By Jagath Asoka –
This article has two sections; the first part is related to my previous articles. The second part is about Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, and Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera.
The recent articles written by Shyamon Jayasinghe, Mahendra De Silva, and Kapila Abhayawansa demonstrate the snowball effect of the conversation that I started on Buddhism. The Buddhist in me constantly struggle not to undress people in public with my words, but if you are trying to tell me that you do not believe in God, first, convince yourself and ask yourself, “Have I ever asked God’s or gods’ assistance; have I ever prayed to the Buddha when I was totally helpless?” God is transcendental, beyond name and form, and beyond human description. God is protean and take many forms. In Shyamon, Mahendra, and Kapila, God has taken the name and the form of the Buddha. I do not have to be a professor or pundit, and have a Ph.D. in God or Buddhism to talk about God and Buddhism. I began my ferryboat journey with Kalama Sutra. As far as Buddhism is concerned, like Christianity and Islam, the truth is that nobody can ever produce the original words of the Buddha, Jesus, or Mohammed with absolute certitude because they were illiterate, and did not write anything for posterity, even though all of us venerate them as if they were God, except Mohammed who is just a messenger of God. All articles are very thought-provoking and interesting and deal with different facets of this subject, but none has the authority due to paucity of authentic texts. We can conduct a scholarly textual analysis or comparison, but we do not know the authenticity of any canonical texts in Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. In one of my very first articles, I talked about pseudepigraphy, which scholars have extensively studied in Christianity; most Sri Lankan scholars who study Buddhism are reluctant to open the door of pseudepigraphy in Buddhism because even a mere suggestion of pseudepigraphy evokes a violent reaction in people who suffer from neurosis caused due to the infantile and puerile attachment to Buddhism. My thoughts on Buddhism and politics in Sri Lanka have produced both positive and negative reactions; I have not seen a lukewarm response or an attitude of insouciance when people comment; most people enjoy reading my articles, but that does not mean that they agree with everything that I have to say; that is exactly what it should be. Those who write schizophrenic gibberish are just mental patients. Schizophrenia—the Prevalence Rate is approximately 1.1%—is a serious mental disorder; I have worked on Central Nervous System (CNS)-related diseases for nearly two years. External factors such as reading the articles that I have written can precipitate Schizophrenia, so if you have a vehement and uncontrollable reaction that causes you to spew schizophrenic gibberish when you read my articles, please see a psychiatrist immediately because schizophrenia is highly treatable. So when you are reading my articles, you are inadvertently being tested for schizophrenia.
I am aware of the limitations in any categorical knowledge, and its affirmation or negation. Most scholars, pundits, and professors want “to take their stand upon” the knowledge that they have “grasped,” but I on the other hand am aware of the limitations of human knowledge, its boundaries, categorical affirmation, or negation. There is an unbridgeable gulf and schism that exists between the transcendental level of experience and the level of sense-experience. We are having this experience—this discussion—at our sense-level, not at a transcendental level. Our ongoing discussions are similar to the parable of the blind men and an elephant. We are blind, but not stupid enough to punch each other in the groin. As the commenter “Bruz” has said, like Bruz, I too, “appreciate the different ways of looking at things differently and with a positive, practical approach.” Reading these different ways of thinking gives me enormous, inimitable pleasure. Bliss can be due to stupidity or wisdom; the difference is, with bliss of wisdom, you can float in your bliss, but with stupidity, you will drown in your own bliss.
Rig-Veda declares: Truth is one; sages call it by many names: we are told that the Buddha has said the same thing. And in Dhammapada, we are told: Speak the truth; yield not to anger; when asked, give even if you only have a little. By these three means one can reach the presence of the gods; if you speak or act with a corrupted heart, then suffering follows you; those who mistake the unessential to be essential and the essential to be unessential, dwelling in wrong thoughts, never arrive at the essential; though all his life a fool associates with a wise man, he no more comprehends the Truth than a spoon tastes the flavor of the soup; just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame; a few among men are those who cross to the farther shore. The rest, the bulk, only run up and down hither the bank.
Well, there are more verses in Dhammapada that are pertinent to our ongoing discussion, but I will let you read Dhammapada; there are only 423 verses; when I studied at Nalalnda, I had to memorize about one-third of the Dhammapada for my GCE/OL. Here is my own thought: Those who think that Buddhism is infallible and cannot see beyond Buddhism are born idiots; those who know that Buddhism is fallible and can see beyond Buddhism are wise. This is true for all other religions and dogmas.
The commenter, who identifies as Punchisingho, asked the following question: “Dear Jagath! Kalakarama Sutra or kalarama [sic] Sutra?
Dear Punchisingho, I think you meant Kalama. I was talking about Kalakarama Sutra, not Kalama Sutra in my previous articles. But I have made a plethora of allusions to Kalama Sutra in all of my articles. All my articles are based on both Kalakarama and Kalama Sutras. It is also true about the rest of the teachings of the Buddha, even though we do not know the authenticity of Buddhism: It is also true of other Sutras and other religions.
I think most Buddhists are aware of Kalama Sutra, so that is why I have made numerous allusions to Kalama Sutra to evoke a subliminal reaction: One of my favorite Sutras in Buddhism. The Buddhists who constantly seek for truth, wisdom, and knowledge—but vehemently oppose blind faith, dogmas, and circuitous, specious reasoning—always refer to Kalama Sutra as their source of authority.
Here is the basic question: How are you going separate truth from untruth. The Buddha’s answer was: Rely on your direct knowledge, experience, and constant questioning and testing to identify and separate truth from untruth.; furthermore, the Buddha had admonished not to make your decisions on the veracity of any dogma merely because of history, traditions, hearsay, scripture, supposition, opinions, pundits, and teachers. Even though I have not directly articulated my approach to my own life, it is pretty obvious that I have been following Kalama Sutra since I left my childhood; particularly, since I became a teenager.
Here is Today’s Question: If we are a true Buddhist nation and the protector of Buddhism, why cannot we elect a Buddhist monk as our President? There is only one Buddhist monk who cannot be intimidated by the Rajapaksa clan: Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera. Everybody knows where Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera stands when it comes to our constitution and corruption. He is not only a Sinhala Buddhist, but also an erudite Buddhist monk: a two in one situation. So, what is the purpose of reelecting Mahinda Rajapaksa for the third time? Let’s elect Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera and change our corrupt democracy into a clean theocracy.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently invited Pope Francis—an erudite, decent, wise, spiritual leader like Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama is to Buddhism as the Pope is to Catholicism. So why cannot Gotabaya invite Dalai Lama at the same time so that Pope Francis and Dalai Lama can have a spiritual discussion in Colombo about the plight of Sri Lanka. I would love to be in that audience. I think Mahinda and Gotabaya—there is a possibility that both are working for the American government—are scared of China and have become China’s slaves, sycophants, and brown-noses. Think of what China has done to Tibet. Sri Lanka is a strategic harbor and an airport for the incipient Chinese hegemony, so Sri Lanka will end up like Tibet because we have borrowed so much from China: our next step is slavery. All Sri Lankans should think about this possibility. Do you want to keep borrowing from China to build unnecessary airports and harbors for Sri Lankans but useful for China in the future when we become their slaves? Of course, China is giving unlimited amount of loans to Sri Lanka because, soon, Sri Lanka is going to be next Tibet, and we will have a plethora of Sri Lankan children who look like Chinese men and women: If it is fine with you, then it is fine with me, too. So our only hope is America. I am certain that the chameleon American eyes are fixed upon on our nation.
I have been following politics in Sri Lanka, and it seems to me that the Buddhist monks have enormous political power. Whether it is water in Weliweriya, cocaine of D. M. Jayaratne, or Packer’s casino complex, when Buddhists monks are involved even Gotabaya cannot shoot them. I think the UNP must seek the support of the Buddhist monks—not Mangala Samaraweer’s stick; it is not a good idea for Ranil Wickramasinge to depend on Mangala’s and his sycophants’ sticks; you cannot change a government by using your stick, use your brain, instead; organize massive Satyagrahas (“soul force” or “truth force,”) to protest against corruption and nepotism and challenge the Rajapaksa regime. It seems to me that the Buddhist monks can cow and defeat the Rajapaksa clan; there is no need for another Somarama incident, but Sobitha Thera can defeat the Rajapaksas using his “soul and truth force.” Even the JHU will jump ship; JHU, like the rest of the UPFA, is eagerly waiting for an auspicious occasion while keep fooling the Rajapaksas by giving them the false impression that the JHU is fully behind Rajapaksas. Remember only politics can turn chicken shit into chicken fillet in a picosecond.
Soon, Dalai Lama and Pope Francis will have a public discussion. I have been following both traditions. Pope Francis can learn from Buddhism and Dalai Lama from Christianity. Dalai Lama is the only Buddhist monk who genuflects in front of his followers and devotees. Have you ever seen a simple monk like Dalai Lama in Sri Lanka since Mahind arrived in Sri Lanka in the third century BCE?
I know that most Sri Lankans are very intelligent and they know what the current regime is up to. So, most Sri Lankans are enjoying this charlatan-toad eaters—and their magic show knowing that they are watching an illusion, a maya; only the brain-dead, in a coma like state, keep supporting, yapping, prating, and prattling absurdities with the greatest seriousness about the current regime.