23 February, 2020

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How We Shape Our Morals 

By Kasun Kamaladasa

Kasun Kamaladasa

Although I normally like to stay at home most evenings, enjoying a cup of coffee while sitting on my couch, once in a while my friends manage to drag me out to explore our wonderful world.

One such day I agreed to help a friend cook dinner and spend the evening with her family. I had known her for several years and gotten used to the very unfamiliar family dynamics they had. Her father was a Muslim and Mother was a Christian. She called herself a Muslim but for all the years I had known her, she prayed in a Christian church. Her sister was not religious unless you consider cosplaying a religion.

Anyways apart from the combination of religions they all communicated screaming at each other, but I felt that they loved each other dearly. The shouting I later realized was inevitable since they all lived in a space smaller than my room. Her sister’s boyfriend who joined us that evening lived next door and he was a very quiet person.

Her father was a construction worker who had come from another country and started his first gig buying and reselling tickets, which until that day I never knew was a lucrative business. Her mother worked in a pizza place where we would sometimes go to pick-up food after school. My friend worked night shifts at the hospital and her sister owned and managed a shop where I went often to drink tea.

So coming back to our story, we were cooking dinner and the lights went off so we had to call an electrician whom later we invited to have dinner with us. He wasn’t the only one who ended up joining us. A next-door neighbour who suddenly dropped by since his flight got cancelled and a friend of the electrician who came to help him fix the wiring also joined us. The strange thing is it was one of the coldest winters I had experienced and I don’t know if it was the food, the cognac or the laughing people but that day would remain one of the warmest days of my life.

Choices we Choose

When I first started working in an office, lunchtime was pretty free and we would talk about random stuff. Normally accepted practice was to interrogate each other about personal information so I was asked what my religion was to which I answered: “I do not have one”. To my surprise the response I got was “No, that is not possible” and in my head, I was thinking “Why is it not possible?”. It turned out some people genuinely didn’t know what religion is and they believed that religion is what you are born in to. They prayed and went to temples but never even knew they could choose their religion. I wonder sometimes, if I had never met so many different people, would I not known this too? Would I have also called myself a Buddhist even if I didn’t live my life as preached?

Like I mentioned before my friend prayed at a Christian church even though she was brought up as a Muslim. Before I met her I didn’t know that was a possible choice. I have had friends and relatives who choose from multiple religions because of having parents from different backgrounds but I had never seen this dynamic where prayer was given to one god under another god’s roof. Could it be the choices we think we can choose are limited by our imagination?

Choices we have

While I have avoided dressing up for religious festivals, I have always wanted to do cosplay. But I never had a place to go to all dressed up, until my friend’s sister introduced me to her cosplay friends. At first, it was way weird because everyone was relatively young but it seemed age wasn’t a factor in cosplay circles. Choice of wanting to engage in cosplay it seemed didn’t have requirements at all other than being comfortable looking like a complete dork. Today every time I get the thought “Is this age-appropriate?” I tell myself “Let me give it a go and see”

Like my age wasn’t a restriction for me and their parent’s religion not a restriction for my colleagues. Sometimes it’s easy to be blind to the choices we have due to glass ceilings or even personal physiological barriers. At times these restrictions make us think of life decisions in black and white. When my friend started working her night shifts most of my university group-mates were sceptical, they would say a girl can’t work night shifts, it’s inappropriate or too challenging! But her brave choice to continue working would change most of the group’s attitude towards night shifts within a year.

Morals

That day when I first heard my friend’s father’s story I felt uneasy. Buying tickets and keeping them so that he could sell them at a higher price seemed unethical to me. Luckily I didn’t pass judgment. I had plenty of time to listen to the whole story. I relived his story while he was telling it, trying to feel what it was like to escape his country and pursue relative freedoms in another. It was amazing to realize the struggles he went through to find a better living for his family. It seemed to me that I probably might have chosen the same actions were I in his shoes. Now that in my mind I had taken those same actions I had morally recognized that reselling tickets was something acceptable to do.

It didn’t stop there, the generosity they showed to strangers by sharing their emotions, lives, and humility, not just the food like many of us do changed my attitudes as well. Days like new years that I thought were supposed to be exclusively for the family now I see differently. Don’t take me wrong …… brought up with Buddhist backgrounds, donations and giving was a part of my culture, but that day I felt that all my life I had given things I could spare. Extra food, Plain Clothing, Empty Prayer…. ‘‘Giving’’, I learned that day was different.

We think religious institutes give us morals, instead what they do is help us cope with the morals we make for ourselves. Morals are formed from our choices. Religion just helps us to make those choices without analyzing data or taking responsibility for our actions or the consequences. There is nothing inherently good or bad about this, It’s not practical to analyze everything in the world as individuals… Although, understanding how each individual’s morals form might be the first step to stop seeing the world in black and white, and see the colors we never knew existed. If we are humble enough it might even help reflect ourselves more vividly and free us from chains, we never knew we had.

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    Morals are primarily based on the fear of police. Fear of God or bad Karma comes second.

    Soma

    • 2
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      See, how credible what this young lady has to say.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFnGC6byUbc

      I have no dobut, this lady would become an icon in SRILANKEN future politics.
      The kind of ladies are indeed in need in lanken politics.

      LET s hope IRAJ Weeraratna ‘s CURRICULUM VITAE – WILL BE released to the media, so they spread the tapes of Hirunika and others right at the moment.

      we dont trust him to be a DEGREE holder from UK. Please let us know under RTI, if he is at all completed his school education
      ..

      End of the term, WHAT THIS GOVT did was ” spread of the kind of tapes” misleading the nation. Telling blatant lies one behind the other cant abuse the very same people again and again. :Wait and see. how PEOPLE judge them in the next election.

      • 2
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        WHY ON EARTH SRILANKENS GET EASILY CAUGHT BY THE LIES BEING SPREAD BY SRILANKEN MEDIA

        If anyone has obtained a degree, I dont think that he or she would refrain not having added it to his or her profile

        These days, even that BLIND astrologist, being hired by some TV channels, keeps saying, that Iraj – BASTARD muscian from Colombo – is a degree holder, but opposition leader honorable SAJITH Premadasa is not even possessing his OLEVELS.

        We saw in election campaigns, how intelligent Mr Sajith Premadasa had been in international forums. THere the questions posed by anyone, was answered by him with constructive responses.
        There I thought he is a really really intelligent and educated person. His thoughts to provide the women with SANITARY pads were one of the best suggestions came up from himself.
        But lanken society as such that they get caught by lies, but leaving the truths aside.

    • 1
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      My dear Kasun,

      we are country/nation filled with idiots. But many of them are that proud of them being sinhala buddhist owning so called 2500 years of heritage. Leaving all aside, as an academic you may know, if you would please look up for researchers, a tiny portion of our candidates are sitll in global arena. To be honest, the situation on the education, few decades ago and the place lankens earned internationally were not overlooked. Those days, motherland produced interntional figures in international politics. But today, many of the numbers in each areas have down as our place is only known as ” the fools paradise to be cheated by CHINESE so called investments”. These facts are kept away from lanken media, under the closer guidenace of vicious and sinister poltiicians. If the truths would be sowed in the country, no place there would be for them get elected.

      Good governance was smeared and attacked by local media and made a public opinion tha the previous govt did nothing. Now with some people being illegally sacked in southern areas, truths slowly come up. They had been appointed to several projects, that were not known to the many. They did so much of things, provided that the country has to settle the huge loans abused by BALLIGE PUTHA Rajapakshe for his extra vaganzas and luxury family affairs. Even today, ballige putha would not think twice before abusing Helicopter travel from A to B within the country, self glorifying that it should be with his adulation. I think if people came forward and showed him how he should be, things would have changed alot. This nation should be fed with FACTs and FIGUREs of this country. And who really made this coutnry a fools land by now.
      Mr Wickramasinghe was clever enough to earn interntional recognition and save the country not being isolated as had been prior to 2015.

    • 2
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      soma,
      No; The primary reason is not the fear of God or Karama. God & Karma entered into human thought much later while morals exist even among animals with some level of intelligence. Team efforts to find food, taking care of young & to attack enemies are obvious examples. What Humans did was taking them to a higher level by formalizing within the context of religion & rule of law.

      • 2
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        D.P.
        Thanks.
        Much appreciated.

        Soma

    • 3
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      Soma,

      Good call.. Mate..

  • 5
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    Dear Mr Kamaladasa,

    I think it will be like an effort to be treated with ” pigs might fly” if our people would see it right. I mean majority of SINAHALAYA.

    Looking back people are speechless and hopeles today, not a single plege is fullfilled by BUNCH of thugs though cheatingly became leaders.#

    it will be not easy to shape the morals of lankens within a shorter period of time. Now with almost everything becoming “U-TURN”, very same public is under control of the abusive men closely handled by Rajapakshe mafia.

    1) I happened to watch a YT LAST night that showed even “retail shops for veg and fruits” are being demolished and robbed out by unknown thugs that stole ” onions” and other food items, not being abele to bear the sky rocketed price hikes in daily needs.
    But Hiru TV and Derana TV channels that were very vocal two months ago about any tiny thing, is made silent by Rajakshe funding. How come ?
    Viewers of them stay unturn enjoy ” Deweni Inima” and ” Sidu” teledrama series which tie the easy targets as fan base to those channels daily.

    2) So called MAHA Sangararathnaya -Buddhist Clergy that was used as their DECORATIONs to the parades, are seen as if they have nothing to utter a single word about the ground reality of reigncarnated RAJAPAKHE TYRANNY – they just stay no different to the LAB rat that are injected with anasthetic drugs
    Public seems to be tolerating anything but how stupid they should have been – LOOKING back today.?

    3)No need to talk much about – just compare their 60 days with those of 100 day pre-step of previous good governance govt – that were isolated by LOCAL media for some hidden reasons. Whatever good achievements they made were not HELD as good the media being that BIASED to their underworld pay masters.


    to be continued

    • 5
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      Dear Writer,
      You have been doing a great work. But please take good care of you, because Rajakashes proved it and made records, that they would never allow you, if they notice, that their crimes come to surface through your pen.

      So please take good care of you. This is a warning that I have to make since I know how those victimzed familes feel today. Their hopes are caught by torments of tantalus today, good governance failed to punished them reverberate on them today….. all in all, those who ere responsible for not having the due should see it right let alone today.

      • 0
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        Dear Kasun,
        .
        I’d like to second the thanks presented by Desperate Sinhalaya.
        .
        This is yet another wonderfully thought-provoking article. I cannot comment very much on this because there are other articles which demand attention but be assured that I assess your articles as doing a great deal of good.
        .
        At a more light-hearted level, I’m now learning new vocabulary from you; you are very much at home with neologisms – cosplaying, dork, etc – all used very correctly, I find after checking. So, there! You are teaching me!
        .
        It’s really refreshing, reading you.

        Kasun Kamaladasa physician graduated from Stavropol State University, Russia.

  • 3
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    Kasun,
    It is good that you didn’t pass your moral judgement on buying ticket at a low price and selling for higher b’cos that is how Dilith Jayaweera of Derana, under the auspicious of MaRa & Cabrall, made tons of money in the stock market. The tactic is known as “pumping & dumping”! Just today, I heard Rohitha Abeygunawardena, who also became one of the powerful leaders on MaRa side in a an equally scandalous manner talking about building a civilized society. 6.6 million S/B voters backed up not only by Buddhist monks but also by cardinal Malcom Ranjith approved such a behavior in the name of national security.

    A couple of days ago, I read an interesting article which argued that the aggressiveness of homosapien helped them to survive & spread by forcing not only several species if large mammals but also six other human varieties (I wouldn’t use the word species b’cos there are genetic evidences support that they all have interbred) as well. Even though I don’t fully agree with the argument on the ground that, having been evolved from chimps, it is unlikely that homosapein could be extra aggressive, I do believe that aggressiveness over morals may have played an important role in human’s evolutionary success. This trait is still playing a huge role among us.

    Aggressiveness is closely associated with Selfishness which is the opposite of Altruism – a highly valued moral trait. However, it is ironic how humans including religious leaders justify “altruistic aggressiveness” against external threat as in the case of “fake Muslim phobia” during the last election! May be you are correct: We do appreciate higher morals but the justification is relative!

    • 0
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      Dear DP,

      Your comments are worth reading me to read. I really like many of them. and agree with you often.

      I think – our countries aer not blocked by any external forces but by our men that only focus on their own pocket filling tactics for such a long time. However, if one would compare it with the pre-predecessors and the parliamentarians that the island nation elected into parliament in the past were thousand times respectful and and able men and women. The world was very proud of our politicians and called us a role model to asian democracy.

      But Rascal supporting politicians such as Rajakahses stay behind the shave headed Mudalalis in robes appearantly dont allow any appropriate systems to be part of the adminstration.

      We are a small nation compared to neigbouring India, Pakistan and Bangaladesh. Recent years we noticed, that trade contracts such as ones being offered under GSP plus quota and other trade pacts were slipped away or grabbed away from neigbouring countries, since srilankens openess and affinity to foreign investments were not genuine enough investors to come in and start anything.

      Investor friendly UNP was slaughtered down by RASCAL politicians for their permement political masturbation. These vicious politicians even during PREVIOUS govt were very powerful at grass root level to be able to handle the people’s percetions in favour of them rather than allowing the good systems becoming part and parcel of peoples’ dreams. They REALLY dont care about PEOPLE s grievances, but they go for a permament power grabbing tactics for their own surivival. Power intoxications have made these abusive men eternal blind.

      We fought a war against NOTHERN AND SOUTHERN rebells that becamse sometimes world terrorists. Today, the struggle before us is NOTHING else, abusive politicians that make effort to humanshield and stay in power. Mahinda Rajapakshe even today should be openly questions on high crimes that his adminstiration should be accountable for.

      • 0
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        Leelage Malli,
        Every time I see your comments, it make laugh b’cos your pseudo name reminds me my own elder sister Leela! In any case, thanks for the complement even though I’m not after them. What I appreciate most is the efforts by many who are trying to touch the deepest meaning of what happening around them or, simply put, act of reasoning.

  • 2
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    Iraja WEERARATNA the higly abusive Gotabaya backlicker became TOURIMS board director as a result of the loads of KAKKA he had then been tasting over the month to get back Rajakshe for his own survival.

    -Please let us the srilankens be informed about this buggers real qualifications.
    -I have no doubt, the bugger has Alevels.

    according to Gotabaya Wiyathmaga – A internet strategist Weerraratne -is no become one of the directors of Tourism Board- this man is proved to be a school drop out not different to Wimal weerawanse the ballige putha number one of that nature.

    How many of the good highly qualified ones are there awaiting posts of that nature having worked years long to that Tourist Board ?

    There are fake videosabout his qualifications, – this should be revealed by ANALYST if at all the bugger obtained a degree in UK ….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJkMskXO9_Y
    But he is well at promoting the BLATANT lies. for that NOT only he Derana TV and Hir TV channels are well experts.

    but to please this young man, who once wore DRAG QUEEN costumes to mislead and twist the public opinion but in favour of the extremists and thugs. This man s genetics should be mixed with that a wild dog. When it went to COLLECTION of you tube video clicks, this bitches son never considfreed any thing but how to fill out his prey. That poor woman, by name ” Kumari akka” an uneducated village woman was abused to make videos. All in all, bastard dared to interview that monk from Madakalapuwa who should long have been jailed to have abused his monkhood. The people in that area are terrorised by the monk, but telling that he is born to protect buddhagama.

  • 8
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    How We Shape Our Morals

    *** Hello young man ( looks may be deceptive) you are either born with it or develop it or acquire it if you grow up in the right environment..In Sri Ianka it is a toxic environment , lethal mix of an environment of Racism , Hatred and intolerance towards minrities because you are in charge . If you want proof just look at the last Presidential election. 52% ( 41 % according to the Maths Genius Charles) voted for a CRIMINAL who has Tamil Blood ( and for that matter also Sinhalese Blood , ” Lasantha”) on his hand but he was elected to the Throne and the Country is paying the price.
    Evidence is as follows.

    1) The World has shunned him.
    2) He cant even go to Beiging to Beg and the only place is Delhi as and when he is summoned.
    3) Investement has run dry and Chinese Investemet is sought to restart the stalled projects. But India wont allow fearing Sri Lanka will become over depenedent on China to her detriment.

    Morals is like a ” Conditined Reflex” . If you grow up with people like Tamil Haters JD. Hela , Eagle Eye, Lester , Sumanasekara and so on you wont have any Morals. SAD

    • 5
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      Kali@

      That is in their blood so as some notherners have it too in their blood.

      But I agree with you, a large portion of SINHALAYAs are racists. They proved it in the elections held 2 months ago.

      Dont worry about EAGLE EVIL aka Mahinda pala – ultra racist, he will not stay live longer, he is in his early 80ties now. He has now been applying WORMs to get ready for decay, but even worms are protesting and standing against the bugger. He is a curse to lanken people regardless of the race.

      • 4
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        Sam

        I take issue with the following.

        That is in their blood so as some notherners have it too in their blood.

        Hatred is in your blood from mothers Womb ( I dont mean you personally) but in our case it never is or was in our bood but in our “mind” for what you have done to us. We will never forget.

        • 0
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          Agree with you more. Kali… I am ashamed to be Sinhala/Srilankaen:

          I have not lived in SL for the last 3 decades and I am very happy to be able to live out of our rotten island. I only love srilanken landscape. Now again we are about to pay a visit to SL in 2 weeks or so.


          We do lot more to the poor, but I dont think I will continue it to Lanka in the future. I d better do my good to Africa or east europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Rumania or Turkey).

          • 1
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            Sam

            Thanks and God bless you

  • 2
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    Dear Kasun, last time when you wrote about religion and sex so called righteous moral people of Lanka called you immoral. Now you decided to write on Morality it self. Good on you. Today , I am still a religious person but when it comes to morality and religion, my choice is the first and I will not hesitate in shunning my own religion. As I had expressed many times elsewhere the purpose of Religion was to guide and shape the moral of an individual, but what is taking place right now is just the opposite. Same with politics too.(to guide the nation in a moral path) As human we have a choice to pick our religion or to be done with it. Unfortunately we do not have the same option with politics. The immoral politicians now have found their partners in religion, in exploiting and creating a immoral society. Even moral people , when consciously elect or standby such immoral leaders or government , they too become immoral. Bottom line today in Lanka , all the immoral activities are taking place in the name of morality. And by normalizing and accepting it, the society too has gradually turned into an immoral society. I believe changing an individual or a party will not bring any changes, in reshaping the moral within society.

    • 4
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      MODA CHIV: What you explain is a thoughts of a Christian. In Islam they are banned to quit the religion. IF did, they will be punished. Catholics were like that when they were Puritanists. You say depending on the pastor who explains the bible you may have better morality than the religion or you may not have. I also attended the churches and, in one church the pastor noticed me and did not like me.
      Some how, Buddhism is not like that. You can not ever prove that your values or what you call morality is higher than what is established in Buddhism. Just read from the web or books try to understand it. Buddhism is the only non-violent and very logically explained humanitarian philosophy.
      KAsun Kamaladasa is a confused man. One day he would understand but not now. On the other hand, he may be too proud to claim that he is living dumb.
      Bachelor’s degree is just the HODIYA (pahala Baalanshaya) in Adult life.

  • 3
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    Kasun Kamaladasa: If you do not understand now, one day when you are and reflect your life, you will understand. In the west University colleges are a business. You after the graduation too, say you are working in a office, probably for minimum wages. Your friend’s some one is called a SCALPER. Scalper is like Sri Lankan Professors selling Kokatath thailaya in street corners. If he is your next door neighbour, you are not spending a good life. You are better off coming back to Sri Lanka and start a business. Teaching English also work for you, but not american English.
    Morals are christian word. Check western philosophy books to see how they build it. In Buddhism it is Panchaseela. Moral and ETHICS are both christian words. DISPARAging other religions is completely the work of art of middle eastern major religions.
    Anyway, what you explain THAT you are ATHEIST, As you did when you were young you like to wear your SUNDAY BEST and go to a worshipping place and prey. FOR BUDDHISM, IT IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO GO TO THE TEMPLE Every week or so.
    YOU DID NOT ESTABLISH YOUR MORALS. What you are doing is you are changing your value (again christian) system. When you establish your life’s value with individuals in a house where, A scalper, muslim converted to muslim, we can imagine your future. You may become a Scalper too. Office jobs are not eternal.
    Your parents tried to give you what they could not achieve. Now, do not destroy you. Go back. If you need learn something that you can use in Sri Lanka and start a business. Go that way.

  • 3
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    What Kasun Kamaladasa talks simply superiority complex of Middle eastern religions, in Kasun’s case, it is the Christianity based societies. You people think you people are the best, have the best and others must learn from you.
    It is Sri Lanka’s FAILED POST INDEPENDENCE EDUCATION system in some cases. In Kasun’s case corrupt political system that was established after 1977. So, International schools completed students, after that London baccalaureate, London – matriculation, London Ordinary Level passed students with a degree from a western business establishment university college thinks they are the invinsible brains in Sri Lanka. I found similar parents who enjoy the same mentality.
    Sri Lankan politicians are failed lot as politicians. Some promote that system..

  • 1
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    D.P.
    Thanks.
    Much appreciated.

    Soma

  • 1
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    In Human DNA: moral values are implanted .
    Even people without any religion has got them..

    But; it is religions that ehanhcne them and develop them and it is religion that guide them .
    Take for instance western bank or any western institutions all of them exploit you if they can ..
    BUT in Asia people have consciousness not to harm .
    Hunan consciousness is dead in the minds of people why?
    Because religious teaching did not work in them .
    Even so called religious people if they do not 100% religious they too behave like animals ..

  • 1
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    What morals do the Alfonso tapes reveal?
    ]
    We have two members of parliament engaging in idle, vulgar gossip and ‘phone sex’. All this is happening on time (time and phone bills) paid for by the poor people of Sri Lanka.
    ]
    What is point of talking about morals any further? The country and its politicians have reached the pits.

  • 0
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    KASUN: Read about western philosophical arguments, even in University Encyclopedia’s which talk about Morality and Morals. It looks it is a Mess for the educated and I do not think any one of the uneducated who believes in Morality, Morals and Ethics that makes Human Animal a Human-human or Human god. It is very obvious, educated by reading these can develop his own morality.
    But, read and understand Buddhism. We all are made up of four major (or six total called Dhatu, akasha or space and consciousness or Vinnana) ) units similar to super strings. So, animals and plants have similarities. Animals are even though so different we originated from the same and once die become that same. So, why do we divide each other based on different man-made standards. Even the Scalper or the street corner Pick pocketer or the muslim turned to Christianity or anyone else share the same originality. THIS IS VERY BRIEF. DOES IT SOUND LIKE EASY TO UNDERSTOOD BY ANY DUMMY.
    i CAN UNDERSTAND HOW MIDDLE EASTERN RELIGIONS AND THE WESTERN PHILOSOPHY based on CHRISTIAN VALUES have destroyed the human psyche. THINK.

  • 0
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    Kasun, I’m sorry that I’ve not been able to say more about your article.
    .
    There were so many other articles competing with yours for my time. Please study this article carefully:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/st-johns-college-new-principal-unity-only-in-diversity/
    .
    Comments on this article of yours will soon be over, I think.

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