11 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

  • 8
    1

    This is a serious problem with Buddhism and some Christian sects. Christian clergy is not allowed to marry or have family, just like Buddhist clergy.. It’s against nature.Suppressing natural urge, hunger, physical need will definitely make them very different, unhealthy and abnormal. That will prevent a persons natural growth, maturity of mind and thinking. It will make those young kids grow violent, learn hate, bad behavior, cruel social ethics etc., Nothing good will come out of this bad practice. Why blame those when they abuse children and engage in activities considered sinful. Please don’t get me wrong if I say, You don’t find this kind of unjustified, uncivilized, unethical practice in religions like Islam , Hinduism, Protestants and many others of the world. These so called ‘rules’ are man made by idiotic, foolish, non visionary religious fanatical hypocrites for their own hold of authority over the followers and their kids. It’s an absolute madness continuing this unholy, unethical practice in this 21st century, in the name of religion. It’s just another religious sham just being carried out without a valid reason. It’s nothing but child abuse, crime against innocent children and humanity as a whole.

    Shamini Serasinghe’s boldness and braveness should be complemented and encouraged. She has done it again, and earlier with the fake Buddhism article in CT. She is really something and it’s refreshing to read her writings, intelligent and sincere analysis, point by point arguments of unjustified myths, dissecting and displaying the truth of the matter and the misery affecting the kids, kept out of discussion all this while in a public forum. Her sincere and honest opinion should be understood, at least now and respected by all guilty of this religious crime. There is no shame accepting the genuine fault and that only will pave the way to correct the errors made without any clear thinking. Thanks for waking up the people, again and keep doing the same. Your untiring, unselfish efforts will one day usher good things to this world. Thank you so very much.

  • 7
    1

    Dear Sharmini.
    Thank you for another interesting and controversial piece.George Bernard Shaw opined that politics is the last resort of the Scoundrel.I was wondering whether he should have also included Religion.

  • 5
    1

    This is outrages. Depriving children their childhood is similar to recruitment of child soldiers. The psychological effects of celebacy leads a natural tendency towards bestial character and behaviour. Is it true that Buddhism as an ideology has no objection to homosexuality?

    • 0
      0

      why should anything or anyone has any objection towards homosexuality which is completely natural?

      • 1
        0

        The Buddha’s precept for all Buddhists is that they should not engage in sexual Misconduct, whether it is with a Woman, a Man or a child.

        Misconduct is the keyword.

        A committed relationship of a Man with a Woman, A Man with a Man, or even a Woman with a Woman, does not come under the category, Misconduct.

        However, sexual relationship with a Child is definitely ‘MISCONDUCT’

        The precept for Monks is no Sexual Relationship at all.
        It cannot be bent to mean only, No Sexual Misconduct with a Woman.

  • 0
    5

    Sharmini,
    [Edited out]

    • 4
      0

      Chee Evangelist,

      What dirty thing did you say that the CT Editor had to edit it out?

      Your God will be cross with you, for saying dirty things about my Sharmini.

  • 8
    2

    Almost twenty years ago I wrote two articles to the Opinion Column in the Local Dailies under the heading ‘Child Ordination is Child Abuse’ and ‘Gold Plating Buddhism’ when Premadasa was painting all Buddha statues in Gold and the roof of the Maligawa under a Pseudonym. The article Gold Plating Buddhism was published but not the article Child Ordination is Child Abuse. I am glad that SS has highlighted the issue.

    What prompted me to write was after seeing a young Samanera of about six years accompanied by an elder Priest waiting at a Bus halt for a bus, where the young priest was sulking his thumb seated on a ledge. My heart sank allowing a small child as that to be handed to some unknown adult away from the security of his family, when we do not even allow our children even to be picked or dropped from school by outsiders. There are so many stories of how little children have been molested by Van drivers and continue to happen without the knowledge of the parents, that never come to light. Similarly, it is only a few incidents that have been reported of how some of these young Samaneras have even committed suicide unable to bear the agony of molestation.

    Some of the comments have tried to justify the Ordaining of young children by quoting that Buddha himself Ordained his son Rahula at the age of seven. The story goes that when King Suddhodhana, Buddha’s father was devastated discovering Rahula had been ordained, Buddha laid Vinaya that no children should be Ordained without the consent of the parents because Rahula was in the custody of King Suddhodhana. I fail to understand how the Buddha himself committed such an act if he knew it was wrong and then to lay Rules for others to follow? According to Vinaya not only the consent of the Parents, but the age is described as someone capable of chasing away the Birds from their cultivations, indicating the child should be around twelve to fourteen years.

    Today all those children who are ordained are from the Poor Rural families due to poverty or the inability to afford an education. There are also those who are destined to be IRCs, according to their Horoscopes, the parents believe by ordaining the child they will be able to offset the malefic effects. Ironically ordaining such is like placing ladders to monkeys as the famous Sinhala proverb states. These children are also induced by the respect and recognition they would receive as a Priest, which they would not otherwise, as a layman. I know of a few who have led a complete lay life and have become priests giving up their wealth and renouncing desire. It is better to have a few Priests who are genuine in their desire after renouncing greed, like Buddha himself, rather than have numbers who desecrate Buddhism and is an insult to all. At least then they will draw the respect of the masses which they have lost now.

    • 1
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      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!

      • 4
        1

        Taraki’s ghost,

        “I also got paid for my great work by the evangelical head quarters”

        Good for you. But we really are not interested in hearing about how you earned your filthy lucre.

        Also, this is not the right place for you to brag about it.

        In case you haven’t noticed, we are focusing on a far greater concern such as child-abuse.

        So take your comments and go elsewhere.

  • 5
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    •I undertake to abstain from any sexual contact

    if there are no child monks….how do you then meet the sexual needs of the older monks in a discreet manner?

    • 1
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      RajasH;-
      If One has sexual needs, One should not take a Monk’s Vows.

      That is why One should be convinced of the Buddha’s Teaching before being Ordained.

      Children cannot even begin to understand What the Buddha Taught, and so should not be ordained.

  • 4
    0

    The so called leaders’ children are all enjoying their childhood and indulging in all the pleasures of adulthood. Most of the time they are breaking the rules and not getting the punishment it deserves!!! The average sinhala Budhist does not talk about this. I find that they are always good at throwing stones at other peoples houses!!!I wonder whether it is the feeling of “SUPREMACY” ie. the Sinhala Budhists are above law.
    The leaders are preoccupied with amassing wealth to last for several generations!!Perhaps they want this brainwashed child bikhus to shout and throw stones and to go on the rampage, in order to safe guard their titles and positions when the need arises!!!

  • 1
    5

    It is very unfortunate that this newspaper has a become a forum for all the Sinhala Buddhist bashers to party together.Everyone on this forum knows(subconciously in their heart) that this is the real thing happening here.And despite the misleading psuedonyms most readers know the main ethnicity and/or religion of the regular commentators on here(…native veddha…yeah right!!!).On come the deniers to ridicule my comment!!(emperors clothes tale comes to mind!!!).

    • 5
      0

      saman

      “And despite the misleading psuedonyms most readers know the main ethnicity and/or religion of the regular commentators on here(…native veddha…yeah right!!!).”

      Thanks for noticing my non-existence, whereas other commentators simply ignore me. I type in this forum because I have nothing better to do. Please feel free to ignore me.

      Sinhala/Buddhist bashing is needed, at the moment not enough, makes one feel good about oneself,…….. cool.

      It is the first step towards liberating Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhists.

      Please join us in this forum, you will have free access to all kind of bashing. You will have a choice of

      Sinhala/Buddhist bashing
      Tamil/Saivaite bashing
      Arab/Islam bashing
      Latin/Christian bashing
      MR clan bashing
      Gota bashing
      LTTE Tamil Diaspora bashing
      TNA bashing

      ……….

      Dayan bashing….

      You can specialise in any of the above or in your own chosen filed.

      • 2
        0

        Veddha
        There is a lot of truth in what you say.
        All religions should be bashed.
        But I am worried when you want all atheists to join in.
        Then bashing would become another religion and we would not be atheists any more and where will that take us?
        Hell or Heaven?

      • 2
        0

        Native,

        You have missed out on Ranil Bashing which is a past-time for those involved in Corruption.

    • 2
      1

      Saman,

      First of all learn the difference between a newspaper and a website.

      Next, learn the difference between Buddhism and Sinhala-Buddhism.

      Then you will understand that the “bashers” are bashing chauvinistic and hypocritical Sinhala-Buddhism and NOT the Buddha’s Buddhism.

      • 1
        2

        To native and fukushima.The Buddhism that Sinhalese practice is the purest form of Theravada Buddhism.Why bash it?Don’t mix up the ethnic conflict with religion.Comments of yours and others are just
        subtle excuses to bash Sinhalese Buddhists but to excuse extremist Tamils of their own racism-the real racists to the core-I mean who are the people who name everything Tamil,Tamil,Tamil,Tamil and so forth all the time!(Tamil united liberation front,Tamil arasu katctchi,British Tamil Forum,World Tamil movement,Global Tamil Forum,East London Tamil Association,UK Tamil News,Australian Federation of Tamil associations,Canadian Tamil congress,Tamil rehabilitation organisation etc etc etc!!-are there any Sinhalese equivalents of these….thought not!)

        • 3
          1

          Saman,

          Please keep your racist comments out of this thread. We are discussing child-abuse here.

          There are plenty of other threads on CT you can pollute, with you racial intolerance.

        • 3
          1

          saman

          I can understand your loneliness in this world.

          If you like to share your Sinhala,Sinhala, Sinhala racism and feel proud about it please see below:

          Sinhala/Buddhists
          Sinhala/Buddhism
          Sinhala Commission
          Sinhala Ravaya
          Sinhala Hydraulic Civilisation
          Sinhala Only language Act
          Sinhala Modaya
          Sinhalese Cultural Forum
          bbc.co.uk/sinhala.com
          Hela Havula – The Sinhalese Literary Organization
          Sinhala Cultural & Community Services Foundation Inc
          Global Sinhala Village for LankaWeb

          and many more.

          • 1
            2

            So “mahadana”when I expose the true racism of extremist Tamils unable to counter my argument you call it “racist intolerance”.
            And native(or whoever you really are) I didn’t know that there was an organization named “Sinhala Buddhists”!!(by the way to fill up space you have repeated it twice).And organizations named “Sinhala hydraulic civilization” and “Sinhala modaya”!!And the presence of a BBC Sinhala service makes the Sinhalese people racist!!!!!!Oh pleeease give me a break!!!The emptiness and deceit of all your lies are plain to see.Typical double/treble standards of the usual Sinhalese Buddhist bashers who fill this website.

            • 1
              1

              saman

              You wrote this in your earlier comment:

              “I mean who are the people who name everything Tamil,Tamil,Tamil,Tamil and so forth all the time”
              ….
              ….

              “are there any Sinhalese equivalents of these….thought not!)”

              I was only helping you with information about Sinhala, Sinhala, Sinhala.

    • 1
      0

      I was recommended CT by a friend.

      I must say I am very dissapointed with the quality of the content.
      As for bashing each other, most of the posting here are from Tamil/Sinhala/Muslim diaspora.

      CT is blocked time time to in Sri Lanka.There is a minority following from Sri Lanka

      So the posting here is mainly diaspora armchair critics positng here in thier leisure time over a drink.

      The opinion here does not represnt Sri Lanka cross section

  • 1
    4

    This Sharmanie is a [Edited out]

    • 3
      0

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “This Sharmanie is a [Edited out]”

      Writers block.

      • 0
        0

        Dear Native,

        ….a Buddhist Basher…..Nothing serious

        • 3
          0

          K.A Sumanasekera

          “….a Buddhist Basher…..Nothing serious”

          Buddha was the last Buddhist, I would not bash him even in my wildest dream.

    • 3
      0

      This Sharmanie is a brave lady, who always writes the truth.

    • 2
      0

      K.A Sumanasekera,

      You senile old [Edited out]. Time you retired. You can’t even spell the writer’s name correctly.How rude is that?

    • 3
      0

      Booru Amanasekara,

      When you idiots cannot refute in a sensible manner, with facts to back, you resort to vilifying those who speak the truth. Shows your level of intellect and the Rowdy in you. Pathetic indeed!

  • 0
    2

    yes I think giving children to temple is a form of child abuse. then again if these same parents are forced to keep these unwanted(obviously) children, question is will it be just unnoticed abuse ? as no one will comment on children growing up uncared for under parents ? is it a case of at least these children will get to eat and some sort of education

    • 2
      0

      Dawn Dale,

      Despite your name, it’s obvious that wisdom has not DAWNED on you.

  • 4
    0

    Child ordination is nothing short of a heinous crime. It is wicked, detestable and horrific.

    Rogues in Robes are never born. Recruiting and brainwashing defenceless innocent children is only way the religious establishment can breed evil rogues in robes who are hell-bent on promoting the establishment but not the religion.

    Happens with all Religions.

    All religious establishments promote the same thing. “Join us or go to hell”. To mock us for their material benefit, the use a set of books for which no author has taken responsibility. Nobody knows who wrote those books. We believe that they carry God’s word or Lord Budddha’s word

    Who are the fools here?

  • 2
    0

    Siddartha Gouthama had himself left the material world. He sees his son at 7 mature enough to follow in his footsteps.

    Its child abuse if one considers Monkhood to be some kind of oppressive regime where the child is held in permanent bondage.

    The design and intention of monkhood is to create an environment conducive for anyone at any age to be free from suffering. If that is not the ultimate gift one gives to a child then I don’t know what is!

    Instead of enforcing age or gender restrictions the monkhood itself needs to be reformed to suit the emerging age. It needs to go back to its roots. Stricter criteria needs to be developed when entering a child into monkhood. They must also have the freedom to leave the monkhood at any stage without suffering indignation.

  • 2
    0

    How many of you commenting above, clicked on the hyperlinks in this article?

    I wonder how many of these 2550 children were ‘bought’ off their parents.

    There are Sinhala-Buddhists who will willingly sell their children for the ‘right’ price.

  • 1
    2

    Abuses occur across the whole religious spectrum and its not only confined to buddhism even though some are hell bent on portraying it that way. it happens in your religion too sharmini!
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/01/16/for-the-first-time-ever-vatican-answers-questions-about-priest-sex-abuse-in-public-at-length/
    And no, this news site doesnt belong to the rajapaksha clan.
    Have all the pundits here ever read the dhammapada or the thripitaka? No, please dont answer.
    What has the mahawamnsa got to do with this ? Mahawamnsa has nothing to do with buddhism only. It just highlights the connection between buddhism and the singhalese natives. By the way, themahawamnsa is another matter of discussion as there are things in there that a right minded human being would find quite interesting!
    As long as you keep bashing one religion physically, mentally, verbally, financially, it only strengthens the resolve of that particular group to achieve their ends by hook or by crook.
    Yes i am a buddhist, and yes ive had many questions with regards to the subject of your article but reading through it only suggests that , instead of building constructive critisism or advocating any good you just seem like some third grade wanna be writer/journalist whos on someone elses payroll or furthering someone else’s agenda perhaps your paymasters. (Using terms like buddhist army and high lighting it, damaged goods etc.)
    Whether you like it or not, sri lanka always was a buddhist country, it is a buddhist country and will always be a buddhist country.
    Speaking about armies, why is the evangelical and sunni armies looking for conscripts in sri lanka so actively? Is it because they love the poor uneducated masses that much or is it because the more they conscript the more of those 10%’s they get or is it because they wanna convert this whole country one day to a western boot licking, wine drinking, sing a song religion and called to rest ( after all that gig ) type of idiots?
    There is a simple reason for this, be it for good or bad, it was always the buddhists and the monks who stood up for our motherland through out history and not the likes of your lot.
    We dont need your concorted twisted western theories and ideologies to solve our problems, if any.
    Dont act as if you belong to perfect religions and practises. You have enough and more severe issues hiding behind that big white cloak and that black suit with a white collar band.

    • 2
      1

      Senaratne

      “Yes i am a buddhist,”

      No you are not, you are a Sinhala/Buddhist for the last Buddhist was Buddha.

    • 2
      1

      Senaratne,

      You [Edited out]. You are totally ‘koheda yanne malle pol’. No one is talking about the Mahavamsa here.

      You [Edited out] Senaratne, sound like [Edited out]

      • 2
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        Abhaya

        “You [Edited out] Senaratne, sound like [Edited out]”

        Senaratne must be the reincarnate of Banda.

  • 6
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    My dear child Sharmini,

    It would take someone with a heart of stone, not to be moved by your article above.

    You have not written this with your usual journalistic pen, but that of a woman and a mother.

    Had it been only possible, I’m sure you would have been only too willing, to take all these little ‘Samanera’ children under your maternal wing, and brought them up to be exemplary young men, just as you did, with your own son.

    Warm regards,
    Prof. A. Senanayake

  • 4
    0

    Wonder why our devout Sinhala-Buddhist President didn’t have himself and his three sons ordained?

    • 1
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      JimSofty

      SOORY!

      Had he tried he would have ended up in the divorce Courts. despite of his wife being a catholic, and his being Baptised for Marriage.

      This Mother is not Like any Moda Sinhala Mother to sell her sons to eat Kavun.

  • 5
    0

    One more question is coming to mind, which is not Buddhist or any religious bashing at all. After all these upbringing of the ordained monks in a real Buddhist environment, with teachings of Buddha, Buddha Dhamma, discipline and all the rest, how come there are so many saffron robed hooligans, thugs , BBS scums, JHU junks parading the towns and cities today, vandalizing, desecrating Churches, Mosques, Temples of other religions with so much of hatred and anger, while other ordinary folks watch it with some kind of glee and the law enforcement, uniformed thugs watch and do nothing ?? Who is bashing whom and what ? Come on and be serious please..Can anyone say that other religious crowd is attacking or vandalizing any Buddhist or other religious places of worship or even symbols of Buddhism ? Just because the Buddhists are majority in number and the fake Buddhist rulers give all the indirect blessings to run amok for their ulterior motives, a good person , a religious person will never do anything of this sort. What are these Mahanayakas doing while the country is exploding with religious, racial thuggery never seen in this land of Buddha , as they call it ? Why even the media is so silent ? Why the politicians who were elected by the people are so quiet ? There is no shortage of Big talk about Buddhism and 2550 year record, which is not even a matter at all to anyone. Prove your religious supremacy, achievements, show the results, or at least make those rascals behave like human. First of all, learn to behave, respect others and their faith. Nirvana or Nibbana are something never be attained by these jokers who are faking that they are Buddhists. There should be a limit for faking, fooling and cheating. What is this thing called “Sinhala Buddhism” ? There is nothing called `Tamil Hinduism or Arabic Islam or English Christianity.
    Buddhism is one religion, imported or exported from India or Nepal and Who cares. Just follow if you like it, as you like it, but do not destroy it with your new stupid names and rules which were prescribed by fakes.
    Love people, respect individuality, tolerate other religions and never ever think that your religion is the best. Nothing is better than other thing !
    You don`t have to be a Buddhist to be a good religious person. All religions show us a path to peaceful existence. That`s just enough. No need to be greedy. No one came to this world with a vision to attain Nirvana !
    The Nirvana thing is just a humbug or unattainable by folks like you or me. Just try to find happiness and peace within yourself. That`s attainable and not that Nirvana Mount Everest. It`s an impossible thing even for our beloved Mahanayakas. They don`t want Nirvana but they are all enjoying Benz limousine and never want to loose all these perks. Dhamma is only for others. Nirvana is a carrot stick and why you go after that. Just relax and enjoy or pay for your sin…or go play tennis or foot ball and get bliss. It;s simple as that. Do not make life complicated and just take it easy..

  • 3
    1

    This is a very brave article that goes to the heart of the practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

    The overwhelming response in your comments is to concur with your observations.Therefore it is quite apparent, that those who either defend the status quo have either been shocked into a sudden realization that their beliefs are in need of some refinement and thinking, and have retreated into a quarter to regroup to find a rational counter attack.

    As in all religions and common practices there are many areas that one can agree and disagree, and this should not result in the basic belief and following of Buddhism. It is a practice that will improve oneself to achieve one’s personal goals.

    I would like the Govt. to initiate a discussion in the Sangha about how in practice some of the strictures of the rules you mentioned can be changed to give children a religious education, but permit children to be children and parents merely to lend their children to the pirivena during the week, IF they are unable to give them a chance that the pirivena can.

    I know in my experience that there are enlightened Monks who are very flexible in their interpretation of the rules stated in your article and insist that their wards go into the outside and live as lay people for at least a year and then choose if monk hood is the answer for them. So there are many ways the strict rules are bent so the child is allowed to grow up as one. This is more in the way some children’s homes are run, when parental love is missing. This issue applies to orphanages too!

    I have spoken to many priests who have had NO regrets from their upbringing as samaneras , but that does NOT mean I agree with the current situation.

    Another point rightly alluded to is the severe shortage of those committed to the religion for life long preisthood. This applies worldwide as religion is seen more as a club and not as a belief of one’s own to live by.

    Sri Lankan Christians are trying to export clergy from seminaries here, to fill up the empty parishes in the West where they can live very affluent lives! So they go into the religious order for ulterior motives. If they were to be sent to a poor parish in the African Bush they may decline.

    This is a reflection of the realities of today, where Buddhism in Sri Lanka is in real crisis, people are NOT willing to accept what is being taught, as practices (and not the pure religion,) seems to be irrelevant to the day and age.

    It is a matter of time when it will change, it is better to start in an orderly manner now, rather than face abandoned temples in the near future. The reactionary young preists we see are those who have not been taught properly, and we hope steps will be taken to arrest that.They are just some of those who have been lead by fundamentalists.

    Even the Daham Pasala teaching needs a revolutionary change to make it meaningful. Otherwise there are not going to be any who wish to continue the practice of their faith, to the detriment to the Temples and their existence. Techniques of teaching also have to keep up with the times and make use of the latest visual aids and digital media of learning, something that is seriously lacking in religious education.

  • 1
    0

    I feel this article obfuscates a number of different lines of argument against the topic.

    First, in terms of recruiting soldiers for a buddhist army, Buddhist extremism is a issue plaguing our society regardless of child ordination. Therefore, we need to tackle that problem and separate it from this issue that has been raised.

    Second, in terms of Child welfare in a legal context: we as, the modern middle-class society, raise our children in a manner that is very unique in the context of time and geography. Throughout the ages and in different cultures children are nurtured in a myriad of different ways. It is hard to argue that the way we nurture our children now is the only or the best way considering the significant problems our society faces. Responsible monkhood where the child’s rights are respected can be another valid way we should be willing to accept when living in a pluralistic society.

    Third: Child Abuse is an issue regardless, and we should guard all children against child abuse including children who are ordained. This should include the prosecution of senior monks who abuse underage children (monk or lay)

    Fourth: free will – does your child have the free will to go to school? to eat his/her vegetables? to live in Colombo? to live with you as his/her parents? can the child decide tomorrow that he/she would rather live with me or some other stranger?

    Fifth: denied desires- the author talks about an observation how a child monk was longing for a teddy bear. Well I long for my friend’s Benz and his beautiful wife. Yesterday I saw a little school child waiting for the bus in the hot sun staring at my son sitting in his air-conditioned car. My son hates my little Maruti and wishes for the BMW his friend’s dad has. Yes we all have desires and jealousies. The only difference being that with proper training the little Monk the author talked about will learn not to desire teddy bears, money, women, and power and one day teach us how to control our desires.

    I recommend you read Ven Bhante Gunarathana’s very interesting auto biography. He was a monk ordained as a child who moved to the US, obtained his PhD and did much to help people.
    Journey to Mindfulness: The Autobiography of Bhante G. Wisdom Publications. 2003. ISBN 0-86171-347-8.

  • 1
    2

    What does Sharmini has to say about world wide Child-sexual abuse by the Celibate Priests of Christianity.

    what does Sharmini has to say about polygamy in some Christian cults. Some of their Brides look like their great grand daughters ?

    • 4
      1

      These are the Great Pretenders who hide behind the Sins of others to cover their nudity and guilt.

    • 3
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      JimSofty,

      Your line is not selling anymore.

      Better do a volte farce or call it a day.

    • 0
      0

      The more serious problem is that of sexual abuse notoriously associated with all forms of institutionalized monasticism, witness the recent cases of abuse of children put in their pastoral care even by high prelates of the Catholic Church. But Catholics have no system of child ordination and therefore the possibility of abuse of children confined to Buddhist monasteries must be faced honestly and squarely.

      Unlike adult monks children have little chance of resisting sexual advances. They are much more vulnerable the cultural and familial pressures are so strong that they cannot run away to their own homes and, as far as I know, there is no satisfactory way in which they can protest to the monastic authorities. The new ordinations require, I am told, a guardian who will act in the interests of the child. But how does the guardian inquire into such possibilities when the mere talk of homoerotic practices is taboo? And how does a guardian set about his task? Are there rules and institutional procedures laid out? Perhaps one solution would be to have professionally trained child care workers among Buddhist monks who would then have the legal and moral right to inquire into problems of child abuse. But I doubt that this has even been considered by our pious officials and politicians.

    • 0
      0

      Jim Softy,

      “What does Sharmini has to say about world wide Child-sexual abuse by the Celibate Priests of Christianity.”

      By now you should know, that Sharmini is a Buddhist and not a Christian.

      Had she been a Christian,Hindu or Muslim, I’m sure she would be exposing their shortcomings as well.

  • 5
    21

    Sharmini has got her wires crossed, seriously. Ajitha praises her for her guts, it could be guts, stupidity or a hefty payment.
    No body can be made a monk by force or they will run away the first opportunity they get. This has happened with even the one who have come willingly.
    Mostly the child is spoken to by parents explain him the benefits to himself and the family and get his consent. Even after consenting nobody is kept in bondage they can leave whenever they wish. They are free to call their parents and go home. This happens all the time though Sharmini pretends not know.
    Most of the youngsters get in to monkhood for cost free education and many leave after a university graduation. There is nothing wrong in that. They find a top government Job and marry with a big dowry. No one can objects to that and no one has the right to object to that.
    What is important is not every one leaves the robe after education, there are many who choose to remain in the monkhood. They are the ones who have realized the value of their early sacrifices. Since they have learned to overcome the desires of the mind and cravings of the body early, rest is easy for them. They are the monks who go on to become scholarly monks.

    Sharmini, if you are really concerned about the well being of children, research and write about the many children today who are sucked in to the underworld, drug business, drug abuse and many other vices in the society. They are the ones who needs to be saved.

    • 11
      4

      NAK,

      “Mostly the child is spoken to by parents explain him the benefits to himself and the family and get his consent.”

      Are you referring to a 7 year-old, really?

      You are obviously a ‘puss-wedilla’ who can’t father children and therefore never had children of your own.

    • 6
      2

      Ms. Shamini Serasingha,

      This is child abuse by the parents. Children miss their childhood. The same was done by the LTTE in recruiting Child Soldiers. If they want monks, let them make the decision when they e 21 years old. Buddha made the decision when he was 29 years old! This should be condemned.

      This is the same child abuse 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, this 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

      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.

  • 5
    14

    Buddhism do not have a world wide problem of CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE spread all over the last century. That is what happened in Christianity.

    Buddhism don’t oppresses women and do not promote female genital mutilation or total covering of the female body.

    Sharmini’s artcle is simply anti-buddhism because she had ANGLICAN-CHRISTIAN Education.

    • 6
      1

      This is the stupidest argument, how does that justify giving away a child to a Buddhists sect at a young age. The writer is concerned about Child abuse at the monasteries. Does that child deserve to be put through that kind of ordeal. Don’t you think this practice must stop, or at least the age limit should be raised before ordaining babies as monks.

    • 3
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      JimSofty,
      You must be living in Planet Mars unfortunately.
      1). Hey Mr. You must be a blid to say Child Sexual Abuse spread is not in Buddhism. If you become a samanera by your self your Anal Passage will tell the story more than you mouth.
      1). Hey Mr. In Thailand more than half the Female Population are Prostitutes(Whores). Thailand is a Buddhist country 98%. Sri Lanka is almost catching up to keep that record.

      Mr. Dont be an ignorant fool. Talk sence.

      • 6
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        Gautham,

        Commenting on comments made by the likes of Jim Softy, K.A. Sumanasekera, Fathima Fukushima etc., is a waste of time.

        They are paid servants of lackeys of the Rajapaksas, to ridicule and insult writers who they believe are a threat to the status quo.

        You can easily recognise them by their irrelevant, off-topic and offensive comments. They do this because they lack the intelligence to come up with a valid counter argument to the topic discussed.

        You will recognise them through their style of offensive comments on other threads too.

        CT is not the only website where you find such paid servants of lackeys of the Rajapaksas.

        There are others, known as Yapa and Kanchana Perera aka ‘Off the Cuff’, Banda, Hela, Dilantha, Vibushana along with a whole host of others.

        Remember, it’s our tax-rupees that pay the salaries of these vermin.

    • 1
      0

      “Sharmini’s artcle is simply anti-buddhism because she had ANGLICAN-CHRISTIAN Education.”

      Were you one of her teacher’s who gave her an “ANGLICAN-CHRISTIAN Education”?

      If you don’t have an intelligent counter argument to offer here, please back off without wasting space on this thread.

      • 0
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        Hi Cuff duplicate,

        I agree with the principle but not the Hyperbole, the exaggeration and most of all the fiction she has embroidered the article with.

        More details here
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/child-ordination-through-a-mothers-eyes/comment-page-2/#comment-863380

        You are welcome to counter it.

        Kind Regards
        OTC

      • 0
        1

        OTC (Copycat):-
        So you think that Having an Anglo-Christian Education is a disqualification to open-minded thinking ?

        I believe that the wider One’s Education is, One gets a broader perspective on Life’s Important issues.

        Those like you, who seems to have had a One-sided education tend to become like ‘Frogs in a Well’ who cannot or don’t want to see anyone else’s Viewpoint.!

  • 4
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    Buddhist bashing in these columns is just preaching to the converted . Isn’t it?.

    If Sharmini and her [Edited out] want good a decent ROC, they should publish this in the UNP News Paper in Srilanka.

    But Sharmini needs to get some one to translate it into Kuveni dialect, as 75 percent of the inhabitants wouldn’t have a clue about the Queen’s language.

    • 6
      2

      K.A Sumanasekera,

      It’s time you and JimSofty (purple tile)discard this hackneyed Christian line.

      Please come up with something more innovative, because you are both so predictable in your comments, they are a dead bore!

      • 5
        1

        These dam fanatical monolethic apathied Fanatical Radical Buddhist (Not all) & Monks are bunch of Hypocrites. They eat there own shit and think they eat a five course meal. 1983 Tamil Riots will speak for it self. Ordaining kids are a crime against humanity. Most of these little smanera’s are being sexually abused & molested as soon as they’ve been ordained. Its a know secret in Sri Lanka. Yet these mentally deformed Radical buddhist will cover it always.

        For you Radical Evil Buddhist & Monks, You suffered 500 years of Colonization, 30 years of war, The Tsunami hit on a Poya day & distroyed you & your temples. Dont forget these curses. The next mega disaster/curse will come upon you on another poya day. Keep this in your mind well.

  • 4
    6

    Ex Communication is the punishment to Catholics if they criticize their Religion.

    Muslims take it even further with a Fatwa..

    We just forgive, forget and even invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem .

    How cool is that?…

    • 6
      3

      In that case, refrain from writing your two cent comments. Do you think we dont know who these NAK or Softy or Sumana?
      ‘Miniature Monks’ as Sharmini perfectly named is human rights violations too.
      A
      Ask your maharaja percy to convert his kids monks too.
      The biggest enemy of Buddism is jarapaksas.

    • 3
      1

      K.A Sumanasekera,

      Fatwa means an opinion. Anybody can express their opinion and it doesn’t mean, that should be followed.

      Here Sharmini is giving Fatwa to Sinhala Buddhists and being a Buddhist.

    • 3
      1

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “We just forgive, forget and even invoke the blessings of the Triple Gem”

      and send in the saffron clad thugs to deal your perceived adversaries, or send in the Sinhala/Buddhists armed forces.

    • 2
      2

      hey give me the triple gem, I want to sell it

      • 0
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        Gautham

        The ‘Triple Gem’ is just a Copy Cat of the Christian idea of ‘Three in One and One in Three’

        The idea of what the Buddha Taught is better expressed as the ‘Three Jewels’

        The Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha! – Three separate concepts!

    • 2
      1

      K.A SUMANASEKARA, RU sure you live in Sri Lanka???? You forgive in buddhism???? Buddhist Philosophy (Buddha) it self did not preach Forgiveness. In Sri Lanka if you criticize Buddhism that person Man/wonan/child will be killed or massacred.
      If you invoke the triple Gem, Then why so many Muslim Mosques, Christian Temple are being burned right now??? Wow what a Triple Gem Blessing???
      You Buddhist are bunch of liars. So as your Philosophy. So Please give me that Triple gem to me, I will sell it & make some money.

      • 1
        0

        Dear Sharmini Serasinghe,

        Unlike before, this time I agree with you in principle, young children generally will not understand the rigours of Buddhist Priest hood and are not suitable to be admitted as Novices in the Priesthood Order until they are able to comprehend what is involved.

        We are told that Siddhartha’s son Rahula started training at the age of 7 and attained enlightenment at the age of 18 but then he trained under the shadow of the Buddha, his father and we do not know whether that story is fact or fiction.

        Still I believe as you believe that Generally a child so young, would feel the discipline needed, encroaching on his childhood.

        That is discussing the principle. But are you discussing the principle in order to provide constructive criticism or writing with a vengeance to sling mud for some obscure reason?

        Let’s have a critical look at your writing.

        You wrote “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”

        The above was a description of the behaviour of Lay Children at an Alms giving you attended in the presence of the Buddhist Clergy who were getting ready to accept the Dhane offered and is hence a First Hand description.

        No self respecting Buddhist Parent would allow their children to run amok as you described, in the presence of Priests, at a Dhane. It is a solemn occasion and decorum is observed and is taught to their children as well. Chocolate smeared faces indeed!

        Generally boys will be boys and young novice monks are no exception. Boys would prefer train sets and mechanical toys unlike girls who prefer dolls. But a boy being transfixed by a stuffed toy like a Teddy Bear cannot be ruled out!

        That you have a vivid imagination is underlined when you stated that one novice had “his gaze fixed longingly …. on a train set”. Bravo Sharmini was the lay child playing with that Train Set in front of the clergy and the elders simply looked on? This was a Train Set and a Train Set has rail tracks, an engine, carriages etc. Surely this was no birthday party or was it?

        Well well this must be some Alms giving with not just the little tots going wild but “pretty young girls prancing around”. The readers who are familiar with a Buddhist Alms giving whether Buddhist or not will see through these despicable Lies but your hurrah boys and gals will surely cheer you on!

        Dear Ms Sharmini Serasinghe did you as a ravishing Teenage girl (you surely would have been ravishing then), prance around in the presence of Young priests? Did you flaunt your body in the same way you allege these Teens are supposed to have done at this recent Alms giving. If you haven’t and I am sure being a disciple of the respected Ven Piyadassi Maha Thera you would have not done anything to be a subject of the wet dreams of the pubertal samaneras, why do you make these slanderous statements about the Teenage Buddhist females of today?

        Re your question “How is this any different, from recruiting child-soldiers, to a conventional army?”

        As I said earlier I agree with you in principle that children should not be admitted as a novice until they can understand the commitment required for such a life. But yours is a foolish question and is typical of the exaggeration, embroidery and hyperbole that is unfortunately a Hall Mark of your writing.

        If you are serious about your crusade to clean up Buddhist Society, should you not use a medium that has a wider reach? Why don’t you use your journalistic connections and get your views disseminated via National Media?

        Kind Regards,
        OTC

        • 1
          1

          Hi Kanchana Perera (AKA Off the Cuff),

          I was starting to miss your shit on this thread.

          When you took so long to add your two-cents-worth,I thought you had found the job you had set your heart on- cleaning cesspits.

          Perhaps you were kicked out of that job as well, for your now notorious incompetence.

          • 1
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            Hi Fathima Fukushima the Duplicate,

            That you cannot respond intelligently was a foregone conclusion.

            My post was addressed to Ms Sharmini Serasinghe and as usual she lets the dogs bark as she has no counter.

            BTW the CT moderators know who I am and would be laughing at your attempts at Crystal Ball Gazing. Dream away Fat Fuk, dream away..ha ha haa.

            Kind Regards
            OTC

        • 0
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          Oh dear OTC
          You appear to have gained a follower in the likes of Fathima (aka Lorenzo from LW)
          Just throw him a bar of soap (Lifebouy)- He will be happy!

  • 1
    3

    Sharmini should spend some time in a temple to see what really happens. A BBS monk’s temple would be ideal.

    • 3
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      You are a filthy bugger.
      You cannot stand decent people.
      What time were you born?
      Typical Gandhasara, Gota attidute stinking swine you are.

    • 6
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      Fathima Fukushima,

      BBS monks don’t live in temples. Gota has assigned special quarters for them to live in.

      And in any case, they would prefer the likes of K A Sumanasekera and Jim Softy. Age doesn’t matter, only the ‘rear’ does.

  • 11
    0

    An excellent presentation by Sharmini especially in relation to the plight of children sent into these seminaries at a prime age when they have to grow up with their parents. It is a shame that poverty in Sri Lanka drives the parents to what they are doing to these children. Many fall victims to pedophilic and other practices. As I stated elsewhere the Buddhist monks are trained and brought up to despise other faiths beliefs and religions like the Taliban in Afghanistan and these young trainees grow up and are trained in an atmosphere comparable to the Madrasas.
    The prime minister, the minister also in charge of the Buddhist religion who has the reputation of having imported enormous quantities of opium sufficient to meet the consumption needs of the Sri Lankan masses recently pointed out that the JHU leader Ven. Rathana Thero MP has five children all to one woman and he makes it a point to indicate that he visits them during the week ends—a very considerate father. This also goes to show that the venerable monk is not a pedophile. Bensen

    • 1
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      Very true.

  • 2
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    These are the same as ‘child soldiers’- Full stop.

  • 8
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    An observation that is relevant to Sharmini Serasinghe’s substantive presentation:

    We observed a group of teenage Samaneras gathered around a sweep ticket seller at a Galle junction recently, which was both saddening and sobering to witness. On noticing that we were videoing them, they turned towards us and smiled quite innocently. It was saddening because these Samaneras were not aware of the contradiction between the desire to acquire a monetary fortune and the robes designating renunciation they wore. It was sobering because of the apparent innocence and the thought that they were victims of circumstances beyond their control. They had obviously not understood the discipline, rigour and the expected spirituality in the path they had chosen. They were also cocooned in a world that was different from the the one in which we, the laity, live and had no understanding of the pleasures, pains and tragedies it is a mix of. They had nothing to renounce yet and had been pushed into a life that had no meaning in terms of what the Buddha experienced, renounced, meditated on and understand.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 10
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      As many on this forum, I too, unequivocally agree with every word that SS explains in her current article. Child ordination by lanken Buddhist temples is considered as one of the high crimes in the world today. Recalling few articles I already read a couple of years ago, they the international child rights protection campaigners had already included Samanera ordination one of the high abuses continuing in Srilanka, Thailand, Burma and the few other countries.
      In earlier days, it was the elitists that offered their young boys to Sanga, though the situation has taken totally other direction to this day. Today it is becoming clear only the poor parents offer their young boys to Buddhist monasteries. However, the conduct of average monks in temples across the country is reported to be far abusive than had been those days. Though the exceptions can still be there, the average monks to take the responsibility to nurture Samanera is like expecting things from the bad masters. Anyone bringing out this into the open a topic, which would be regarded in many circles as taboo but is worth ‘airing’.
      If a monk’s conduct is NOT what it should be, lay people have every right to criticize him, as it has been recorded in the VINAYA texts. The VINAYA rules have much to do with conduct which should accord well with what is expected of monks by the wider society – better a terrible end than unending terror.
      Brutal violence in the name of lanken Buddhism has become even more contrast today than in the recent past. These incidents have been becoming on a rise hour to hour. These unethical acts deliberately perpetrated by saffron robbed monks (perhaps many of them are pseudo monks – abusing the SANGA status living up their criminal energies) has become a routine to some segments (like BBS, RB, JHU) to this day. The mentioned segments though restrict to few thousands within the nation, their existence has evidently been aided by both political top leadership and their shenanigans or external funding bodies (BBS is believed to be funded by Norway). However, the greater impact of the violent culture of the monks akin to all non- ethical forms is tantamount to those of few thousands of LTTE rebels that fought a most ruthless civil war against lanken military forces until May 2009; meaning these BUDDHIST RELIGIOUS FORCES are purposefully mobilised, today, in order to attack non-Buddhists, mostly for unexplainable reasons.
      Rulers in the country are under pressure in finding plausible explanations why their LLRC implementations have taken a snail move – can also be evasively responded by the them, so long religious forces are in action. Latter is believed to be political tactics of MR regime. Current regime has already proved their lip service in terms of achieve sustainable peace, has failed to implement long awaited rule of law and order.
      Whatever the crime activities are being practised by so called Buddhist monks or other henchmen of current rulers, they all do escape from the lawlessness, impunity governing administration/environment created by the politicians per se in power today. President who is the key architect of the current crime friendly mechanisms – has still been blindly respected by the rural masses (that make up over 70% of the population) for the single REASON – annihilation of LTTE Tamil rebels within the country, though this has been a collective task for the eyes of any healthy ones – Tyranny by all means with over 90% media institutions in favour of rulers.
      Rights groups argue if fully ordained monks shamelessly behave without being compliant to the code of discipline, how can they ever be exemplary to those little monks (Samanera) guaranteeing them a healthy future. These violent Buddhist monks are seen rotten with all misbehaviours, as displayed on the TV screens lately.
      Nevertheless, recently President of the state was in the Child ordination ceremony – meaning he is believed to be promoting these abuses further rather than taking any precautionary actions pro save the children.
      In a society, People’s strong myths and misconceptions play a greater role, the nation’s leader, President Rajapakse to take part in such ceremonies seen as very irresponsible acts. His motives may be, as familiar to many – nothing else but pleasing the VOTE BASE – power greediness has gone up to exaggerated levels.
      UNISEF and several other international bodies fighting for child’s rights have been working on the issue for such a long time, but not ENOUGH is seen to have achieved yet.
      Depending on the religion, culture, race, poverty and many other factors cause the parents to offer their children to the temples.

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      Dear Dr Rajasingham Narendran,

      Sharmini is using hyperbole to discredit Buddhism for some unknown and obscure reason.

      Why I say so is explained here https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/child-ordination-through-a-mothers-eyes/comment-page-2/#comment-863380

      Kind Regards
      OTC

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        Hi Kanchana Perera (AKA Off the Cuff),

        For your information, Dr Rajasingham Narendran is an intellectual and a gentleman par excellence.

        Clowns like you Kanchana Perera, are a joke to him.

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    HLD Mahindapala has recently written an article blasting Radhika Coomaraswamy for not looking into the cases of child abuse by the Vatican when she was SRSG- though one was not aware that the Vatican was in a situation of armed conflict. Well did Hiranthi Wijemanne also raise the issue of these child monks at the Committee of the Rights of the child sessions or do double standards flow in two directions?

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    I fully agree with Sharmini. I have seen many young children in robes, not knowing what it is and lose their childhood, do ot get motherly love and the freedom other children of same age enjoy.
    Legislation should be brought to ban ordaining children till they are 16 years old at least

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