2 March, 2024

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Hindu & Buddhist Priests Who Dabble In Politics

By C.V. Wigneswaran

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP

Someone asked me; You had said Hindu Priests in the North do not dabble in politics. But others say they do. Why this difference? If Hindu Priests too dabble in Politics what is wrong with Buddhist Priests doing so?

My response was; When I was interviewed by Iraj he asked me whether Hindu Priests in Temples in the North do dabble in politics. I said truthfully they do not. No temple priests in Jaffna openly dabble in politics taking up to the streets. They relegate themselves to their Temples. That is for certain.

If anyone says a saffron clad Hindu Swami does take part in demonstrations he would be referring to Velan Swami, who does get involved in such demonstrations etc. I answered only the question about Temple Priests in Jaffna posed to me. The  person whom you refer to is not a Temple Priest. He is an individual Monk. I know Velan Swami well. He was a qualified Engineer who took upto robes and was nurtured by the Chinmaya Mission. He was sent by the Chinmaya Mission in India to Jaffna to look after the Mission Branch here. When he came here he found the most inhumanistic conduct on the part of the Armed Forces and by those violent groups whom the Military nurtured. He felt their conduct, including the Government refusing to give what was due to the Tamils as per International Covenants and International Agreements, reprehensible. Such conduct by the Government and its Armed Services  was against Dharma. Fighting on the side of Dharma as per Bhagavad Geeta and other Hindu religious texts was permitted in Hinduism. This made him ask for permission from the Chinmaya Mission to air his views on those matters. Permission was refused. But the anxiety to stand for Dharma persisted in him. So he left the Chinmaya Mission and started a new Mission, the Sivaguru Atheenam.Velan Swami does not dabble in party politics. He stands for Justice and Fairplay. He is never violent. He still holds on to the peace and tranquil demeanour of a Swami. He is prepared to be taken by the Police into custody and harassed just like how Gandhiji allowed himself to be arrested and harassed. He is prepared to suffer for the rights and benefits of others.

So the reference to saffron clad Swami does not refer to Temple Brahmin Priests. Velan Swami is a phenomenon. He is the modern version of how Hindu Swamis must behave – To fight for justice and fairplay on the side of Dharma. He is also well versed in the Bhagavad Gita and other Texts and daily gives satsangs at his Atheenam. He is not a Brahmin Priest. One is reminded of Sri Aurobindo in India who was a person of Religion who also took part in the liberation struggle against the British. Presently there is a need to liberate our People of the North and East from Sinhala hegemony. 

Let me come to the second part of your question. Velan Swami would politely criticise even myself if he felt I was not standing on the side of Dharma. He looks at society objectively through the conditionings he received from his Hindu Texts, and works towards Dharma.

Could you say so about the Buddhist Priests? Have they studied the Sri Lankan Constitution including the Thirteenth Amendment? Do they realise Thirteenth Amendment is not a political solution for the Tamils of the North and East? Do they realise what the Politicians on behalf of the People of the North and East are unitedly asking is Federation or Confederation? Do they know what the problems of the Tamils are? Do they know that the Sinhala Language is a recent language which came into being only in the 6th and 7th Centuries AD and their first Grammar Sidath Sangarawa in the 13th Century AD? Do they know that the Buddhist remains found in the North and East belong to the period of the Demala Baudhayos?

If any Buddhist Priest (anyone)could give a rational analysis of the Law and the social ambience in which the Thirteenth Amendment came into being and why he considers necessary that the Thirteenth Amendment  should be scrapped, then we Tamils could sit together with such person and talk. Either side could try to convince the other. The Tamils may agree that Thirteenth Amendment is not necessary if the Buddhist Priest accepts that full fledged Federalism is the solution to the Tamils’ problems.

The young Buddhist Priests who take to the Road are not of the calibre of the Priests that Buddhism expects them to be. They use un-Parliamentary language, they are prepared for violence, they spew venom against those whom they consider as their enemies and do not understand at all as to what they are agitating about. They just listen to some politician or politically motivated person and act on their statement without examining the truth or otherwise of the statement made by their mentor. Kalama Sutta of the Venerable Buddha is lost sight of, by them. In fact they have degenerated to be henchmen of politicians losing site of the responsibilities of a Buddhist Priest.

If they are objective and are speaking on the side of the Dhamma they should exhibit the four virtues of the Heart viz. Metta – loving-kindness; Karuna- compassion; Mudita– sympathetic joy and Upekkha– equanimity. According to the Buddha’s teaching, all members of the Sangha  should develop these important spiritual qualities. Our young Political Buddhist Priests do not exhibit any of these qualities.

Unless a Buddhist Priest could try to exhibit the above four qualities he is not worthy of adorning the Robe. They should exhibit loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity towards all beings including the Tamils of the North and East! What have the Tamils of the North and East done to the Sinhalese which they have not done to the Tamils? The war became necessary because of the discrimination and brutality of the Sinhalese both their Politicians and the Military towards the Tamils.The least the Buddhist Priests could do to the Tamils is to sit down to hear their woes. Instead they get carried away by the lies, bloody lies and statistics of pseudo intellectuals among the Sinhalese and hate the Tamils. Where is Mudhitha in them?

Surely any dispassionate practicing Buddhist among the Sinhalese would agree with me that the place of the Buddhist Priests is their Pansala. They have the Vinaya Rules to follow. Participating in partisan political demonstrations cannot be condoned by Buddhism. Even if the other Religions could condone the activities of their Priesthood, Buddhism cannot. I meant what I said when I declared that the place of the Buddhist Priests is in their Pansalas or in Aranyas.

Let us say Buddhist Priests have the right to dabble in politics due to their social responsibility. Then should they not have demonstrated against the then Government when the Mattala Airport (210 million US Dollars), Hambantota Port (307 million US Dollars), Magampura International Convention Centre (15.3 million US Dollars), Lotus Tower (67 million US Dolars’ Loan taken) and Colombo Port City (No clear form of investment) were built out of borrowed loans which were piled up over the earlier loans? That is to pay one loan they took another loan with greater interest rate. When the best section of the Hambantota Port was offered to a Chinese Company in 2015 for US $ 1.12 Billion on a long lease, was there a murmur from these Buddhist Priests? When a portion of this Country was being handed over to the Chinese did the Buddhist Priests show their concern?. No!

When so many Sinhala Buddhist people are suffering from penury and dire poverty, the Buddhist Clergy has never come forward to protest against the Government in favour of their own kith and kin. When our own citizens were killed at the Easter bombing none of the Buddhist Priests took to the street. When the Upcountry Tamils who are the backbone of the Island’s economy asked for an increase of a thousand Rupees and the Government refused to consider their request, did any Buddhist Priest take up their valid request?  How come when the insufficient and innocuous Thirteenth Amendment is referred to by the President there is so much agitation? These Priests have never come forward to find out from us, the Tamils, as to what our problems are. So much for their understanding of Buddhism! 

Their demonstrations against the Tamils are no doubt politically motivated. Someone manipulates them. They do not for a moment think of the Buddha and His teachings when they willingly become handmaids to such political forces.

The World today is travelling towards  prosperity and camaraderie among all Nations. But thanks to the Buddhist Priests we are travelling backwards towards economic ruination and hatred among human beings.Have the Buddhist Priests contributed constructively in our battle against poverty? At least the Buddhist Priests could raise Home Gardens in their Pansalas to make the Pansala self sufficient in food. Of what use are their demonstrations against the Thirteenth Amendement which has been in the Constitution from 1988 onwards? 

Furthermore Buddhism expects love and concern from all Buddhists towards all living beings. There is expropriation of our resources, killing of rare birds and animals, taking place in our forests. Has any Buddhist Priest called for the stoppage of such wanton villainous acts?

Therefore may I reply your question saying Hindu Priests in Temples in the North do not dabble in politics. Even if Hindu, Christian and Islamic Priests were to dabble in Politics, the Buddhist Priests must not do so in terms of the Vinaya and the Buddha’s teachings.I still say Buddhist Priests must be confined to their Pansalas or Aranyas.By their taking up to politics Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike got killed by a Buddhist Priest. Buddharakita Thero’s tanha brought immense ill fame to the Buddhist Clergy. At the time these incidents took place we should have asked the Sangha to stick to the Vinaya rules strictly and controlled the young Samaneras and young Buddhist Priests blossoming  forth then.  This was not done. Politicians were able to give Mercedes Benz cars to Mahanayake Theros and silence them in their favour.  So much for their understanding of Buddhism.

When I was discussing the role of the Buddhist Priests in modern times with Dr. E.W. Adikaram once, he agreed their behaviour was quite anti-Buddhistic. Venerable Ananda Maitreya was one of the most respected Buddhist monks of the twentieth century in Sri Lanka. When I had discussions with him before he passed away, he too accepted that politically motivated Buddhist Monks were a curse to the entire Buddhist Clergy. Hence I voice the views of responsible Sinhala Buddhists of this Country.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    9

    I pick the following for a rebuke.
    “He (Velan Swami) is the modern version of how Hindu Swamis must behave – To fight for justice and fairplay on the side of Dharma”.
    Once, you step outside the accepted norms of a Hindu Priest, you relinquish the right to be called a Swami, be it for Dharma or not.
    It is not religious to start a ‘fight’ even for justice. That is for those who are not reverent to God.
    .
    Unlike in other religions, a priest of our religion, is associated with only divine duties.
    Fighting for justice and fair-play shall be left for others.
    .
    Let us keep religion out of Politics.

    • 13
      0

      Dear Sensitive Readers,
      It is high time to place the ” FAKE sinhala buddhist monks” in society.

      This should also be valid for other false religious leaders. Religion and politics must be considered separately. Sinhala Buddhist extremists should be properly reformed.Unfortunately, Sinhala Buddhist monks have become the cheap servants of political crooks in this society today. The best examples are “Athana Metana Natana Rata” and “Elle Gunawamsa”.
      There are many others who have become cheap servants (prostitutes) of the Rajapakse thugs. PISSU monk in the fort, Ghanasara (aka Dadoria) and Medagoda Abethissa and and ..

      If not today, when? when would Mahanayakas act properly on this ?
      .
      If not today, when? I was born into Sinhala Buddhism, today I am just a Buddhist following true teachings of Buddha. In BUDDHAGAMA, unfortunately, Dharma is missing as of today.

      Alas, the nation is on the edge of a precipice, nevertheless our stupid buddhist monks make efforts to ruin this nation further ? Most of them entered in ” sanga hood” not because they themselves wanted to ordain as monks, but either their parents failed to feed them or some of them like Ghanasara (political prostitute) and Athana methana natana rathana had ulterior motives. These motives are ultra criminal energies (Ghanasara), paedophillia, homosexuality or any other forms of hidden propensities, that would not be experienced as buddhist lay men.

      • 0
        2

        Dear LM: For what long, long, and long “History” the world has seen the “Religious Priests” engage in “Politics”? What is “Politics”? Is “Politics” so bad and tabooed for “Religious Prelates”? These are a few questions for your “Attention” and that “Attention”, I consider to be the most “Precious Resource” one has.

        Please note the importance of “Attention”, because “Attention” allows you to “TIME TRAVEL”. So, I urge you to undertake that “Time Travel” on the path you have taken to direct your “FINGER” ( noting, as someone said three fingers get pointed at you) at the “Religious Prelates” taking to politics.

        • 2
          0

          Simon Mahathmaya (not Mahaththaya as you hear from Tilni Silva saying).
          .
          Come to sense and look back for your self-correction.

          SB monks are a real threat in this country. I am not talking about Mahanayakas but other joker priests or rogue priests who are hired for Rajapaksa’s political games.

          They look like beach boys in Unawatuna, don’t they?

          Reports confirm that more than 80% of monks in temples today abuse child monks. This is still a taboo, until, these criminals start practising canibalism in temples. :::: What a country, where no law and order is set against these yellow pet criminals ?

          Medical reports confirm that pediatric examinations have revealed the truth when examining rectal bleeding in child monks.

          Can you object to me if you closely observe that criminals like Ghanasara, Cheevaradhariya of Fort are behaving in an exemplary manner in front of child monks? These monks are high hypocrites.

          THIS IS THE REASON WHY I FULLY STOPPED GIVING THEM FREE FOOD ANYOMORE. NOR WOUDL I KNEEL DOWN BEFORE THEM AS DONE BEFORE: If i am mad I would rather offer some child monks with some good gifts.
          .
          They will do anything for profit.lLast time, some monks asked me for ” smart phones”.

    • 4
      0

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzKcv2ZF5SI

      It’s a shame to see how Galle is today. I went to school in Galle. Seeing this guy makes me allergic. My body tells me that if I had been in sl, I would have been exposed to this kind of a****boy from the beginning.
      :
      Dilit Jayaweera’s avenues of revenues should be investigated going back his family, before the Rajapaksa administration. How much wealth has he accumulated till date?

      How so ? What is the secret of becoming rich in a poor country if there were no political thugs behind him? Why on earth srilanken judiciary is silent on the kind of topics even today ?

      It easily reveals to anyone how fraudulent these media fraudsters are. I hate Paraya Mahinda Rajapaksa for being directly involved in breeding a ***** son like this.

    • 5
      0

      Truth behind Dr Safi SAGA.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWi315NLGaA

      The time has come to revoke Jayasumana’s medical license. If not today, when? what is the use of SLMC if they cant act against his bugger ?

      My wish is to nominate Dr. Safi for the NOBEL PRICE in 2023. How much has he or a true humanitarian mastered and then offered his dues to buy medicine for Sri Lankans……see what? Will Jayasumanya or others respond today?
      My regards to Dr Safi!. May more humanists be bred in my motherland.

      • 1
        0

        NOBLE PRIZE

        • 1
          3

          Let me be brief. According to Hinduism, the suffering is due to past sin of individual soul, there no room for social justice in Hinduism whereas religious teachings of Buddhism and Jainism are different depending on Ahimsa and non- violence as their basic philosophy and Hinduism itself was influenced by Buddhist and Jain teachings and in time both religions vanished from the Indian sub- continent due mainly uncompromising stand on their basic philosophy.
          Everything is explained in Hinduism in terms of birth cycle and the final redemption is Morsa – rejoining god and the end of birth cycle. In Hinduism there is only individual sufferings and no communal suffering and only way to reduce present suffering is to do good deeds in the present birth that could be rewarded in the next birth.
          Social Justice was brought into Hindu lexicon by later Hindu reformists like Swami Vivehananda, Mahatma Gandhi and others to block the onset of Christian onslaught for conversion.
          If you look at all issues raised by Wigneswaran, now you could look at it with a different perspective.

  • 2
    1

    There is an old and very wise saying: Every time you point a finger in disrespect —there are three remaining fingers pointing right back at you. The message taken globally as point to defeat inducing valiant and comparison marginal life in the country as shown in photos

  • 6
    1

    Looks like them rogues in saffron robes are not venerated as much now, as one was recently killed for molesting a female child.

  • 6
    0

    All priests/monks should be registered so that fake ones can be removed.

    • 1
      0

      Paul
      Registered with whom?

  • 5
    5

    There is a difference between the way ‘Hindu’ and other priests are organized.
    There is no establishment like the Sangha or Church to which the clergy mostly belong.
    The Hindu priest (mostly an aiyar here) is often a paid employee, with the exception of temples owned and operated by the family of the priest.
    Then there are other self proclaimed priests of all kinds.
    Hindu priests do dabble in politics at a personal level. Priests of influential temples have a tendency to get involved. But they have very little mass appeal.
    The saffron brigade here is pretty weak compared to India, where they are a powerful force. There are the equivalents of the sangha and the church but serving restricted populations.
    *
    But what is dangerous is the tendency to politicize religion.
    It is getting worryingly stronger among ‘Hindus’. Tamils should guard against it.

    • 4
      4

      BTW
      CVW some years ago had tried to influence Indian PM Modi to release fellow murder convicts of a saffron robed rapist and murderer to whom he was known to be very close.
      Indira Gandhi was strongly under the influence of the notorious Chandra Swamy.
      There are many unelected charlatans who influence political decision in South Asia.
      Their robes protect them from exposure to the public.

    • 3
      0

      One may wonder what the attraction of Sai Baba to politicians and business magnates was about.
      Now we have a “Satguru” a blend of a string of god-men starting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who made Hinduism fashionable in the West and a sure way to wealth but with no assurance of salvation to the devotee.

  • 5
    0

    leelagemalli

    I, too, was born a Buddhist & I remain a Buddhist because, firstly, Buddhism is a religion that was never forced on people, unlike Christianity or Islam, where wars were fought in the name of god, & secondly, there was never gender or any form of discrimination, which would have been revolutionary at the time of Buddha when the entire social structure was based on cast (equivalent to race today) & women had no place in society. Unfortunately, as Justice Wigneswaran states, most monks today do not even know the basic principals of Buddhism.
    I was appalled by a TikTok post sent to me by a friend which shows a young monk, who I understand is based in Fort, washing his new BMW Coupe, saying the cost of the car has to be included in his sermon fees, & another, apparently based in Kurunegala (I don’t know their names), gives a total new perspective of Buddhism. According to him, Buddha had preached that everyone, including monks, to enjoy life, indulge in luxury & eat well to experience life & understand Nirvana, even quoting from Pali texts. Seems my understanding of Buddhism that one should take the middle path in life & monkhood is about seeking Nirvana by giving up material wealth are all misinterpretations.
    These ‘modern’ monks have rewritten Buddhism & at this rate, I won’t be surprised if we have Buddhist Taliban governing the country soon.

    • 4
      1

      “I, too was born a Buddhist?” Nobody is born to a particular religion. They may be born to parents belonging to a particular religion. It is left to the individual concerned to select his religion after growing up or may not need any religion at all. Whatever it may be religion is the cause of most of the problems in the world.

      • 1
        0

        KV,
        May I ask you where you live? Where were you born to fix it?
        .
        Almost all SINHALA Buddhists we counted in Sri Lanka are born into the religion.

        Their parents were Sinhala Buddhists and their children were automatically considered as Buddhists.

        That was captured by their birth certificates and ID cards as I roughly remember. If anything is not in compliance with the facts, please correct me here.
        .
        We had no such “baptisms” or anything like that to become a SINHALA BUDDHIST.

        I though went to DAHAM SCHOOL because I was forced to do it, but looking back nothing brought much to me in my personal development. However, we just emulated what others and our stupid elders did. We were parroted by “DHAMMA PADYA SAYINGS”. Unfortunately, I had no chance to learn ” Pali ” and Sanscrit” in that period.
        :
        In contrary to my experiece, sadly enough to remind, some of mates were abused by CHIEF monks as they shared with us later. They were easy prey to child molesting monks.
        .
        That is why we are both used to interpreting it that way.
        :
        KV, I would like you to explain more about how you think about how SINHALA Buddhists became SINHALA Buddhists. Really interesting to know it from you…
        .

      • 0
        1

        Kanapathy Varunan

        No point splitting hairs over grammatical clarifications. What I meant was born to a Buddhist family but continue as a Buddhist because of the reasons I had given, not by ‘default’, just as you have stated.

        It is not the religion that is at fault but how people have interpreted religion. Buddhism is a philosophy & there is no all mighty god but SL Buddhists ask favors from divine entities, including Hindu gods. Realistically, I don’t believe in Karma & rebirth but it is an explanation. What I can’t understand is how Buddhists in SL can ask favors from god instead of leaving it to Karma.

      • 0
        0

        KV
        Our religions are decided for very early in life. So R-UK is technically right to claim that he was born a Buddhist.
        It is rarely that a parent does not impose his/her religion on the child.

    • 4
      0

      R-UK
      “there was never gender or any form of discrimination” in Buddhism.
      Check it out.
      What is the status of a woman in Buddhism? Amid Buddhist clergy? Male chauvinism was never challenged by Buddhism.

      • 2
        0

        SJ ,
        “Male chauvinism was never challenged by Buddhism.”
        Perhaps the Buddha himself was not sexist. He did set up the Bhikkuni order, which was later scuttled by the set of MCPs that call themselves the Sangha, using legalistic pretexts.
        I am not sure though, whether the Bhikkunis were given the same status as the Bhikkus.

        • 2
          1

          OC
          Yes, he did set up the Bhikkuni order, but after much pressure was brought upon him.
          He was a creature of his time and environment, and not enough of a feminist to rebel against MC ideology.
          Any religion that cannot see sex as a natural thing (like drinking a glass of water as Comrade Clara Zetkin would say) has MC ideology woven into it.

      • 2
        0

        SJ
        Obviously, you have a problem understanding plain English. What I meant was during Buddha’s time & that was the reason for my decision to continue being a Buddhist, although, I don’t subscribe to SL Buddhism. In my understanding of Buddhism, Buddha was a wise man, way beyond his time & his philosophy became a religion when people began to worship his memory by erecting statues.

        • 0
          0

          R-UK
          If as you claim you said whatever you did in plain English, I understood it as it would reasonably be understood in plain English.
          *
          If you need to add caveats like “What I meant …” etc. you have failed to communicate what you intended to in plain language, and I do have a problem in figuring that out.
          Ask any person who can understand plain English to check where the problem is.

    • 4
      0

      1/
      Dear Raj,
      There is a huge gap between “Sinhala Buddhism” and the Buddhism taught by LB’s actual teachings. The difference is frankly sky-high.

      This is why I consider “Sinhala Buddhism” not 100% true Buddhism. I expected something gentle from our Buddhagama monks to calm our mind. However, they behave no different pathalaya criminals (many of them).Ghanasara (internationally they are called -buddhist binladens) and his red robe forces gave us enough examples in the recent times.
      .
      And it took me a long time to figure this out. My mother left us forever a few years before the spread of covid. It was then that I realized that the Rajapaksa brothers and sisters have also manipulated Buddhism for their political survival.

      There I asked myself, most of the monks we invite to our homes for “Dhana”, “Bana” and “Pirith” sessions are Sri Lankan style “cheap artists”. Instead of preaching good sermons, we waste our precious time preaching “rubbish”.

      There, I broke my long silence and began to question what should be the difference between “Ghihi Buddhists” and “Sinhala Buddhist monks”. Instantly, what came to my mind was Ghanarasara, Ratana dancing here and there; Mudalali of Madagoda; Murutttuwa Cheevara Dharaya; Monk Manamal of Fort; and and and::

      tbc.

      • 4
        0

        2/
        Unfortunately, the monks of Sri Lanka are no different from the beach boys who hang out in Hikkaduwa, Negombo, Unawatuna and some other touristy areas of the island. Those beach boys came after my visting friends last time in SL (Kaluthara, Kandy and Unwatuna), asking for some fun…. can you imagine ? most of them are male prostitutes. Most of srilanken buddhist monks are used to doing all kinds of evil, but nothing that is in line with the “True Buddha’s Teachings” today.
        .
        I then completely stopped giving anything free to those cheevaradharas (mostly monks). For the last 6 years, I dont offer free meals to temple living monks.
        My option is real beggars on the streets, temples, elderly people and stray dogs. I continue offering them free meals twice a year or whenever I am back in our hell created by Rajapaksas.
        :
        tbc

        • 3
          0

          3/
          This is a forbidden thing that nobody would open to discuss in that society for a long time. I dont bend my spine to worship them as anyone within my circles are used to do before them today. I greet them to the manner you greet others. If I would realize a monk being unique, then my gesture could change suitably.

          Not a single monk to whom I raised questions was able to answer my question positively as I had hoped. They had not learned the Abhidharam and the Tripitaka “inside” but “Hindu style” based fiction dominated their usual preaching sessions. Mine is more than the Buddha hoped to explain. There they were helpers before me, not dozens. The best example is the evasive propaganda of the Kelaniya Rajamaha viharadhipati who shamelessly justified the emergence of “fake relics carried away by a water snake” from the Kelaniya river branch.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3BhK3pAxJ8

          May our people be blessed with brains ! First things first – then we can go to elections.

  • 3
    0

    Nice 2 guys amusing God ?
    Spiritually victorious power struggle ??
    or just pyrrhic as uasual.

  • 1
    0

    Strangely nobody talks of the “ELITE CLASS” viz. the “Professionals” ( Professors, Legal Luminaries, Mahachariyas, Accountants, Doctors, Engineers, etc) and those who had “Acquired” professionalism in crimes after entering politics, who have “DABBLED” in politics and RUINED this country for the last seven and a half decades.

    Who is more RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE for ruining this country? Are the “Elite Class” described above OR the “Religious Prelites”? I say the “Elite Class” described above who has exploited (used and abused) those “Religious Prelites”.

    So don’t ALLOW that “Elite Class” to escape. If we put down and eliminate that “Elite Class” holding power, the “Religious Factor” will automatically fade away. Aren’t we seeing it happening today with the fading away of power from that “Elite Class”?

  • 4
    0

    C.V.Wigneswaran has given a fine account of Buddhist priests dabbling in politics. Both Hinduism and Buddhism believed the law of Karma, Moksha and in the cycle of re-birth. Buddhism had a founder and Hinduism has no founder. The decay of Buddhism in India was on account of the invasion of Muslim. In Buddhism there is no concept of punishment and no divine being to decide who will go to heaven or hell. Hinduism remained as the mother of religions and taught the world ‘tolerance’ which is in compliance with Lord Buddha’s message of ‘love and compassion’. The Buddhist clergy should be aware that the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra showed Lord Buddha spoke forcefully against meat consumption and in favour of vegetarianism, because being non-vegetarianism will be incompatible with the compassion that a Bodhisattva should strive to cultivate. Buddhism believes that the killing of animals interferes with a human spirit. Today it is common that Buddhist priests were always free to choose what to eat, though they knew that an animal has been killed specifically to feed them, though they are supposed to receive their daily meals by going on alms round in villages and towns and are required to accept whatever the laity offered to them.

    • 5
      0

      Continued …..
      There is a moral obligation on the Buddhist clergy to analyze tolerance with their counterpart clergies and not to engage in politics which is outside the norm of religion. But in Sri Lanka, Buddhist clergies are given luxury vehicles and luxury foods by the politicians mesmerizing them to enter politics and demonstrate their protests in anti-social activities. Some Buddhist clergies are also engaged in throwing stones at some establishments which was seen during the anti-Muslim protests while some Buddhist clergies have defied the Court’s Order as in the case of building of a Vihara at Gurunthoor. If Buddhist priests wishes to be involved in politics, he should not misuse religion or should not be a party with any politician to gain political powers. Having renounced the worldly life to lead a pure religious life, he should discuss such matters only with Hindu or other religious clergy. Buddhist priests should realize that all human beings are essentially equal and that each of us has an equal right to life, liberty and happiness. It is regretted that some Buddhist priests are even unaware of the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka.

    • 4
      5

      “Both Hinduism and Buddhism believed the law of Karma, Moksha “
      Moksha in Buddhism?
      The concept of Karma in Buddhism is something unlike that in any version of Hinduism. Buddhist Karma is not bonded to any ‘soul’.

  • 3
    0

    Complex subject, and the learned judge did some justice in explaining it but was too strong in characterization of the other.
    .
    The Ceylon Tamil society is distinctly different from that in India, where the Brahmin clan is one of the dominant group. In India, they are in control of many sectors. There is a constant conflict between Brahmin clan and the multitude of other clans.
    .
    It is not the same Ceylon Tamil society. It is a distinct society with only family having the sway and not the priests.
    .
    Hinduism/Saivaism is a natural way of life and it is not a religion with any founder to codify any terms for one’s conduct. Everything is open for theoretical discussions and left to one’s own way of seeking inner peace. You can go to the temple every day or never need to.
    .
    Unlike in India, the Vellala clan, the farmers, held the sway in Ceylon, and it continues to the chagrin of many concerned with caste issues. Saivite priests in Ceylon Tamil society are in small in numbers and are dedicated to their temples. They do not use the temple as a podium to propagate their views or participate in politics.

    • 4
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      “Hinduism/Saivaism is a natural way of life and it is not a religion with any founder to codify any terms for one’s conduct.”
      What then was Arumugala Navalar trying to do?
      *
      Hinduism is an amalgamate of various Indian faiths. It excluded the two atheistic faiths of Buddhism and Jainism, and a few others. The Veera Saivas of Karnataka do not like to be identified as Hindu.
      Hinduism in all its forms accepts the Varna system, the foundation of the current caste system.
      Soul and Karma are there but not in a consistent way.
      There are holy texts, but none in common to all.
      There are rights and wrongs, sin, and meritorious deeds. Again there are varations.
      *
      Brahmin domination is not there in all states of India, but the Brahminist ideology is more widespread.
      *
      There is nothing natural about any faith. Hinduism was man-made over a longer period than many others.

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        SJ,
        Hinduism has no prescribed texts, but the Vedas are its sacred scriptures. Vedas are the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different Rishis at different times. The Vedas are without beginning and without an end. The Rishis are the discoverers of these Vedas. The Vedas teach that creation is without beginning or end. Hindus received their religion through revelation, known as Vedas which are considered to be eternal. Though there was no founder for the discovery that Brahman and Atman are one and the same, a renaissance was brought when Sankarachariya recognized that Brahman and Atman are one. Hinduism appears to be the only religion or philosophy that encompasses God and Science. Since Science has developed to the extent of challenging the existence of God, there is a misconception that God is only a fiction. Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge of the material world through observation and experimentation. Hinduism concerns mainly on the concept of righteousness known as Dharma. Dharma is the realization of the Supreme Being through various means. Besides being a guide to the Hindus in their daily life, the Vedas play a vital role in preserving the religious dimensions of family and society.

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          Vedas are not even used as religious texts by any Hindu faith.
          How much of the Vedas have you read in your life time?
          Is the idea “that Brahman and Atman are one and the same” even common to Vedanta?
          Saiva Siddhantha rejects that notion totally.
          Which Dharma?
          One that preaches that molten lead should be poured into the ear of a Shudra who listens to vedic recitation etc. (see below).
          … if he listens in on a vedic recitation, his ears shall be filled with molten tin or lac; 5 if he repeats it, his tongue shall be cut off; 6 if he commits it to memory, his body shall be split asunder.” (Translation Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasūtras: The law codes of ancient India, OUP, 1999, p.98)
          Fun religion it was— to the top two Varnas.

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    SJ (continued ……….)
    The beauty of Hinduism is that it allows room to accommodate within its fold all forms of worship, diverse customary religious rites, spiritual practices all of which go hand in hand in harmony with one another. The main aim of Hinduism is the liberation of the Souls like all religions, but Hinduism does not assert that the final emancipation is possible only through a specific principle but approves all means that eventually lead the Souls to the final goal of being in union with the Supreme Being.

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      AR
      You are mixing up the sequence of events.
      What was there was a jumble of faiths. Intolerance was rampant. The Saivaites of Tamilnadu persecuted the Vaisnavaites who were forced to seclusion or to move north.
      Check the prospect that the Jains (of whom 8000 were impaled by Saivaites in the Pallava kingdom) for survival converted to Vaishnavaism, which previously had a weak presence in the Pal;lava country.
      We had been a very intolerant lot, some of us still are. It is better to come to terms with that realty than awkwardly try to cover up our sins.

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        SJ,
        No mixing up the sequence of events. Having captured the three traditional kingdoms of Tamilaham, the Kalabrars ruled those territories commencing from 250 -550 A.D. The Kalabrar’s rule altered the very foundation of the way of life the Tamil society and its culture. Kalabrars were mysterious warriors of South India whose origins are unknown to historians. Kalabrars were the people to invade the Tamilaham and defeated the Chera, Cholas and Pandya. It is the Jain and Buddhist literature that remain as sources to give some accounts of Kalabrars. Cherans are mostly Vaishnavites. Pandiyans followed Vaishnavam and Saivaism. Most of Chola kings followed Shaivaism. Cholas were more indulged in promoting Shaivaism rather than Vaishnavism than any other king. The classical Pandyan kingdom was invaded by the Kalaprars and destroyed the kingdom in the 3rd century A.D. The people around Thondamandalam were Nagas who were Buddhists as that was the original area of Kalabrars. This area was under the influence of Buddhists before the arrival of Brahmin culture.

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        In fact, teachings of Buddha were prevalent in Southern India. Bodhi Dharma from Kanchipuram taking those Mahayana teachings to China (Yunnan) in the 5th and the 6th Century AD. His work spread —>Dhyanam (meditation) to 禪那 (chánnà) then reduced chan to Zen.

        A religion is ‘a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things,’ and by a unified system of beliefs – there is a founder and the beliefs are codified. (H)Indu-ism has no such things as is in the Abrahamic Judeo Christian religions. Buddha’s teachings is silent on ‘sacred things,’ yet it has a founder hence it is a form of religion.

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    SJ (continued)
    Since the Kalabrars cancelled the rights of the Brahmins from the Bramadeya villages (villages gifted to Brahmins) Kalabrars were termed as wicked people by the Brahmins. Their history was suppressed. When Satvahanas applied pressure on the Kalabrars, they migrated to South India from Thirupathi and ruled for some centuries which is called the ‘dark age’. Having been a part of the Asokan Empire, Buddhism continued to be fostered by Satvahanas. The history of South India is the history of Jainism, Jain dynasties apart from Saivaism. Muthariyars were Kalabrar kings while Maravars and Kallars were soldiers. Maravar are said to be descendants of Kalabrars who were anti-brahmin. There is an old saying that Kallars and Maravars gradually became Vellalas).

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