15 August, 2020

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Child Ordination -Through A Mother’s Eyes!

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

As a mother, the following is one of the most emotionally challenging articles I tasked myself with, as I see a son of mine, in each child-Samanera (novice Buddhist monk)!

At a recent alms-giving ceremony I attended, there were many such, of varying ages. Some as young as 7 – 8 years of age, while some of pubertal age.

These ‘little ones’, with shaven heads, and their thin bodies swathed in saffron robes, sat on the floor with their elders. It was hard to miss, their expressions of sheer wonder, coupled with mischief on their faces, as they watched the children of the laity, of similar age, running wild with chocolate smeared faces, brandishing their favourite toys.

One of these ‘miniature monks’ in particular, had his gaze fixed longingly on a teddy bear, and another on a train set. While those, in their mid to late teens, gazed appreciatively, at the pretty young girls prancing around, before quickly hiding their faces, behind their over-sized palm-leaf fans, when frowned upon, by a disapproving adult monk.

It was obvious, that these young children, thrust into monkhood, were oblivious to the fact, that they had been robbed of their innocent childhood, for no fault of their own!

In all their innocence, how could they realise, that their young lives will change forever, when asked to commit themselves with those profound words, as they are being ordained-“Venerable Sir, I respectfully ask you to ordain me as a novice monk, in order that I may be free from the cycle of existence and attain Nibbana”.

How can a child of seven-years understand what it means to be “free from the cycle of existence and attain Nibbana”?

Can this little, child-Samanera understand, that he cannot be carried, hugged and kissed by his mother thereafter, and seek her maternal warmth and security, when struck with a fever, or frightened by a nightmare, thunder and lightning?

Further, this child-Samanera of seven-years, is committed to observe the ‘Ten Precepts’ as training rules-

  • 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

Save for some, the rest of these ‘rules’ are those that even un-ordained children, in a healthy family environment, abide by. So, why must a child, be ordained a Buddhist monk, to abide by such?

Child Monks 2Furthermore, is it in the best interest of this child’s mental and physical development, to make him “abstain from taking food after midday?” Do those who promote and encourage child-ordination, realise or give a damn, for the physical and mental damage, caused to a growing young child, by depriving him of nourishment, for more than half a day?

Also, is it ethically correct, to commit a young child, to a life-long sentence of deprivation he never chose, viz  from married life, family life, celibacy and a whole host of other taboos, at an age when he cannot understand the high price, he has been called upon to pay?

The Buddha himself followed his chosen path, according to his own free will; no one forced him to do so. And this too he did, at the age of twenty-nine, after having married and fathered a child.

So what gives one the right, including parents, to commit these innocent and trusting young, to a life-sentence of deprivation?

According to the Laws of Sri Lanka, a person cannot be less than eighteen-years of age, to marry or vote. So similarly, why can’t there be similar laws that apply, to the ordination of Samaneras?

If this is not Child Abuse, what does one call it?

Why Buddhists ‘donate’ their sons to the Temple 

Buddhist legend has it, that the Buddha had his son Rahula ordained, at the tender age of seven-years. This gave rise to a belief amongst Buddhists, that it was a meritorious act, to ‘donate’ their young sons to the temple.

Given the level of wisdom of the enlightened one, it is hard to believe, that the Buddha would have done such a thing, given the age of the young child.

So, could this have been a ruse of Buddhist monks of yore, which continues to date, to encourage gullible parents, to ‘donate’ their young sons, in order to swell the numbers of the Sangha?

Malefic Horoscopes

Astrology is not a facet of the Dhamma, but one, amongst many beliefs, customs and traditions, borrowed by Sinhalese Buddhists, from Hinduism. Therefore, many, amongst the average Buddhists believe, that a son born, under the ‘wrong stars (malefic horoscope)’, must be ‘donated’ to the temple. This, they believe, in all their ignorance, will ward off the ill-effects on the rest of the family, of such a horoscope, of an ‘unlucky’ child.

‘The fool may watch for lucky days,
Yet luck he shall always miss,
The luck itself is luck’s own star,
What can mere stars achieve?
– The Buddha

Since the Buddha, as stated above, did not advocate one to live by, what the stars predicted, and the Sangha knows this only too well, could this be another ruse of Buddhist monks, to add numbers to their flock?

Poverty

Then there is poverty, which is a plausible reason, as to why the poorest of poor, mostly against their wishes, ‘donate’ their young sons to the temple. When these poor parents find it hard to make ends meet, the only option, available to them, is the temple.

Child MonksHere, the question arises, is it ethically correct for such children of the poor, to be committed to a life-sentence of the monastic life, for lack of funds to feed and educate them?

Though the temple provides his food, clothing, shelter and education, is he also protected against evils such as sexual-abuse, from pedophiles amongst the clergy?  What could his poor parents do in such an instance, if their young sons were victims of such, except to turn a blind-eye, due to their poverty? What of the psychological damage caused to such children?

Why cannot those ‘affluent’ Buddhist monks, if there are any benevolent amongst them, help these poor families, to keep their sons within their family unit? But then again, there may be those who want to keep these families poor, to ensure a constant ‘supply’, of ‘soldiers’ to the ‘Buddhist Army’!

National Child Protection Authority?

Where in all this, is the role of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) of Sri Lanka, which states the following, on its website –

“Sri Lanka, as a member State of the United Nations, was a signatory to the Child Rights Convention (CRC) in the year 1990 and ratified it on 12th July 1991. This was followed by the preparation of a Children’s Charter approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, and the establishing of a National Monitory Committee charged with the responsibility to monitor the CRC and also report to the international CRC committee when required.

In December 1996, the Presidential Task Force on child protection was appointed. This body recommended a number of Legal amendments and administrative reforms, which were included in the report of Presidential Task Force.

One of the most important recommendations of the Presidential Task Force was the establishment of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), by ACT No.50 of 1998 under the Presidential Secretariat.

In the year 2006, a separate ministry was formed by the incumbent president of Sri Lanka to establish a proper protection and welfare mechanism for children and women and NCPA is under the purview of the Ministry of Child Development and Women`s Affairs.

The website states the NCPA VISION as: To create a child friendly and protective environment for children. And, its MISSION as: To ensure children are free from all forms of abuse.

Mass Ordination 1All well and good, but what about those children of Sri Lanka, ordained as child-Samaneras? Don’t they come under the purview of the NCPA?

Does the NCPA, reach out to such young children as well, in need of care and protection?

Does the NCPA raise public awareness and influence policies and practices that affect the lives and welfare, of these ordained-children as well?

Does the NCPA work together with relevant authorities/systems, such as the police, healthcare, legal, education, communication, media, political and all sectors of society, to look into problems faced by these ordained-children as well?

Does the NCPA contribute, and work towards strengthening and networking with global child protection systems, in ensuring the voices, of those young ordained-children, are also heard?

Or does the NCPA not regard these ordained-children, as children of Sri Lanka?

A ‘Buddhist Army’ recruitment Drive?

In Sri Lanka, for over 2500 years, Buddhist monks have been wielding, significant power over society and the politics of this country. Their strength comes from the numbers in their flock. Therefore, persistent recruitment of ‘soldiers’ forms their power base.

These are times, when recruiting adult males to serve their cause has become increasingly challenging, in a materialistic world, save for those preferring a free-ride, coupled with a life of dolce far niente. So, their only source of recruitment is to draw, young children of unsuspecting parents into their fold, in order to secure the continuity, of their ‘priestly’ power.

The unenlightened Sinhalese Buddhist are made to believe, that to have one of their own in the Buddhist monkhood, is not only meritorious, but a matter of great honour and prestige for the family. This is the same mindset that also applies, to having a son serving the country, through the armed forces.

In this context, I came across a news report, on the website of the ‘Buddhist Channel’ on local television titled, 2550 novice monks to be ordained in Sri Lanka with government assistance. Though not headline news anymore, it still remains relevant.

Yet another; a post-event story in the Junior Observer of the government-owned Sunday Observer dated 24th June, 2007, titled Mass ordination ceremony in Colombo. Most adult readers may have missed this, as its target readership is the Junior reader.

The author of the article declares enthusiastically, to the impressionable young readers of the Junior Observer, “The news must have really fascinated you, especially the sight of the Samanera (novice) monks”.

The Samanera monks, the writer refers to here, were “in the 7-16 age group.”

According to these reports, the Government of Sri Lanka, worked hand-in-glove with the Buddhist clergy, in order to “fulfill the target of ordaining 2550 novice monks, to commemorate the 2550th anniversary of the passing of the Buddha”!

Buddhist Clergy’s ‘Damaged-Goods’ 

According to Buddhist monastic rules, one may not be ordained, as a fully-          ordained-Buddhist monk’, (as opposed to a novice monk-Samanera), until twenty years of age. The rationale for this rule, is that those under twenty years of age, cannot be expected to be sufficiently in control of one’s self, to live the monastic life.

But the question begs, how many of our ‘fully ordained Buddhist monks’, are sufficiently in control of themselves, to live the monastic life? How many of them, might have been thrust into monkhood, at an age when they knew no different?

In Sri Lanka, temporary ordination is not common, as monks leaving the order, is frowned upon by our myopic, Sinhala-Buddhist society, and are regarded as failures. And even if they do manage to overcome these obstacles, most find it hard to adapt psychologically, to the rapidly evolving world of the laity, today. So haven’t these young men, been robbed not only of their childhood and youth, but their future as well?

Could those extremist monks we see today, devoid of any form of self-control, rampaging and creating havoc in our society, be those, forced into monkhood, and who are now venting their fury at the laity, for all that they were deprived of?

Are these angry Monks of ‘Buddhist’ Sri Lanka those, expected to uphold the pure essence of the Buddha Śãsana in the future of this country?

This is a topic, that will not go down well, with the average Sinhala-Buddhist.  As, they, the vast majority of this country consider it ‘sacrilegious’, to question any ‘wrongs’ committed, in the name of ‘Buddhism’.

However, in this instance, when their sons might be the next victims of this insatiable ‘recruitment’ drive, of ‘inducting’ the young, unsuspecting and the vulnerable, into Sri Lanka’s ‘Buddhist Army’, will they still remain, with their heads buried in sand, and call it a privilege and an honour?

How is this any different, from recruiting child-soldiers, to a conventional army?

*Sharmini Serasinghe counts over thirty years as a writer and a journalist, in both the print and electronic media. She was also Director Communications, of the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), under Secretary Generals Dr. John Gooneratne and Jayantha Dhanapala.

 

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Latest comments

  • 9
    19

    I agree with the writer that children should not be ordained. However she takes a leap from this point linking them to ‘angry Monks’, then to a ‘Buddhist Army’ and then to recruiting child soldiers!

    A serious subject trivialized and open to the usual mocking ‘told you so’ comments from J.Muthu, the Tiger supporters and other brainless fools.

    • 13
      0

      These children who are given away to the Temples at an early age are too young to understand the religion, politics or child abuse. I think dedication of young children to the Temples, monasteries, and religious sects is cruel and primitive. When they can`t even decide what to eat, how can they decide whether they want to become a monk or a layman.

      The child monks are torn away from their poor parents by radical Buddhist sects to serve as foot soldiers in their attempt to foist Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism upon the country. Rampant Buddhism, violent and self-seeking political monks have been the bane of Sri Lankan politics.

      The poor Sinhala-Buddhist village boys, mainly underage to understand religion or politics, are being coerced into joining these Buddhist chauvinist movements with the lure of street power, economic betterment and a secure life. The child monks with their cherubic faces and indoctrinated minds will appeal to these masses on the emotional and fanatically religious plane.

      Gananath Obeyesekere, an anthropology professor at Princeton University, says the campaign targets children as young as 5 years even though Theravada Buddhism doctrine states that a boy must be at least 15 years of age to become a monk.

      Dr. Obeysekere says in his article, `my concern here is with the whole problem of child monks because this seems to be a violation of both the letter and the spirit of Theravada Vinaya …`

      The Buddha himself ordained his only son Rahula at just 5 years old, but this was regarded an exception rather than a rule, Obeyesekere said.

      After being rebuked for the act by his own father, the Buddha specified that one must not only have parental consent to ordain a child, but that the child must be 15 years of age. If not, the youth must have the `PHYSICAL MATURITY` of a 15-year-old.

      But one major reason Obeyesekere, himself a Sinhala-Buddhist, opposes child recruitment is that the very young are vulnerable to sexual abuse, which he says is `NOTORIOUSLY ASSOCIATED` with all forms of institutionalized monasticism. Giving a child to a temple is a coping mechanism of the poor Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka, By letting children `go forth`, parents also hope that the child will grow up in a disciplined, spiritually refined environment.

      The possibility of CHILD ABUSE IN BUDDHIST MONASTERIES` `must be faced HONESTLY and SQUARELY,` he stressed. Unlike adult monks, children have little chance of resisting sexual advances, the professor added. `Even the presence of guardians, or sponsors is not protection. How does the guardian inquire into such possibilities when the mere talk of homoerotic practices is taboo?` Obeyesekere asked.

      He also asked why those politicians promoting child monk recruitment have not set an example by being ordained themselves or having their own children or grandchildren ordained.

      Let us Stop the child abuse and save the poor Sinhala-Buddhist children.

      • 5
        0

        This is a long overdue exposé; unfortunately this area of abuse 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) Anoma herself has cleverly dodged the subject and it remains a ‘no-go area’ for this grandstanding national ‘organisation’.

    • 4
      0

      “fulfill the target of ordaining 2550 novice monks, to commemorate the 2550th anniversary” — Holy crap.. How this sort of things happen in 21st century…

    • 1
      1

      Yes, and I also got paid for my great work by the evangelical head quarters of my cult at Narahenpita through Lasantha Wikramatunga.

      Time to resurrect the international expert Taraki!

      • 2
        1

        Taraki’s ghost,

        Given the context of the article, what a pathetic human you are, to make such a comment.

    • 2
      6

      Well said Teller.

      The problem is this Serasinghe [Edited out] has become some sort of Buddhist oracle at CT.

      We have all heard of the saying “Lula nethi walata kanaya pandithya” haven’t we?

      • 3
        0

        What more with Kanayas like you?

      • 3
        0

        Congolese,

        Given the context of the article, what a pathetic human you are, to make such a comment.

    • 3
      0

      Teller,

      “A serious subject trivialized and open to the usual mocking ‘told you so’ comments from J.Muthu, the Tiger supporters and other brainless fools.”

      Read the comments below. You have been proved WRONG!!!!!

      Better keep your stupid ‘predictions’ to yourself in the future, without making an ass/arse of yourself.

  • 16
    2

    You brought up a good point may these are the reasons some monks got volatile

  • 20
    1

    Child Ordination is nothing but Child Abuse.

    • 25
      0

      Yes equally the underage domestic servants.
      Earlier so called buddhists kept underage boys as their domestic servants. They treated them so abusively.
      Looking back the manner some treated those young ones- is cruel some.
      But these peoples repeatedly gave alms giving to show others that they are buddhist.. Almost like the manner MR behaves today calling them as buddhist but acts being far away from buddhistic.
      I have no idea – domestic servant issue turned to this day… I am talking about 2 decades ago in the country.
      I wonder why some elders deliberately treated their underage servants so abusively while same age their own offsprings are served by all good means. The other problem is those underage servants are not sent to schools. This was the reality ON THIS PREDOMINANT BUDDHIST NATION…

    • 7
      0

      gamini, you are 100% right.The senior monks are sodomists

    • 6
      0

      I want to add about most parents coaxing children into their religion from very early on – the only consolation being they are allowed to pursue normal live otherwise, which is denied to these child monks.

      I am one of the few exceptions who rebelled against my parents’ religion – Hinduism from very early age as I found it not acceptable to my thinking, though my mother kept on persuading me until she died.

      Eighty-five percent of the world population are religious – they were really brainwashed by their parents.

      Nobody stops to think about it, but in Western countries it is being realized and comparative religion is taught in school for children to figure it out themselves.

  • 17
    1

    Sharmini Serasinghe,

    It is shocking to hear of this forced recruiting of tender children to become budding Buddhist monks.

    This is Mahavamsa madness based on myth lies and deception, I feel sad for these child monks: It is really cruelty to children.

    In my opinion this madness must be stopped and Sinhala children saved for this cruelty to enjoy normal life.

    You are indeed doing a valuable service to your community.

    • 15
      4

      I applaude Sharmini for having the guts to challenge this highly questionable practice.

      We have been stealing somebody’s childhood in the name of religion.

      Thiru,

      Were you just as concerned while VP was sacrificing impoverished, brain-washed young Tamil lives in frontlines of Sri Lanka’s horrific war with LTTE terrorists? I guess not.

      Do us a favour mate. Please stay out of this debate. It is all too important to be polluted by your crocodile tears.

      Cheers!

      • 7
        0

        Ben Hurling

        There is a possibility the molested children grow up to become child molesters themselves.

        Molested child Samanera may grow up to become child molesting monks themselves, the cycle of abuse may continue forever.

        Do the Buddhist monks really care about child samaneras?

        • 1
          0

          Best example.. Gandassara the 37 year old over fed sex starved goon…

          • 5
            0

            Sowden Edward Asange

            Over Fed I agree. But Sex Starved????. I disagree

            Pease read the Posting From Prime Minister’s Office Sources given below published on the Net.

            “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.”

          • 1
            0

            Ghanasara is not guilty for all his activities. It is the rulers that support them to behave in that way should be accountable for all the miseries.

            People should finally learn to go against these skin heads in red saree s/robes. They just try to live up their aggressions in the name of buddhism. That should be avoided by all means.

            Else we may need more of Vets to castrate Ghana Saras so that they can finally leave the innocent in peace.

            In order to get all these done, we need a proper administration that would do their job to the core. So long wrong soldiers are given the weapons, nothing will work for the betterment of the masses.

        • 0
          0

          Very true.

          I recentry learnt upon investigation in to the problem a dear friend of ours, Elmo, that his current problem is rooted in abuse during childhood by one of 17 chldren (from three wives) of a related family.

          With real life examples like these we must act to stop this abuse and invite the evangelical churches from America to salvage our population. They have enough resourses to offer these people in the form of sarongs, money etc.

          Lets all be Jehovah’s witnesses. Amen.

    • 2
      4

      gotta love the freaking tamil terrorists jumping on the bandwagon . lmao

      • 2
        1

        Abhaya,

        You racist scum bag, as Jim Softy says, “given the context of the article, what a pathetic human you are, to make such a comment”.

  • 3
    5

    [Edited out]

    • 2
      5

      [Edited out]

      • 3
        0

        I’m so sorry Sharmini, I didn’t mean to insult you, as I’m one of your greatest fans.

        I had one too many yesterday, so it was the alcohol commenting above and not me.

        Please forgive me.

  • 3
    16

    Sharmini, beware BBS might gang-rape you!

    • 9
      1

      Reerie Yaka,

      You are cursed, for even thinking such a thing. You are cursed even more, for mentioning it, on this thread.

      Curse, curse, curse Reerie Yaka!

      • 3
        0

        Hela,

        I agree with you totally.

        This ‘Reerie Yaka’ [Edited out], is cursed, cursed, cursed!

        • 2
          0

          Reerie Yaka,

          You are cursed, cursed and cursed!

  • 2
    5

    [Edited out]

    • 3
      0

      I’m so sorry Sharmini, I didn’t mean to insult you, as I’m one of your greatest fans.

      I had one too many yesterday, so it was the alcohol commenting above and not me.

      Please forgive me.

  • 3
    14

    Sharmini, As a test case you should try and summon Buddha to Geneva for he was the first to commit this serious human rights violation .If you talk to your former School, they will only be too happy to fund your venture I guess.

    • 12
      0

      Did Buddha say that kids should be ordained?

      • 11
        1

        I ll bet nothing related this kind of child ordination found in buddhist literature. That is an another ritual of false monks.

        • 3
          12

          Buddha ordained his son Rahula when the mother sent him to see his father walking nearby and ask for his share of inheritance. The claim “that is an another ritual of false monks” is another example of anti-Buddhist ignorantes who have infested Colombotelegraph I mentioned elsewhere.

          • 8
            0

            Did Buddha write this down that he ordained his son or someone else did? All I am asking is that, did ordaining children as monks come from the horse’s mouth or from a third party source? Yes, I am ignorant, please enlighten me..

            • 2
              4

              dont get hung up on the question whether buddha jesus or mahammed existed or who wrote the bible, quaran or the dhammapada. religions that are today are based on what is written on those books, an(the traditions that came with them) independent of the answers to the above . read them and see whether they agree with your thinking and accept or reject them. this applies to prince rahula story as well..

          • 5
            2

            Paul,

            You are a brain-washed Mahavamsa Sinhala-Buddhist.

          • 6
            0

            Another Bodu Bala Boy I see ……. hmmm interesting you have the name of a Christian Apostle too :))

            • 1
              4

              never seen or read mahavansa, nor read about or followed or found out who is behind it bbs or what they are up-to etc..i don’t mind you calling me any name though as long as that make you guys feel happy ..

        • 6
          1

          sama, you are right. Buddha never said anything about satifying the lust in you.

      • 0
        0

        HE ORDAINED HIS ONW SON DUMBASS

        • 2
          0

          Abhaya,

          How do you know for sure, that the Buddha ordained his son? Were you there when it happened?

    • 10
      2

      Paul,

      Given the context of the article, what a pathetic human you are, to make such a comment.

    • 3
      0

      Paul,

      You miserable old clown, don’t comment like a stinking [Edited out].

  • 7
    8

    How can SL have religious harmony with this type of people spreading hatred against religions?

    • 11
      0

      She’s speaking the truth about these little ones.
      ‘I undertake to abstain from taking food after midday’ (apart from anything else.)Honestly!

      • 9
        1

        What was the reason for the Buddha creating such a Rule?

        This is another thing that I am a bit uneasy about. I see adult Buddhist monks accepting ‘Soup’ after midday, and I don’t mean Clear Broth. Is thick Soup not considered Food?

        Is this another rationalisation of the Precepts?

        • 8
          0

          Did Buddha really create any rules at all. he provided guideline

    • 10
      0

      Fathima Fukushima ,

      Yes, you should put those rampaging monks across your knee and give them a sound spanking!

      Naughty monks, no?

      • 3
        1

        Good idea Jim Softy, I’m going to do exactly that.

        I have sufficient space on my ample lap, to spank two of them at a time.

        I might even consider doing the same with the Sinhala-Buddhist Rajapaksa hypocrites.

        • 0
          0

          Fathima Fukushima

          Stop with spanking.

          Don’t go beyond. As You are prone to!

          Cheers.

  • 15
    0

    Well said Sharmini. Let’s see how all the mothers and fathers out there– for even the most vicious, foul mouthed commentators on this site are surely parents themselves–respond to this. It’s a pity we cannot enlighten the poor rural families who fll victim to this sad state of affairs. As you rightly point if there is a minimal age for voting, drinking, marriage, sex etc, then so too should there be a minimal age for religious ordination.

  • 14
    0

    Congratulations Sharmini for having the courage to write on a topic that NO ONE to my knowledge has written on before this. Be assured that the typical sinhala-buddhist will call you a traitor and may even try to harm you. I hope you can send this to some of our mainstream media outlets and see how many of them will have the courage to publish this without any edits. I also hope that a sinhal newspaper like Ravaya will translate this in to Sinhal and publish it for the benefit of their readers. Thank you Sharmini for highlighting a form of child abuse that we have willfully turned a blind eye on.

    • 6
      0

      Sinha,

      “I hope you can send this to some of our mainstream media outlets and see how many of them will have the courage to publish this without any edits.”

      Why don’t you give it a try, with the ‘Sunday Times’?

    • 3
      0

      Sinha,

      Why don’t you try SUNDAY TIMES FOR A START !!!

    • 0
      0

      Sinha,

      I thought you were going to follow up on your own suggestion “…some of our mainstream media outlets and see how many of them will have the courage to publish this without any edits.” and carry it in your Sunday Times, but you didn’t.

      What a disappointment.

  • 0
    9

    What’s your [Edited out] idea behind all this. What’s your interpretation of the Buddha taking control of his son Rahula at so so young an age.

    • 3
      0

      Maneepa,

      Learn to read and understand the English language properly, before attempting to comment.

      It’s obvious you have not understood a word of what Sharmini has written, just like a stupid, chauvinistic, Sinhala-Buddhist Rajapaksa.

  • 1
    6

    ‘Teller’ is correct. Child-soldiers are forcibly recruited. Samaneras are not. The practice is not new and not exclusive to Buddhism. Unfortunately laymen are very much under the influence of religious hierarchy.Perhaps parents should be released from this type of domination.

    • 6
      0

      Essie,

      “The practice is not new and not exclusive to Buddhism.”

      Can you name any other religion that ordains children of 7 years?

    • 8
      0

      If we consider child labor, child solders, child prostitution, etc as criminal acts then child ordination is also a crime.

    • 5
      0

      What a SHAME

      Is this the ONLY way to uplift Sinhala-Buddhist children out of poverty in Sri Lanka?

      It’s pathetic to see these Buddhist fundamentalists trying to defend something so shameful.

      Ordaining a child at a tender age and forcing that child to live a life detached from all normalcy is cruel. Defending is saying it’s a divine right is akin to saying children forcefully conscripted to war are blessed because it’s their divine right. A child should simply be permitted to be a child and be provided with a suitable environment as to nurture his/her normal development. To force your will upon a child in the name of religion or war, is simply barbaric.

      True Buddhism and the philosophy of Buddha is the exact opposite of what these fanatical blood thirsty monks are preaching today!

    • 3
      0

      may be SAMANERASA are not forcibly recruited. BUT are they recruited with ” their” own will and not the parents will?
      either way its child abuse… rightly Sharmini takes a dig at the child protection authority who turns a blind eye on this issue… but would be quick on other issues….

      Hats off to you Sharmini, for enlightening the ones in the dark….wonder if Dilantha Vidanagge (the layman)of the BBS has anything to say about this cruelty… to KIDS.. sadly we have lots of ppl talking about cruelty to aimals and not human beings…

    • 3
      0

      Essie,

      Don’t comment like a bloody idiot.

      You don’t seem to be knowing anything about any religion.

  • 20
    0

    An another great piece. Congrats !

    I love SS `s writings. No doubts There are masses like me among us that are in the same view.

    Human Rights organisations do criticise the Child ordination internationally, but nothing enough has been done in terms samanera issues.

    With lanken Temples and the so called adult buddhist monks (most fit word would be SAFFRON ROBED SKINHEADS – PINGUTHTARAYAS living on the food of the poor) claim to be abusive by all means, the poor parents to offer their sons to become little monks should be banned in SL.
    As the writer clearly points out it is the healthy upbringing of a person makes him a healthy person later…. teenage days are the foundation for this. It is totally abusing the rights of those little ones, asking them to become monks. I have no doubt, the likes of these samaneras were not addressed before them being offered to those temples.

    Child psychologists, sociologists and the other professionals MUST discuss these topics publicly as they can to save the lives of these young monks. If it is the poverty them to offer their own sons to those temple, those parents should be given all relieves to improve their family incomes.

    • 18
      0

      “This is an act similar to NARIYATA KUKUL KUDUWA BARA DEMA”.
      Offering little monks to those temple (today^s) are akin to let foxes to enter poultry farming. Over 80% of those adult monks are abusive.

  • 2
    9

    Every religion of the world warns against desire and pleasure seeking and advises followers to pray,meditate,atone and transcend mere pleasure.
    The prophets,gurus,saints and monks offer spiritual morphine and opium to people to take and go to sleep.
    That’s all what happens in all this religious business.

    • 3
      0

      Uthungan,

      You sound like a bloody idiot!

  • 15
    0

    Today entire nation is caught by a messy situation:

    Alas, No way out is seen:

    a) Drugs,alcohol and other abuses are common access to the youth
    b) So called buddhist monks – clearly skin head thugs in monk^s costumes, not different to some abusive in far intolerant societies (Afganistan and north african cultures).
    c) Young pupils get easily addicted to any wrong doings – they even get killed for not proper care within the popular school^s premises itself ( lately killed boy – Ananda college)

    d) Lawyers are in slumber mode – no recourse in the today^s environment that MR and his clan created to this day

  • 12
    0

    Dear Sharmini (Please pardon me for referring to you in first-name basis, for, after this article I feel you are one of my closest friends):
    An absolutely brilliant piece of writing and, most importantly, perfect timing. I agree with every letter of this article, opinions ad questions alike.
    Thank you very much.

  • 11
    0

    I am shocked. I have seen sameneras and never thought on the lines that the authoress has outlined. I couldn;t control my emotions when I read that a mother may not hug her samanera child as tender as a 7 year old in his time of need because that would somehow go against the ‘law’. What also upset me is that a samenera can’t eat after his mid day meal. The poor boy will be malnourished, for God’s sake! Is there anybody out there in the Buddhist fraternity to put a stop to this….or at least change the rules…

    Marvelous bit of exposure, Sharmini.

  • 10
    0

    In my view ordaining children is a form of despicable abuse and amounts to a control mechanism. The Sinhala Buddhists should really examine this barbaric practice and build a system where grownups consciously decide their destiny; if one so wish to become a monk so be it. This kind of indoctrination of chidden even before they reach puberty is cruel and barbaric. Hope Sinhala Buddhists think logically and deal with this scar that is so far an indelible blemish on the society.

  • 4
    15

    Because no more cannot writte about peace making job less Christian start attack budhisam for daily surviving.. she have enough qualification to get free green card.place kindly get lost and let sinhala Buddhist live as they like..

    • 10
      2

      Dilantha,

      Given the context of the article, what a pathetic human you are, to make such a comment.

    • 7
      0

      Dilantha, did the Thadi ganaya fondle you?

    • 3
      0

      Dilantha,

      You sound just like a stupid, chauvinistic, Sinhala-Buddhist Rajapaksa.

  • 12
    1

    What sins these Buddhist monks commit in the name of Buddhism!

  • 12
    1

    I’m shocked and appalled!

    I’m going to convert to another religion tomorrow.

    This is disgusting to say the least.

    • 2
      1

      vibushana

      “I’m going to convert to another religion tomorrow.”

      Welcome to atheism.

      Atheists talk about god more often than any other believers.

      • 2
        0

        I am inclined to agree with the Vedda because atheists are pro people.They are true Buddhas.

  • 8
    0

    aiyo aiyo where K A Sumansekera (LEELA) and Ella Kolla when the ‘ bogus monks’ need them most?

    • 6
      0

      Peacelover

      Here is ela kolla’s comment made earlier:

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 4
      0

      Peacelover,

      Here is K.A. Sumanasekera’s comment made below:

      “This Sharmanie is a [Edited out]”

  • 5
    0

    Handing a child over to the temple is indeed child abuse. Families do this for many reasons, and it is the sacrifice of a childhood. What is the NCPA doing about this?

    • 3
      0

      NCPA is in slumber, they work in tandom with the likes of Gandassara… and Dilantha.. of the BBS

  • 9
    0

    Sharmini

    You are doing a great service to Buddhists and Buddhism by exposing all un-Buddhist practices that is followed in SL in the name of Buddhism.

    You find a few non-rational un-enlightened beings in this forum trying to discourage you but just ignore them and keep writing. Someone has to take up the task of clearing all the myths that people follow in the name of Buddhism and fortunately you are so bold and brave to write the truth.

    Appreciate your great service, please continue your good work.

    • 4
      0

      actually she is doing yeoman service to society at large… I was tearing when I read that a mom cannot pick up her 7 year old son after “donating” him to the temple, either these moms are heartless to donate their sons or are forced to do so and cry at nights due to poverty.

      It is NOT only the DUTY of well to do Buddhists to come forward and help such families but wealthy from other religions too… this is a scenario of concern to the Human Race…

      CHILD ABUSE AT IT WORST, WHERE have all those advocates been all these years? shame on em all….

  • 2
    0

    How about some exposure on the ordaining of bikkunis )Lady monks) in Theravada Buddhism. Where they live within confines of Temple, how they cope with harsh realities of self deprivation, and all for the sake of attaining enlightenment. No children to bear and care for, no husband to turn to for tender loving care, no family to raise and feel content and sense of achievement at old age, and even be remembered after death. Surely, just like volumes have been said about these little children getting ordained, which goes against the grain of normal childhood behaviour, there must be a lot that can be exposed about their women folk too, who receive ordination. I wonder why these issues are not addressed, instead of publicly attacking religious practices of other religions, when their own house is full of it.

    • 4
      0

      Marawan,

      Ladies are ordained as ‘Bhikkhunis'(Buddhist nuns) because they chose to be so. They are not forced into it.

      Also, unlike little boys, little girls are never ordained as ‘Samaneris’ (novice Buddhist nuns).

    • 0
      0

      They ordained as a choice of theirs and they can leave it at any moment. Almost all of them have a family of their own. And they are adults.

      Not that this is relevant to the topic being discussed directly. In SL the minimum age marriageable for muslim girls is 12 years while it is 16 for others. It was not changed due to opposition from religious fellows. Do you support to raise the minimum age for marriage for muslim gals?

  • 4
    0

    I await the response of the National Child Protection Society.
    They need to take up the question of the propriety of recruiting child monks with the government,and monitoring their welfare in temples.

    • 5
      0

      Justice
      ‘I await a response from child protection society’

      I had the opportunity to meet Prof Harendra de Silva who was the founder chairman of child protection society . I was very unimpressed with his personality. You may have to wait a millenium to get a response!

  • 7
    0

    If Buddhists give their sons to the temple, if they have a malefic horoscope, what do Hindus do under the same circumstances?

    Do they donate their sons to the Kovil?

    • 2
      0

      Bindu,

      Hindus don’t donate their sons to the Kovil because they are not stupid like the Rajapaksa bum-sucking Sinhala-Buddhists.

      • 1
        0

        Fathima Fukushima

        You are wrong.

        They too donate their children with bad horoscope to the temple and buy back the God’s Child to hoodwink the God!

  • 1
    8

    Becoming a Buddhist Monk is a privilege according to Buddhism. These children were given a golden opportunity to end this Samsarik journey while other children are denounced that opportunity by allowing them to continue their usual conduct that would prolong their journey in this mess.

    If the Buddha thought it was not appropriate to ordain children, he would have agreed not to ordain any child at all. Instead, Lord Buddha advised ordaining children with their parents’ consent. This is what the Bhikkus are doing today, they are following Buddha’s words.

    If you argue what Buddha did was wrong, then please stop blaming Buddhist Monks and other Buddhist Parents as they are simply following the footsteps of their master. Instead, you have the option to blame Buddha for his conduct

    • 5
      0

      Very similar to the Pali chronicles, even the Pali cannon was written by the so called ‘scholarly’ monks and that too several centuries after Buddha passed away. How can we be so sure that such events actually took place during Buddha’s period? The monks may have created such stories for some hidden reason.

      As Sharmini rightly points out,

      Given the level of wisdom of the enlightened one, it is hard to believe, that the Buddha would have done such a thing, given the age of the young child.
      So, could this have been a ruse of Buddhist monks of yore, which continues to date, to encourage gullible parents, to ‘donate’ their young sons, in order to swell the numbers of the Sangha?

    • 3
      0

      GamaRaala,

      We will NEVER know what the Buddha really said or not said, so we have to go by what Buddhist monks say and do, attributing it all to the Buddha.

      Please come out of your well, and start facing reality.

    • 3
      0

      GamaRaala,

      Check if your brain is inside your ‘Amude’.

  • 8
    0

    As expected, the usual suspects insult the messenger instead of examining the message…

    Buddhism ( The Buddha NEVER called his thoughts thus) followed in Sri Lanka has been corrupted and the sooner the ‘Buddhists’ figure it out without insulting and killing each other, the better.

    The rest of the world that follows Buddha’s teachings have figured it out!

    Ms. Serasinghe’s article is relevant on many fronts. Child Labor, Sexual Abuse, Poverty, Education and simply Human rights are some of the aspects the Buddhist leaders should address. Asking the Clergy that has enjoyed Benz 500’s, education and wealth (ALL OF WHICH ARE PROHIBITED -by the way!) for generations, are not likely to give it up without a fight.

    To make this a discussion about Christianity, Islam or Hinduism and the shortcomings in those communities is short-sighted and stupid!
    I know there are plenty of stupids who satisfy their idiocy by commenting @CT. As Sri Lankans we are blessed to suffer with them!

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