4 February, 2023

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In Defence Of The Non-Religious

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

The publicized behavior of the Christian hierarchy in many parts of the world  in relation to pedophile allegations and of the Buddhist monks who are running wild and violent in Sri Lanka has revived within me the need to reaffirm the skepticism about religion that I  developed intellectually during the four years that I read philosophy at Peradeniya.

I passionately believe in things spiritual-namely things of the human spirit that include empathy and feel for other humans especially when the latter are in distress; kindness, compassion, the need for love and to be loved; creativity; sensitivity to a work of art or literature and so on. Our moral fibre is generated from compassion, truthfulness and empathy. This obviously does not depend on having any affiliation to a religion. Confucious said: “Do not do unto others what you do not want done to you.” This is the commonsense rationale for morality.

On the other hand religions stultify our spiritual and moral sense by founding moral behavior on fear. This is the fear that on ‘Judgment Day’ you will be damned into hell if you’ve done pretty bad. For fear to keep a person good doesn’t make such person moral; he has to do right on a self-realization and an act of volition. The fear element is there even in popular Buddhism and Hinduism. The Loweda Sangarawa makes reference to ‘niraya’ of ‘apaya’ meaning the equivalent of the Christian hell where wrongdoers are burnt. Even in scholarly Buddhism and Hinduism, however, the likelihood of being reborn in bad shape represents an operating threat that is perceived as justifying moral behavior.

Religion also stunts the growth and development of human consciousness by having imposed on men and women its own constructed ‘reality’ from above. Instead of learning and forming our independent ideas as to the universe and the meaning of life a whole theology or metaphysic is forced on us. At this point we stop thinking. We are told to be sheep and just follow the Bible, the Koran or the Torah.

In the case of  Buddhism we have a different scenario. The Buddha himself encouraged freedom of thought and enjoined followers (Kalama Sutta) not to believe because he says it or because other credible people say it or because tradition says it or because it is there in books but to test his Dhamma as a goldsmith would test gold with fire. However, the established Buddhist hierarchy anywhere is not going to encourage much free thinking beyond the square. Reputed scholar Martin Wickremasinghe died an unhappy man due to the slanderous attacks he had received after publishing Bava Tharanaya that gave a somewhat unorthodox interpretation.

People identify themselves by saying: ‘I am a Christian,’ ‘I am a Muslim, ‘I am a Hindu,’ ‘I am a Buddhist,’ and so on. Do they realize that by adopting such an identity one is pre-committed to a particular fixed perspective about reality? This makes it difficult to open one’s mind and consider competing perspectives and thereby arrive at one’s own conclusions as an independent, conscious, being. An independent intelligent being would take an unfettered look and will not be bound by a “Holy Book’ or interpreters of a Holy Book. The naïve person would be comfortable in relying on such an external provider of the truth while a conscious, critical, mind will loathe that.

Science alone can enable people to comprehend reality but theologians have had a hopeless record of resisting the findings of scientists that take away their beliefs.  Propositions or conclusions with regard to the universe are purely the jurisdiction of science. Theology is not a source of knowledge; only science is. For instance the question as to whether God exists is one that is the province of science to ascertain on the examination of evidence. That is an important issue which impacts on our knowledge of the universe and our place in it. The same is the question of rebirth in Buddhism and Hinduism. There is no need to privilege religion in our search for knowledge in such empirical areas.

The religions we have today had been established during pre-scientific times.  In the absence of scientific thinking and scientific method it was left to theologians to try and help us understand reality. They unloaded a whole lot of unbelievable gibberish. We are told that the earth is 10,000 years old and that God created the whole universe in just seven days. We were told for ages that the earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus, who found it was not, was forced to make a public confession that he had uttered a terrible lie! Even today the teaching of evolution in biology is banned in some American schools. Charles Darwin was so scared to announce his path-breaking findings that he delayed the announcement and eventually delivered it in a watery way. We are also told by religion that dead people can rise from their state of being dead or sojourn in an after -life of Samsara from womb to womb or from human to a snail and back to human again. The follower has to swallow some of the worst fiction stories ever. We are prohibited from having sex for harmless pleasure and are banned from using condoms to prevent unwarranted pregnancies and diseases. The list is large and I had better stop here just in order to save my life.

A common thread in all religion is the belief that the current reality we face is unsatisfactory and illusionary and that one must strive for something that would be our ultimate panacea. In this sense religions are all dogmas of death. This after-life myth makes the truly religious withdraw from making a real life out of life and from enjoying the joy and splendor that the only life we can ever know of does possess.  Instead of withdrawing from life why not engage in beautiful acts of charity to our fellow human beings? Isn’t this more productive or less hypocritical?

Most of us join a religion at birth when our parents clamp their religion on us, infants. Christians baptize in this manner. Actually it isn’t right to identify a child as a Christian child or Muslim child or Buddhist or Hindu child because that child is not conscious at this stage in order to assume such an identity. Yet in Sri Lanka our Birth Certificates carry the name of the religion as an identity mark much as our gender and our race do. How could a system of belief become a permanent identity mark?

From the time of this naming at birth one is socialized in a powerful way to stick to the religion named. Religion is one of the most powerful socializing instruments in society. The socialization is so total and invasive that our states of mind are virtually permanently altered to embrace the world or reality given to us. As kids we grow to believe that ‘there’s a Savior up above, looking down below,” and monitoring our every movement. A terribly overworked Savior he’s got to be! We are told that “Allah, the Great and the Compassionate, orders our destiny, “and hence we prey: ’praise be to Allah’ even when we are unfairly dealt with in life.

Small wonder that followers all over the world would die and fight and kill in the name of their religion. At the hands of parents, family, friends, school, church, by priests, Mullahs and Swamis and a whole hierarchy the follower is given a full dose of the constructed reality and a dreadful fear of the consequences of leaving the fold. Naturally religion is ironically one of the most divisive forces in global society creating conflict and war.  You, reader, may now be a Buddhist; but had you been born in Afghanistan that would have been a different story. You may have joined the Taliban and destroyed the great Bamyan Buddhist statues.

This whole business is a farce: One fights for an identity imposed on one as an infant and for a reality that is entirely constructed by questionable priests, Mullahs and monks; yet one dies for that reality and slays others on its behalf. Isn’t this madness? One’s consciousness is killed at the beginning and one’s mind is blocked and blinded.

I am not suggesting that all religious followers are blindfolded and naïve characters. There are many who do possess their crap-detectors but who wouldn’t leave the faith of their birth for reasons of social comfort and peace or even as habit. Some of the latter may accept some of the teachings but not all. There are also the plain hypocrites who are mere traders in the religion and employ religion for their personal gain in power or profit. The latter are religious predators that prey on populations.

Despite all these objections the allure of religion will never die out.  Religions are a pressure on our wallets in no small measure. A whole industry has grown around religion and followers have to make all sorts of donations. There is the well-known story of a bouffant-haired evangelist in America who urged his parish “to give until it hurts.”  I recently visited a Taiwanese temple close by and found they were selling the privilege of “transferring merit to the dead” for a mere ten dollar token. That was merciful on their part!

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    A great essay Shyamon Jayasinghe. You are a rare, ‘thinking individual’ to have sprouted out of this Island full of Religious bigots.
    Keep up the good work, your rationality is an Essential to get this nation out of the dark ages which it finds itself in today.

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      Shaymon Jayasinghe,

      “The publicized behavior of the Christian hierarchy in many parts of the world in relation to pedophile allegations and of the Buddhist monks who are running wild and violent in Sri Lanka has revived within me the need to reaffirm the skepticism about religion that I developed intellectually during the four years that I read philosophy at Peradeniya”

      Well said.

      DeJa Vu …..

      “This obviously does not depend on having any affiliation to a religion.”

      Mahanama Myths, Nirvana, Nibbana, Sansara, Hell, Limbo, Purgatory and Heaven, are all Mind Viruses planted by the Monks, Priests, Mullahs and Others to have control and hegemony over the people.

      Look at the Jatika Hela Urumaya Monk killing himself. . Infected by the Mind and Harak Virus…. Is it Kura Leda getting to the head, Olu or His Leda?

      Here is the proof. Even Monkeys know that.
      The Sinhala Buddhists, The Monks, the Christian Priests may not know
      that. The Jatika HARAK Urumaya and its followers may not know that.

      They falsely claim that they follow the Buddhist Philosophy.

      Capuchin monkeys reject unequal pay

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKhAd0Tyny0

      “The religions we have today had been established during pre-scientific times. In the absence of scientific thinking and scientific method it was left to theologians to try and help us understand reality. They unloaded a whole lot of unbelievable gibberish. We are told that the earth is 10,000 years old and that God created the whole universe in just seven days. We were told for ages that the earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus, who found it was not, was forced to make a public confession that he had uttered a terrible lie! Even today the teaching of evolution in biology is banned in some American schools”

      See Human History.

      It it was MYTH that got them there in the first place, no amount of REASON or Proof will not get them out of that Myth.

      Human Genealogy …
      Ask them to test their DNA

      https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

      Since its launch in 2005, National Geographic’s Genographic Project has used advanced DNA analysis and worked with indigenous communities to help answer fundamental questions about where humans originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Now, cutting-edge technology is enabling us to shine a powerful new light on our collective past. By participating in the latest phase of this real-time scientific project, you can learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

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      “I am not suggesting that all religious followers are blindfolded and naïve characters. There are many who do possess their crap-detectors but who wouldn’t leave the faith of their birth for reasons of social comfort and peace or even as habit. Some of the latter may accept some of the teachings but not all. There are also the plain hypocrites who are mere traders in the religion and employ religion for their personal gain in power or profit. The latter are religious predators that prey on populations.”

      They are called Actors, or Myth followers.

      They are in Lanka, Burma, Iran. Saudi Arabia, Christian World etc.

      1.JHU, Jatika Harak Urumaya
      2. BBS
      3. S inhala Ravaya
      4. Monk Mahanama Myths and Racism
      5. Monks
      6. Priests
      7. Mullahs

      The Politicians
      etc. etc.

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      A must read
      Warning to readers: The brain washed will never see the truth of the concepts discussed in this articles. As a rough estimate, only one in three hundred thousand will ever see the truth SJ is trying to explain. Those who see it, only one or two will learn from it. In that respect, sadly SJ is wasting his time. Even Buddha, they say, did not attempt to give the gift of the truth to everyone. Why would he give a gift to those who will not accept it? – Not accept it because the gift is seen as poison in disguise, a threat to their imposed beliefs

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    Wonderful essay. I am sad to say that Buddhists tend to classify themselves as Sinhala Buddhists, Burmese Buddhists, Thai Buddhists, Mahayana Buddhists, etc ad infinitum. Whereas the only diffrerence is in the rituals and attached myths!

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      This essay is right in some ways and wrong in other ways. There are ‘Sinhala Buddhists’ and Burmese Buddhists, etc’ as the character and emphasis changes from culture to culture. There is no reason why it should not be so. Secularism and rationalism are also products of certain cultures that are necessary for trade and communication. Scientific method is the exquisite output of this tradition and Buddhism is complementary to it, as it deals with ethical matters (what our objectives should be if they are to be morally acceptable) and not matters covered by science (how to achieve objectives, irrespective of their moral good or bad). That is, science (the rational method) will tell you the optimal way to make dynamite, but not define how we ought to use it. Religion covers the “OUGHT” part of our actions. But most religions confuse the issue by trying to usurp what science does, and simply end up spinning yarns (e.g., about creation or God or there being 31 celestial abodes, four hells etc) about re-birth and the next world.

      Everything relevant to Buddhist practice and philosophy were stated within the first few sermons of the Buddha. The death and re-birth concept is simply the
      dying of mental and physical states followed by their rebirth. This happens every minute, at various levels, including the death of cells in the body and their reformation by miosis and mytosis. Birth and rebirth are occurring all the time from conception to physical death when nothing more survives except any genes that you may have deposited in conceiving your children.

      I have examined the first four sermons of the Buddha and noted how people have translated the material into English (or Sanskrit, or Sinhala) implicitly inculcating into the translation, various ideas extraneous (or UN-necessary) to the original context (see this-life-buddhism.blogspot.ca/ ). The Buddha rejects any `soul’, and does not talk of rebirth in another world in these sermons. What he talks of is the incessant birth and death of conscious processes -that is samsaara, that is the cycle of rebirth, and causal effects of habit (karma) apply for those processes.

      When I pointed out these things arguing directly from the Pali, a so-called well-known “Buddhist Champion” who lives in London and who edited a sinhala newspaper threatened me with a Kithul Polla. Then others defended him and even constructed a casuistry (typical of Jesuits, claiming that such punishment is a Zen practice!!!!!!!!!!!

      According to this orthodox London Buddhist, the right Buddhism is what his mother in his village taught him.

      So, the way Martin Wickremasinghe (who said far more critical things) was treated is not surprising.

      WE have also a so called Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Science who goes about claiming that science is “Patta-pal-Boru”, while all the nonsense he utters is claimed to be derived from Buddhist Philosophy. Even astrology and “women who say things under a trance” are claimed to be getting at the truth, because they can come under the power of Naatha Deiyyo.

      This is what is called ABUDDASSA KAALE.

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      S. JAYASINGHE,

      Very Good to know that, still there are many sane Sri Lankans left, and Peradeniya did produce many, but insufficient in numbers to counteract the Hordes of Myths Virus Holders raiding and roaming the Streets under the BBS and JHU, Jatika Harak Urumaya.

      “This whole business is a farce: One fights for an identity imposed on one as an infant and for a reality that is entirely constructed by questionable priests, Mullahs and monks; yet one dies for that reality and slays others on its behalf. Isn’t this madness? One’s consciousness is killed at the beginning and one’s mind is blocked and blinded.”

      Well Said.

      1. The WHOLE business is a Farce! The BUSINESS of Religion!

      2. This is called being infected with the Mind Virus. There are a number of Strains. Hindu, Buddhist, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and multiple Off Shoots of the Main Virus.

      3. Who gains and whose self interest is being served?
      Monks, Priests, Mullahs,and their Myth believers.

      One thing is clear.

      It it was the Myth of the Myth Virus that got them there in the First Place, REASON OR FACTS will NOT GET THEM OUT OF THAT PLACE.

      DeJa Vu…….

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    Very sensible piece. Puts into perspective the madness of the fanatic who so brutally felled that defenceless army drummer in Woolwich 3 days ago. His unpardonable act of animalistic behaviour unfortunately is being openly condoned in the UK today by religious preachers like Anjem Chaudhary. Im sure there will be lots of these venom-spewing preachers of hate even here, praising the slaying as a noble deed in the name of religion. What a mockery of Islam and what hearts of stone these brutal vermin must have. Religion is not to be discouraged but religious fanaticism deserves no praise and simply has no place in decent civil society. As the writer puts it, “There are also the plain hypocrites who are mere traders in the religion and employ religion for their personal gain in power or profit. The latter are religious predators that prey on populations.” Dont we have ample proof of this in the very plethora of so-called Muslim leaders in our country who are cutting one anothers throats to be recognised as the communities de-facto leader.Yet, when it comes to real issues like the recent case of the innocent housemaid who was beheaded in Saudi Arabia due to a technical interpretation of the harsh Sharia Law that tried her, no voice was raised in her defence. However, some wily ones even made political capital out of the issue while others did not lose the opportunity to avail themselves of free trips to Mecca on the pretext of seeking this hapless girls release by fulfilling their personal Omrahs at state expense. This, while tacitly defending the kangaroo court which tried her and the inviolability of the harsh archaic law that led to the cruel beheading. Religion will always have its share of extremists.It is up to the individual to discern the right from the wrong without getting overtly emotional about petty isssues raised with political and other agendas. Sanity is the need of the day not religious fervour or mayhem in the name of religion.

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    A very nice piece appropriate for the times we live.

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    Well known Civil Servant and Stage Actor of those good old days has penned an excellent essay.

    Buddhism is not a religion. It is a way of life. Those who lead that way of life are always at peace. There are no laws in Buddhism. Yet it is sad to note there are “Sanghadhikaranas” (courts of law for Buddhist Monks.). The monk who self immolated recently, was said to have been expelled from JHU for violating party discipline.

    I cannot understand why Buddhist Monks who always highlight the good fortune of being born as humans and the value of life, saw the seeds of hatred by joining politically motivated movements. The funny side of their behaviour is that at formal gatherings they want people to observe Pancha Seela and sometimes deliver “Anusashana” explaining ills of hatred.

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      The Vinaya Pitaka gives the “Laws” that the monks have to follow. The Sangadhikarana are supposed to impose them, by the elders of the community, within the community.

      Politics is also possible within Buddhism, but as a process of transforming individuals by moral teaching and example, and NOT by coercion or force. Every society, including the Sangha society, has its own fraction of miscreants. Ven. Walpola Rahula’s “Bhikshuvage Urumaya” expalins the political possibilities for Buddhist monks.
      Islam and Christianity were out and out political movements. (Chritianity was a Jewish movement against Roman oppression – Jews expected the Messiah to come and free them and establish the kingdom of heaven on earth, with all the evil people banished to hell).

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    Shyamon J singles out religion as the source of violence. Scientific atheism has killed again & again. Robert Openheimer who chaired the atomic power committee to invent the atom bomb refused to stop even when other members pointed out that Natzis were already being defeated with conventional weapons. He said he has become like Mara the destroyer. His glee at the test blast was eerie. He insisted that the scientific experiment must be successfully concluded. He further insisted after dropping the uranium bomb (little boy)on Hiroshima and Germany surrendered, plutonium bomb (fat man) must be dropped on Nagasaki. So much for the morality of science.

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      Science is value neutral. Ethical systems (e.g., moral codes of religions) tell you what you OUGHT to do, while science tells you HOW a job can be done.
      Science tells you how to make matches, but does not tell you whether you should use the matches to light a candle or to set fire to a house. So science and morals are complementary things.

      The problem arises when religious systems try to tell you what science tells you, or when scientists try to tell you what moralists should be telling you.

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      faulty logic- Oppenheimer didnt do it for the cause/sake of “atheism”. He was a madman as you would find in any religion. The difference here is that the violence that goes on caused by religion is done in its name- the Crusaders claimed they were doing it for Christendom, the Jihadis claim they’re doing it for Islam, the BBS say they’re doing it for the protection of Buddhism, etc etc. Oppenheimer didnt go ahead because he was committed to doing anything ‘for’ atheism.

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      And what is more? The WWI, WWII, Holocaust, Pogroms, Bosnia, extermination of indigenous people in American, Australia, New Zealand, The embargo on Iraq, and two wars on Iraq – none of these were the crimes of religions. The morality emanating from the scientific societies of the west did not stop such heinous crimes against mankind.

      If you add up the numbers killed, and maimed by these non-religious psychopaths, what little crime the religious have committed is nowhere near.

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      @ Lalith Mendis

      Oppenheimer was a secular Jew who dabbled in Vedanta. Hence, the quote about Mara. Oppenheimer directed the Manhatten Project, but the final decision as to whether or not to drop the bomb was not his. It was Truman’s. No one knew the impact of the atomb bomb until it was actually used. Also, do not forget that Japan was given multiple chances to surrender before the bombs were dropped. We cannot blame science for the atom bomb; once the atom was split, it was only a matter of time before a bomb was built (either by the Americans, Germans, or Soviets). And the decision to build one was political, not scientific.

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    Absolutely first class piece. Fearless and truthful. High time we came to terms with nonsense and called a spade a spade.Congrats Shyamon!

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      Fearless ????? Aho Ransimala, It is the freedom he entertains. He does not write bull sh**t. I know sometime you blog uncomprehend writing. You need to be down to earth. He knows the philosophy; he uses it from the right context: cultural, social and environmental. Sri Lanka is not Afghanistan!

      Cheers

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    Indeed A Very good article to read and absorb into the mind as to how our masses are misled by so called preachers but cheating to themselves.
    BUT AS MR Shyamon Jayasinghe says;

    “This after-life myth makes the truly religious withdraw from making a real life out of life and from enjoying the joy and splendor that the only life we can ever know of does possess. Instead of withdrawing from life why not engage in beautiful acts of charity to our fellow human beings? Isn’t this more productive or less hypocritical?.”

    IF WE STOP THINKING AND BELIEVING LIKEWISE, WHAT A MESS WE WILL MAKE IN THIS IMPERMANENT WORLD.

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    1/ Undoubtedly the world depends entirely on science for it’s existence.

    2/ Be it the food supply ( agricultural science ), medicine ( medical science), transportation ( mechanical engineering ), dwellings ( civil engineering ), communication ( electrical enginnering , computer science etc ) and power supply ( nuclear and electrical ) it is science that runs the world.

    3/ Religion is outdated. As science pushes the frontiers of knowledge further and further into learning more about the unknown elements of the universe, metaphysical aspects like GOD and NIRVANA, which are entirely FAITH BASED ( no empirical evidence except for what some so called “prophets” claimed ) are becoming less and less relevant.

    4/ FAITH ( belief without proof ) is losing the battle against science ( belief with proof ).

    5/ The “religious” fools should thank the scientists who do a thankless job, hidden away inside dark corners of various laboratories, for providing them with all the creature comforts so that they can go on praying to unseen forces and believing in a non-existent salvation

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      World depend on science for its existence !! Doesn’t make any sense.
      Humans uses their knowledge of science to make their material life comfortable. (There are some medical pills to comfort your mental state too)

      All humans are imperfect and they have very complicated consciousness, so most of them try to understand ‘I’ , ‘self’, ‘mind’ through religious teaching at least in their later stage of life
      Anura

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        What I meant by world is mankind. It should have been obvious.

        Well, it is thanks to science that the 2 of us can communicate with each other in this manner. As they say proof of the “pudding is in the eating”

        The search for “I” “self” etc through religious teaching may yield the illusion of relief for some “dependent folks” but after death it could all end up being “much ado about nothing “

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    Generally people can decipher good from bad, wrong from right. When we were in kindergarten we were taught the story of the water babies and Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid. Then we read Aesops fables that taught us many a good lesson. As part of the Wolf Cub movement of Lord Baden Power, we uttered the words ‘Akela well do our best DYB DYB DYB DYB and we’ll DOB DOB DOB DOB’. We made the promise ‘I Promise to do my Best, To do my Duty to God and the Queen, To keep the Law of the Wolf Cub pack,And to do a good turn to somebody every day’. I remember that I very religiously made it a point to do a good turn to someone every day.

    Such training we received in English schools were devoid of religious undertones but were in the Christian tradition of education inherited from our colonial masters. So in addition to learning Islam as a subject we were taught more of men and matters. We learnt of books and learnt of men and learnt to play the game. We studied alongside students of all races and religions with not even a wrinkle of a thought that we were different or superior. So the discourse on behaviour, morality and ethics was something taught without the religious undertones of today. I became religious later in life after study and introspection. I see no problem in being a good muslim and following what I learnt as a child.

    In contrast the system of education today has gone back to the premise that everything good, ethical and moral must stem from religion. Children are separated in school by race, language and religion. Children are grounded in their own religion only. I stress on the word only. It could include an unsaid component that the other is faulty or not as good. It also includes a component that is ignorant of other religions and people. This type of thinking gets ingrained in the psyche of the child and later impacts on the way society thinks and behaves.

    So the need of the hour is for interfaith and inter-communal understanding and harmony. Even those who reject religion carry a hint of the ‘I am superior’ mentality which breeds discord and conflict. No one can exist in a vacuum. Every person has his faith and beliefs whether it is religion or science etc. So what is essential is to learn how to conduct oneself in society and get along with others. This message may be found in religions, scientific theories etc.

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      Enlightened thinking. Fine comment.

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    The very idea of ‘Non-Religious’ is a choice of living life. Each one trying to impose their philosophy/religion on others claiming mine is better than yours. Rather we all should respect each other’s faith/belief and focus on methods of establishing social harmony.

    The Human Eye: the gift of sight.

    Just the small muscles around the lens of our eyes are used more than 100,000 times each day. If our leg muscles tried to do that much work, they would have to go on a 50-mile hike!

    Eighty percent of the raw sensory information that is a basis for our knowledge is provided by our eyes. Eighty percent of that is received into our brains.

    Many of us are old enough to remember the outer space expedition of Vikings I and II that occurred between 1976 and 1980. During that trip, more than 50,000 images of the Planet Mars were captured. In addition, Voyages I and II transmitted about 70,000 images of Saturn and Jupiter back to Earth.

    All of this took approximately two years. Combined they gathered 387 billion bits of information. Not million but billions!

    But the Human Eye; the Creator gifted us, can do more than that in just a few minutes!

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    Shayaman Jayasinghe had EXTREMELY dishonest when he included a few buddhists monks behaviour with Churches – child molestation and sexual abuse of children.

    What church priests did extend almost for a century and all over the world. Victims are in thousands and every country has victims.

    So, Mr, Shyaman Jayasinghe can you find the same scenario with buddhist monks ?

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      Jim, truth is hurting you.

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    For me, this is a garbage – garbage out type of article.

    Religion and spirituality is different. Catholic or Christian priests are religious people. Buddhist monks are not religious people and they are spiritual people. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO BE SPIRITUAL THAN TO BE RELIGIOUS. Because we are human and our mind wander every where and our needs are controlled biologically and more.

    Besides, making mistakes in their lives is human. but, the same mistake is done thousands and almost every priests did the same mistake and, further, authorities kept quiet knowing that some thing was happening, then it is criminal.

    Mr. Shyaman Jayasinghe has tried to handle so many issues. Because of that comment would articles longer than what you have written.

    Article is just garbage.

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    @Safa

    “Such training we received in English schools were devoid of religious undertones but were in the Christian tradition of education inherited from our colonial masters. So in addition to learning Islam as a subject we were taught more of men and matters. We learnt of books and learnt of men and learnt to play the game. We studied alongside students of all races and religions with not even a wrinkle of a thought that we were different or superior. So the discourse on behaviour, morality and ethics was something taught without the religious undertones of today. I became religious later in life after study and introspection. I see no problem in being a good muslim and following what I learnt as a child.”

    Beautiful crafted and full of truth. Reflects my own educational background so aptly. Unfortunately, the rot in our educational system started with post-colonial politicians playing socks for political mileage at the expense of dividing the communities for their own selfish gain.It started with the old fox Banda and his destructive Sinhala only policy.It continues today in several different other forms, each more potentially destructive as divisive forces than the other. Do we still have any hope? I sometimes wonder.

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    Propositions or conclusions with regard to the universe are purely the jurisdiction of science.

    Above statement is Complete BS.

    Elbert Einstein, who was considered to be the best scientist in the 20th century, was not actually a scientist and he was mathamatician.

    Most probably, you don’t know much about science. Some “science” subjects are not science. But, those subjects have helped lot for science.

    If only science works, why some hard-core science people have written things mostly look like “religious”.

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    The hijacking of religions for political purposes followed the actual use of religions to manipulate and control the thinking of intelligent human beings.

    While Shyamon’s sensible arguments ring true and seem plausible, there will never be enough takers that will transform blind submission to the dictates of powerful lobbies by simple truths such as the ones he discussed.

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    Like many other indigenous systems, as well as the science, Religions also a knowledge SYSTEM that explains the things around us. As similar to Science, Religions also have some concepts which can not be proved in conventional ways as we do in science. Even science have such a things which are not subjected to be challenged. Mostly these are categorised as AXIOMS. You have to believe in AXIOMS to build up the great kingdom of science and very same AXIOMS are the Achilles heel of the Classical Science of the 17-19th century and still in debate in modern science. it is pity that learned professor is questioning the beliefs of different religions but accept the science neglecting the AXIOMS , without giving them the same treatment of scrutiny. Even the Newtons laws are some kind of axioms which can not be proved. Merely the incident of sending rockets to moon using Newton does not prove that Newton is correct. It is way of explaining some scenario and getting work done but not the reality ( reality: if such a thing exists). The way of Newton is failed in quantum physics. But still you advise us to believe in Newton to find the corners of Universe. (/// Propositions or conclusions with regard to the universe are purely the jurisdiction of science. ///)

    The CONSISTENCY of the science was broken with the new theories of Quantum physics and it is questioning the limitation of the science which is primarily based on the five senses of the human. This paradigm shift of science has unlocked the path of the scientists to extract the concepts in Buddhism and similar eastern philosophies which are may be irrational to eyes of classical scientists.

    Last but not least , you have questioned the concept of Rebirth, which is purely a belief but may not be rational to you. I extracted following questions from the ‘Milinda Panaha’
    “What is it, Nàgasena, that is reborn?”
    “Mind and matter.”
    “Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?”
    “No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are
    done and because of those deeds another mind and matter
    is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released
    from the results of its previous deeds.”
    “Give me an illustration.”
    “It is like a fire that a man might kindle and, having
    warmed himself, he might leave it burning and go away.
    Then, if that fire were to set light to another man’s field and
    the owner were to seize him and accuse him before the
    king, and he were to say, ‘Your majesty, I did not set this
    man’s field on fire. The fire that I left burning was different
    to that which burnt his field. I am not guilty’. Would he
    deserve punishment?”
    “Indeed, yes, because whatever he might say the
    latter fire resulted from the former one.”
    “Just so, O king, by this mind and matter deeds are
    done and because of those deeds another mind and matter
    is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released
    from the results of its previous deeds.”////

    Last but not least, as you have taken from the Kalama Sutra of Lord Buddha, you have missed a point here. Lord Buddha has preached not accept anything just merely it is being Rational either. You can believe this or not. Just being science is rational, do not keep your faith in Science. Its CONSISTENCY has already shaken,.

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      As a professional scientist, I believe that my understanding of science is reasonably good. The philosophy of science includes axioms, hypotheses and other theoretical areas. But the applied areas of science always rely on proven experimental methods that can be replicated and have so far produced nothing but astonishing results leading to the progress of mankind to the level that it is today .

      On the other hand religion and FAITH BASED ideologies have produced nothing but a bunch of fanatics who rely on the UNSEEN for PERCEIVED benefits in the next life etc. Such belief systems have led to nothing else but HOPE for the miserable and EXPLOITATION Of the gullible by deceitful and power hungry religious leaders who claim divine connections

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        Even though I do not intend to challenge your qualifications as a scientist, I must say that ,the Axioms have never been proved and not subjected to be proven either. Those are taken as truthful within the knowledge system of science. Is that not a some way of BELIEF? In the case of Hypothesis story is little different as they have some kind of justification and hypothesis are never taken as 100% correct as well. It only give us a probability which specific hypothesis is could occurs.
        The classical science is built up on an axiom that everything can be measured and whether measurer or observer does not observe or not the result is same. In other way science (physics, maths) is built up on the platform of objectivity and not of the subjectivity. This very same basic Axiom is shaken in the field of Quantum Physics. If the axioms we assumed were correct why this INCONSISTANCY occurs in the same knowledge system?
        So one can challenge the BELIEF of others but he can not escape from the truth that he is also a prisoner of some kind of BELIEFs as there are no any knowledge systems without BELIEFS. You have to BELIEVE in something.
        Whether , is science directing humankind in the direction of progress is debatable. The CONSUMERISM which promoted by the SCIENCE has already gifted us many Environmental problems and the very cause of the Environmental problems lies with the greediness of the human.

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          1/ I did not say axioms have been proved or are subjected to proof. But I do not agree with you that those are taken as “truthful” depending on one’s understanding of what “truthful” means as opposed to ” THE TRUTH “

          2/ Even a hypothesis is taken as “truthful” until proven otherwise by experimental means. A “null hypothesis” assumes that there is no difference between two treatments or samples. So until proven otherwise the null hypothesis could be assumed as “truthful.”

          3/ In science we not deal with the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. For instance Lamarckian Theory of Evolution could be taken as TRUE until DARWINS Theory of Evolution by Natural selection came around.

          4/. So we deal with a “relative truth” but if not disproved that relative truth will stand. This is the situation as far as Theoretical science is concerned.

          5/ However in applied science we do deal with demonstrated and proven results that can be replicated outside of the theoretical as well as experimental environments. This is backed by standard experimental methodology including experimental designs and sampling theory ( deals with reliability and accuracy with which the results can be reproduced ) and have produced results that have been invaluable for human society ( optimum use of fertilizer and pesticides etc., to increase crop yield is a simple but good example )

          6/ Therefore I believe that “truthfulness” of science, which is subject to testing, is much much more genuine when compared to the “truthfulness” of religion which cannot be subjected to any kind of test at all

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            Dear American mama,

            I do not see any counter argument on your reply but a validation of what I have mentioned above.
            Now you say that the Science is dealing with the relative truth even though you know that it is not the absolute truth ( if such a thing exist). Religions, likes of Buddhism, also give such type of explanation on REALITY and i remind you that these have been derived about 2500 yrs ago as well .
            // Therefore I believe that “truthfulness” of science, which is subject to testing, is much much more genuine when compared to the “truthfulness” of religion//
            Now you say you have a BELIEF in the truthfulness of the SCIENCE.
            That is the same thing that someone who is religious would say about their religion.
            In addition they would say that it is tested and they are feeling the difference by adhering to the principles of their religion. However you are one more step ahead as you say your BELIEF is more GENUINE than the others.
            ALL are SUBJECTIVE and not OBJECTIVE. That is the vary same reason that the CONSISTENCY of science has been shaken with the new principles of QUANTUM SCIENCE which you have easily forget to answer in your reply.

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              1/ I am a Population Biologist. Not a physicist or a mathematician. Though I have studied “quantum mechanics” as a part of Physical Chemistry, for my Bachelor’s degree, I am not an expert to get into a debate on Quantum Theory.

              2/ Even U may agree that neither science nor religion deals with the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. It is quite possible that there is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH though it is doubtful whether we will ever realize it.

              3/ I do not wish to debate the semantics of “truthfulness”. But U are wrong to assume that someone can say that the “truthfulness” of religion can be “tested.” Metaphysical concepts that are beyond the realms of the material universe can not be ‘tested’ either by science or by religion. A good example is the concept of God. Unless God appears in the sky there is no test that can prove that he created existence.

              4/ I think U are missing my main contention : Science in its APPLIED FORM deals with “testable data” and has produced amazing results such as air travel, disease control, increased food production, telecommunication etc etc., whereas religion in any form deals only with “assumptions” and “speculative claims” that can never be put to the test and exists only in the mind of the believer.

              5/ As for Theoretical Science your argument about truthfulness being the same for both science and religion could be correct.
              ( Even that I am not a 100% certain. Have to give it more thought :) )

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              1/ I am a Population Biologist. Not a physicist or a mathematician. Though I have studied “quantum mechanics” as a part of Physical Chemistry, for my Bachelor’s degree, I am not an expert to get into a debate on Quantum Theory.

              2/ Even U may agree that neither science nor religion deals with the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. It is quite possible that there is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH although it is doubtful whether we will ever realize it.

              3/ I do not wish to debate the semantics of “truthfulness”. But U are wrong to assume that someone can say that the “truthfulness” of religion can be “tested.” Metaphysical concepts that are beyond the realms of the material universe can not be ‘tested’ either by science or by religion. A good example is the concept of God. Unless God appears in the sky there is no test that can prove that he created existence.

              4/ I think U are missing my main contention : Science in its APPLIED FORM deals with “testable data” and has produced amazing results such as air travel, disease control, increased food production, telecommunication etc etc., whereas religion in any form deals only with “assumptions” and “speculative claims”
              that can never be put to the test and exists only in the mind of the believer.

              5/ As for Theoretical Science your argument about truthfulness being the same for both science and religion could be correct.
              ( Even that I am not a 100% certain. Have to give it more thought )

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    BBS Demanding Homosex Must be legalized among Monks, since they are not allowed to marry they wanted this because they are suffering with sex feeling every day and night

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      But dont they have young boys who sleep in the temples and look after all their personal needs?

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      Dear American Mama,

      1.) Ok . Please be learned that CONSISTENCY of the SCIENCE has been challenged in QUANTUM SCIENCE.

      2.) Wrong. In classical science, the whole underlying assumption was a belief of the EXISTENCE of a ABSOLUTE TRUTH. That way we are forced to think that, even NEWTON observe or not the APPLE felt at the same speed , acceleration and same period. I.e observer is discrete to the incident. However in modern science this assumption is challenged.

      In Buddhism we do not ‘believe’ an existence of ABSOLUTE TRUTH and that is what ‘ANNATHMA’ is all about.

      3.) Again you are asking to us to accept that your method of testing as the ultimate and unique way of testing. But unfortunately it is not. Why you do not allow for expression of feelings as a method of testing. Many religious people say that they feel different in feelings and ultimate happiness by adhering to particular religion. Just because they are not quantifiable or intangible do they deserve to be neglected?

      4.) Yes I accept that particular models developed by SCIENCE have provided many and great service to humankind as well as the others. But so do the RELIGIONS. They have given mental peace to many which is sometimes not achievable by money or other means.

      5.) Really appreciate your way of arguments and discussion. Please do not forget to give more thought on the CONSISTENCY of the SCIENCE.

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        Dear Mayya

        1/ I am not sure of what U define as THE CONSISTENCY OF SCIENCE. I know that in Quantum mechanics the wave / particle theory claims that the precise nature of matter cannot be defined ( ie Heisenberg principle etc ) meaning cannot be taken as a given, and that therefore there is no consistency in matter.

        2/ Newtonian Physics was in accordance with the Christian belief of God (The Absolute), but Einsteins Relativity discredited it – to a certain extent only. Newtonian principles still apply at a certain level. So if U consider both of those, science does not rely on an ABSOLUTE.

        3/ Where we disagree is about religion. As U brought up Buddhism the theory of anathma is scientific (theoretically) (ie everything is in flux). But the theory of Nirvana and rebirth are suspect even in theory.

        4/ Almost all, regardless of whatever religion agree on the scientific testing principles as all technology is based on such . But there is no such agreement on religious theories.

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    Shyaman Jayasinghe does not know what buddhism is and I don’t think he has read buddhism extensively or he has not read who buddha is.

    In the western world, where all these matters where people are questioning, Religious, spiritual, athiest, agonist are all different meanings.

    You can religion had caused and is causing lot of troubles to humans but not the buddhism.

    This is what Einstein had said; Read and see why very intelligent people like to follow Buddhism.

    ” Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”

    ‘The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. ‘

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    This is more to what you say. they are not my own.

    Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”

    “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

    He was indicating that real science and real religion, are one and the same, in that the goal is knowledge, the only difference being that they are different stages of knowledge. He clearly has a belief in something other than what he can sense with his mundane senses. He makes clear distinction between matter and spirit, hense his quote.
    In your Einstein quote he says, “…….It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology.”
    When he talks of a personal god, he is talking about the image of God made by man. He believed that this type of religion will be trancended by the religion of the future. So from his viewpoint, the current dogmas and theologies which have dominated for so long, are not what he would term as spiritual, but materialistic.
    “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
    I think he chose buddhism as the future religion because it is atheistic, but tends to the spiritual side of man. Compassion, empathy, love, tolerance, etc, can all be developed through its teachings and is probably the most acceptable and suitable system, for the modern, common man of the age. It is also clear however, that Einstein was not a buddhist or atheist, but was a believer in God, a god with a personality and intelligence.

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      So- called JS your verbal diarrhoea is nauseating and here is my take on it though it’s bound to be beyond your ken and your ilk.

      In Defence Of The Non-Religious

      Well done Shaymone, I have read your other similar ones in the Pahana. Please do keep it up even though the congenitally mentally damaged will not be able make much of it. Religion at its best has served as an internal (for the individual) and external for (for the community) scaffolding and has out lived it’s whatever usefulness and is going to be the future cause for the destruction of humans. The only present day good is the service angle of it as even this too business like profit and return in this life and/or the next delusion too does not cut muster with all right thinking humans.

      All humans should be taught about all religions and not one or two particular religions of the parents for mankind to get out of the throes and morass of all outdated religions though vested interests would be loathe doing anything like the QWERTY keyboard when there could be faster and more efficient keyboard. I am in no way trying saying that science has all the answers but its dynamic inductive, deductive and experimental methodology and processes are relatively far less pernicious in getting to the truth than all the so-called religions.

      Scientific Knowledge in any if not all disciplines are akin to what is in the enclosed area within a circle whilst the unknown is outside the circumference of this circle. As this circle grows larger so does the circumference and what is external to it of the unknown. Hence in one it’s a self defeating process that may add credence to the belief that ignorance is bliss yet we all know what mankind has gained in the growth and enlargement of the circle.

      In a related matter please look-up the URL http://www.thinkingallowed.com/1krishnamurti.html as to what U G Krishnamurthy has to say on the so-called state of Nirvana and/or Enlightenment that some Buddhists boast about. He himself having been through it to know that its more or mostly a fortuitous happening that comes to some without seeking (Like Ramana Maha Rishi) it as well and various some tragic outcomes of not being able to cope with it by some others as evidenced and corroborated by and from the website of one Italian Julian or Julius who once had two backed-up websites on UG.

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      So- called JS your verbal diarrhoea is nauseating and here is my take on it though it’s bound to be beyond your ken and your ilk.

      In Defence Of The Non-Religious

      Well done Shaymone, I have read your other similar ones in the Pahana. Please do keep it up even though the congenitally mentally damaged will not be able make much of it. Religion at its best has served as an internal (for the individual) and external for (for the community) scaffolding and has out lived it’s whatever usefulness and is going to be the future cause for the destruction of humans. The only present day good is the service angle of it as even this too business like profit and return in this life and/or the next delusion too does not cut muster with all right thinking humans.

      All humans should be taught about all religions and not one or two particular religions of the parents for mankind to get out of the throes and morass of all outdated religions though vested interests would be loathe doing anything like the QWERTY keyboard when there could be faster and more efficient keyboard. I am in no way trying saying that science has all the answers but its dynamic inductive, deductive and experimental methodology and processes are relatively far less pernicious in getting to the truth than all the so-called religions.

      Scientific Knowledge in any if not all disciplines are akin to what is in the enclosed area within a circle whilst the unknown is outside the circumference of this circle. As this circle grows larger so does the circumference and what is external to it of the unknown. Hence in one it’s a self defeating process that may add credence to the belief that ignorance is bliss yet we all know what mankind has gained in the growth and enlargement of the circle.

      In a related matter please look-up the URL http://www.thinkingallowed.com/1krishnamurti.html as to what U G Krishnamurthy has to say on the so-called state of Nirvana and/or Enlightenment that some Buddhists boast about. He himself having been through it to know that its more or mostly a fortuitous happening that comes to some without seeking (Like Ramana Maha Rishi) it as well and various some tragic outcomes of not being able to cope with it by some others as evidenced and corroborated by and from the website of one Italian Julian or Julius who once had two backed-up websites on UG.

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    When ‘Jimsofty’ says science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind he assumes that religon is an equal path to truth. The fact is that religion has no legitimacy as a source of truth as it is disconnected to evidence. One has no alternative but to seek scientific method to discover the truth and as Shyamon suggests with admirable mental precision science has come a long way in discovering the nature of things. It is a matter of time.

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    Shyamon

    A very good exposition on a difficult theme and with many a thought expounded from an exacting perspective. Quite a few ideas are also expressed with a heretical flavor and you have correctly discerned that you have to save yourself.

    May I add a few thoughts. All religions have preached love and brotherhood and yet they had not pervaded humanity adequately even by the end of the nineteenth century. The Parliament of Religions in 1893 was held in Chicago. Sessions spread across 17 days. There were 40,000 documents, 3,000 Advisory Councilors and an audience of 4,000. At the conclusion of the meeting, the consensus encapsulated in one sentence was inscribed on the New Liberty Bell – “A New Commandment I Give Unto You, That Ye Love One Another”. With the aura of all religions behind it, it has failed to seep into society, however sublime the value.

    Seneca the Younger said with his feet on the ground: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful”. Perhaps Napoleon was more of a realist when he said ‘Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet’.

    Aurobindo’s memorable words: ”The religion of India is nothing if it is not lived. It has to be applied not only to life, but the whole of life; its spirit has to enter into and mould our society, our politics, our literature, our science, our individual character, affections and aspirations”

    You have touched on soul and rebirth. Swinburne’s words are worthy of meditation “A little soul for a little bears up the corpse which is man”.

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    Both science and religion serve different and yet equally important roles in the lives of humans.

    Religion gives comfort to millions of poor in way science never can. These poor may be thought to be mis/under informed yet they are sated in a way that science cannot. They offer hope that death is not final and that there is hope beyond.

    The contribution of science to the improvement of human life is beyond debate. It affects day to day existence in a very real way.

    It is the combination of these two. Science improves life, while we live it and religion gives hope of life beyond death(whether true or false) that makes life bearable.

    It would not do to dismiss religion so simply as Shyamon will be the first to admit he has no clue as to what occurs after death.

    The problem occurs when there is a emphasis on only one aspect of life. Life should be lived in its entirety. Religion is a important aspect of that life. When belief in religion makes one ignore science is when the all the shit starts.

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    Thanks a lot bedrock Barney: I agree with you: man has his own limitation : He thinks he is equal to God: he can only think within his six faculties: beyond that he can not panatrate at all: world of unseen, world of angels, world of animal kingdom and world of next life : man can not know these except through some divine revelation .once death comes to this man he will know reality until then he can say anything : all atheist wobbling and baffling: they live a world of ridle that has been wrapped in an enigma and one day when is open they will know the truth:? That day come to them when they die:

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      This is only true if GOD actually exists. So far GOD remains a concept that can neither be proved nor disproved.

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    Great article Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I would gladly adopt your definition which would wipe out lot of unnecessary mental weight for me which I carried from my childhood. I would like to be a Buddhist not because my parents are Buddhists nor I learnt Buddhism at school, but because I am an ardent follower of Buddha, his noble teachings – the Dhamma and his noble disciples – the Sanga. This would surly give me a confident to open my mind to realise what the reality and to accept what is moral & ethical. We have to accept, acknowledge and respect rights of others and to be sensitive to their feelings as other also have equal rights to live happily with dignity.

    I don’t think religion go together with teachings of Buddha, as we cannot institutionalise the Dhamma which gives the guidelines to liberation and for lasting blissfulness achieved through emancipating from suffering. This has to be realised – not worshipped.

    I have noted some comments about words in English language such as ‘spirituality’ and I could not see any relevance or relation to basic concepts of Dhamma. Correct me if I am wrong here, but I see ‘spirituality’ is one’s rejection of material things or gains, which is good. However, Dhamma emphasises on detachment through pure understanding of impermanence (Anicca). Can a Spiritual person get rid of polluted thoughts such as ‘anger’ ‘lust’ ‘vengeance’ ect.?

    I see Buddha himself as the most prominent, fascinating Scientist ever born on this planet, as he explained the meaning of the word ‘Vidya’ (if you like you can translate to English as ‘Science’). The ‘Vidya’ he introduced is a very complex approach of understanding the ‘Suffering’, ‘Cause for Suffering’, ‘way to eradicate the Suffering and the result.

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      rajind,
      “I would like to be a Buddhist not because my parents are Buddhists nor I learnt Buddhism at school, but because I am an ardent follower of Buddha, his noble teachings – the Dhamma and his noble disciples – the Sanga.”

      Could you please explain what is so ‘noble’ about Buddha’s teachings?
      Almost all of his ideas are from the ancient Hindu Vedas. This was the extent of Human knowledge existing during Buddha’s time. The Buddha only put a bit of ‘spin’ to them and marketed it as his ‘Dhamma’.
      But the fact remains that neither the ‘Hindu Vedas’ nor ‘Buddha’s Dhamma’ were based on any “Scientific Method” of investigation & discovery. That’s why even today, these Buddha’s teachings have not produced any results for anybody anywhere in the Real World (although millions have tried). Do you know anybody who has followed the Buddhas Dhamma and eradicated suffering, for instance?

      Seeing the Buddha as a ‘Scientist’ is the epitome of absurdity.
      Specially, we in this Island has to start thinking and acting outside of our emotions, and come to terms with this Reality. We should also be able to see the Buddha Dhamma as nothing ‘Special’ (just like all the other ideas peddled by various Religious leaders).
      It is certainly NOT a guide for forming our Morals/Values for Governance of a modern State.

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        Rationalist

        Thank you for your questions. I will try my best to answer with my limited knowledge as I am not an expert in Dhamma – Teachings of Buddha.

        Firstly, the word ‘Noble’ is used in many Dhamma texts to emphasise the meaning of ‘path to enlightenment’ or ‘enlighten person’. The enlightenment described in Dhamma has 4 main stages and the final stage is ‘Arahath’ which refers to a person who has achieved the supreme bliss of Nirvana. Buddha taught how to eradicate suffering and to achieve enlightenment, therefore his teachings are Noble.

        According to my understanding, Hindus believe a divine creator of the universe including all life forms – the concept of GOD. They too believe in cycle of birth but ending of this cycle means merging with God or the divine force. Each living being has this divine energy within themselves which is called ‘Athma’. Buddha’s teaching does not include ‘Athma’ and it is ‘Anathma’. Anathma is a concept which integrated with ‘mind’ or stream of thoughts and physically there is no permanent person or form as such, but a combination of 4 main / basic physical elements. Due to ‘not understanding the reality’ living beings do good or bad deeds which creates good or bad results. These good or deeds create good or bad minds which will result good or bad stream of thoughts capable of creating a physical form in a birth with physical organs of senses capable of capturing senses to create feelings and thoughts. These feelings such as satisfactions & happiness manifest attachments – pushing living beings into the cycle of birth. Persons while travelling in this cycle, experience numerous / uncountable amount of grief, pain and suffering.

        What do you mean by ‘Scientific Methods’? Are you referring to modern science, technology and methods which were originated from assumptions and hypothesises that were proved based on existed technology but subject to corrections later with more advance technology or knowledge? We have not written this online 15 years ago, but we do this now. Technology we used 10 years ago is now obsolete and replaced by modern ICT. Do you believe we, the human race, evolved from Apes??? This modern science will be subject to discard or modifications in the future with acquisition of further awareness / knowledge. I view that anything subject to correction is not pure truth. But Teachings of Buddha has never been corrected, revised or discarded, yet it applies to all times – past, present and future. Therefore I view Buddha as the greatest Scientist.

        To your question of whether I know anybody who has followed Buddha, Dhamma and Sanga and eradicated suffering – my answer is ‘yes’.

        Your comments on “Buddha’s teachings have not provided results” is not applicable to me. Even though I have a very long way to go, still I gained some ability to see life as it is and to maintain an unshaken mind at many times of distress by learning & understanding Buddha’s teachings. I am very happy with these results considering my limited knowledge of Dhamma.

        On your Last Comment “It is certainly NOT a guide for forming our Morals/Values for Governance of a modern State” ……
        If you want a guide for forming Morals/Values for Governance of a modern State,
        try Utopia and wish you good luck. Otherwise look into to Chanakya’s ‘Arthashatra’ or Machiavelli’ ‘The Price’. Buddha provided a practical guide for people to achieve liberation from endless suffering and to achieve this through their own wisdom and intelligence.

        I suggest you to read some books and articles (readily available in the Internet) about Buddha’s teachings to gain some understanding and awareness, but you don’t need to be a Buddhist for that.

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    Rationalist

    Thank you for your questions. Without prejudice, I will try my best to answer with my limited knowledge as I am not an expert in Buddha’s teachings.

    Firstly, the word ‘Noble’ is used in many Dhamma texts to emphasise the meaning of ‘path to enlightenment’ or ‘enlighten person’. The enlightenment described in Dhamma has 4 main stages and the final stage is ‘Arahath’ which refers to a person who has achieved the supreme bliss of Nirvana. Buddha taught how to eradicate suffering and to achieve enlightenment, therefore his teachings are Noble.

    According to my understanding, Hindus believe a divine creator of the universe including all life forms – the concept of GOD. They too believe in cycle of birth but ending of this cycle means merging with God or the divine force. Each living being has this divine energy within themselves which is called ‘Athma’. Buddha’s teaching does not include ‘Athma’ and it is ‘Anathma’. Anathma is a concept which integrated with ‘mind’ or stream of thoughts and physically there is no permanent person or form as such, but a combination of 4 main / basic physical elements. Due to ‘not understanding the reality’ living beings do good or bad deeds which creates good or bad results. These good or deeds create good or bad minds which will result good or bad stream of thoughts capable of creating a physical form in a birth with physical organs of senses capable of capturing senses to create feelings and thoughts. These feelings such as satisfactions & happiness manifest attachments – pushing living beings into the cycle of birth. Persons while travelling in this cycle, experience numerous / uncountable amount of grief, pain and suffering.

    What do you mean by ‘Scientific Methods’? Are you referring to modern science, technology and methods which were originated from assumptions and hypothesises that were proved based on existed technology but subject to corrections later with more advance technology or knowledge? We have not written this online 15 years ago, but we do this now. Technology we used 10 years ago is now obsolete and replaced by modern ICT. Do you believe we, the human race, evolved from Apes??? This modern science will be subject to discard or modifications in the future with acquisition of further awareness / knowledge. I view that anything subject to correction is not pure truth. But Teachings of Buddha has never been corrected, revised or discarded, yet it applies to all times – past, present and future. Therefore I view Buddha as the greatest Scientist.

    To your question of whether I know anybody who has followed Buddha, Dhamma and Sanga and eradicated suffering – my answer is ‘yes’.

    Your comments on “Buddha’s teachings have not provided results” is not applicable to me. Even though I have a very long way to go, still I gained some ability to see life as it is and to maintain an unshaken mind at many times of distress by learning & understanding Buddha’s teachings. I am very happy with these results considering my limited knowledge of Dhamma.

    On your Last Comment “It is certainly NOT a guide for forming our Morals/Values for Governance of a modern State” ……
    If you want a guide for forming Morals/Values for Governance of a modern State,
    try Utopia and wish you good luck. Otherwise look into to Chanakya’s ‘Arthashatra’ or Machiavelli’ ‘The Price’. Buddha provided a practical guide for people to achieve liberation from endless suffering and to achieve this through their own wisdom and intelligence.

    I suggest you to read some books and articles (readily available in the Internet) about Buddha’s teachings to gain some understanding and awareness, but you don’t need to be a Buddhist for that.

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      rajind,
      Your answers are as emotionally charged and fractional as your beliefs. For instance you say that “Buddha taught how to eradicate suffering and to achieve enlightenment, therefore his teachings are Noble.” – What you are saying is you BELIEVE that the Buddha taught the way to do these things. To say a definitive statement as you have done, then you have to be be sure of the facts of your statement are true.

      That was my next question, IF the statement “Buddha taught how to eradicate suffering and to achieve enlightenment” is true, then there must be someone who has followed what the Buddha taught and eradicated suffering. Your answer to my question about such a person was just a “Yes” (meaning you know such a person). Does this person have a name? and email address? Is this a real person? If you know him, can you introduce him to me?

      With regards to the my point about you seeing the Buddha as a ‘Scientist’, a Scientist is a person who follows the ‘Scientific Method’ and come to conclusions. These conclusions that scientists come to can be tested, experimented by anyone, anywhere and would yield the same results. But Buddha’s conclusions have NOT yielded the result (that he says he achieved) by anyone else; Except this person YOU only know, but have not given us the name yet.

      That is why my comment that these untested, un-achievable, un-scientific methods are ‘NOT a guide for forming our Morals/Values for Governance of a modern State.’
      There are many successful modern States in the world today, and they were formed on principles of Science and Ratinalism, and NOT on Religious mumbo-jumbo.

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        As I suggested please do some research on what Buddha has taught – internet would be a great source. May be you will find answers to your own questions. I cannot share private details of others as it is not ethical or moral (you too talked about morals / values in your comments). Good Luck.

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    It is wrong to say Buddhist monks are “Running wild and violent” in S/L. This is extremist language, the very thing that Shyamon is decrying in others. The Buddhist monks are protesting against the extremism of the Muslims (Sharia Law, Halal certification etc) and other fundamentalist religions in S/L, which is their right and the right of all free thinking, peace-loving people of our country.

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    Syamon is wrong to say “Buddhist monks are running wild and violent” in S/L. The monks were protesting against the extremism of the Muslims and fundamentalist religions of S/L. In the Muslims case promoting Sharia Law and Halal certification, which they are trying to impose on people of other faiths. The Buddhist monks have the right to protest on these matters.
    Shyamon is here guilty of extremist language. He is practicing the very extremism he is decrying in others.

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    Thanks for enlightening!

    The religions we have today had been established during pre-scientific times. In the absence of scientific thinking and scientific method it was left to theologians to try and help us understand reality. They unloaded a whole lot of unbelievable gibberish.

    One fights for an identity imposed on one as an infant and for a reality that is entirely constructed by questionable priests, Mullahs and monks; yet one dies for that reality and slays others on its behalf. One’s consciousness is killed at the beginning and one’s mind is blocked and blinded.

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    Monks and Mullahs are the same.

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