19 October, 2019

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Halt Religious Indoctrination: 18 Should Be Made In Law The Age Of Ordination To Clergy

By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

Ismail Aslama, a seven-year-old male child of Muslim parentage, is no more. He is now Rathnapure Siri Sudarshanalankara/Sudarshanalankaram. The conversion took place recently when his father, Hameed Ismail, brought him to the Dimbulagala Forest Monastery (Aranya Senasanaya – there is also the Dimbulagala rock) and subsequently Chief Incumbent of the Monastery, Millane Siriyalankara ordained him as a monk in the Buddhist faith. The boy’s mother is abroad (working as a housemaid in the Middle East) and allegedly reported to be missing (or perhaps not in touch). According to Siriyalankara, the child is now residing alongside children from different ethnic groups such as Sinhala, Tamil and Veddah children who have been ordained into the sasana/sangha (monkhood/clergy). The indoctrination complete, consent be damned, all seems well in the earthly kingdom of organized and institutionalized religion. The scourge of poverty and parental neglect of children has once again reared its ugly head.

In 2001 June, within a house with a well-manicured lawn in an affluent suburb of Houston, Texas, United States (US), a cast and crew of Biblical characters were found dead. They were namely Noah Jacob, John Samuel, Paul Abraham, Luke David and Mary Deborah and were between the ages of six months to seven years. Some of them lay prone, floating face down in a bathtub while some lay in it supine like overturned puffer fish, marinating in a boggy murk of their urine, feces and vomitus, bloated and snug in their amniotic grave, and still some more lay supine on a bed (sister in the crux of a brother’s arm and the arm of the brother slung over her protectively), all physical forms of the elfin like cherubim tattooed with a stigmatic rictus of contusions. Cause of death: asphyxia by drowning. Was the tragic and unfortunate incident, a case of death by misadventure, in this instance one due to overzealous skinny dipping gone awry? What it eventually turned out to be was a killing/murder for the purpose of obtaining eternal salvation for the deceased. The flotsam and jetsam, damned to eternal life. The family dog caged, the husband, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer called at work, the mother of the dead, a registered nurse and high school valedictorian proceeded to confess of her flesh and blood and of youthful innocence snuffed.

Of interest to the Sri Lankan case mentioned above is the fact that their infanticidal and filicidal yet loving and sacrificial (“I didn’t want my kids to go to hell.”) mother, who for years had been on the long days’ journey into madness, a clinical case of severe post-partum major depressive disorder with psychotic features and suicidal and homicidal ideation, during a disoriented and cryptic rambling made as a series of responses to questions posed by a psychiatrist while in Police custody, made mention of her children stumbling and of a burdensome feeling of guilt of having placed a stumbling block on their path. In a particularly satanic verse she is quoted as saying “It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren’t righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.” The Bible in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke is littered with references to the fate befitting those who cause little ones to stumble – thrown to the sea necklaced with a noose of millstone. All is not so well in the earthly kingdom.

What, one may ask was the stumbling block placed on their path and what if at all is the parallel between the two narratives of delusions? The parallel is religious belief.

In both the cases, religion has proven the stumbling block. All religions theistic or otherwise, such as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, are a volatile mélange of superstition and dogma. Should the right to think freely or to exercise free thought be sullied by being taught what to think instead of how and worse still being taught drivel which stunts and maims cognitive action, is prejudicial to the imagination and stifles independent thinking, not to mention giving birth to paralyzing neuroses? In the case of the latter, the vividly perceived consequences of concepts of sin and karma, truth and falsehood, right and wrong, (fire and brimstone), have for centuries held back individuals from giving expression to their destinies and from turning their natural curiosity piqued by education and wanderlust inwards towards traipsing the terra incognita of their inner life of the mind and the heart and the outer world. Children have a right to be protected from thus and all are duty bound regarding such.

Religion is the bully at the pulpit, the totem which is the main culprit behind the thought process of telling individuals what to think, usurping passion by breeding masochism through prostration, veneration, submission and subservience, all the while providing the illusion of choice whilst feeding the potion of faith. That religion is the foundational basis of ethics and the bedrock of morality has been confidently proven as being not only a historical fallacy of fact but also a logical fallacy. Morality and ethics existed prior to the formation of religions and religions at a later date sought dominion over such matters. Also of note is the fact that all religions do not say the same. There are a plethora of inconsistencies and incompatibilities between them. Some of it is simply bad ideas and crooked are its ways. Temples, churches and mosques and the like are apothecaries of dogma and superstition.

However, this does not vindicate not teaching religious texts which have much in the way of literary and aesthetic value (in for an example iconography) and socio-cultural and anthropological interest in terms of religious rituals, traditions, heritage and practices, to appreciate their meanings and participate in either requires no belief in a religion. Being educated of and being in full possession of the facts surrounding such including information about available alternatives (studies in comparative religion) are helpful in this regard.

What is the impact of religion on the child’s right to education?

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has held that the State is obliged to provide the right to education. It is through the knowledge and training gained via education (primary, secondary, tertiary/higher and one’s own life thinking and experience) whether imparted by way of institutional education, homeschooling or the practice of auto-didacticism, all of which is essential for the preparation of citizens to participate effectively and productively in the life of his/her unit of society and its systems and with regard to learning about the diversity and complexity around one, that one not only survives through the engagement in a vocation thereby earning a livelihood, but most importantly is vital to articulating their will and being the master of their own destiny. Ignorance in such matters does not constitute bliss. Religious convictions however deep and sincerely held beliefs cannot trump this or infringe on this right. The parents have the right to educate in a manner which nourishes and encourages physical and most importantly, mental and intellectual growth. They do not have an inherent or afforded right or license to bring up their children with a religious upbringing (values and practices and personally chosen ways based on faith) in a contrary manner and direct such solely on the basis of their dispensation which would lead to an abridgment of the children’s education – a state akin to one’s whole life ending up like Shakespeare’s Richard the Third, being ‘scarce half-made up’. They cannot insist by way of sanctions backed by threats that such be followed. The object or recipient of the education and upbringing too has a say and preference on whether s/he wants their standard education curtailed for a religious one or whether they want to continue on with a certain religious faith that is of equal validity to those held by the parents and authority figures. They must be allowed to come to their conclusions regarding religion on their own. In the case of tiny tots, who simply don’t possess the ability to make a judgment call by virtue of their age being an impediment, they should not be indoctrinated by the parents in their faith. Children reflect parental values and mirror back their upbringing in many ways. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to understand the fact that the children of today themselves become the parents of tomorrow’s children and a vicious cycle of dogma, superstition and indoctrination being passed on to generations to follow may ensue unless right thinking prevails.

Meanwhile, in the land like no other, rationalists in Sri Lanka opposing religious indoctrination called for laws to be put in place to prevent children under the age of 18 being ordained into religious orders.

The Sri Lanka Rationalist Association (SLRA) added that the incident regarding the child of parents of Muslim faith was absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately, there is no legal way of stopping this practice. It is a strictly wrong thing to do, he noted.

The father has taken the easy way out by dumping the child at the Monastery as he neither has the resources nor the inclination to look after the welfare of the child and also maybe because the mother might not be coming back to the country. In countries like the US, there are State run orphanages which take children in such a predicament in, and proceed to put them up for adoption or give them to foster homes. This is for the protection of the child.

A Life Member of the SLRA, Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga explained that action should also be taken in this regard as allowing the act of ordaining the said boy constituted a violation of the Government’s duty to protect the temple.

Temples are not orphanages, he added. Temples should not be dumping grounds for those whom society deems, albeit wrongly, as flotsam. No human being regardless of the extenuating circumstances surrounding one’s birth or upbringing is flotsam.

The temple should be a place for those intellectually interested in becoming a monk and not be a place for those who don’t want to become one or have never thought of becoming one. When the temple is populated with the latter, it degrades the environment of the temple and creates frustration as seen in the case where monks run riot in the streets engaging in politics instead of being monks, Dr. Ratnatunga said. He also pointed out that religious indoctrination did not work as those ordained in such a manner as exemplified in the case cited below would eventually runaway and leave the piriven/pirivena (religious educational institution/seminary/monastic college).

“Three years back, at a temple down Vihara Road, Mount Lavinia, 19 children between the ages of seven and 12 from impoverished backgrounds and households in Badulla were ordained following a massive tamasha ceremony attended by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Three years later, only three out of the 19 are left. When the Buddha was asked what was the age someone could become a samanera (a novice male monastic), he is noted in a sutra (an aphorism) in a pitaka (division) {the vinaya pitaka or tenets and rules of the vinaya code regarding discipline} of the Tripitaka (the Pali Canon), as saying that if a child can chase a crow, s/he can be ordained, which would mean that the child can be even four-years-old. The Government however won’t bring in legislation in this regard,” he elaborated.

Elsewhere, Professor at the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, Ittademaliye Indasara whilst confirming the analogy of the child chasing the crow and the age of ordainment, added that there were pirivens/pirivenas which ordained children for the sake of continuing the pirivena by way of having students, which led to social issues including of monks disrobing. As per wathawath such as upasagga/upasajja watha and acharya watha, the relationship between the chief incumbent of a temple and a novice monk should be like the bond and love between a father and son, he explained, adding that if the newly ordained monk was brought up in a temple or monastery from an early age and was well treated and looked after in such a manner with love, care and protection (and not abandoned to grow up on their own) and with their needs, wants and hopes being continuously looked into, they would not disrobe and leave the sasana during adulthood.

“In the time of the Buddha, his son from when he was Prince Siddhartha, Prince Rahula and elsewhere, Sivali were ordained at the same age as the said Muslim child. There is no age limit placed on entering the sangha/sasana, provided that the child consents voluntarily and the child is able to conduct his/her affairs (day to day matters involving excretory functions and the consumption of food among others) on their own and the child’s parents (includes both mother and father and not just the consent of one) or guardian/s (legal or otherwise) consent to voluntarily,” Prof. Indasara added.

The Quranic verse 256 in the Surah, the Surat Al-Baqarah, ‘La Ikraha Fid-Deen’ quotes Allah as stating that there is no compulsion to become a Muslim.

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) explained that the choice of faith to be a Muslim or not was not something anybody could be forced into but added that the handling of this particular incident and situation was the responsibility of the Buddhist clergy.

Judge of the Supreme Court of the US, Associate Justice William O. Douglas in a partial dissent in 1972’s Wisconsin v. Yoder, a case which dealt with whether the fundamental right to the freedom of religion (in this case of the parents) outweighed the State’s interest or obligation in compulsorily educating children, the Court ruling in favour of the former (the case is now used as grounds for the right of parents to educate their children outside traditional public or private schools – such as through homeschooling), whilst calling for children to be heard on the matter of ensuring the right to education and exercising the freedom of religion, even added that education was a matter on which children would often have decided views on, emphasized that there was no particular reason to give the parents’ religious views special status when deciding upon the degree of deprivation of education of their children.

What about the child’s right to the exercise of the freedom of religion?

To take up any path including even to take up a certain religious faith, willingness and desire should be there, Media Secretary of the ACJU, Ash-Sheikh Fazil Farook noted, adding that such should come from the individual in question. According to Farook, Islam made no mention of the age limit imposed on becoming a member of the Islamic faith and thereby a Muslim.

He also emphasized that unlike in the case of Buddhist clergy where monks lived in monasteries and sacrificed enjoyments including entertainment, the Muslim clergy and scholars of Islam in practice of their faith led lives similar to the common man in terms of having a family life, being married with children, earning a livelihood and participating in communal and social life and activities.

“All persons work according to their own beliefs and acceptances. Whatever the choice, in this case the one made by members of the family, were a calling made towards the future of the child,” he further elaborated.

Should our children, despite the accident of birth and the merciless circumstances into which they are sometimes born, and in spite of the gift of tabula rasa or as some would argue the lack of it, in this enlightened age which is in possession of worldly wisdom yet is often condemned to repeat the past from which it learns not, be the sacrificial lambs of the superstition of well-meaning parents or a dysfunctional education system? They should not. Should their future be imperiled? It should not.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    19

    What, one may ask was the stumbling block placed on their path and what if at all is the parallel between the two narratives of delusions?

    It is delusional assuming that you are normal.

    If you a donkey ?

    Because, we buddhists believe, and can be proved, some humans, though they are living in a human body, actually are animals.

    • 21
      4

      jim softy dimwit

      “Because, we buddhists believe, and can be proved, some humans, though they are living in a human body, actually are animals.”

      I respect your honesty that you rarely displayed in this forum. However we have already known that you are one of those Sinha Le men who does not have the ability to rationally think like ordinary human being.

    • 3
      0

      Minimum age of marriage should be 18 for all.

      • 2
        0

        What about for ISIS brides?

  • 8
    14

    Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

    The Sri Lanka Rationalist Association (SLRA) added that the incident regarding the child of parents of Muslim faith was absolutely ridiculous.

    Ask Rationalists to prove that Theoretical Physics is absolute joke and Einstein was vey much a clown.

  • 9
    8

    Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

    What is the impact of religion on the child’s right to education?

    Some people are trying to be and showing off to be intelligent scholars. Probably, they attended international schools and they can join some words to make some english sentences. they have studied Western literature, philosopy and everything but not the eastern philosophy, literature, ideology or anything. So, they can not understand. But, realistically, they are donkies. Because they have created a certain image in their mind and are trying to make it true and that is the truth.

    Even before western philosophy was developed, when the western people lived in trees on in the forest, Easten people had established civilization and had their own culture. None of the old civilizations developed in the west. All developed in the East to the Greece.

    You come and say, that Sri lanka is primitive and the western thinking is great.Don’t you think you are stupid ?

    when you are taking shots at Islam, it looks you are partial to the Church too. why don’t you talk about HIV-AID positive christian priests and why the Catholic church is investing businesses and has their own bank. christian Church is completely a business venture.

    Remember, here I write out of topic, because it seems you are taking shots at specific religions.

    Anyway, What you are talking is all western Ideology.

    Just tell me whether the Western Ideology has worked. If so, why they need more educated young adults from east to run their economy while their young adults are obcessed with various kinds of Narcotics, Ganja, happy hour parties, Sexual practices, sexual orientation, teenage pregnancies, child prostituion, pedophilia and it is long list.

    Instead of just jabbering can you tell us how their ideology has worked in their society ?

    Sri lankan culture had worked until these European settlers come and wreck it.

    don’t talk ignorent without knowing anything Buddhism is not an religion in it’s true sense, at least in comparison to all other world relegions. Most people who talk about buddhism talk about other religions, not buddhism, without knowing anything about buddhist practices. what you read in Buddhist books are very different when practice and go through the experience.

    Instead of asking monks directed questions ask detqailed questions, they they will give you a proper answer. Read buddhism and understand first.

  • 6
    9

    Ruwan Laknath Jayakody:

    Ask your rationalists to prove that theoretical Physics is rational, if not ask them to canvass for its removing.

  • 26
    5

    This is child abuse and not some thing to be celebrated but condemned. A child at birth do not chose his parents but unfortunately this child was born to parents who don’t deserve to be called parents or have children.
    To a certain extent you can sympathize with the mother thinking that poverty drove her to ME and he intentions to better provide for her children and family but there is no excuse for this loser of a father that dumped the child in a temple.
    Shame on the monks that took advantage of this child’s helpless situation. I hope and pray that this child will not be abused like what has happened to children in the custody of clergy.
    The govt too should take some responsibility. With the 30year war, people pushed to poverty and with no control of people leaving to the ME there are many children that are vulnerable. Social service system is almost nonexistent and I honestly don’t know what the ministry of Women and Children do.

  • 0
    1

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

  • 7
    10

    Burt is a Catholic. HE doe snot talk how children were abused in his church. That is in Jaffna.

    Why this guy talking is the buddhist culture.

    More abuses are happeing in Sri lanka. Using a practice used in rural Phillipines, Catholic crucifix young people in Sri lanka.

    Sri lanka does not talk when women and children are abused. This is what happened in Australian churches.

    TODAY is a big day for victims of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in this country.

    It marks the first time in history that the Australian arm of the church opened its books to reveal the extent of abuse over decades.

    The data is confronting. The numbers are shocking.

    Over 35 years, 4444 people reported to superiors within the church that they’d been a victim of abuse.

    Since 1960, 1265 Catholic priests and religious brothers were the subject of a child sexual abuse claim.

    The average age of abuse victims was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys. And the average time between the alleged abuse occurring and the date a claim was made was 33 years.

    More than 20 per cent of those working with some Catholic religious orders in Australia were allegedly involved.

    More than 40 per cent of St John of God Brothers were alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse.

    The figures were released today by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    Francis Sullivan from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council broke down on the stand while detailing how each case had affected victims.

    “The data tells us that over the six decades from 1960-2010 some 1265 Catholic priests were the subject of a child sexual abuse claim. These numbers are shocking. They are tragic and they are indefensible,” he said.

    • 22
      0

      True I am a Catholic and proud to be one. I am not blind to the abuse by the clergy in Australia, Canada or other places. There should be no excuse for the criminals that abused children even right now there is a case in Australia against Bishops as priests are under them.

      These abuse could have been avoided if laymen were active and stood-up for those that could not stand up for them selves like children and disabled.

      Knowing all this if we are still going to be just spectators of child abuse its a shame on all of us.

      In this case religion is irrelevant.

      • 3
        11

        Burt:

        True I am a Catholic and proud to be one.

        How about in your own Church, if your father was a priest and he was abusive ?

        • 13
          1

          Jimmy oh Jimmy!
          Looks like you really have got ants in your pants this time. So many posts within hours? But get your facts right before you write.
          Catholic priests are not allowed to get married. Therefore Burt’s father could not have been a priest. OK?o

          • 11
            2

            old codger

            jim softy the dimwit used to be a beach boy eking out a living from foreigners for many many years.

            He still suffers from guilt. Many of his customers seemed to have abused him hence his abusive behaviour in this forum.

            Poor thing.

            • 6
              3

              Native,
              I believe “Jimmy ” is really an old lady in an elders home. How else could one troll so many posts in a few hours? She doesn’t like needlework, probably.
              Let us pray for her.

          • 0
            1

            But get your facts right before you write. Catholic priests are not allowed to get married. Therefore Burt’s father could not have been a priest

            Ask Burt about it.

            church has over 40,000 denomionations.

            there are wikipedia pages which explain how the Church has sexually absued children in thousands in every country.

            YOu philanthropists are silent on that.

            In your Standards, Germany has legalized child abuse – daughter by the father – read and see.

            All the Christians/Catholics gang up against Buddhists.

            Article is mostly about buddhist practices and Islamic marraiges.

            Some christian churches practice polygamy. they marry their own young children.

            • 4
              0

              jim softy dimwit

              “there are wikipedia pages which explain how the Church has sexually absued children in thousands in every country.”

              Unlike you our fellow forum sharers are well informed and concerned about child abuse. We are concerned about your past when you eked out a living as beach boy.

              By the way if churches abused children all over the world does it give Sinhala/Buddhist monks(?) the right to abuse novices?

            • 3
              0

              Jimmy,
              There is only one Catholic Church and one pope.
              All Catholics are Christian.
              All Christians are not Catholics.

              Get it now?

      • 5
        0

        Burt, I am not against other’s belief.

        My biggest concern – it is an unnatural behaviour for clergy to not getting married.

        If the priests are allowed to get married, these sort of child and sexual abuses would be lessened.

    • 6
      2

      Jim Sir, Your Levity is deplorable.
      Could you please categorize me as an Eunuch, Homosexual or Transsexual. Please, please, where do I fit in?
      Daily Mirror, who reported this news of the child ordination with a rejoicing tone, never published my comment where I deplored their journalism.
      I quite agree with Burt and of course with Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
      Thank you, Ruwan for your courage

    • 0
      0

      I think Jim is a Muslim trying to reach Nirvana through Sunath

  • 4
    6

    Great idea let’s also ban Madrasas and Born Again “churches”, all sources of indoctrination and brainwashing .

    • 9
      1

      Madrasas or born again churches do not take control from parents. I don’t know what your trying to get at and to be frank don’t believe that you know either.

    • 3
      8

      They will never stop church-planting in villages but complain about new Buddha images errected.

      • 9
        1

        Taraki

        “They will never stop church-planting in villages but complain about new Buddha images errected.”

        Good point.

        However the churches are being build by ordinary people and not by the armed forces and Buddha Sasana ministry.

        If you don’t see the difference between the two no one can rationally discuss with people like you, simply because you are racist.

  • 9
    0

    What about at age 18 and then at age 21 and age 28 any ORDAINED Buddhist Monk be given the chance to disrobe and continue as a lay person or adopt whatever WORLD VIEW you aspire to be …..

    There is NO COMPULSION in BUDDHIST world view at ANY stage or at any point….

    You can be Buddhist then change to not Buddhist and adopt a different world view…..

    WHO IS STOPPING YOU !!! there is NO SUPREME BUDDHIST LEADER Like to POPE.

    Monkhood is like a training if you DO NOT WANT to take the training absolutely fine…Go few more rounds in the circle of life (samsara)..THIS IS YOUR CHOICE…Buddha’s ARE only gurus or teachers.

  • 10
    0

    Dear Ruwan Laknath Jayakody,

    Yesterday I was daunted by the length of your article, but I’ve read it more carefully today, and I find it well organised and coherent. You have presented us with two chilling instances of violations of the rights of children, one from Dimbulagala, and the other from Houston, the offending religions being “Buddhism” and “Christianity”. But you are right when you say that this applies to all religions. The other aspect that I noticed today is that you have written carefully utilisng the language that you are using correctly – grammatically and with correct spelling!

    On the other hand, it may seem irrelevant, but your photograph causes us to focus on your hair, which causes the reader to expect something rather irrational!

    You are right, no human should be brainwashed / indoctrinated before that child has the chance to realistically assess the world rationally. Can the “State” monitor all that goes on, and in any case what do we mean by “the State”? We create it, and all our weaknesses get reflected in it.

    There were no comments on the article when I saw it yesterday. Today there are four by this troll “jim softy” to start off with. I wish he would take the trouble to spell words correctly – e.g. donkies, and to punctuate. The moment I put that wrong plural while typing it gets underlined in red, and a click of the mouse reminds me that the plural is “donkeys”. That helpful underlining remains until the comment is posted. Below this, in my next paragraph, I can see “generalisations” underlined. I let them remain, because I know that I’m being called upon to use the American spelling, and we still (rather irrationally!) use British spelling. Can’t this man at least ensure that what he writes can be understood by observing the (admittedly rather inconsistent) conventions of the language he is using? Yesterday, in some other place, I asked him to please be open, sincere and consistent. It may be that he’s hitting back by now calling me a “donkey”. The facts about “me” are all wrong, of course!

    As for his counter arguments, they are huge generalisations; I appeal to you “jim softy”, please don’t fill these pages with spam. “Burt” has followed with a comment that makes sense.

    However, what have we now put in place as “the government”. Is it capable of doing anything except pandering to the most vociferous groups in society. So, anything that is labelled as “Religion” has a field day. “jim” that certainly includes Christianity in Sri Lanka!

    • 7
      0

      Sri Lanka’s plight is desperate. When I appealed to “jim softy” not to keep attacking all and sundry what worried me was the fact that we seem to be spending far to much time trying to ridicule others, no matter what inconsistent arguments we use.

      It may seem to “jim” that I’m attempting something similar with him, and I haven’t told readers where we disagreed the previous day:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-way-forward-for-genuine-peace-reconciliation-in-sri-lanka/

      That seems to me a cry of anguish from an old Tamil man who hopes that there will be an end to all these endless disputes centering upon race, caste and religion. “jim” obviously reads such a lot that he must have a reasonable overview of the problems facing us – perhaps better than any of us. Yet, when he comments he’s not consistent. By now he should have a clear idea of my identity. Yet he responded to me there as though I were a Tamil. Such activity generates much heat, almost no light.

      This particular article by Ruwan Laknath Jayakody does not amount to an attack on Buddhism. Religions provide useful insights and are an essential part of culture. However, if they are to remain relevant they HAVE to change with the times. If they are trying to compete with each other and are attacking not only each other but also rationality all the time, they become a problem. When RLJ speaks of all religions being “a volatile mélange of superstition and dogma” he means organised, competing religions.

      RLJ goes on to making this clear when he speaks of how when Gautama Buddha speaks of a child who can chase a crow being ready for ordination he obviously meant that there has been sufficient intellectual development for serious THINKING about the world to begin – not for adults to brainwash.

      Let us take what each of these religions has to offer, and start SOLVING the problems that we face!

  • 8
    4

    The writer should ask what the ACJU thinks about the MMDA which allows for child marriage. Whether the age of marriage should be set as 18 as does the general law or should it remain as it is where children even under 12 can be given in marriage with the consent of the qazi which can be obtained easily.
    You also need to ask the ACJU about why the law doesn’t give space for women to consent to their marriages themselves but rather through a male guardian who may or may not have her best interest in mind.

    • 2
      0

      Abu L and Ruwan Laknath Jayakody,

      MMDA treat women and girls as chattel, property to be traded between men. So, basically the as per MMDA the girls and women are slaves, and the input of the salves is not need in the transaction. The Quazi is there tho make sure it follow the “religious Protocol”, which they call Sharia, their interpretation.

      So, thee are no constitutional protection for the Muslim girls and women in Sri Lanka a per MMDA.

      What a shame for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

      After all, the Para-Politicians have no shame.

      • 3
        0

        I believe there is a debate in parliament to review and reform the MDDA. I hope all Sri Lankans, whatever their religion, will support a reform and get rid of the misogynistic MDDA. Sri Lanka should have one law for everybody.

  • 12
    1

    1000% agree on ordaining children as monks. By law it should be prohibited. No one under the age of 18 should become monks. Children must 1st finish their education at school.

    I am saying this as a Buddhists. The current situation is different. The Buddha is no longer among us. There are no Arahants in public (Persons with Mental disorders like Sammantha Bhadra don’t count). So sending children to a temple depriving them of parental care, depriving them of education is a crime. I am not fan of Richard Dawkins but I must agree that this is indeed a form of Child Abuse.

    Interestingly, the set of Monasteries I have visited since the age of 9, don’t accept anyone under the age of 18 and even the ones over 18 have to successfully complete 1-year as a trainee or apprentice monk. If they can’t pass that, then they are not ordained.

    • 1
      11

      Thanos

      first Talk about Catholic/Christian Pedophiliac priests who all over the world destroyed thousands of children.

      Then Talk child maarraiges in Islam.

      With respect to children being ordinated, almost all over the world, see China, India, Western countries, there are so many Child prodigies who spend their life in various disciplines such as music, movie stars, sports, and education. Some children are in the university when they teenagers.

      What do you say, that is child abuse too ?.

      Buddhist custom is something accepted every Buddha.

      • 7
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        I am going to do an “Amarasiri” style commenting,

        *****
        jim softy comments: “first Talk about Catholic/Christian Pedophiliac priests who all over the world destroyed thousands of children.”

        Response: No! I am a Buddhist and first I’ll talk about what relates to me. Regardless of who commits pedophilia and child abuse, those who commit them must face the law or at least isolate from society especially children.
        *****

        *****
        jim softy comments: “there are so many Child prodigies who spend their life in various disciplines such as music, movie stars, sports, and education. Some children are in the university when they teenagers.”

        Response: You —-ing idiot. Child prodigies still get an education, they still have parental love and care. They experience the outside world. They may be child prodigies but they still get some of the experiences of other children. Children as monks don’t have ANY OF THAT! They are isolated from the entire world without any education and parental care or anything related to a normal child. A child’s mind in the most important development stage. But child monks have No proper education, no sports, no music, no proper food, and the list goes on.
        *****

        *****
        jim softy comments: “Buddhist custom is something accepted every Buddha.”

        Response: That statement is irrelevant. Buddha is no longer among us. There are no Arahants in public or even Anaagami. Accepting children in to the order of the monks actually made some sense back in the day but the world have moved on but the Buddha sasana has deteriorated. Thats why you get the likes of “Gnanasara” ,”Samantha Badra”, etc. This is the 21st century and children must get an education 1st. Later on in life if they want to become monks then that is purely their choice.
        *****

        • 7
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          Thanks, Thanos.

          I agree.

          I’ve just posted a somewhat similar comment, although from a different perspective.

    • 1
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      Thanos

      “1000% agree on ordaining children as monks. By law it should be prohibited. No one under the age of 18 should become monks. Children must 1st finish their education at school.”

      This all started with Buddha ordaining little Rahula when he was 7 years old, nd asked for his inheritance, because the father abandoned him, a tradition from 2,500 years ago.

      Then we have prophet Mohamed marrying a 6-year old girl, consummating at age 9., another tradition from 1,400 years ago.

      Did humans evolve from primates over 3 million years, so that the religions can abuse their young? This is ONE of the basic flaws of archaic religions.

      “Religion is the opium of the masses” – Karl Marx, and hegemonyof the Monks,Priests and Mullahs.

  • 1
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    What the writer must know is that there is nothing wrong with the Religions.What ihappens is that human beings have the ability to CORRUPT anything that they want to even though it maybe something that can be beneficial to them.Religious Principles if presented correctly and in many instance it has been, do more good than bad.What has happenend in Sri Lanka Religion has become an exam subject!!!which it was not meant to be.I meant to be a life force that makes you a better person caring and loving for those around you starting with ones family.So when that does not happen in the smaller unit how can we expect it to happen in the larger word as is evident considering the situ in the world.Religion should be atool of Politics as it is in Sri Lanka.Its a personal thing and ignorance had turned a positive set of principles(in all religions) into the most negative aspect because of what the ‘civilised’ human mind has done to it.

  • 9
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    Funny most of the time laughing stock of liberals, Islam never advocate child ordaining!

    Child ordaining is against the human rights of the child and should be stopped, This has to be pressed in the supreme courts.
    If any one wants to protect Buddhism, Like Thailand, every Buddhist must ordain as adults for some time and do missionary work!

    • 0
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      srinath gunaratne

      Child ordaining is against the human rights of the child and should be stopped, This has to be pressed in the supreme courts. If any one wants to protect Buddhism, Like Thailand, every Buddhist must ordain as adults for some time and do missionary work!

      All the scholars for a day are braying.

      How about child prodigies in various disciplines. should that ban too ?
      For example, child singers in Sri lanka ?

      • 3
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        Well Jim

        In deed, anything that abuses child, like these stupid TV competitions should be banned too.

        Letting children have a perfect childhood is more important thatn anything, Read about Mozart, Michael Jackoson, All the prodigies had abusive parents behind them!

        • 1
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          srinath gunaratnam

          “Letting children have a perfect childhood is more important thatn anything,”

          Therefore you should stop poisoning your grand children with your bigoted ideas of human relations.

      • 0
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        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 2
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      srinath gunaratnam

      “If any one wants to protect Buddhism, Like Thailand, every Buddhist must ordain as adults for some time and do missionary work!”

      I am surprised that I would ever agree with your bigotry. This is an exception.

      How about castrating the adult who wants to ordain as monk?

  • 0
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    Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

    18 Should Be Made In Law The Age Of Ordination To Clergy.

    What do you say about child prodigies in the Christian world ?

    You just kill your self even without your horns.

    • 5
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      Jimmy,
      “18 Should Be Made In Law The Age Of Ordination To Clergy. What do you say about child prodigies in the Christian world ?”

      Maybe you can tell us how many apples make an orange?

      • 0
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        Ban going to the church or touching the bible until 18.

        Church is a Fraud, bible is fiction.

        • 1
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          Jimmy,
          “Ban going to the church or touching the bible until 18.”
          I just might agree with you there,as long as you include Dhamma school, madrasa,etc.

  • 6
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    I have patiently endured the mayhem in the early responses; I cannot stand by anymore. It is clear that man, devious as ever, worked out early in his development the simple manner by which he could exert power over fellow beings. He worked out the simple ruse of creating Gods. Around these Gods he created myth with the help pf a bit of superstition. Before you could say ‘amen’ or ‘sadhu’ the cuckoos were queuing up to light candles, offer flowers, burn incense, prostrate themselves, and that was only the half of it. It became more than a joke when they started to fight wars in the name of their Gods.

    Organised religion is a right load of bollocks. The whole show is perpetuated by the continuing trap of indoctrinating children to follow the ways of their parents (remember the first two line from ‘This be the verse by Phillip Larkin’: They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.) Christianity got of to a flying start by linking religion with education. The die was truly cast. The child was hooked for life.

    No self-respecting religious body will allow a child anywhere near where it prepares its holy men for ordination. It should make it clear that those arriving, should be mature, of sound mind, and come of their own volition if they wish to be accepted.

    The proven fact is the Laws of Nature will trump all the powers that we attribute to our various Gods.

    Even promoting the Buddha to the House of Lords has not added anything to his ‘religious’ standing.

    Nowadays, even the Sangha is not safe, tolerating scoundrels like Gandasara and his followers in yellow robes. Even worse is the enforced practice in Sri Lanka where even the sick and infirm have to rise and offer their seat to a muscular man in a yellow robe.

    Worst of all is the situation in Sri Lanka, where NO Sinhala political leader will so much as break wind without publicly consulting a Mahanayake and having a pirith noola tied.

    Truly, IF there is a God, we will spared Jim Softy.

    • 6
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      Spring Koha,
      “Even worse is the enforced practice in Sri Lanka where even the sick and infirm have to rise and offer their seat to a muscular man in a yellow robe. “

      I personally witnessed a feeble old man being forced to give up his seat to a young samanera. It is interesting that India does not have such sanctimonious rules in public transport. Part of the bus is reserved for women, and that’s it. I have seen poosaris and nuns standing.

      • 3
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        old codger

        I am encouraged by your observations in India. However, I do wish that women there, as well as here in Sri Lanka, will be allowed to travel freely with all others without being pestered by the many undesirables still allowed to freely misbehave on our public transport.

  • 6
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    No child under the age of 18 should be made to be segregated into a buddhist monastery,church monastery or muslim madrassa until the child is capable of a rational choice in the matter,in the case of Saivite tradition or Vaishnavite tradition it becomes more complicated because it is not unified philosophy and the variants are too numerous and exist as independent temples or ashrams.

    .I think universal education is a right to any child but without which no child has the capacity to discern different ideologies and make a choice.The State should provide all children below the age of 18 a subject known as comparative religions and philosophies as some schools have in the US.

    The amount of choice depends on knowing the differences and choices available.The choice should also include rationalism and other forms of materialistic ideologies.

    This would be the ideal way for a child to make a choice. The question is who is capable of imparting such ideas in the formative years of a child.
    In our insular and anarchic world every body has a line ,even the most so called rationalist.Therefore a secular constitution in which all religions and philosophies are given equal status is the only possible project at the moment.
    The next problem is what is forced indoctrination.This can be bad at any age but in this case we are primarily concerned with child abuse which is related to social cohesion and poverty too.

    As long as there is no social cohesion and there is societal poverty child abuse will thrive.

  • 6
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    Another word for indoctrination is Brainwashing.

    Any one defending / believing in brainwashing is most probably very insecure and is not sure and confident in the viability of his /her philosophy or religion.

    • 4
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      Dear Liverpool Sudda,

      It’s good to see you, Spring Koha and Old Codger turning this into a meaningful discussion. I’ve just contributed my own two cents worth by appealing to “jim softy” to get serious.

      The issues raised here are serious and fundamental.

      • 6
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        Sinhala_Man

        Please refer to a comment published by Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere (the last of the a handful of intellectual giants of this island)

        Child monks: good or bad?
        There is no place for child ordination according to the Buddha-word, argues Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere

        http://www.sundaytimes.lk/010708/plus5.html

        • 4
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          Thanks, NV.

          Yes, I look forward to some of our garrulous old politicians becoming monks.

          • 1
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            Like Sedawatte Dhramaruchi (Naduaruchi – Nobert Jayawardana)

  • 2
    1

    Jim Softy do you know that most of the child prodigies from the Christian world are either drug addicts or mentally disturbed children? They don’t have a normal childhood. So stop praising them. They may be rich in cash but morally sick people.

    • 0
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      IT is different reasons.

      Stop hatred towards buddhism

      buddhist world is not that.

      • 2
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        jim softy dimwit

        “Stop hatred towards buddhism”

        Stop destroying Buddhism.

        • 0
          2

          Stop destroying Buddhism.

          It is this Christians and Catholics who will protect buddhism.

          I think this Jayakody guy is a wanna be bankrupt journalist. So, he writes his crap and he does not know what Sinhala culture or Sinhala civilization is.

          He is trying to be crappy rationalist.

          Ask him to write about Sexual exploitation of children by christian/catholic priests.

          • 2
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            jim softy dimwit

            “It is this Christians and Catholics who will protect buddhism.”

            I am not sure who is protecting Buddhism, however definitely not the Sri Lankan state nor Sinhala/Buddhists.

            Both should stop destroying Buddhism, particularly you Jimmy.

  • 3
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    This is child abuse. No child should be subject to conversion or made to become a priest of any denomination. Let him or he decide when reach adulthood.Perhaps innocent young could be abused/

  • 4
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    RLJ,

    “In both the cases, religion has proven the stumbling block. All religions theistic or otherwise, such as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, are a volatile mélange of superstition and dogma.”

    There is a problem with the Sri Lankan society.Their mindset is not matured enough to accept rationalism. Majority of them think god is some one who will give them economical benefits. Another lot, including some clergy and politicians think how to use this mindset to mint money.

    All of them has no clue that such a god does not exist. God does exist, not as a person who could give any one any benefits. It is a win-win existence. It is therefore better to do mankind something better as you have mentioned. That is to make 18 years as the age of consent whether for marriage, ordaining, or for any other legitimate purposes. Until a person reaches 18 years, state must assume responsibility to safeguard the interests of the child. If we have a President, Prime Minister with commonsense for justice to prevail, this will become a law.

  • 1
    0

    Pedophilia became exposed and the Catholic church has been complicit in covering up. Thousands of boys and girls have been molested in the USA, Ireland and Australia and so many places; who knows perhaps in Sri Lanka too. But there the hypocritical blind eye of parents will ignore abuse and pedophilia. In the Boston Diocese BILLIONS of dollars were paid as hush money and Catholic priests were moved from one parish to another to hide them and to cover up their sins and crimes. In Ireland cops were complicit in protecting the boy buggerers because it is a very devout Catholic nation.

    So when Jayakody wants to make a comparison it is that he needs to compare this. Yes kids are kids and have no sense of what they want and will do as their parents tell them to. The parents who are very poor will sacrifice their child to the temple so they get fed and clothed and learn to read and write.

    In the case of Catholic Church Inc also fear is used and that is why thousands of young men were abused and raped and their mental state completely destroyed. They become alcoholics, homosexual prostitutes and drug addicts.

    You want to attack Buddhist practices; so be it. But it is also child abuse but not to the same large scale sexual abuse perpetrated by the Catholic church amidst cover ups. Reality is that only Pope Francis was open about it. You catholics on this forum are blind to this sort of pedophilia and criminal conduct. Investigate it. Who cares if God is pissed; God if he/she/it exists, is not a pedophile. Investigate Ceylon’s Archdiocese and ask the Archbishop if there are boy buggerers in Ceylon too

  • 1
    0

    Why can’t you buggers have the balls to write about the global pedophile cover ups by the Catholic church? Tens of thousands were affected. Page boys, Choir boys, girls etc and not just the occasional raunchy horny heterosexual priest or monk banging a daayakaya and making her pregnant as happens in SL, India for poosaris and Catholic priests. I am talking about wholesale coverups that were exposed in the USA and Australia and Ireland etc. In Ireland, the police admitted to covering up pedophile catholic priests. Why this attack on one when there are far greater crimes and issues with the global Catholic faith?

    • 1
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      Mr. Thassim,
      You are missing the point. Sure the Catholic church abused children. But the priests did it in secret and got caught later. What do we do here? Abuse children in public and crow about it in the newspaper. These people (even the reporter)don’t even know that this is wrong.

  • 1
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    What Thassim says is possibly correct, but isn’t it very difficult to be objective about all this, make comparisons when circumstances are so different etc. Also, isn’t it significant that much of that has been admitted and corrected. “Much” may not, of course, mean even “most”.

    In any case, the author, Ruwan Jayakody has stated that “All religions theistic or otherwise, . . . are a volatile mélange of superstition and dogma.”

    We’ve got to be aware of what is happening world-wide, but our focus should be on what is happening in our midst.

  • 1
    0

    Child slavery. That’s all.

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