the west, such as Zen, etc.
      The Theravada tradition is too pure, so they never change. Results are BBS, Ravana Balakaya in Sri Lanka and 969 in Myanmar. They follow the messenger instead of the message. Compare to Muslims… Muslims also have the same philosophy. Blind followers of Prophet and followers of Islam. In Buddhism, blind followers of Buddha, followers of teachings.
      In Theravadi, Buddhism is nothing but stolen teaching of Buddha’s doctrine. No growth, no inner transformation, most importantly, no heart consciousness (Hrada sakshiya).
      Let me tell, if we have so-called Hrada Shakshi, 99% of problems will be solved immediately.
      I feel wasting time. Let me stop.

  • 1
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    Mahendra, yours compiled conditions and prerequisites for ordination is acceptable, but I feel you failed to point out the most important condition, reason for requesting ordination, to be free from the cycle of birth and death and attain Nibbana. As usual, we all are failing to look little deeper in a spiritual point of view.
    Other than this very limited number of great intelligent children like Rahula, who qualified to be ordinated in the past, how many of poor children, do you think has a fraction of knowledge about the cycle of rebirth or Nibbana?
    Have you ever taken the trouble to think, why the name change taking a place at the time of ordination in any religion? There is a saying in Buddhist culture, if one member of family attains Nibbana, their seven generations will be benefited. Any idea why? If you dig in deeper, you will find much such hidden knowledge of doctrine.
    We all are part of this creation, and we are responsible to keep this universe in perfect balance, by contributing to its creation. Marriage is for recreating the generation hence it becomes a “Mangala.” That is why a birth of a Son was appreciated by father, so the father will be free of his debt. Contribution to universal creation is a part of the Dharma which cannot be avoided. Everybody has unique Karma to perform and running away from this Karma is against Dharma.
    It is only a limited number of seekers who finished contributing to this earth can go away and become a follower of Spiritual Guru. Since no more debts to the generation, only that time the Guru changes his surname.
    So, ordination cannot be given to everybody. It is the Guru’s responsibility find how much karmic debt left before ordination. If they ordinate someone who are not qualified, they definitely disrobe or destroy the spiritual tradition one day. I don’t think you need examples.
    It perhaps looks absurd with yours modern scientific knowledge, but this is true. Please find out what some tradition follows. They teach the applicant first, send back to home society with better jobs and salary, and let them decide. If the applicants are not happy with the material life, they come back and ask for proper ordination.

    • 0
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      KH you are talking poppy cock.

      • 0
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        Instead, explain me the error, so I can learn and rectify myself.

  • 1
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    Sharmini Serasinghe has written a long overdue exposé and Mahendra De Silva has answered with several interesting comments. The fact is that, notwithstanding the ‘practice’ that has developed, this should be an area of concern for our National Child Protection Agency. They should be leading a national debate on the subject and ensuring that this topic is properly aired and education and guidance made available to all concerned, particularly vulnerable parents who may be ignorant of their responsibilities. Unfortunately this topic has for too long been declared out-of-bounds for the laughable organisation that passes for the National Child Protection Agency (Chairperson – National Child Protection Authority. Mrs. Anoma Dissanayake … Sri Lanka. Tele: 2778911- 4. Email : ncpa@childprotection.gov.lk). Perhaps Mrs Dissanayake or someone with more clout will take heed of the points made in these article and the relevant comments that have been made and initiate some long-overdue action.

    • 0
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      Not only about Child ordination, but also about child abuses as a whole should be broadly discussed. There are several pvt TV and Radio channels today than no other times in the past. Media men must bring all these to light opening the eyes of the poor or the poor so that they can save their own children from every evils.

      I have not lived in the country for the last 3 decades. Whenever I get to read this kind of articles I feel, what have the authorities been doing to this day ?

      What is clearly lacking in lanken society today is the discussion that EU countries call ” talk shows” allowing the participation of the representatives of all walks of life. Since people living in rural aras of the country are the majority, and they are not accessed to the facts and figures of any issues being addressed, representatives of them should be given the priority. Urban folks are relatively adequately informed about almost everything going on in and out of the country, while the rural communities stay only connected to the state media machineries becoming even stupid hour to hour.

      If media makes genuine efforts to reach the masses of the nation, by giving them information based on facts figures nothign can go wrong. Universities could give this a lead. That is how many in European countries work to keep control their kind of issues.

  • 4
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    Dear Mr. Mahendra De Silva,

    Had you been a woman and a mother, you would not have been looking at this topic, from your “different perspective”.

    If you have sons, would you have had them ordained at 7 years of age?

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    The problem with seven-year old children vowing to adhere to the 10 ‘precepts’ in order to be ordained is that they are too young and immature to truly understand what the implications are. For instance, how could a child vow to abstain from “sexual contact” when they have no idea of what “sexual contact” is about?

    I agree with Sharmini that the choice to be ordained as a priest should be made by individuals who are knowledgeable and mature enough to understand the implications and make the choice on their own volition rather than allow parents to make this decision for them.

    Children too have ‘rights’ although some parents will argue that parents have the ‘right’ to decide whether their children should be handed over to a temple or to a terrorist organization, simply because it serves the parents’ purpose.

    Let children be children and not slaves to some ideology that their parents may decide is ‘right’ for them.

  • 1
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    Mahendra,
    Nobel laureate in Physics, Professor
    Steven Weinberg once said ” Religon makes
    intelligent people to say stupid things and
    good people to do wicked things”. You
    just proved that point just like many
    have in the past and many will be
    in the future. Leave precious children
    alone!!

  • 2
    5

    Sharmini is talking about Samanera monks.

    but, Sharmini is silent world-wide and century old problem of Child sexual abuse by the Church.

    where was Sharmini when LTTE was recruiting Child soldiers. Sharmini earned some money out of that trying to make them get their separate country.

    • 1
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      Hell hath no fury like Jim Softy scorned by Sharmini.

    • 1
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      Let us tackle ONE vice at a time. Sharmani Serasinghe has written about something she knows about and is qualified and moved to write about, Let us respond, objectively, to the subject at hand.

    • 1
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      Sharmini is talking about child ordination among the Buddhist priests. She does not in any way defend child abvuse in other religions.Stick to the topic please or play with yourself

    • 1
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      Jim softy. keep to the topic please.You are soft in the head. Please see a psyhiatrist.

    • 0
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      Jim Sooty,

      Stop worrying about Child Sexual Abuse as unlike your Country in the Western Countries ( where the Tamil Girls Marry White boys and Boys marry White Girls) these are dealt with swiftly when they surface and are brought to light.
      Since when have you become so concerened about Child Soldiers when you killed thousands by shelling after asking them to move to so called designated safe areas.
      Concentrate on the threat facing your Country and the dire consequences after that. Even you I am sure would have noticed that Gotha threatened to silence Ananthi after speaking to Mr.Rapp and to warn Gotha the American State department sends another envoy to meet her Guaranteeing that America means business and King Mahintha will be punished.
      Britain and America are working together for a War Crimes Inquiry and imposing sanctions after that.
      SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO MAN.

    • 0
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      Jim Softy,

      Here is Child Abuse by the various myth followers.

      This is the same child abuse carried out by the tribal elders giving 8-year old girls in marriage to 60-year old men. This is perpetuation of the monk, priest and mullah hegemony. So, the Samaneras become fodder for the older monks.

      When they run out of Samamnrsas, they go after other children. The supporting evidence is given below. Child Abuse by a Monk in Habaraduwa

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNSC93mPs4I

      Child Abuse in Tibet by the Child ordination and by Monks. Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

      Christopher Hitchens Owns the Catholic Church (Extended Version) +Q

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GFbFK7ZB1c

      Published on Mar 16, 2013
      Watch the IQ2 deabate-

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwP4C5

      Clip edit by-

      http://www.youtube.com/user/atheismfo

  • 1
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    Sharman is silent about these things.

    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases “

  • 0
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    Hello There!

    A very recent posting in the Net Said to be from The Primemisister’s Office.

    There is a Parliamentarian Prist ( Buddist Monk…….)

    “Prime Minister DM Jayaratne recently announced leading Buddhist clergy from Sinhapitiya area is father of 5 children. Prime Minister made this announcement at meeting held in Gampola recently.
    According to the PM’s office sources, Jathika Hela Urumaya Gampaha district parliamentarian Ven. Athuralia Ratne thero is father of 5. His family members are residing at Sinhapitiya area in Gampaha district.

    Sources further said thero visits his house in evening hours. During the time of visit he wears pair of denim trouser

    Above speak Volumes.

    • 0
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      Levi

      “According to the PM’s office sources, Jathika Hela Urumaya Gampaha district parliamentarian Ven. Athuralia Ratne thero is father of 5. His family members are residing at Sinhapitiya area in Gampaha district.”

      Don’t you know, it is Protestant Sinhahala/Buddhism?

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        Foreign:

        Anything that comes from the Drug Dealer PM has to be checked and checks have revealed that the 5 Children by the Thero were adopted after they were ordained.
        So give him some credit for service to Community and stop gossiping.

        • 0
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          kalistani

          The para is included in Levi’s comment. Its not mine. I have only quoted it in mine. You should seriously consider visiting an optician or quitting this thread.

          • 0
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            Foreign:

            What are you a Photocopier. I knew you are a Machine and had no thinking power. It has been confirmed.

            • 0
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              kalistani

              “What are you a Photocopier.”

              I copied Levi’s para and pasted on my comment.

              Does it look like photocopy?

    • 0
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      To my knowledge, many if not all those priests who got into the parliament in 2004 were fathers,some had over 3 kids.

  • 0
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    how could Buddha marry and monks can not today. its against nature not to marry. Have an army of those monks then your population may come down to less than 50% in 50 years in SL

    • 0
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      Reality Test. You and I did not live at that time.There is a thing called PRIESTCRAFT. They also have to justify the free meal they got. They should be called the Grand Bathgottas.

  • 1
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    Mahendra, why do you suggest the supervision of the samaneras should come under the NPCA. For 2550 years sanagha society didn’t have a NCPA to supervise them and there have been no untoward incidents or necessity for any supervision other than the chief priest of the particular temple.
    Aren’t you undermining the ability of the monks in charge with out giving any reason.
    It is the children associated with churches that need NCPA protection as it is widely reported how the children were abused by the clergy.
    If Sharmini and all those who shed tears for the Samanera monks,instead turned their attention to children of mothers who have abandoned them for dollars could have done a much needed service to the society.

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      Sometime back I read in one of the Sinhala papers that a child a boy ordained one morning was found dead the following day.The boy had been sodomized the whole night by the chief priest and the fellow priests.This was murder, but was covered up by the DMO ( A Buddhist who did not want the priests to be exposed).
      Lanka Guardian of 2008, Wesak week carried an article about the laments of a mother from Koggala, where her son had been sodomized by the priest.

      I met a middle aged priest at a temple near Kingswood at Kandy, who told me that as a child he had to wash the backside of the Chief Priest after the Chief Priest went to the toilet – to shit.

    • 1
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      Because they are abused by the priests.Take that fellow in Robes from vavuniya.His brother robs the UN funds for the children in the children’s home.The children wear only one cloth through the week, the clothes stink of Urine and for urinating in his clothes one boy had his penis slit with a razor blade.

  • 1
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    If child ordination is good, how many of us will hand over a child to the temple? Has the author done so? Isn’t it heartless for parents to abandon child and leave someone to take care at a VERY YOUNG AGE.

  • 1
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    Child ordination is a crime and it should be prohibited by law.Under any circumstances a child below 21 years old should not be allowed to be ordained(in any region).

  • 1
    1

    After going through all the comments, I regret that my message in this article has not been understood properly by the majority.
    In a nutshell what I said was as follows.

    1. I agree that child abuse is quite possible when young kids are ordained as monks. Parents and kids do it for various reasons such as the psychological need of attention, recognition and also for poverty.
    2. It is almost impossible to ban a tradition that existed in our culture and religion for centuries.
    3. I do not believe it should be banned altogether. I prefer regulations to safeguard the kids, instead.
    4. I suggested NCPA should intervene whenever there is a child ordination to ensure that it is done with the consent of Parents, child and the examine the circumstances. If they are satisfied it is a genuine request it should be allowed. Child should be advised of his rights to complain or disrobe at any time.
    5. In order to safeguard the Child Priest from abuse I suggested they should be monitored
    6. I also expressed the view that more damage and abuse is done for a child living in extreme poverty or without proper supervision than being a child monk in a temple.
    7. I suggested that we should educate people against the stigma in the society that a person who disrobes is an outcast. We should encourage the practice of ordaining people for temporally periods as it is happening in other Buddhist countries.

    It appears that most of the readers have a prejudice against everything in their culture and religion. I believe that the better approach is to view many practises with compassion / understanding and suggest changes to extreme practices in a friendlier manner rather than reacting angrily to these practices.
    There were some readers who asked whether I would ordain my own kids. They have failed to realize that no child could be ordained without the consent of the parents and the child. Consent of the parents and guardians is a must in child ordinations in any country.
    Before attacking child abuse in temples, people should find a solution to kids living in extreme poverty or abused daily due to lack of supervision or interest by the parents. These kids will eventually end up as criminals, mental patients or drug addicts due to no fault of theirs. These kids would be far better in a temple environment where discipline and education could continue uninterrupted. But since abuse is still possible precautions have to be taken by authorities.

    • 0
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      As I said at the start – a sensible and reasonable way forward. No doubt it will be torn to shreds.

    • 0
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      Mahendra Silva, funds could be found to feed the needy with no problems subject to:(i) Remove all perks granted to politicians.(ii) Prosecute and hang people who live ostentaious lives eg shoes worth Rs 150,000.(iii) Stop all free facilities to all religious centres.(iv) Change the constitution which ensures thievery.(v)

    • 0
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      Mr. Mahendra de Silva, I think that you are suffering from hallucination.The parents will make it very attractive and the child will consent to be ordained.Only when he is sodomised that he will realize how painful child ordination is. From that point onwards he cannot disrobe,He will be called a heeraluwa, even in the class room.
      Tradition is bull shit.The priests created the so called tradition to help themselves. have you heard about the Disapamock, who gave the King’s son his daughter. Disapamock was a priest, from where did he get a girl child La DIMU

  • 1
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    The line taken by the Sharmini was spontaneous I believe and in keeping with todays civilization. One wonders how many of the present high-
    ranking Buddhist Priests commenced their journey at the age of 7 yrs.?

    With Buddhistic-Politics at its peak under this Regime and recent
    History, a matter as this being propped-up may lead to BBS/Ravaya taking up a Case of Blasphemy, if there is such provisions or resort to
    direct threats.

    If this is a matter for the NCPA, it may said that such corralling of
    children is no different to the ritual killings of animals and
    circumcision practices elsewhere? Where do we draw the line.

  • 0
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    Ordaining a child who does not understand what is going on and above all forcing a child to do something against the will of the child who does not have the capacity or capability to decide is “CHILD CRUELTY”. This is a violation of human rights and this is child abuse.

  • 0
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    I do not think that those who have written against child ordination which has been coming down for over 2500 years, are really Buddhists or who understand Buddhist teachings. They would be happy if no one is ordained as Buddhist priests and Buddhism becomes extinct. They only think the worldly side of life. They should first study the basis of Buddhism to criticize the Buddhist practices.

    • 0
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      Who told you that it had been a tradition of 2500 years. Who wrote the history books – not the laymen.

      History represent the point of view of the victor or the survivor.

  • 3
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    A CHILD MUST COME TO AN AGE OF UNDERSTANDING,BEFORE HE IS ORDAINED.
    PARENTS GIVING THEIR CHILDREN TO THE TEMPLE FOR ORDINATION.IS A
    VIOLATION OF A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OF THE CHILD.
    IT IS THESE CHILDREN HAVING TO SERVE THE MONKS,WHEN THEY GROW UP
    BECOME ABUSERS THEMSELVES. FAR FROM LEARNING BUDDHISM, THEY ARE TREATED AS SLAVES AND HAVE TO SATISFY THEIR TEACHERS NEEDS ALL INCLUDING SEX.
    THIS IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE.

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