21 July, 2018

Blog

God In The Buddha

By Kapila Abhayawansa

Prof Kapila Abhayawansa

Prof Kapila Abhayawansa

Articles “God In Buddhism?” and “From Siddhartha Gautama to God” written respectively by Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe and Dr. Jagath Asoka appeared in Colombo Telegraph gave me the idea to write something revealing the true nature of popular Buddhist practices. It seems to me that not only both writers but also many amongst us who criticize popular Buddhist activities fail to understand the complex nature, different dispositions and the levels of the understanding of the masses in the world. We cannot put all the people in one category due to diverse mental capacity of the people. There is no one single medicine for all the ailments. The Buddha has understood this situation of the world. He made use of different skillful means to take all the people onto one platform. Once, the Buddha proclaimed: “I do not say that one can win the final knowledge at the very beginning. It is had from a gradual discipline, a gradual mode of action and conduct”.  (na āyatkeneva aññārādhanam vadāmi. Apica anupubba-sikkhā anupubba-kiriyā anupubba-patipadā aññārādhanam hoti.-M.I.479).

Most of the Buddhists not only in Sri lanka but also in all the Buddhist countries irrespective of their traditions such as Theravada, Mahayana and Tantrayana perform popular religious activities in their day to day life. We cannot say that all such activities are based on wrong beliefs. It is true that people practice them with the blind faith without understanding their true values. Originally, such popular practices were introduced to the ordinary people by the Buddhist monks in order to keep them away from the unrighteous and bad activities which are harmful to both themselves and others (pāpā nivārenti) and to encourage them to cultivate Buddhist virtues such as liberality, generosity, gratitude, unity, collective responsibility, respect to the worthy ones and so on (kalyāne nivesenti). Usually, ordinary people are unable to grasp anything without an object or a symbol. Direct lessens of ethics or philosophy wouldn’t be fruitful on them. Moral sense can be implanted in their mind through the symbols. For an example, statue of the Buddha has been taken as an object for veneration as a means to be mindful on the virtues of the Buddha. It should be mentioned that early Buddhism recognizes mindfulness on the virtues of the Buddha (buddhānussati) as one of the meditation subjects. We have to understand original implications of all those activities although most of the people make use of them in the wrong way. I do not find anything wrong there if the people practice them grasping the virtues involved with them as a preparatory measure to reach the subsequent step on the path of wisdom acknowledged by the Buddha.

It should be accepted that the masses belonging to any religion do not have deep knowledge about both doctrinal aspect and the practical aspect of their religions. Therefore, they do not know what their religions mean. They merely take the religion only as a means of help in their grievances. On the other hand, only the popular rights and rituals introduced by the religious hierarchy become their religion as well as their culture. In this respect, it seems that Sri Lankan Buddhist rites and rituals were formed in compatible with the Buddhist virtues. Buddha-pujā, Bodhi-pujā, Cetiya-pujā, Daladā-pujā, calibration of Vaisakha  and the like of the Sri Lankan Buddhists came to practice not only as the religious activities but also as the cultural activities. In the real sense they were introduced by the Buddhist monks who were responsible for establishing Buddhism in Sri Lanka as substitutes for the existed religious customs in the Sri Lankan society when Buddhism came to Sri Lanka. They provide the Buddhist masses the way to achieve good qualities introduced by Buddhism as well as cultural entertainment and recreation.

I read an article written by Sharmini Serasinghe appeared in the Colombo Telegraph entitled ‘Mahawamsa – an Insult to the Buddha’ where vain attempt has been made to ascribe the introduction of religious-cultural events of the Sri Lankan Buddhists to the author of Mahawamsa. What is interesting there was that the writer suggested not reading the article by those who oppose to the contents of the article implying that the facts given there are absolutely true. In reality, Mahanama, the author of Mahawamsa has nothing to do with those events. What he has done was that he has recorded what he has seen in the contemporary socio-cultural background and what he heard from the already existed literature. Even prior to Mahanama there was a tradition of keeping records by the Mahā Vihārins about Buddhist religious events took place time to time in the Sri Lankan Society. Really they were the sources for the later written chronicle literature which include the chronicles such as Bodhiwamsa, Thupawamsa and Dāţhāwamsa. Dipawamsa which is the first chronicle of Sri Lanka written prior to Mahavamsa records most of the facts given in Mahawansa. Therefore, it is injustice to put all the blames on the shoulders of Mahanama.

“By converting the philosophy into a religion, Buddhist monks, also converted the Buddha, into a ‘God’, and themselves, as his ‘Messengers’, who must be revered and worshiped; totally disregarding the Buddha’s words” says Sharmani Serasinghe. This statement is totally wrong in Buddhist point of view. Buddhism is not a philosophy in the modern sense of the word. It is really a way of life based on a doctrine which supposed to be personally verified by the Buddha. If we think that Buddhism is a philosophy for a moment, then what is the use of such a philosophy when it is not used into the practice? Most important requirement for a doctrine for its application in the life of the people is to have a confidence on the master and his doctrine. In this respect there is no problem with the intelligent people to have a confidence of the doctrine as they can understand the value of it. But, in the case of ordinary people some other method should have to be followed. Target of the Buddha was not only the intelligent people. Therefore, Buddhist monks who understood the value of Buddhism wanted to have shared it with maximum possible number of people. Therefore, the master, his doctrine and the followers of the doctrine (Buddha, Dhamma and the Samgha) should have to be highlighted in the mind of the people. No one can find anything wrong there. Buddhist monk did not want to have Buddhism as a philosophy confined only to the scriptures. We must not forget fact fact that today we are fortunate enough to talk about Buddhism as the result of the works of those monks. If they did not appear as “his messengers who must be revered and worshiped’ there would not have been even the scriptures of Buddhism.

Here I am not trying to say that all these religio-cultural activities of the Sinhala Buddhists are taking place in Sri Lankan society in the pure form without any blemish. As they are living practices, they also are subject to the admixture of corruptive elements which, is taking place in every sphere of the modern global human society due to different reasons. That the most of the present monks in Sri Lanka who are under the sway of currant global craving for luxuries abuse those practices for their living means is an another story..  What is important in this respect is not to uproot the whole thing but to present constructive critics in order to highlight the hidden values involved in them and to enlighten the people to choose what should be taken and what should be abandoned by them in their practices. That may be the duty of those who think themselves as broad minded and wise in the words of Sharmani.

When we come to the point of God in the Buddha, it is certain that no any Buddhist take the Buddha as the creator God who is the object of prayers in theistic religions. Specifically, Theravada Buddhists who have the religious education believe that the Buddha was a human being who acquired super human qualities (uttari munassa-dhamma) by his own effort with his enlightenment. And also they know that the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha are not in a position to give the followers what is expected from the God by the theistic followers. But, the ordinary Buddhists also as the human beings have an idea in a corner of their mind to the effect that there is a hidden power in an unseen world which can help them for the requirements where their material means are unsatisfactory to achieve them. The deviating point of the Buddhists from those who are theistic is that Buddhists ascribe that hidden power to the virtues of the Buddha or Triple Gem. On the other hand even the ordinary Buddhists do not believe that the hidden power of the virtues of the Buddha has anything to do with the creation, maintenance and destruction of the world which are assigned to the work of the Almighty God.

“If you are a Buddhist, you need God more than the Buddha”. Says Dr.Jagath Asoka. I cannot understand on what ground he expressed this Idea. On what data he can have generalization to the effect that “It is a fact that God resides in our minds”. Further,  It seems that he does not want to criticize his view when he says that “I think they are not only fooling themselves but also are trying to fool the rest of us: He has already labeled one who is going to reject his idea as fool. But, I say even with JA’s label of fool that God resides in the mind of one who has no proper critical knowledge of the concept of God. The concept of God is quite similar to the concept of soul in their origin for both arise in the speculative mind and not in the actuality. Emanuel Kant, a great German philosopher going in the line of Buddhism is of the opinion that both soul and God are a Priori concepts of the pure reason which is the faculty of speculation. Both are subject to affirmation and negation which result nothing. When one is conscious of the conflicts in reason generating from affirmation and negation, the concept of God ceased to be in one’s mind.

According to Dr. Jagath Asoka that the Buddha’s first two verses in Dhammapada about mind are an allusion to God. This is really a gross misunderstanding of the characteristics of the mind presented in those two verses in the Dhammapada. In this respect another misconception of JA is reflected from his explanation of the term ādicca-bandhu. It is true that one of the epithets of the Buddha is ādiccabandhu which means relative of the sun. The Buddha gets this epithet as the sākya clan to which Siddhārtha Gautama belonged is believed to be descended from Surya-wamsa. It seems that the description given in the Buddhist Proper names by G. P. Malalasekera is wrongly taken by JA. The term ādiccabandhu does not anyway suggest that the Buddha is considered as God. What I have to emphasis here is that touching the teaching of the Buddha from here and there leads to the misrepresentation of the Buddha.

*Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa, Vice Rector, International Buddhist College, Thailand

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    I find some of Prof.Kapila Abhayawansa’s views on Popular Buddhism, quite archaic and not relevant in a modern world.

    As a former Roman Catholic, converted to Buddhism, through conviction of the Buddhist philosophy, I find it strange that a Professor of Buddhism, should regard it as a religion and not a philosophy.

    In contrast, I can easily relate to Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe’s and Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe’s articles on the subject.

  • 5
    0

    Have this Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa, Vice Rector, International Buddhist College, Thailand ever lived in Sri Lanka? If yes, then is he suffering from some kind of Amnesia?

    Being a professor in a Buddhist institution, it is alright to talk about all the good things about Buddhism, Buddha and is teachings but he is pretending as if he does not know about the actual Buddhist practices in Sri Lanka which is against Buddha’s teachings.

    Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe, Dr. Jagath Asoka and Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe have exposed the actual facts, the situation that is prevailing in Sri Lanka, the Buddhist practices that degrades Buddhism and insults the Buddha. If Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa was a genuine Buddhist, he should have commended these people for exposing the truth. He should have addressed the issues, what is true Buddhism, why these practices are bad (against Buddha’s teachings) and how to remedy them instead of criticizing them.

    Let me ask Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa,

    Are the Buddhist monks (samgha) in Sri Lanka practicing Ahimsa (non-violence), Karuna (compassion), Metta (affection), and Maithriya (loving-kindness) towards fellow humans (irrespective of race/religion) or are they in the name of Buddhism promoting ethno-religious (Sinhala-Buddhist) chauvinism and hatred?

    The Sinhala-Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka are the most corrupt, most racist, and the most dangerous. Buddhist monks are supposed to have given up all the worldly things (Materialism) but in Sri Lanka, it’s a different story. The Sinhala-Buddhist Monks are Corrupt to the Core.

    These so called Sinhala-Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka do business, handle money, have Bank accounts and apply for Bank loans. It was found that a very large number of Sinhala-Buddhist monks had invested money in Sakvith Ranasighe’s illegal financial companies. They even sell the ata pirika (robes and other stuff) that the people donate them to earn money. Some of them are even employed. They engage in gambling, buy and sell shares, buy lottery tickets and so on. See the number of Pin-keta (tills) in the Buddhist temples. What they do with all the money they collect? Most of the culprits caught in printing fake currency notes were found to be Sinhala-Buddhists monks. They make money by selling the Car permits given to them. They print, record and sell books, magazines and Bana/pirith CDs, etc. and earn thousands of rupees in a short period.

    Buddha Business has made the Sinhala Buddhist monks very rich. They own bungalows and real estates and have luxury cars and vans, employing drivers. Very soon they will also apply for driving license. They also have the latest most expensive mobile phones, lap tops, etc. They do not go from house to house with the begging bowl as instructed by the Buddha, instead the villages bring food to the temple and also the Sinhala Buddhist monks employ cooks in the temple. We have also seen Sinhala Buddhist monks selling posters, begging for money, going from door to door asking money. Buddhist-monk led politicians wheeling and dealing in imported Mercedes Benz and being caught with the pants down illegally selling tax-free motor vehicles.

    They grow hair and make themselves attractive, adopt customs, habits and lifestyles like normal people, have secret love affairs, some of them live in boarding houses instead of temples, they listen to music and watch movies and have illegal sex with women or young boys. They keep mistresses in the temple (Buddhrakitha Thero and Ms. Vimala Wijewardene), and even take part in criminal/terrorist activities such as assassinating Prime minister (Somarama thero). Some of them drink alcohol, I have heard about monks who even keep Beer in their fridge. Some of them even form trade unions/associations; there was a time when the leader of the Nurses trade union in Sri Lanka was a Sinhala-Buddhist monk.

    Some of them perform false miracles and pretend to heal sick people with pirith water. They tie pirith thread and bless people expecting the people to fall on their legs and worship them. Some of them preach their own Bana (sermon) instead of Buddha`s Bana. Some of them even recite benedictory verses (seth kavi) and to curse (vas kavi) for the gods (devas).

    The Sinhala Buddhist monks were War mongers, they supported and encouraged war. They take part in racist politics criticizing and condemning all other religions and races and creating communal hatred among Sinhala Buddhists and others. They take part in protest rallies, burning flags and effigies and also engage in fast unto death and now, self-immolation. Some Buddhist monks shredded their robes to take AK-47s and earn more respect. We saw how monks were involved in brawl in the parliament with blood soaked faces. The Sinhala Buddhist monks lobbed a grenade at the Shah Rukh Khan show in Colombo. At present the Sinhala Buddhist monks are engaged in violence against the Muslims and Christians. They stormed the Fashion Bug, verbally abused the Muslims (hambaya, goni billa), and threw rotten eggs at shoppers, attacked and destroyed several Mosques and Churches.

    Another new trend is the love for eating non-veg food (Meat and fish) among Sinhala-Buddhists monks. A new school seems to see nothing wrong in Buddhists eating animal flesh (including fish). An article by Ven. Dr. Vilegoda Ariyadeva thero, a former University of Ruhuna academic is a giant step toward guilt-free `Buddhism-friendly` meat eating. Dr. Ariyadeva thero claims meat eating is customary in Theravada Buddhist societies. Now a days when the Sinhala-Buddhists monks visit houses for Arms-giving (Daane) they expect expensive sea food and sometimes meat too. There are also Sinhala-Buddhists monks in Sri Lanka consuming food/drink in the afternoons/night even though they are not supposed to do so.

    Even though Buddhism does not have any caste system, caste is used among Sinhala Buddhist monks more than lay people. Different nikayas are formed according to the caste.

    Most of the Sinhala Buddhist Monks do not even follow the 5 basic moral principles (Pancha sila) what Buddha has preached. These monks are a damn disgrace to Buddhism? The Buddhism preached by the Sinhala Buddhist monks is no longer able to provide any vision or guidance or constructive power but are only occupied in maintaining their own petty positions in an already atrophied hierarchy resting on a utterly disillusioned and rapidly crumbling society from which the spirit has long since departed. They have subordinated the interests of the society to national goals and the narrow ambitions of nationalist and racist leaders. Not only the Indians but even the Sri Lankan Tamils gave up Buddhism and accepted Hinduism. Even if someone advice them to return to Buddhism, for the Tamils to go back to Buddhism, has 2500 years of Buddhism in Sri Lanka (the so called Dhammadveepa) influenced any major changes in the Sinhala society (the so called guardians of Buddhism chosen by none other than the Buddha) in terms of attitude, character, behavior, morality and so on or has it failed very miserably?

    And that is what good Sri Lankan Buddhists like Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe, Dr. Jagath Asoka and Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe have exposed very clearly elaborating the facts in their articles.

    • 4
      0

      suresh, you should have published this as an article; it is too good to be just a comment; please send this as an article and give others a chance to read your valuable contribution to this on going discussion.

      Very interesting article, very rare and excellent writing style. Please be a contributor to this website; I have been reading articles written by PhDs and MDs, and they write there opinions as if Colombo Telegraph is a peer- reviewed journal. This is common in people who are teaching at universities and colleges; they think they are writing a scientific paper, instead they must write so that their grandmothers can understand their opinions.

      Please keep writing; you are an excellent writer.   

      • 0
        0

        Jagath you may be right. But I still feel attacking all those abusive monks to disgrace all lanken monks cant bring us forward. What our motives as average buddhist should be what steps we should take if we want buddhist monks to behave as had been decades ago in the county? What is the difference between public hate speeches deliberately being made by BBS and our discussions on this platform ?
        Is it not the politicians that need to respond all the abusive activities becoming routine in the country to this day ? Suresh has added them clearly the manner how some monks have stayed out of their temple to continue the mentioned businesses.

        There exists a ministry of buddhist affairs to function if increasing numbers of buddhist monks become no others to some lay people. So the authorities should act against all these individuals sometimes even not respecting them being Sanga but giving the priority to the law and order. Those monks should behave in compliance with ethical code that the sange in general must have respect. If they cant respect them, the law prevailing in the country should work on them too.

        I truly believe, it is the lack of rule of law in the country is accountable for all the miseries that the country faces to this day.

        • 1
          1

          Aney idiot,

          If the buddhist monks are not acting along with the Buddhist vinaya the state cant intervine. That is their right as a person in their private space to engage in anything. In the eyes of the state and the law they are just civilians. State will intervene if they break any law in constitution. State cant intervene if they didnt act according to Buddhist vinaya.

          That is very simple to grasp.

          • 0
            0

            sach,

            You are arguing from a very shallow mind. On one hand the Constitution of the country commands that the government must protect Buddhism but on the other you argue the government cannot do any thing to protect Buddhism and take refuge in human rights stories. Just come out of the shell and face reality. What the government must do is to facilitate and arrange a gathering of all sangas and religious leaders and interested parties and create a forum to discuss all the contemporary religious issues in the country and let a set of recommendations to evolve so that the present degradation may be put to end or at least controlled. Instead of doing that the regime is creating BBS, Ravana, Sinhala Ravaya and pouring petrol into the fire. In hind sight are you one of BBS?

        • 0
          0

          To get answers to your questions, you need to go back to Sharmini Serasinghe’s article that is where all these started. Just for us to understand these, let say they are two time periods of thinking patterns, one is before the Ms. Serasinghe’s article and after the article. You need cross the boundary line and come to “after the article” time period. Otherwise it is going to be grinding the sane batter again and again. This is the problem that you can see in Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa’ s article. Though he had done a though analysis on the parts he wrote, he refused to cross the boundary and come into the new lights.
          For a joke, sometimes there is a silly questions asked by peoples whether the hen came first or the egg came first. If you do not want to touch the science or evolution theory, practically it is very difficult to answer that question. Basically your question is also ending up in that range. So it appears it is difficult to answer it. That is why I advised you to go to the very first article on this series
          If my younger brother or sister comes and ask me question in subject of Biology, certainly I would not bring the Economics book that read recently, I would bring the biology book and browse through it to find the answer to give the child. That is what you are trying to do here. That is why when you perceive that Ms. Serasinghe’s article is originating from religious problem; you seek to answer it with a religious solution.
          Once, Sri Lanka had a name “Granary of the East”. As recently as 1956, the Trading Account Balance sheet was favorable to the country and mainly western countries owed that money to Sri Lanka. Country was as rich as South Korea. In education, Sri Lanka stood next to Japan, in the east. In those days a medical graduate from Sri Lanka can go to Britain and have the name registered with the relevant board and start practice. There was no professional barrier for Sri Lankan graduates those days. When Soulbury decided on Ceylon’s constitution, practically he exactly matched with the British Constitution, because his observances suggested that political maturity of the Sri Lankans were as high as the western world. These are not election campaign propaganda words like “Sri Lankan Singapore, Asian Wonder and Japan of Indian Ocean…. “.These was true. And further to these, you know somebody else here using name the Like Dhamma Deepa and so others.
          But the situation now is not so. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most indebted nations. On the press murders and violence, Sri Lanka is 169 out of 173 countries. Prime Minister’s Office is accused of authorizing contrabands. Coastal Islands being sold to outsiders. Fishing rights are given out. Near to Goal Face, an Island in the Ocean being built to VIP use only. Many lacks even huts to live. Defense Ministry is accused of arms smuggling. White van kidnapping, tourists’ deaths and many other mysteries are happening.
          Country’s Chief Justice was dismissed with a snatch of the fingers just like that. 17th amendment gone, 18th amendment came in.
          Practically there are no oppositions in Sri Lanka. Government claims, for another 20 years, there cannot be another that party can come to power.
          So the question is what happened to the country’s democratic system and from where the current dictators drawing the power from to do all these destruction. The truth of the matters is, to do these, the power hungry politician have been pointing their fingers towards Tamils all these times. Tamils are gone. But the politicians stills in need of powers. So they are looking for new sources and creating BBS like gangs and turning them towards Muslims and other communities. It looks like there is no redemption for the country in the near future. This is why Ms. Serasinghe’s wanted to abandon all the failed analysis methods and wanted look in non-conventional way of seeing the sources of the problems.
          That is why she pointed the misguidance that took place even in the early ages like Mahanama. Because of the complexity of finding fault of the politics in part of the religion, she preconditioned her article to only those who are prepared to willing to understand that. Here, you can see that when you ask your questions of Biology your brother is coming with his book of Economics to answer it. It is reasonable to wonder how he is going to answer your question.
          What many writers are attempting is looking for way to cut off the pipe line that is feeding the corrupt politicians the power they need to destroy the country. In that process, you are little bit carried away by Suresh long laundry list of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks misbehaviors. If you look again at Ms. Serasinghe’s article, you will understand many of Suresh problems are not her problems. The main problem sited there is religious ideas and philosophy that has been twisted into power supplying engines to corrupted politicians.
          This is where Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa misunderstood the meaning of Ms. Serasinghe’s article and tuned the debate into religious debate. Once again, the writers hate here is not the Buddhist monks’ misbehaviors. Actually, the Sri Lankan Buddhism being the source of power supply for the political corruption is the part they hate. So in this way of analysis, it is without any doubt, started by Mahanama. Absolutely, Mahanama is in no way responsible for current days’, out of control monks smoking dopes and sleeping with wrong women. Even though that kind of misbehaviors are surly found very excessive scale in the Sri Lankan Buddhist Monk community, but that is a minor problem compared Sri Lankan Buddhism creating other political problems. When you reorganize the main body of religious Philosophy, thinking and customs these types of behavioral problems will be minimized, but they may not be completely eradicated. But, the problems of religion using it power to manipulate the country’s politics has to completely wipe out.
          You are looking to fix the religious question through politics. That is conventional way. That is what happened in the recent history of the western world too. At the same time, now, you may understand that the writers here are looking for a solution to the country’s political situation by fixing the religion. This is the part, in your questions, creating the egg and the hen complexity.

      • 0
        1

        ha ha what a mental patient this man is, not an ordinary one an attention seeking one!

    • 0
      0

      Suresh Brilliant stuff.
      I refuse read artciles about Sri Lanka Sihala Buddhism for all the reasons you have articulated here.

    • 0
      0

      They also practice medicine – without any training in the discipline.

    • 1
      1

      Let me answer your accusations in point form.

      1. Buddhist monks in SL are corrupt, business minded and not much into the Vinaya in Buddhism. –

      As in any religious organization monks in SL too are prone to corruption. Buddhists in SL accept there are corrupt monks and many reject such monks. Actually such monks lose people’s support as soon as their deeds are revealed. And I don’t reject monks in SL (some of them) do not live according to the vinaya. That is a problem that existed in Buddha’s time too not specific to lankan Buddhist monks. In such occasions Buddha asked them to leave the sanga. If Buddhist monks are corrupt and do things against the law of this country, the state can act against them. There is no special protection for them. However if the monks do not act according to Buddhist vinaya, no one would be banishing them or state cant intervene. There is no religious police in Buddhism that acts against monks who not living according to Buddhist vianaya. Buddhists think if these monks goes against vinaya that they will face their bad karma in the future or just shun them. We don’t go policing around them. Corrupt, money minded and lustful monks are not something special to Buddhist monks in SL. Even in India I have heard many stories of Hindu priests doing exactly the same. The same applies to church and mosque. This is what happens when unsuitable people enter monkhood.

      2. Buddhist monks in SL are racist. ————————————-

      Some may be, some may not be. I don’t reject that racist Buddhist monks are in SL, there are. At the same time there are many who are not. For example Dimbulagala monk was murdered by LTTE in early 90s, but in 2004 Tsunami, the tamil villagers in that area were given refuge in the very temple that Dimbulagala monk lived. There can be racist monks as there can be racist people in any society. For example Rayappu Joseph is a known supporter of LTTE, terrorists. He is accused of discriminating against Sinhala catholics as well. Does that mean the whole Tamil catholic monks in SL are racist? NO!

      3. they do not go with the begging bowl as the Buddha does. ———————————

      So what? Going with a begging bowl is not a must for a Buddhist monk. This just displays your ignorance on Buddhism and its practices.

      4. Monks are not vegetarian. ———- Again, so what? Vegetarianism is not in Buddhism. Even Buddha rejected it. I mentioned this elsewhere. If any monk wants to be a vegetarian he can but it is not a must. That is the case for Theravada Buddhism whether it is in SL or Thailand.

      5. Sinhala Buddhist monks are war mongers and supported and encouraged war. —————————————– So the war continued in SL because, Buddhist monks in SL supported it. If we go with your logic majority of the commentators here are war mongers. SL didn’t sustain a war, SL was defending her territory. The ones who sustained and supported a war, we all know who they are. Also even if SL monks took the side of war, why cant they do that? They are entitled to have an opinion on any issue and they too have political rights like everyone in SL have. –

      6. Monks practice caste system ————————————- I have mentioned before how it came into being. This was started in Kandyan perion. Many kings came with a Hindu background and they were believers of a caste system. As these kings had to touch the feet and worship all monks whatever the caste they come from, they adopted a new strategy. These kings started a new monk order that ordained people only from high caste and treated these monks.

      7. Sri Lankan Tamils gave up Buddhism and adopted Hinduism. —— ———– In India Buddhists were persecuted by Hindu kings and many attempts were made to convert them. Actually the Buddha in Bagavat Geetha as an Avatar of Vishnu is an attempt to absorb the remaining Buddhists in India. That is how Buddhism was lost in india. Same way the invading armies from TN made Sri Lankan Buddhists, Hindus by force and murder. Much like the religion of peace!

      • 0
        0

        sach,

        “..Also even if SL monks took the side of war, why cant they do that? They are entitled to have an opinion on any issue and they too have political rights like everyone in SL have..”

        Many of your observations are logical, but above is somewhat problematic. When a person is ordained in Buddhasasana then he virtually discards these laymen political rights etc. and enters much more disciplined, deep and sacred space of behavior and conduct. In the eyes of the layman the monk still has those rights and no doubt about that but fundamentally there is no point in arguing in those lines because war, nationalism, patriotism, racism, violence, prejudice etc. all become antithetical to Buddha’s teachings and there to the monks thinking, conduct and behavior. His mission then becomes love and compassion for all life. Buddha’s deep and profound teachings have transcended far beyond the layman’s human rights stories and therefore the inspiration for monk’s thoughts and conduct must definitely source from the most sacred depths of human consciousness or may be from beyond human imagination.

        To elucidate just a simple aspect of these great teachings: “the innocent mind” means not only a mind that is not capable of hurting others but a mind that is incapable of being hurt by others. When we say we are innocent are we really innocent? Do we have such minds? These are the practical aspects of these great and profound characteristics of human mind. Each and every one has to delve deep into his own consciousness and observe these things taking place in everyday life. It is only through such observation and learning that one can see the transformation of one’s own mind. No religion or any one can give us the understanding of ourselves, we have to do it ourselves. The precondition to all this is that there must be complete order in our lives. But have can that happen when the collective consciousness and the governments we have created spread more anarchy, misery, disorder, corruption, crimes and ignorance. When the very agents of the religions supposed to salvage man from misery become the agents and harbingers of evil what hope do we have? The problems become deeper harder the more we understand them. The more trivial, funnier and more edavela tours we become as the ordinary Sri Lankans do the merrier and somier the life becomes!

        So what must we do to get out of this? The key to it is to peel off the onion. We peel off what is incompatible with the very values we strive after. When we really want to get rid of corruption we will cease to associate with it or whoever corrupt. We will reject to give bribes, everybody collectively must support that cause. It must become a principle of our lives. If the ruler is corrupt we will disown any dealings with him and ensure that he is ousted, tried and sent to jail for doing that. This is the beginning of social order. We must begin with the more prominent irregularities and then go into more subtle things like desire, hate, jealousy, religion, god etc. not vice versa.

        • 0
          0

          sach,

          My above comment was posted before I read the brilliant comment by Suresh only after reading of whose comment I understood the full implications of your comment. It is before I understood the full picture that I replied to you. In fact whole of your reply is a futile attempt to counter Suresh’s factual revelation. I now understand you are of the same ill bred pedigree as JimSofty and are on the payroll of the MARA’s regime.

  • 1
    0

    I give up commenting because I am repeating myself; I am elated to see some commenters who are brilliant and excellent writers; if I have not commented on your comments it is because I just gave up; too many brilliant people and I feel like a dwarf. I need to eat breakfast now. It is mooring in Pennsylvania!

  • 1
    0

    Thanks to a forum as CT, it has enabled a few of us to objectively criticise some unethical practices by vested interest to project such as part and parcel of the Buddhist Philosophy, which was never the case. This habit has been introduced not yesterday or day before, but from the time Mahawamsa has been documented and the Buddhist laity has obediently accepted the position. However today with the enhancement of knowledge and the development of the media, we are in a position to point out and rectify before things go completely out of hand as seen by the actions of forces as BBS, Ravana, JHU et al. Our actions are frowned upon by some and cheered excessively by another lot who has a different agenda. Therefore we should be mindful of both. Then there are the moderates who have awoken to reality, who also sees the danger if things are allowed to be misinterpreted.

    Who are those who frown? They are the lot who want to use Buddhism for their personal gain, for self aggrandizement and not to seek emancipation of one’s self from life’s sorrow. They want the Sinhala Buddhists to be ganged up together, by speculating imagined threats from outside, claiming the Sinhala Buddhists are at risk. This is a craft of the Corrupt regime of the Rajapaksas knowing the strength by the numbers of the Sinhala Buddhists in the country. One can easily see by the comments of the apologists of MR in these columns how they reacted to Sharmini Serasinghe, Jagath Asoka and Shaymon Jayasinghe denouncing them outright for having highlighted the shortcomings which have been sugar coated all this while for the Gullible Sinhala Buddhists in the country. Now these same critics ironically praise anyone who ventures to protect the system currently practiced as Mahawamsa Theravadha Buddhism of the BBS type.

    Then there are some Muslims who have been relentlessly cheering when we have been pointing the short comings of the Intolerant Buddhists. My advise to them is that we as Buddhists are in a position to question our faith much older than yours of the practices under the guise of Buddhism without fatwas being declared on us. Therefore it is time without being blindly fanatical that you all adjusted to practice Islam in a more moderate manner, acceptable to civilised social standards, to avoid conflict. I have seen a few moderate Muslims as WhyWhy airing his views in this forum and I know a few more personally holding common threads on Religion but are prevented interacting with others by harsh beliefs of some. The infighting of the Muslims alone is evidence that Islam is no different from other Religions for man’s quest on life.

  • 0
    2

    This is for the Psychotherapist, SUREAH and for other Anti-Sinhala buddhistss;

    Out of the triple gems, Buddhist Sangha is the closest to lay people. Most Sangha members are not enlightened people. Because of that they make mistakes in their lives. That is why There is one long samsara to correct our mistakes. buddhism does not scare humans as the christianity or ISlam do. buddhism hands over one’s destiny to oneself. SO, if some sangha members engage in unbuddhist practices they will carry that BAD KARMA into their next life. No one has to worry about that. Only they, DOERS, have to worry about that.

    Unenlightened means those people are still attracted to and attached material things. So, if some Sri Lankan buddhist sangha show those human nature, that is completely normal.

    JAGATH ASOKA, SHAMINI SERASINGHE are christians who are trying to present as buddhists and try to destroy Sinhala – buddhist culture.

    Sri Lankan buddhist Sangha always help to protect the country. Long ago it was from Tamils and now it is from Tamils and two major faiths which are fighting each other to dominate ASIA.

    For them, Buddhism is a threat as Buddhism believes no creator.

    JAGATH ASOKA should talk about why 10-15% of the EVANGELICAL CHURCH PRIESTS IN THE USA aare HIV_ADIS POSTIVE. YEt, they make AFRICA a HOMOPHOBIC country by influenceing the govts.

    SHAMI”NI SERASINGHE should talk about why the ANGLICAN CHURCH WENT BANKRUPT, why the Arch bishop stepped down, why the Church Head is a Woman from a DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY, and why the anglican Church was murderous in the past etc., etc.,

  • 0
    0

    I think lot of non Buddhist academics or even non practising Buddhist misunderstand the significance of rituals practised in Buddhism(in SL and else where). Although to an outsider looking in it might seem totally against Buddhist teachings, it would be a big mistake to think that people engaged in rituals do not have a proper understanding of Buddhism. To give one example prostrating in front of Buddha statue – for an outsider this might seem like a foolish thing to do as its only a stone image of Buddha who has ceased to be. but the act of going down on your knees in front of a piece of stone actually erodes ones ego thus teaching one to be more humble. Like wise each ritual is actually promoting a quality that would make you a better person. This is why you feel different when u enter a place of worship whether Buddhist or otherwise. So don’t come to the conclusion people doing rituals are blinded, they may have better understanding of real Buddhism than you.

  • 0
    0

    Thanks Mahadana Muththa and Jagath.
    Suresh,
    “…The Sinhala-Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka are the most corrupt, most racist, and the most dangerous. Buddhist monks are supposed to have given up all the worldly things (Materialism) but in Sri Lanka, it’s a different story. The Sinhala-Buddhist Monks are Corrupt to the Core….”
    I totally agree. We can blame not only for them but also politicians, media and many others for years, but what will be the end? It will affect to only our own self negatively, but shall never rectify the error. What you have seen and pointed out was, just the tip of the iceberg.
    Let me bring your attention to the caste system of India, explained in Bagavad Geetha. Any human society consists of four classes of people by karma (Action; they performed, not by birth), Brahmins(Highest intelligent class), Kshatriya (Authorised rulers), Vishay’s (Merchants), and Sudras (Labours). This is universally applicable categorization, yet misunderstood by even most of the Hindus. It does not mean, Born to a Sudra class father, must remain as Sudra for the rest of the life.
    In modern society, Brahmins are nothing but the advisory class. Among them highest will be religious priest and then Doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. Thirdly, people who are able to handle the society by transform them as a whole such as all types of artists, all types of media etc. Being intelligent, advance in spiritually with high morals and values they are naturally not running behind material benefit much.
    Now imagine, what will happen if the advisory class is hijacked by the most corrupted, lower caste,( I mean the lowest class by Karma) people? That is what happened to our country. If, the advisory class is corrupted, destruction of that society cannot be avoided.
    In addition, your list, doctor rape patient and kill, use web cam in female toilet, what to talk about lawyers? Jada media justifying all corruption and artists doing 2nd class politics. (Good Brahmins, if any, please excuse me)
    Can we blame any individual for this? I say no. The reason is, it is intelligent scholar’s job engaging in researching the history, learnt lessons, study customs and traditions, study from other nations, countries, religions and identify errors and rectifying, organize proper education, plan future and so on.
    For this, scholars must remove their attachment first. Instead flattering ourselves, they must be able to drop any customs or tradition straightaway without any question all those not going to contribute to be good at the human kind.
    I believe, Religions is doing most important job to keep any nation in the right track. If we are not in the right track, we must research it and find answers. But we never learnt any lesson for more than 2000 years. No single scholar has deeply studied why Sankaracharya wanted wiped out Buddhism from India. I have discussed this with many but end up with fairy tales.
    I am not questioning the authority of Buddhism. I am questioning why Theravada Buddhism not transforms humans in to higher level. I have same question for Islam as well. Religion is for transform humans internally. Then why they need Sharia low? Low and punishments are for people who unable to transform internally.
    Thanks everybody, and CT for this opportunity to discuss our burning issue. Good start and please continue this discussion for not only benefit for the human being, but also if you want to see a better world for your grand-grandchildren.

  • 0
    0

    One of the reasons Buddhism has lost its meaning and respect among the people is the nonsensical blaring of “Buddhist stuff” using loudspeakers. Most of the time it is “play back Buddhism” using a CD or Pen Drive while the monk even may not be in the temple or having a “five-fold organs feasting” relationship with a woman in closed doors! The other farce is invoking Buddhist branded observances in every event in the society be it opening of a toilet, foundation laying, 1st of January, embarking on a sexual relationship by a man and a woman called marriage, poya day etc. (incidentally these Buddhist morons think Poya Day is reserved for Buddhists!). This collective hysteria get registered in the minds of the witnessing parties and consequently their minds are conditioned such that the Buddhism is what they witness everywhere in the country.

    If further degradation of the teachings is to be prevented all over volume and disproportionate loudspeaker blaring of Buddhism, Electronic and Electrical Thoran and pandol display, monks engaging in teaching and politics, monk maintaining bank accounts with excessive amounts of balances etc. must be banded by law. Today these monks and businessmen are selling Buddhism.

  • 0
    0

    Prof Kapila Abhayawansa,

    Thank you so much for the excellent balance criticism and educating us on the deep implications and facts about these things. I translated the whole post to one of my friends to explain how to look at these things in a broader perspective.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Teacher.
    It is really nice and constructive article for the present generation who have the scanty knowledge about Buddhist ground but say something as they are all in all. In this article your fine and wise judgement about the root of Buddhism come out truly with balance manner. Thank you very much for your deep knowledge about Buddhism sharing with us.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.