17 October, 2021

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Maha Sangha Should Be Banned From Politics

By Vishwamithra

“An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” ~Mark Twain

Photo credit – Maithripala Sirisena’s Facebook

Ivor Jennings, who was primarily responsible for drafting our Constitution upon gaining Independence from the British, handed us a secular constitution. Multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural as Ceylon was then and now is, the Jennings Constitution safeguarded certain rights of the country’s minorities in no uncertain fashion. It was commonly known as Soulbury Constitution and consisted of The Ceylon Independence Act, 1947 and The Ceylon (Constitution and Independence) Orders in Council 1947, Sri Lanka was then known as Ceylon. The Soulbury Constitution provided a parliamentary form of Government for Ceylon and for a Judicial Service Commission and a Public Service Commission.

Minority rights were safeguarded by Article 29 (2) of the Constitution which stated thus:

29. (1)

Subject to the provisions of this Order, Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Island.

29. (2)

No such law shall –

(a) prohibit or restrict the free exercise of any religion; or

(b) make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions are not made liable; or

(c) confer on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which is not conferred on persons of other communities or religions, or

(d) alter the constitution of any religious body except with the consent of the governing authority of that body, so, however, that in any case where a religious body is incorporated by law, no such alteration shall be made except at the request of the governing authority of that body.

However, that marked feature of a modern constitution, reflecting the mind of a sophisticated people, which by virtue of its very Articles and Clauses, provides defenses and safeguards to minorities living among an overwhelming majority of Sinhalese Buddhists, are no more present in our current Constitution. And it is indeed a sad confession of a people whose majority claims religious, no pun intended, adherence to the inspirational and transcended teachings of one of the greatest thinkers history has known, Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. What is even more offensive to the teachings is that the order that later organized itself as the custodians and peaceful messengers of the Dharma has resorted to dastardly conducts to disparage of other religions and their followers in the land of ‘the faith’. As per Professor A J Wilson, the trio of ‘the land, the race and the faith’, instead of creating a harmonious ethno-religious equilibrium in the land, is now increasingly engaged in dividing it while defiling the most important of the trio, ‘the faith’.

The immeasurable repercussions of erasing Clause 29 (2) from the Ivor Jennings Constitution are manifestly showing today: a deeply divided people, some members of the Sangha’s displaying an uncouth sense of indiscipline and participation in bizarre caravans of birthday parties and consumption of worldly pleasures. A people polarized along ethno-religious lines are doomed to failure. While Tamils in the North and Muslims in the East and the rest of the country are profoundly clinging on to their own extremities, Sinhalese Buddhists are being led by the their clergy to tearing apart a delicately woven socio-ethnic fabric and the tragic reality is that they seem to be succeeding in that attempt. History shows us that, in man going to war against man, no sentiment is more acute and been consequential than religion. Our neighbor India is a living example to it.

It is only in that context of historical and contemporaneous realities that we need to address the current tensions that the Buddhist clergy has created among us. Clergy’s involvement in politics has not been novel. A two thousand plus year-history of our Monarch-Clergy duo had practiced that without a break. But a blind faith to that history could have grave consequences in the modern world. Its historic reality apart, the Sangha’s entanglement in politics, especially after the ‘transformative’ 1956-election campaign of S W R D Bandaranaike, having brought this segment into the day-to-day dynamics of politicking, is promising to be catastrophic to the furtherance of a harmonious reconciliation among the three ethnic groups, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. The healthy ethnic equilibrium that was so apparent in the early part of twentieth century has evaporated within a matter of a decade, between the fifties and sixties. Although that equilibrium was fragile and delicate, as almost all ethnic balances are, the tenacious movement towards a more solid and promising end might yet have been a dreamer’s dream.

Let’s have a look at all those who were at the helm and how they treated, firstly the matter of religion in affairs of state and secondly the special position or lack thereof Buddhism:

D S Senanayake

D S was a devoted Buddhist who hailed from such a family in Siyané Koralé and never ever engaged the clergy of any religion in running the country. He was totally secular in governance and believed in a distribution of power, at least at the center, among all ethnicities.

Dudley Senanayake

Dudley Senanayake when he was Prime Minister in the ’65 – ’70 period made one of the most unwise governmental decisions. He replaced the Saturday/Sunday weekend with a Pre Poya/Poya Day weekend. By doing this he may have surmised that he would not only pacify the Sangha Sasana but also the greater country at large. He did neither. Sangha left him in the lurch in the following ’70 election debacle and the people at large couldn’t care less.

 Sir John Kotelawala

Sir John too was born a Buddhist but his excessive and melodramatic obedience to what was of the British Empire made him a joker of sorts at the time. His callous treatment of members of Buddhist clergy cost the United National Party more than one election. The disadvantageous character the UNP is now associated with is a creation of this symbolic demeanor of Sir John.

S W R D Bandaranaike

SWRD was not only a political byproduct of the Sangha, the strongest pillar that delivered the ’56 elections to him, he eventually paid the ultimate price for his slavish obedience to the Buddhist Clergy. Tearing the infamous BC Pact literally into pieces was done at the instigation of the Buddhist clergy and other so-called Buddhist leaders. Bandaranaike was assassinated by a Buddhist monk as the culmination of a conspiracy headed by the very monk who led the Maha Sangha in the ’56 elections for him. The assassin was Talduwe Somarama and the chief conspirator, Mapitigama Buddharakkhitha. Ironically, both had the ‘Venerable’ at the beginning of their names.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike

Sirimavo has the distinction of including a clause in the new Constitution Sri Lanka in 1972. As per that Constitution, Article 9 says: “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e) ”. The most significant element of this Clause is when such special place is accorded to Buddhism, in no way can any future government could take it away without risking a riot led by the saffron robe.

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

In her lackluster tenure, in her own lackluster way, this modern-day liberal made some attempts to keep the Maha Sangha away from politics but did not succeed fully.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda is one of the shrewdest politicians in independent Sri Lanka. His shrewdness surpassed even R Premadasa of the UNP. Yet if one politician who would have succeeded in keeping the Maha Sangha at abeyance was Mahinda, for the war-victory in 2009 gave him an unprecedented opportunity in that, if the Maha Sangha could be asked by any political leader to keep away from politics, it was him, for he was speaking from a unique position of strength. Instead, he chose to play politricks with the Sangha. He wasted valuable political capital and more so, time. Avarice took over everything in and around him

R Premadasa

Premadasa was a different kettle of fish. From the day he assumed office as President, he was preparing himself for the next election and consequently began mollycoddling the Maha Sangha. Another leader who spent his political capital at the altar of the clergy, was he. 

J R Jayewardene

The only political leader who had the foresight and the ‘spine’ to ask the Maha Sangha not to dabble in politics was J R Jayewardene. He declared well before his ’77 election victory that the Maha Sangha should keep away from politics. And after assuming power he opted to seek the advice of the Sangha only when the appropriate time arrived. In other words. J R did not allow the Buddhist monks nor any other denomination’s clergy to dictate ‘terms of state’ to the government. And it should be so.

Nevertheless, the paradigm has shifted and it seems to have shifted never to revert to the original position. BBS and Gnanasara’s circus have become part and parcel of the country’s political visage. The Mahanayakes are decreeing that there need not be a new constitution. The government’s ready remedies appear to be more to be akin to the thinking of a Monarch/Clergy alliance as in the ancient past. Secularism does not hold any water today. Such thinking is meeting with disdain and scorn. Banning of the Maha Sangha from politics is a logical necessity. But the material conditions in the land would not allow that.

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1956@gmail.com            

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Latest comments

  • 20
    11

    Maha Sangha Should Be Banned From Politics>>>Absolutely! ! and should be written in the constitution.>>>>

    • 10
      7

      Rajash—–The Maha Sangha should be driven back either to India or Burma and banned in this island until the reincarnation of Buddha himself.

      • 4
        4

        Native>>”reincarnation of Buddha himself?”….I am sure you did not mean reincarnation of Buddha in Sri Lanka>>> Sri Lanka would be the last place that Buddha want to set his foot on?>>>>like ISIS committing cruel murder in the name of Allah>>>>>Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhist are drifting in the same direction as ISIS >>>>>in the name of Buddha>>>not that violence in the name of Buddha is new to Sri Lanka >>>its taking a new dimension for the worse>>>>>all these years the Mahanyake’s gave a tacit approval of the violence <<>>>may be attributable to the demise of the LTTE>>>>ts going to get worse for Sri Lanka

    • 5
      2

      The writer talks about getting Mahanayakas banned from Politics, but the ground reality is that it is no easy to even get banned Balusara from Politics.
      If we cant get the low level MONKS away from politics how can we approach Higher monks from preventing them in Politics ?

    • 9
      3

      Not only Maha Sanga it should apply to Catholic/Christian priest too.
      Religion and governance should be separated.

      • 8
        2

        Eusense
        military junta with loot to boot with stolen californian IT fame. Now you are trying to take advantage You have to be born again even though Lankawe is pregnant with guns courtesy your MaRa hijack and kotti walle badu.
        Stay constipated you will be better off without head over shoulder.

      • 2
        1

        The Catholic/Christian clergy learnt their lesson in the 60’s when they preached politics from the pulpit.

    • 8
      2

      No religion should be above the law. The Buddhist monks will continue to commit all kinds of anti-Buddhist acts behind the saffron robes as long as Buddhism has great influence on the political process of the country. Politicians are more concerned in holding unto power and will always respect and protect the Buddhist monks to show that they are supporters of the Buddhist majority but they are doing more damage to Buddhism and the country.

      Buddha was not a politician but the way Sri Lankan Buddhist monks engage in politics, most non-Buddhists are under the impression that Buddhism is nothing but politics.

      Today the Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka are betraying Buddhism and insulting the Buddha but only a very few are clever enough to understand this fact whereas the majority are silent observers/bystanders to all the anti-Buddhist acts committed by the Buddhist monks. The Buddhist clergy who violate the Buddhist values and principles should be disciplined but who is there to bell the cat. During the Rajapakshe regime, they were able to silence even the Maha Nayaka Theros. The present spineless regime is scared of their own shadows.

      • 1
        1

        Very true.

    • 5
      2

      Then Putin must be funding You as it is Tamils
      abroad who clamour for militancy, violence and Eelam.
      There cannot be a building without a foundation you might as well live in boats that float as most billionaires do.
      நிலவு ஒருa moon- Pooyaaa.

    • 3
      2

      Rajash

      Are you afraid of seeing the birth of BISIS (Buddhist Incarnation for Sectarianism, Intolerance and Suppression)??

      • 1
        1

        sounds like BULLSHIT

        • 1
          0

          high time you slit your throat or eat more sh*t.

    • 2
      1

      Rajas,

      Go to ‘youtube’ and type ‘Secrets of Vatican’ and watch all the documentaries. Then you can understand how Christian clergy involved in politics and other mischievous activities. Couple of Tamil Christian clergy openly supported LTTE. Isn’t that involvement in politics. When Desmond Tutu supported Tamils, that was fine.

  • 19
    1

    Not just Mahasangha all religions should be banned from politics, also no person should be allowed to hold a religious and political office at the same time.

    Any religion that enters politics should lose all state privileges and be treated as a private entity.

    • 5
      2

      Agreed

      • 6
        2

        Yes, the root of all this is privilege extended to religion. There is no logical reason why religions should be tax-free, or why they should enjoy discounts on utility bills. It should not be the government’s business to promote any religion. There is also the practice of making religion compulsory at exams. What happens to the kids of parents who prefer not to believe? They get automatically brainwashed back into the System. So we have a large pool of unquestioning faithful who will listen to this extremely holy all-knowing trio of robed usurpers.
        It is perfectly obvious to all but the wilfully blind, that all the hoo-ha about the Dambulla Temple is about who holds onto the money collected in millions daily from visitors. It is NOT about religion. All collection boxes of ALL religions should be taxed.

      • 4
        1

        Fully Supported.

  • 9
    2

    It was a time when all roads to any kind of reasonable resolution of the ethnic question was blocked. I had an opportunity to sit with the High Commissioner for a western country in Sri Lanka to discuss the impasse. Even if all others agreed do you think that the yellow robes would, is how the commissioner brought the chat to a close!

  • 7
    14

    Vishvamithra: You come and preach democracy crap. where does this banning monks from politics come in your democratic system ?

    • 8
      3

      Jim,
      This has nothing to do with democracy. As a Buddhist I want my religious leaders to preach Buddhism and guide Buddhists in a path that we all live according to Buddha’s teachings. That is all I want from them, nothing else nothing more!

      • 1
        0

        Eusense
        Army pigs can fly with lot to boot and be forgetful of how they came to american dream land.

  • 8
    4

    The words සංඝ and භික්ෂු are misunderstood in SB culture…… Firstly, Buddha used the term “Bhikku” to call Buddhist Monks in (all or most) Suttas but NOT .සංඝ……………
    භික්ෂු : This is the term used to identify a Buddhist monk.. The literal meaning of this Pali term is “Beggar”… or “one who lived by arms”… They should posses very few items (8?). 3 robes, Needle & thread , Arms Bowl , Knife to shave head, Carry bag……. That is all.. They should go to cemetery to find cloth (which used to wrap dead bodies) , use saffron to disinfect it and stitch it by themselves… They should live like beggars without attachments to worldly things, this a basic requirement of searching or go through “Magga”….
    සංඝ : means “Assembly”… mainly “monastic Community of Bhikkus”. It is said King “Shuddodhana” used this term for his senate, assembly of consultants, leaders. There is no leaders in සංඝ too, and King cannot override decisions made by the සංඝ
    as a group.. This is believed to be the first known democratic process used by humans (before Romans).. King Shuddodhana was very happy when සංඝ decided to accept Prince Sidhdhartha as its’ member….(King couldn’t appoint his son as a member of සංඝ…)………….

    I believe Buddha used the same word “සංඝ” with very similar meaning to identify “monastic Community of Bhikkus”………

    So those individual SB monks are NOT සංඝ or “Maha Sangha”, they are භික්ෂුs or Beggars… Somehow, SB monks purposely mislead SBs by making them thinking that each monk is සංඝ ….. not a beggar but one of the Triple Gems….. We should continue using the correct word භික්ෂු

    • 0
      0

      LOL! Today’s “භික්ෂු” sit in AC Offices, ride around in Duty-Free Super Luxury Vehicles, demand to have a vehicle sent for them to attend a daana, practice the black arts, eat pan-fried monkfish at fancy restaurants, get involved in politics and assault people and hide behind the robe.

      Better we dont have “භික්ෂු” anymore

  • 6
    12

    Vishvamithra: You are anidiot when you say create a class of people who do not have voting rights. I know you talkd about buddhism but you quoted Upanishad which says you don’t know buddhism but you have read hindy so -called Hindu texts ? Anyway, are you an Indian Journalist settled in Sri Lanka. P.K. Balachandran is an Indian who wants to destroy Sri lanka and create a carbon copy of India which is the RAW Plan for the future.

  • 16
    1

    A good summary of events but, where do we go from here.
    The “Sinhala Buddhism” will not brook interference with its exalted position.
    It is being thrust on the Tamils in the form of Buddha statues & temples where very few and/or no Buddhists live, and special favour to its adherents.
    The Buddhist Monks many of whom do not practise poverty & celibacy have now included militancy in their behaviour. They even coopt children to serve them, which was not allowed by the Buddha.
    The armed forces and police who are overwhelmingly Buddhist, tend to treat those of other religions with disdain and as ‘expendable’. This tendency colours their actions and the state is helpless to discipline them.
    Section 29 conferred some measure of equality and hence was abolished.
    Thus, non-Buddhists have become ‘third grade’ citizens.
    The Mahanayakes are old and senile and have no control over the young rebellious monks. This situation cannot be reversed within our lifetime, more so, as it is tied up with politics.
    Thus, Sri Lanka is slowly destroying itself from within, not only due to religious strife, but also due to massive corruption.

    • 8
      1

      Jimmy Nitty Witty Softee.
      Hope you remember what your spiritual leader Gandasara said in Aluthgama in june 2014. We have a sinhala army, sinhala police and sinhala buddhist state so the minorities have no rights in this land.

      The only political leader who had the foresight and the ‘spine’ to ask the Maha Sangha not to dabble in politics was J R Jayewardene. He declared well before his ’77 election victory that the Maha Sangha should keep away from politics.

      Three cheers JR may your soul rest in peace!

  • 9
    1

    Absolutely agree with the writer. Absolutely agree also, that only JR had the spunk to tell the Maha Sangha, where to get off.

    Jim Softly (above) should know that when a layman takes to robes, he gives up everything; even his voting rights.

  • 4
    8

    All you guys ( funded or handled by groups with vested interests ) are dreaming. You want to turn SL into a Lebonon / Palestine/ or some such screwed up trading post?
    Sri Lanka is and will remain a country enriched by its Proud sinhala buddhist cunture,as intended by the great King Asoka who created this society based on Buddhist Temple. The yellow robe will prevail.
    Even the British Empire failed badly at it- Use of social media for this is hillarious.

  • 9
    1

    If we do not look sharp we may end up having a member of the Maha Sangha as Prsident of Sri LANKA and the chairman of the GMOA as Premier

  • 8
    2

    if you cant win at an election through a mandate by the people, then you throw an orange robe around yourself which can give you immunity from anything in this country. It also gives you the power:

    1. Terrorrise minorities
    2.To change or not to change the constitution.
    3. Burn Churches, Mosques and Hindu temples
    4. Unleash communal violence 1958, (tamil)1977 (tamil), 1983 (tamil) 2013 (muslim) 2017 (muslim)
    5. The list goes on and on…………..

    After all this intimidation towards the minorities they naturally begin to react and then we call them “terrorists’ and “unpatriotic people”

    The orange robes must try to gain the respect of people. Buddha’s ways are a cure for the ills of this nation. If he only sees his disciples act this way he might wonder why he ever became a buddha. Lets respect him and his teachings.

  • 8
    1

    Banning Maha Sangha is the only best thing to save the country from total collapse, if SL wants to survive.
    The Buddhism practiced and the behavior of Sangha members are becoming intolerable since they are dancing to the tune of the former shrewd, murderous MR & his cronies still actively playing dirty political games in order to destabilize the current government and come back to power and continue to ruin the nation with their usual criminal political games with white or black vans running all over the country.
    The entire nation knows how much money they all have looted and how many things they have destroyed and how much they have wasted, and what a lot of foreign loans they received. These are the pests to be got ridden asap and should not be listened to. My3 & RW should know the risk now and take serious action , no matter what happens. These rascal goons should be given the due treatment without any mercy if the country as a whole to survive. And the saffron robed thugs and idiotic monks should be kept in their deserving place, and ordered not to indulge in politics or decision making. These racist lots are the cause of all evil in Lanka. Even MR kept them in check and why not My3 & RW ? Do something you two and do not let another MR – GR combo ruin or reign in Lanka. Pack them off to where ever they all deserve to be, and if not, they will pack you all off there. Beware guys ! What the hell of a Yahapalanaya you both are doing ? Shame on you men ! If you cannot do anything, Just quit politics and go do something useful.

  • 3
    1

    One can only look at the situation with despair. We will go into cycles of violence as long as the ethnic issue is not settled. There will be interference in our politics by third states as the existence of conflict is a way in which the country could be kept in check. No community will progress. While it is true that extremists control Tamil and Muslim politics, their politics does not matter as much as Sinhala politics. It is for the majority to make an accommodation but every time an accommodation is reached the “Sangha” has interfered to annul it. So it goes on. The bright people of all communities are leaving the country. Only goons will be left to continue their piffling strife- Thanks to the “Maha Sangha”. The astute Sinhala politician plays with this situation in order to keep himself in power and immunize himself from accountability for corruption and misuse of power.

  • 2
    6

    How can anyone ban sanga from politics? Is not this suggestion a violation of human rights? Sanga has every right to vote, become a candidate and become an opinion maker because he has every right to do so as a citizen of this country.

    Are yahapalana stooges this stupid?

    And did not this idea got into his mind when doing politics with Sobhitha thera?

    • 2
      2

      sach
      This is already in effect for over a century in the United States; separation of church and state. Why not accuse them of violation of human rights?? Christians being the majority still the gov. has not granted what religious leaders want on abortion and gay rights etc.. Sure, the clergy has the right to vote as any citizen.
      That is how SL should be; if we want to progress.

    • 2
      0

      Sach

      ” Is not this suggestion a violation of human rights?”

      Yes certainly, but the monks also should not be prevented getting married and having a family, and go for a night out in a night club, have liquor, even have sex with consent and seek any legitimate pleasures as any human would like to.

      Thanks for calling your religion ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ and not ‘Buddhism’ as your Buddhism is nothing what Lord Buddha has preached. Thanks for not tarnishing the real Buddhists and isolating your religion or ‘way of life’ from the Buddhism of Lord Buddha .by labeling your religion / ‘way of life’ as ‘Sinhala Buddhism’.

  • 2
    4

    A secular constitution where all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, colour etc have equal opportunity and representation is a feature of any modern developed country.

    However, in Sri Lanka there is a widely-held notion among the fiercely loyal “Buddhists” that Buddhism is a minority and “Sinhala Buddhists” are only found in tiny SL and need to be protected.

    Notwithstanding the fact that most people like Muslims and Tamils are half Sinhala anyway (the incoming men took local women over the centuries) there is a strong resentment about the expansionist agendas of some Muslim groups who have become increasingly isolated and holding loyalties only to fellow Muslims in other countries rather than their country-folk in SL.

    Political game-playing and Buddhist monks rampaging and desecrating the good name of Buddhism have not helped resolve matters. “Banning” something will not be a solution. That is because the monks will then send their men in civilian clothes into parliament and they will carry on divisive propaganda anyway.

    • 8
      2

      Lasantha—-Don’t blame the Muslims for finding solace in wider Muslim community outside this island as you know better if you don’t treat your family well your women folks find foreigners attractive. In some rare cases the other side appears greener. ——- Even you would have found for yourselves the lady walking across the street was attractive.

      • 8
        0

        Que va?
        The wise are never too busy and the busy are not wise enough.
        Monkeys are merely bored while man has boredom plus imagination.
        Logical living alone is not enough but it has to be human.
        Overtly overprotective vanni rilawa and pathology engulfed in the dilemma of secular democracy.
        To all you Lankan’s if you can’t live with your own how can you live with others?
        So long as man is man, variety will still be the flavour of life.
        None realise how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

    • 4
      2

      Actually it is the other way around. Sinhalese are largely descended from Tamil. The ancestors of most Sri Lankan Tamils are largely the Naga. A Tamil speaking Dravidian people. This is why they share a 55% DNA with the original Sinhalese ( not the present day, as most of present day Sinhalese are descended from recent South Indian immigrants who were largely imported into the island as indentured labour by the Portuguese and Dutch) , The original Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils are descended from island’s Naga and Yakka. The Naga were the elite and the Yakka more the peasants. This is why even now in Sinhalese someone boorish or simple is called a Yakko. They are both the same people but different tribes. In areas where the Naga predominated they retained their ancient Tamil identity and did not convert much to Buddhism and remained Hindu. In the areas where the Yakka predominated they converted largely to Buddhism and adopted the Prakrit tongue that came with it and corrupted their Tamil dialect Elu. ELu+ Prakrit = Hela or old Sinhalese. The Muslims of Sri Lanka are not from Arabia but immigrants from South India who have some Arab but basically Tamils. The few Arab men who came to the island and took local women largely took Tamil women and not Sinhalese as at that time the population living along the coast were Tamil. Sri Lankan Muslims are ethnically Tamil and not Moor. Moors are from Morocco

    • 6
      0

      this part of it for the two struggling to come to terms and unable to be different with thought provoking wit.
      teach your child in the hall and your wife on the pillow.
      Now, that would be a winner.

  • 2
    0

    Time is ripe to convene the fourth Sangha Council.[Dharma Sangayana] to sort out matters concerning discipline among the clergy.Three Sangha Councils were held mainly to cleanse Buddhism from bogus monks. Among other things some monks wanted to have the ban lifted on having lunch after 12 having toddy[ Meera] and dealing in gold. Divisions among Sangha too was a reason.As present day Buddha Sasana is heavy with all the above corrupt practices some action is necessary to stop the rot. We cannot ban the clergy from politics as they are registered voters.

  • 4
    0

    “Yet if one politician who would have succeeded in keeping the Maha Sangha at abeyance was Mahinda”

    Well, give the man his due. Mahinda knew how to handle the Sangha alright. Just revisit the “arrest of Fonseka” issue. How he shut the Mahanayakes up by threatening to split the Nikayas – or whatever. No doubt, Mahinda had great political-cunning but unfortunately used to server himself, the family and the lackeys; not the country. What real political progress it could have made. And that’s the greatest waste of all. ————-

    Mahinda, like Prabakaran, had more stellar opportunities than any other “leaders” to shape the destinies of their respective people. Can you blame them if they did not know how to utilize the opportunities? If they lacked the vision/experience/education/ wherewithal? If the circumstances they had grown up in made them into few-trick-ponies? ………. They were essentially war-lords lacking other attributes of a modern nation-builder/statesman. ………….. Can Mervyn Silva build a modern society/country? What mental-makeup in us make us believe that other Lankans can/could-have do/done it? …………. It’ not as if we have not tried! ……… A major part of our “education”/qualifications/adult-ness should go towards accepting our fate. That nothing much’s gonna change; at this point in time, this is what we are. ……. Just look at the promise of Jan/2015! Did any adult in his/her right mind think that things are going to be different? That Lankans will not be Lankans? Our adult-ness should give us the “intelligence” to see things “as they are.” ……. If not what’s the bloody use?

    • 3
      0

      Nimal,
      “A major part of our “education”/qualifications/adult-ness should go towards accepting our fate. That nothing much’s gonna change; at this point in time, this is what we are. “
      Qualifications aquired through cramming do not make one educated. Are most Sri Lankans adults? Good question , considering the vast numbers of 3-wheeler drivers who are still infatuated with their “amma”.
      You’re right, this is what we are.

    • 2
      0

      Maha Sangha understood MR very well. It is his supporters lead by Sangha who threatened to bomb Mligawa in case Sangha council met in support of Sarath Fonseka. They had to take the threat seriously in view of what was happening. Threatening calls Mo bike gangs abductions ending up with killings.

  • 0
    2

    So it looks as if uneducated , inefficient ,corrupt politicians are off the hook , and it is the Buddhist clergy who is to be blamed for the predicament Sri Lanka is in today . The writer must be on the payroll of some powerful politicos .

    • 2
      0

      On the contrary the uneducated,inefficient, corrupt politicians are holding power with the blessings of the ignorant and corrupt Buddhist clergy.
      They need each other to survive.

    • 0
      0

      The Oracle
      boru kakul katadiya, when you win a lottery people will believe you.

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    A majority of Sinhala Buddhists have their own interpretation of Buddhism. Some believe that they are the saviors of Buddhism, confusing Buddhism with the Sinhala race, which are two different issues. Religion is personal & a person has the freedom to change his or her faith according to belief but in SL, politicians, as correctly high lighted by Vishvermitra, have capitalized the Sinhala Buddhist rhetoric to gain cheap popularity, giving rise to Buddhist monks dabbling in politics & even contest elections whilst in robes. These politically active monks, enjoy govt. salaries & perks, such as, luxury SUVs, all paid for by the burdened masses but I have yet to see a ‘patriotic’ monk who has waived off these entitlements to show solidarity with the suffering masses. It is my understanding that one takes up robes in order to give up all material wealth & lead an austere life to seek Nirvana by ending the cycle of life but to these monks, it seems to be an alternate path to the good life.

    Buddhism is an International religion & dignitaries such as, The Dalai Lama, & many foreigners who have embraced Buddhism, have been ambassadors, spreading the teachings of the Buddha to the world. However, in SL (with Burma as another exception), a few militant monks have distorted the Buddhist philosophy with their hatred & intolerance to other ethnic & religious groups, yet the hierarchy, such as the Sanga Saba, & even the guardians of law, have not only failed to discipline these thugs but even seem to condone their actions. SL, consisting of a majority Buddhists, can certainly be governed by Buddhist principals, namely Mettha, Muditha & Karuna, but it’s time the masses in SL vote intelligently & not taken up with religious sentiments as exploited by these so-called patriots.

    Buddhist monks are primarily expected to provide spiritual guidance, not get involved in politics but how many of them actually seem to understand true Buddhism, & would we ever have a leader who will have the guts to say that?

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    Forget about politics. At this rate, the Maha Sangha and monks would need to be barred from calling themselves Buddhists! Cause they are not Buddhist at all in their behavior

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    What was Lord Buddha’s stand on his disciples who dabble in Politics? Just asking.

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    “In her lackluster tenure, in her own lackluster way, this modern-day liberal made some attempts to keep the Maha Sangha away from politics but did not succeed fully.”

    Aney Putha, you have let the cat out of the bag. I have told you not to talk about this dangerous subject. My father was a christian and he tried to duped the Sinhala Buddhists and you know what happened to him. Uncle Dickie was a christian and duped the Sinhala Buddhist with some baloney about “Dharmista Palanaya”, you know what happened.

    I tried without pretending to be any thing and Sinhala Buddhist came to know my true colours and you know Why I’m like this now, Uncle R of the the same faith trying to woo Sinhala Buddhists with similar Baloney on “Yahapalanaya” and Reconciliation words borrowed from Father Desmond Tutu.

    Uncle M a Part time Buddhist tried a personnel baloney on some hogwash; Chinthanaya, it did not work either. It looks like we have run out of all the options of deceiving Sinhala Buddhists and keeping them divided for ever.

    You have written something really stinking to aggravate the situation.

    Anyey Putha you being a christian, why don’t you freeze your brain for some time and let the situation calm down. Don’t pick a fight with Buddhist Monks in a Sinhala Buddhist country. I have had enough.

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    I am a Christian and hate racist insecure cowards like Sach, Jim Shitty, KA Sumanasekera, Usha Sriskandarajah and ilk. I fully support this (re: Maha Sangha Should Be Banned From Politics). Not only the Maha Sangha, priests, pastors, bishops, mullahs have no place in politics. They should all be sent back to their place of worship. This nonsense need to stop. Fat bastards sitting in chairs creating trouble for this beautiful country which I left behind many years ago. They bleed this country every day by preventing it from growth. Lanka has so much potential, all destroyed by racist cowards in Orange garbs and cassocks, vettis and other attires. If you become a holy man, then do holy work. STOP unholy work. Disgusting!!!!!!!!

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    That is correct. Religious dignitaries should be kept away from politics. Also politicians should be kept away from clergy. Religion should carry equal recognition and people should be given freedom of choice. Let SL be a secular state as before. Stupid WR.

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    Vishwamithra says: “……..SWRD was not only a political byproduct of the Sangha,……”
    The other way round – the Sangha was led into the present path by SWRD B?
    V continues: “………. Bandaranaike was assassinated by a Buddhist monk as the culmination of a conspiracy headed by the very monk who led the Maha Sangha in the ’56 elections for him. The assassin was Talduwe Somarama and the chief conspirator, Mapitigama Buddharakkhitha……”
    At the trial it turned out that SWRD B was slow in conceding concessions to Buddharakhitha to expand his commercial ventures. This exposed how human the Sangha is.
    V says (about Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga): “In her lackluster tenure, in her own lackluster way, this modern-day liberal made some attempts to keep the Maha Sangha away from politics but did not succeed fully.”
    Chandrika must be created for pointing out the folly of the continued exploitation of the language/religious divide. It took more than 70 years.
    There are basically two Lankan power bases. Right now the Sangha is being manipulated by both sides.
    V concludes: “………Banning of the Maha Sangha from politics is a logical necessity.”
    Sangha in politics is a fact of life. People must decide as to whether this will lead Lanka into prosperity or a nation of drug addicts – remember in 2016 a total of 900,000 kg of drugs were intercepted – undetected??

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      Correction: “Chandrika must be created…….” to “……credited……”

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    Long before Sirimavo, JR and SWRD jostled to be saviours of the Bauddha-Sinhala voter. JR was quite smart in both recruiting, and controlling the Mahanayake’s to his cause. AND, it was because of that confidence that he was able to ask them to ‘stay out of politics’. The fact is that he never took the opportunity to expunge the primacy of Buddhism from the/his constitution.

    Sri Lanka is sleep walking into an ethno-religious conflagration and nobody can do anything about it. There are too many chancers now seeing ahead to the opportunity to benefit from the chaos that will ensue when the BBS, Sihala Ravaya and other mimics take the upper hand.

    The Buddhists of Sri Lanka, unique in their own way, are now earning a reputation in the wider world for things that a distinctly UN-Buddhist. The Noble Message is for talk only; a significant number of ‘monks’ have twisted the Dhamma for their own vile purposes, and many of those calling themselves ‘Buddhist’ only do so for ‘show’.

    For true Buddhism to flourish again in this blessed land, WE should leave Buddhism (and all religion) out of our constitution. Hand Buddhism back to the Buddhists and the Mahanayake’s would do well to cut the cancer of virulent monks out of the Sangha. Politics and religion are self-combusting and should never be allowed to mix.

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    Vishvamitra wants to ban sangha from politics only because he perceives them as a challenge to his yahapalana buddies. When ven. Maduluvawe Sobhitha thera was engaged in regime change, this bugger didn’t utter a single protest. I am pretty sure he will not have any issue with Dambara Amila thera’s engagement in politics through dollar paying NGO.

    Sanga is a component of civil society with full civic rights. The way the sanga institution is organised and their ethics and code of conduct are for them to manage though the expectations of larger Buddhist society has a bearing on them. However no one can ban them in engaging in their rightful civic activities.

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    The chief culprit I find is , serious belief in myths of all sorts by the believers of all religions in the
    PARDISE OF MYTHS ! Except JVP , all other politicians fully exploit this situation to hoodwink the
    vulnerable innocent UNEDUCATED MASSES(No one in the paradise is educated) in the name of
    their religions . Everyone believes , threat to their religion is a threat to them but the BIGGEST JOKE
    IS , NOBODY IS INTO THE REAL PRACTICE OF ANY OF THE RELIGIONS THEY BELONG TO !!! Bunch
    of idiots have enough time to find a reason to fight each other for CLERGY THUGS nurtured and
    sheltered by themselves in huge buildings with their own funds ! CLEAN hypocrisy and stupidity.
    Those who are dying to give leadership to such hypocrites and stupid folks should be SUPER
    HYPOCRITES AND SUPER STUPID who promise a miracle lands for them . And to believe all these,
    one should be SUPER-DUPER THINK TANK !

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    correct
    but who is going to bell the cat

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