By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
Buddhist monks have by, now, been accepted or at least tolerated by our society as simultaneous political players. Soon after the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike by a Buddhist monk and the revelation that high profile Sangha like Buddharakkita were behind the conspiracy, Sri Lankan society began to openly repudiate the very idea of the saffron community being seen on the political stage. Buddharakhitta’s incursion into the political power game is to-date regarded as a kind of reductio ad absurdum of Sangha involvement in the political power game in that it demonstrated graphically its absurdity and its danger. For many years after that tragedy, monks shunned the political platform. On the other hand, today Buddhist monks have re-emerged with the cloud of guilt blown away out off their halo.
The formation of an officially recognised political party for monks, the JHU, took place in the year 2004. The fact that the JHU or The National Heritage Party succeeded in winning as much as nine seats in Parliament became the signal of a general popular acceptance of a political landscape dotted by the Buddhist clergy. The JHU is still a significant force to be dealt with as its influence spreads beyond the numbers.
There isn’t any scriptural reference that can be interpreted as barring Buddhist monks from politics. On the other hand, Human Rights laws will frown on any disallowance of monks from political participation of any kind.
The issue is, therefore, not a legal one. The involvement of Buddhist monks in Parliamentary politics constitutes an unfinished item in religious discourse. Nobody can avoid politics but the question as to whether it is appropriate for a monk who by definition is a mendicant who has abandoned worldly life in favour of pursuing a spiritual attainment, can get embroiled in the power game that politics is, is still a valid question. Furthermore, the absence of a formally organised establishment that can make dictates to Buddhist monks has made political entry easy. This is unlike the Christian priesthood ,which does have a controlling body to exercise a code of organisational conduct. The Sanga, typically, is like the proverbial barber saloon where anybody can come in and go away.
The upshot is that we still do observe extreme cases of Sangha political behaviour displayed from time. We saw the BBS going on rampage burning Muslim places of worship and beating Mussalmen. Recently, we saw videos on social media where a monk in Batticaloa was castigating a Tamil Grama Sevaka in racial terms and jumping toward him to have a meritorious (or ping) go.
The general public expectation, particularly the response of the Buddhist public, is the only determining and restraining leach. This public expectation is that monks should conduct their political role unswerving in line with the spirit the spirit of the Dhamma. Unlike the lay adherence, the adherence of the Sangha is mandatory according to public opinion. This also is consistent with the general spirit of the Vinaya Pitaka that scripturally governs monk conduct. It is in this Dhammic spirit that Buddhist monks of the past were said to have advised Kings and so on. The ethical behaviour created a respected link between King and monk. That had been a healthy relationship and a productive one, too.
The fundamental Buddhist ethical admonition is that Buddhists (particularly monks) should avoid the three poisons of Lobha (greed), Dosa (hate) and Avijja (ignorance). Fundamental to the three is ignorance or delusion. Buddhist monks must at all times cultivate this three-fold ethic. They have a special responsibility to do so in their political role. Ordinary people do not expect monk-politicians to behave like greedy and lying secular politicians. The distinction in political role play is apparent. Verse 251 of the Dhammapada spells these three pegs of moral underpinnings:
Nathi ragas aggi (There is no fire like passion or greed)
Nathi dosasamo gaho (There is no grip like ill will or hate)
Nathi mohasamani jalam (There is no net like ignorance)
Nathi thanhasamana nadi (There is no river like craving)
The fourth line is an emphatic first line. The Buddha preached this in the Jethavanama Monastery.
Since the operative nature of greed and hate are typically hard to measure, we will focus on the fundamental poison or papa karma that is ignorance. Now, it is admitted that in the specific Buddhist context Avijja refers to ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. However, we take the liberty to extend its application to all forms of ignorance. There is justification for this in that monks engaged in secular politics are expected to evince a critical sense and to make an effort to comprehend issues of the wider jurisdiction of a secular society if what they articulate is to be respected. Monks taking to politics, if they are to be respected as Buddhist monks, should be mindful of the truth of what they say. The public expect monks not to be foolish or superficial but to be endowed with truthful wisdom.
On the contrary, how many times have we observed our political monks in the political playing field displaying their ignorance on matters relating to secular society? Just take two prominent recent examples. We had Revd Athuraliye Rathana Thero, while participating in the Committee Stage of the 2017 budget, making an uncompromising stand on banning chemical fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides. He has even formed a movement called,”Wasa Visa Neti Ratak,” (A Country without Poisons). His idealism is praiseworthy. On the other hand, as someone expected to be endowed with learning and wide understanding, Athuraliye Rathana Thero should have been cautious about the complexities of the issue he has chosen to deal with. The practical effect of banning chemical fertiliser will be a collapse of our agriculture and economy. Organic farming is very expensive and 25 per cent less productive than conventional chemical farming, which is the predominant form of agriculture all over the world. Organic farming will, therefore, bear a direct economic cost by way of reduced production. Consequently, the entire economy would be damaged by flow-on effects. Employment loss and the decrease in agricultural exports would surely result. Besides all this, it is important to recognize that there is no black or white status in the debate about organic farming and conventional farming. Organic farming must also use chemical pesticides.
Our second example is from a Buddhist Nayako Thero who occupies the very high pedestal of Mahanayake of Bellanwilla Raja Maha Viharaya-the right Revd doctor. I watched a video where this monk, on the 27th January, spoke counselling President Maitripala Sirisena at no other place than the Abhayarama Temple-Mahinda Rajapaksa’s’ favoured ground. This Nayake Monk who was unspoken and dumb during the whole maladministration era of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ten years appeals in an urgent tone to the current President Maitripala Sirisena to take urgent action against what he alleges as the corruption of the present administration. The Bellanwila monk referred specifically to the Bond issue, which he stated was one the most massive and unprecedented corrupt deals of any government. “Even a school kid,” the Mahanayake exclaimed, can see how corrupt this deal has been.” Hinting that Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister, was behind this, the Bellanwila monk concluded that President Sirisena is a good man but that his hands are tied. The monk encouraged President Sirisena to be bold and act according to his powers. “Why have Presidential commissions? This is all a cover up,” the Nayake monk accused.
The tone adopted was aggressive. The monk was confident of his facts. But does he understand how the bond issues took place all the ten years of the Rajapaksa government? Does he understand how this particular bond issue took place? He, obviously, was blissful in his ignorance. Here is a Chancellor of a University! How could he have assessed the quantum of any claimed loss in a deal like this? I will shorten my criticism of the Nayaka Thero by pointing out that the World Bank (WB) has given a report on this much hyped bond issue. WB has clearly stated that there are no known international practices by which an expost bond issue like this could be calculated for potential loss to the government and country. The bond issue was a longterm one repayable in thirty years and how could one assess the benefit or otherwise that can accrue to government during such a long period? It all depends on volatile market conditions and on other market opportunities made available. One cannot go to the performance trends of previous bonds because they were issued on private placement on an agreed value and not on market value. Hence the Yield Curve of the past is no guide as that had been artificial. This particular issue had been made on an auction – price where all bidders were free to participate whereas the previous issue under Governor Cabraal had been awarded to preferred selected cronies on agreed bases. Arjun Aloysius was one of the past beneficiaries.
Why didn’t the monk bother to understand these complexities? Perhaps one can point out if the COPE guys couldn’t understand how could this monk be expected to know. The problem was that the Bellanwilla monk followed up with another assault that seemed to have let out his true motives. The monk looked at the President and charged: “two years have passed but nothing has happened.” What an uncharitable remark! More than that, what an unstudied accusation! Law and order which under the previous regime had been privatised to Ministers, MPs and Pradeshiya Sabha cronies has now been firmly been returned to the public realm. People are free to protest unlike the Rathupaswala days and no White Vans are seen. The judiciary is free and court cases are no longer determined at Temple Trees. The 19th Amendment has been passed curbing Presidential powers. The Right of Information Act has been passed guaranteeing transparency in government. The run-away national debt situation has been restrained. Solid plans are afoot for the economy.
The public will not expect one-sided assessments like this from a supposedly erudite monk. From Buddhist monks in politics people are entitled to expect wise words and balanced judgments. In the particular instance of Bellanwila Thero one can, perhaps, smell some guilt about the other two poisons or Papa Karma. It was a true Abhasingharama style speech that would have delighted the incumbent resident monk.
*The writer can be contacted at email@example.com
Thanos / February 2, 2017
No matter what, I will never, ever accept the idea of monks in politics. Not just politics, but in all civilian roles.
Taraki / February 2, 2017
Well said Thanos!
Jagath Fernando / February 4, 2017
Unfortunately most become monks due to poverty and economic reasons. That is the truth.
Infact Rathana Thero sold the luxury duty free car permit and made a profit of Rs 40 m. Hopefully we will not see him for too long as a MP.
My favorite monk is the board director at a listed company. Infact I am being informed that he even wanted the directors fees of Rs 100,000 per month and committee fees of Rs 80,000 per month be paid in cash instead of being paid by cheque. He is involved in a number of land cases and eternally in court.
The best customs for the Benz agent in Sri Lanka are the chief priests of temples since they buy the latest models since they have no value of money and never worked for it!!!
Sama / February 2, 2017
Most ridiculous is the monk who tied a pirith around the wrist of most abusive Wimal weerawanse keeping him in the court premises ? THese men in robes are like born pingutharayas – no repay for the alms being offered to them. I really hate the kind of monks turning out to be majority among sanga community in the country today.
Simon De Silva / February 2, 2017
Now the lanken monks are divided into main groups
a) Most abusive men do anything any everything being in Sanga costume
1)Balusara -moast abusive aggressive monk BBS lead
2)Mangalarama – mad monk – with freaky smoking habbits -madakalapuwa saga revealed the world – this man in robes is a rascal
3)Samantha Badda- no second to a fashion model (he is so vain – but repeating his is attained RAHATH
b) Most respectable buddhist monks – that behave so buddhistic as we learnt to respect them in our DAHAM school days; they stroll and behave so gentle – they would do anything and everything going through the buddha teachings.
1) most respected late Rev. Sobitha thero
2)Soma hamduruwo, walpola haamuduruwo etc.
Saddest reality – not many of them are the kind available in the country today
Sam Fernando / February 3, 2017
More you are abusive – the loads of those prith threads are even more…. wearing around wrists or any invisible places- are seen today
This has been common to former President too. He had even magic balls to stay on pressing while making any decisions against own folks.
Mediocre society has reached to all the appalling levels thanks go to Meeharaka Governance for the last 10 years. Just listen to that Diwula pitiya or TV discussions of the day, can reveal you more.
They do and did all harm but EVEN today make every effort to paint the picture to be CLEAN. can you imagine ?
Amarasiri / February 2, 2017
RE: Monks In Politics Should Avoid The Three Poisons
Question: What is the Pristine Buddhism as taught by the Enlightened Buddha?
Is this what is practiced in Sri Lanka, Sinhala “Buddhism” or bastardized Buddhism?
“Buddhist monks have by, now, been accepted or at least tolerated by our society as simultaneous political players. Soon after the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike by a Buddhist monk and the revelation that high profile Sangha like Buddharakkita were behind the conspiracy,”
It is like acclimation, to Buddhist monks being politicians, to safeguard theur hegemony. It that way, they are not much different from the other groups.
Why give them Monk Privileges beyond that?
They have to make a choice. Be monks who follow the Pristine Buddhism , or become Politicians, laymen and warriors, and discard their robes.
They cannot have it both ways. Do they eat after lunch or fast? Why are they so fat and obese, and differing from diabetes?
Amarasiri / February 3, 2017
“No matter what, I will never, ever accept the idea of monks in politics. Not just politics, but in all civilian roles.”
Can they teach Buddhist Dhamma to boys, instead of doing politics?
Child Abuse by a Monk in Habaraduwa
Uploaded on May 29, 2010
She sent her grandson to school with the idea of providing him with proper education to make him a good person. The Buddhist monk in charge of the temple asked her to send the child to the temple and she sent him there because they were poor. There was no possibility for them to pay the money for tuition fees. That was the reason why they sent the boy to the temple school.When the child began to refuse going to the temple school so adamantly, grandmother had to look for the reason. It was then only that she discovered that the child who was sent to learn good behavior, ethics and Buddha’s Dharma from the monk had in fact been abused by the monk.
Thanos / February 3, 2017
* Regarding monks as teachers – If they want to preach Dhamma the way the Buddha did and recommended to the order of monks, then that is fine. This is because they have to strictly follow the Vinaya Pitaka and they are not above the law of the land. The Buddha himself made it clear that he is NOT above the law of the land. But, If monks today want to be paid teachers like in many schools, I am totally against that. They can be teachers but they must disrobe and enter civil life.
* Regarding monks and sexual activity/abuse – If a monk engages is sexual activity with another, whether it is homosexual or heterosexual or Bestiality, whether it is consensual or not that monk is automatically expelled that very moment. It is one of the “Paarajika” (පාරාජිකා). Simply put, the moment they do that, they automatically cease to be a monk. The word “Monk” should never be associated with that person. Off-course the law of the land should take the strict action against any harassment/abuse/rape whether monk or civilian.
Amarasiri / February 3, 2017
Monks In Politics Should Avoid The Three Poisons
Is kissing women a poison?Just curious.
Buddhist Monk 2007 september in Myanmar
Devanam Piyadasa / February 3, 2017
Our Buddhist monks are far more decent than these Myanmar dregs. This video is absolutely shocking. I know in Thailand monks have a reputation for such outrageous behaviour. Is Myanmar where our Gnanassara Thero draws his inspiration from, for the type Buddhism he probably wants to impose on our people?
Amarasiri / February 3, 2017
“Our Buddhist monks are far more decent than these Myanmar dregs. This video is absolutely shocking.”
Isn’t Sinhala “Buddhist” monks leading attacks on Tamils and killing Tamils, killing Prime Ministers, and leading attacks and killing Muslims, more shocking than an “innocent” kissing of a women?
Our Sinhala “Buddhist” Monk Rev.(?) Ganasara Thero (?) was trained by Wiruthu Monlk(?) of Mayamar. Is Sinhala “Buddhism” Buddhism or Mara-ism, Buddha warned against?
Wirathu is mentioned on the cover story of Time magazine as “The Face of Buddhist Terror” on 20 June 2013.
Our Sinhala “Buddhist” Monk Rev.(?) Ganasara Thero (?) has not gotten there yet!
Sam Fernando / February 3, 2017
So long the new generations that can work for the revisions of Mahawansa WOULD not remove ” the place being given to sanga costume” – all these frauds being played wearing Sanga uniform will go on.
I think there should be a big discussion on the topic by today.
Then only we can filter the good monks from the bad and abusive monks.
That BBS lead for example abuse entire folks using his abusive filthy langague starting with mother terms. That has been a greater threat to our sensible mind sets. Many calling themselves buddhists, today, abuse their mouth pieces using the term ” ammata”.
max / February 2, 2017
Buddhist Monk’s role was never to be a part of any govt. JHU – Patali Ranavake to be more precise – was key to this mayhem.
Sinchuappu / February 2, 2017
what about Meeharaka Rajaakshe who even paid a visit to Mangalaramaya to rabble rouse and stand against Mr Sirisena ? And the man if added any news to the air, since his political goo defeats – all were abusing a tempel premises… maximoron had been diving inthe flowing toilet pits of Medamulana for the time being, may have not seen anything about raja activities.
Leelagemalli / February 2, 2017
hey tell me today Balusara and Mangalaramaya mad monks are both made silent why ?
Had the bugger et al been the leadership, these men would have been vandaliizing colombo streets… remember the ugly days of Rajafuckers adminstration ?
Maryanne Perera / February 2, 2017
Brilliant, spot-on stuff,Shyamon
Bensen Berner / February 2, 2017
Monks who play politics should not be regarded monks, Bensen
Leelawathie / February 2, 2017
except late Rev Sobitha theros movt, i cant agree with any other monks…perhaps.. Dr Dhambare Amila.. they just rise their energies, when the society needs them. Like MR s personality was builty by the monks in 2005 after he entered to the office. Else, he was almost nothing… his reactions in the post war sessions, proved the former.
As no other leaders to allow any thugs to rob the state – would not have been case, if MR is blessed with a brain the size of a mustard seed. Today, not just paying interests for all the mountains of debts but also for all the billions they kept away from the country.. are fallen on the shoulders of the poor man.. That is the reality.
Sunil Dahanayake / February 2, 2017
[Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.
Ukuna / February 2, 2017
Athureliya is up to sooththara. He is having hush hush with Gota, the murderer
janaka / February 2, 2017
We have a huge amount of disturbed perverts wearing saffron robes, just look at their faces?
The heaven and hell is almost always of ones own making?
Nimal / February 2, 2017
Monks have no place in politics and running the country and the elected politicians must to get involved in religious affairs which is divisive.Polticans are elected to serve the country but not to do unnecessary business deals to amaze money. If they want to make money then they must leave politics and do business and smell the coffee. We the taxpayers are disappointed that they abuse power and waste out money.
Caddie / February 2, 2017
Just ask a monk his opinion on this view, and you can get an earful for sure, that in historical times they were always in the thick of things, being consulted for guidance and blessings by the highest in the land, to run the affairs of the country. In essence what they claim is they as the Sangha Council worked closely with legislature, and were instrumental in formulating laws which had pro-Buddhist values embodied in them. Then why should it be any different now?
gamini / February 2, 2017
For your information, during King Walagamba’s time the Buddhist Priests at Abhayagiri Temple in Anuradhapura were chased out when they tried to interfere with governance. Sir John was next to have said it, but did not do it. What a shame!
old codger / February 3, 2017
“In essence what they claim is they as the Sangha Council worked closely with legislature, and were instrumental in formulating laws which had pro-Buddhist values embodied in them. Then why should it be any different now? “
So you want things to be the same as as in those days? Really???
1. You wouldn’t be allowed to whitewash your house.
2. Your womenfolk couldn’t wear a blouse.
3. Only Goiyyas could enter the Sangha.
4. You must crawl if you see a high-caste.
5. Karawes, Salagamas, and the like are nobodies.
Is that what you want, dear?
Paul / February 3, 2017
Caddie, the monks you refer to were wrong then and they are wrong now. A monks life is one of self-restraint and self awareness. He has no place in politics or anything like that.
Someone once said to me “Do you know that if monks like Ven Sumangala etc did not oppose the British and the Christian church we would still be a colony? How can you criticize such great men??”
My reply was “Yes you are right. They did us a great favour, they are heroes. We would be much worse off if not for their bravery. However, by involving themselves in such activities to help the nation they ruined their own opportunity for liberation of the heart, which is the only purpose of monkhood”
jim softy / February 2, 2017
Does he understand how this particular bond issue took place? He, obviously, was blissful in his ignorance. Here is a Chancellor of a University! How could he have assessed the quantum of any claimed loss in a deal like this?
Do you think Rs 13 or 14 billion profit within 18 months as a unethical, humangous and is a big loss to the country even when a State bank and the Centrla bank itself were helping the particular client ?
Why don’t you talk about Bottom feeding Politicians make it a habit get buddhist monks to their political rallies ? I saw even the Ranjan Ramanayake’s melodrma in Gampaha advertise his candidacy had invited buddhist monks and he was videoing it with the buddhist monks by side ?
Do you have idea about. Most of these monks became Samanera’s and they do not have idea about how the outside world is functioning.
I understand, they do not follow buddha’s word. Yet, they are not enlightened.
jim softy / February 2, 2017
I think Shyamon Jayasinghe is affiliated with Sri lankan or Colombo chamber of business.
How can he say, the profit making that happened in the Bond Scam was fair and that Buddhist monk was unfair ?
Arjun Mahendran by passed state banks, it does not look like an open auction, he bent rules to make his son-in-law profits, and that particular company was favoured in many different ways. Ranil Wickrmasinghe knew it and Malik Samrawickrama was following the progress for Ranil. they did this scam twice even when people were questinong, Ranil appointed three UNP lawyers to investigate it their mandate also was to study something else and not the bond scam.
After all, Arjun Mahendran is working for Ranil at the personal capacity as the prime minister.
Maithripala is letting it go through. They will never recover that money. It is gone.
this guy come and justify it. Probably, you are also looking for something out fo every thing.
John / February 3, 2017
Your comments on Sumanaratana thero, SWRD’s death and BBS are absolutely stupid and ignorant!!!!!
Sumanarathana thero is a “lone crusader” in Madakalapuwa who is fighting barbaric bureaucrats who deny rebuilding temples and houses, lands, electricity,etc to the local Sinhalese. Asrof bulldozed the ancient archaeological sites in Ampara district barbarically.
SWRD’s death was not investigated properly. He made lots of enemies for himself. SWRD the light weight amongst the UNP heavy weights married Sinhalese, Buddhist, Radala, Udarata lady to become the priminister. Allegedly he was a traitor……
SWRD’s dad was a traitorous boot liker of white colonial masters.
Banda / February 3, 2017
John you seems to be high on something.Dont ramble write facts ,not nonsense.
Mayadun / February 3, 2017
Sumanarathne Thero is a two faced bigot. He is an eccentric, fraudster, [Edited out], foul mouth and cares two hoots about the law and respect to its officers. He should be in jail for illegal tapping of electricity to his Temple. A public disgrace and an embarrassment to the rest of the Buddhist Sangha. In order to escape the long arm of the law, he shrewdly pouts his favorite card on how he was the only monk around to perform last rites on fallen soldiers, rushed injured soldiers to hospitals and single handedly saved Buddhism from getting totally wiped out in the East. Thereafter everyone’s heart melts and treats him like a hero whilst all his bad behavior if totally ignored. He is taking the gullible on a grand ride, that even the Justice Lokka took time off to be seen beside him and address the alleged outstanding and neglected issues. There are hardly anyone visiting his Mangalaramaya Temple as there are very few Buddhists living in that locality. He has managed to create more enemies than friends amongst minority communities, who would have come to his protection if ever the need arose, or in times of an emergency. He is living there all alone. No one wants to speak about him and his antics since the monk hegemony has already taken its full effect. Even Judges and Police Officers bow down to these rogue monks, and these truants know that they are held in high esteem, virtually above the law. A crying shame for the country and its people. Gnanasara, another one gone off the rails, is another face of the Terror in Buddhism, with more on the wings.
John / February 4, 2017
Eastern province is Muslims terrorists breeding califet pigsty. CEB makes biggest losses all the time in Eastern province Muslims’ illegal tapping on electricity.
Sinhalese population is growing, they’re going to need more lands, in the future, 10 million Sinhalese are about to be settled in onece a great Sinhalese Buddhist civilization, eastern province.
Hah, hah,Haas, minority friends??????? Who the he’ll is that!!!!!
Descent Muslims consider Sumanarathana thero the great and Gnanasara thero the great as their new prophet in robes.
K A Sumanasekera / February 3, 2017
The great majority of Srilankan inhabitant population is made up of poor rural Buddhist and Catholic Sinhala.
They survived well over 2500 years as a Sinhala civilization because of the protection provided by the Buddhist Monks and Buddhism,.
Yahapalanaya is all about bringing it to an end.
Divide the nation into Ethnic Enclaves with the minorities having their own
And force the rest in to one, where they will be living under the rule of Haves, regardless of which ethnic group they are from, even though those minorities have their own States.
Sinhala Buddhist and Sinhala Catholics to some extent will be the Rhohingas.
Elite , Anglican , Vellala and Wahabi dominated UNP wanted to do it since UNP Leader Bataanada Ranil took over.
It is slowly but surely happening with the help of the naive Srilanakan Party members who sold out to Diaspora and the West.
Bellalawila Wimalarathes are the last frontier. against Batalanada Ranil , Diaspora , and the West sponsored LGBT..
Wonder weather uncle Shaymon pay Income Tax to help the Mahendran Family Trust and sing the Hymns from the Anglican Sheet?..
Dr Laksiri Fernando / February 3, 2017
I frankly think Shyamon Jayasinghe has extended his main argument to ‘cover up’ the bond issue. I agree with his main argument that monks or any religious priests should not involve in politics. This should be controlled either by the religious organizations and/or by the constitution. This is not against human rights. For example, the Cambodian constitution debar monks even from voting. However, their expression of opinion should be upheld.
It is unfortunate that Mr Jayasinghe uses this argument to defend the bond issue. As far as I am concerned there are two sets of issues involved. The first set involves the conflict of interest between the CB Governor and a Primary dealer, the Perpetual Treasuries during the deal. More seriously, there are clear indications that the Perpetual Treasuries possibly had inside information to make the bid such a way to benefit exorbitant profits. This is insider trading. This should be further investigated by the Presidential Commission.
The second set of issues involve some policy matters, whether the Governor’s or the Government’s decision to stick to the Auctioning instead of mix of ‘auctioning and direct placements’ is beneficial to the country or not. As far as I am aware both can be abused by crooks whether in the past administration or the present one. The World Bank has previously recommended the auctioning given its economic ideology. Therefore, to ask them in the first place about the merits or loss was like ‘Horage Ammagen Pena Aseema.’
Dr Laksiri Fernando / February 3, 2017
It is not correct for Mr Jayasinghe to say that WB has given a Report. They have only written a letter, this also by the country Director, answering the questions asked. He may be right in saying that technically speaking, ‘accurately calculating’ a loss, post-factor is difficult. The person has also said that as far as ‘we are’ aware, there are no ‘international best practices’ in assessing such losses.
If the ‘international best practices’ are not available (or even otherwise), then definitely domestic standards should apply. This clearly means that the WB is completely out of this equation. There is no WB Report on the matter. Only a short letter from the country Director! Mr Jayasinghe should not confuse the readers. Our Auditor General has made some estimates. Under the circumstances, the Presidential Commission also should go into this loss matter.
Bandula Senanayake / February 3, 2017
Mr Jayasinghe, a superbly penned piece.It is timely too.Congratulations.Yes in September 1959 Ceylonese people as we were than called had a bitter experience of what happens when monks take to politics.They were then confined to the temples for all intents and purposes.Around 2005 Rajapaksa released them back into politics and mobilized them a third force and the monks have virtually taken over as this article conveys.
It is a dangerous trend and if not immediately stopped ,the lay political leadership would firstly come under the monks jack boot and then finally crushed.And our Lanka will decend into a political Stone Age of anarchy and mayhem.The people would be the ultimate losers.Just imagine Rev Ghandassara and his fellow thugs and cads and womanizer holding political power!!Send the monks back to where they belong before they destroy the country.
jay / February 3, 2017
disrobe these false Chivara Dhari’s
sinhala_voice / February 3, 2017
YES. There is NO need to have Monks in politics.
We the Sinhala Buddhist MUST take the blame for it. That is we let these people do our WORK.
The Buddhist community is made up of Female Monks , Male Monks, Laymen and Laywomen.
The laymen and laywomen MUST come to the fore front and deal with the ideological ASSAULTS dished out or done against them.
SIMPLE as that. Then the monks and recede into back ground.
The monks have ONLY right to represent their supporters and the community of Sinhala-Buddhists.
None of these JVP, left wing , Green politics should be tolerated in monks. they should then disrobe and participate as lay people in that type of politics.
Peter Sumane / February 3, 2017
Buddharakkita used to wear shorts inside the temple and drink Scotch when Wimala came in
Thanos / February 3, 2017
Regarding the 2004 JHU entrance into politics, there was a dilemma among the laymen. Whether it is OK to vote for them. We went to a fairly remote monastery in the Kurunegala district to seek advice from one of the most discipline, knowledgeable and respected monks. He was like a walking dictionary. Surprisingly on that very day, several former “Sihala Urumaya” and members of other Sinhala National movements were present. Main question was,
Q1: Should we vote for or support monks who enter politics?
A1: NO! No matter what their intention is, it is unacceptable/defile/disputed act (අරමුන කුමක් වුනත්, එය අකැපයි!).
Q2: But we have no one else to vote for?
A2: They DO NOT VOTE for anyone.
Simply put, if a monk wants to enter any activity in civil life like Politics, they MUST DISROBE! This is NOT NEGOTIABLE!
Economica / February 3, 2017
“… no White Vans are seen.”
Are you from the Mars or Neptune!
Instead of W/V now we have seen Black defenders and most recently a Black Van. Today tear gas, baton charge, STF attack on university students; yesterday it was against the Port workers. A few weeks ago it was in Hambantota! And you are (from Australia) asking the monks to keep quiet!
Secondly, what you have quoted (by saying it was from the famous Dhammapada) is full of errors. The very first stanza should be re-written as follows:
“Natthi raga samo aggi” Meanings are also not correct! And here the best joke is you are trying to advise the monks!
Thirdly, you say: “… the World Bank (WB) has given a report on this much hyped bond issue. WB has clearly stated that there are no known international practices by which an expost bond issue like this could be calculated for potential loss to the government and country”.
Mr. Jayasinghe! What the WB hints is the loss could even be higher than what has been calculated by others. Obviously, it is a complex process that only experts can do but it doesn’t mean the loss just a few thousand rupees; it will be definitely a few billions and you will be surprised about your boss’s stupidity once everything is revealed!
ranjith (sprrw) / February 3, 2017
Through out history of this island since introduction of Buddhism, monks had been in politics.That helped in various ways to built our race and to keep the country in tact.Whenever there was a threat monks came forward and made arrangements to quell threats for peaceful existence. Monks were always mindful of the circumstances under which emperor Asoka was forced to send his own son to neutral country like Lanka at that time. his Majesty Asoka always remembered how Hindu priest community persuaded him to kill his own brother Susima as he was favouring rights of other religions as well. As such our monks always cautioned general public on the possible threats to Buddhism in this island. mahawamsa created Gods concept based on maha brakma in order to quell that threat. after introduction of other religion after 14th or 15th century AD. monks community has to fight in several fronts.They did it very successfully.Laymen and women contribution were very nominal.Monks had had to take Brant of pressure by themselves. Laymen and women were looking for privileges and economic opportunities and were prepared even to hired or rent their parents for that benefits.
In recent times our politicians have been doing same to get support of religious minorities to keep their political power in tact. even our sacred places like Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa, kandy, Dambulla, kataragama, Kuragala and other places opened for religious terrorism like allowing to announce five times a day. over the loud speakers no god but only the their god. That means Nobody has the rights to get worshiped by human except their almighty. Yes Buddhists do not worship any body but paying homage to Buddha. it is the thankfulness of the Buddhists. With that under the cover of minority rights, religious minorities Started destroying our heritages with their political bargaining power. Those led monks to participation in politics on very aggressive manner. as such I see no harm our monks taking to politics as laymen and women are not doing their duties well.
Shyamon Jayasinghe / February 3, 2017
DR LAKSIRI FERNANDO. Thank you for your studied comments.
1. I have stated that the participation of monks in active politics (Parliamentary politics) can only be debarred by a hierarchical organization that covers the Sangha- not by any law. However, the problem with Sinhala Buddhism is that there isn’t such a controlling body. I gave the proverb of the barber saloon to dramatize this position. Even taking the separate Nikayas to consideration there has never been a practise of supervising the monks in the fold. Given the culture of our Sangha, I doubt that this situation can ever be changed.
2. I am not trying to cover up the bond issue at all as alleged by you. I have only pointed out the complexity in arriving at a finality about the precise computation of loss. The media has not realized this; many ‘educated persons’ haven’t realized this. The latter talk glibly or with intent to gain political advantage.I have pointed out how the Bellanwilla monk, most confidently, talks in absolutely definite terms. He said that even a school child realizes this is a massive and gargantuan loss (paaduwak)! My critique was about this distortion by the monk. The conflict of interest issue that you point out is a separate point and I did not discuss this in my piece because the monk did not touch on that. I am with you that only a proper judicial enquiry (now by the Pres Commission) can arrive at a judgment. I do not subscribe to a point of view that condemns without understanding. Only a judicial investigation can decide on guilt. Not the COPE, which is a political body
old codger / February 3, 2017
“the complexity in arriving at a finality about the precise computation of loss. The media has not realized this; many ‘educated persons’ haven’t realized this”
On the dot, SJ. If the Chancellor of an University talks like this, imagine what the products of that university can get up to.I have challenged lots of people (3 wheeler drivers included) to give me an exact breakdown of the loss. All I can see is that due to the extra 2% paid. Now, even the state banks pay extra interest for larger deposits, do they not?
The conflict of interest should be investigated.
Dr Laksiri Fernando / February 3, 2017
Thank you, Mr Jayasinghe for your reply and explanation. One another matter I wish to point out, in respect of the bond issue, is the possible ‘insider trading.’ With experience as a former Director (academic) of the Colombo Stock Exchange, I cannot rule out the possibility of ‘insider trading,’ given also the ‘conflict of interest.’ Also, when auctions are conducted, there should be rules. For example, no more than 30 percent should be allocated to one bidder. This is a rule in many countries. I also believe, that a mix of ‘auction and placement’ could be more suitable for a mixed economy (or intended social market economy) like in Sri Lanka.
Helpless / February 3, 2017
ranjith(sprrrw) finds a case for monk involvement in active politics. Di dhe look at the first page of the Island today where a monk jumps over barricades. The writer of this valuable piece also mentions about BBS fellow’s behaviour and the behaviour of the Batticaloa monk. Guarding under the sivura monks are really damaging the sasana. Sasana does not need enemies when they have badly behaving monk-thugs like this. Sasane ivarai.
Samuel Jayaweera / February 3, 2017
Ranjith himself once added that he has been coming from a socery family background. So, he is used to be a blind believer from the day 1.
So these the like men even believe Jathaka fairy tales as real stories. Yakkas and bhuthayas are realities for them. So, the kind of men can only mislead the masses. Yanthra mantra fooled people over the decades but abusing buddhism. Even if jathaka kathas brainwashed all with Yakasa nd Buthyas – there exist no realities in that. But masses believe in them… likewise, they respect to SIVURA whoever it is been worn.
Duertete / February 3, 2017
Misbheaving monks should be lashed by the public
Chaminda Gunasinghe / February 3, 2017
Patriots should all look at the link above. This is the picture that “Helpless’ refers to. Monk doing a jump
jim softy / February 3, 2017
This article is all about white washing the commercial frauds by leading politicians. Author sacrifices a monk for talking his mind. All the Christians come and bash the monk.
Otherwise, Central bank scam was initiated By Ranil wickramasinghe. It looks they will never recover the money. Instead, their repair the damage caused the fradulent act of Ranil wickramsinghe.
It is completely party politics.
Punchihewa / February 4, 2017
I agree with Sinhale Voice. The Buddhists should form a civil movement against monks who do not conduct themselves. From the time of Buddharakkita we have had enough of these thugs in robes. Another question is how many non-monks are there in the saffron robe. Rajapakse ‘s time this trend was encouraged. MR used monks for his political work. Even now he is doing it by basing his Mahinda Sulanga campaign in Abhayasingarama.
Concerned / February 4, 2017
Almost two decades ago, the Batalanda Presidential Commission (Report date: 12 April 1998) had no powers to award punishment or to initiate judicial action against those found culpable of atrocities, torture, murder, and other crimes committed against thousands of young men and women in Sri Lanka during the period 87-92.
My concern is if the history repeats!
Many people think that the Central Bank bond scam should be given priority because it is a theft involving high profile members of the Yahapalana government; the sheer size of the theft along with the centrality of the institution (Central Bank) within the financial market, which is the alleged centre of the theft, is also a major concern to give it priority. Joint Opposition has revealed yesterday, the loss incurred to the country stands approximately at 1 trillion rupees (US$ 6.7 billion) now. Everybody believes if a fair investigation is carried out and recommendations are implemented, much of this loss can be recovered and a course correction can be made without further delay.
However, the P/Commission appointed by Prez Sirisena to investigate it, according to many critics, bears the semblance of an attempt to ‘cover it up’. President is like a slow coach! He thinks delaying is a good tactic! That’s why the senior monk Ven. Bellanwila Wimalarathana thero questioned about it. Now, the million $ question is whether this Commission too would end up in the same fate as the Batalanda Commission. What if….?
If it is the case, president Sirisena will be in the same predicament as the ex president Chandrika Kumaratunge today who is now treated like a ‘national joke’ for not having taken any action on many burning issues including the Batalanda commission report.
Upali / February 14, 2017
Thanks for your thoughts.
The Buddha Sasana will end some day not beause of laymen but because of some monks particualrly those who call them selves Mahanayakes.Their only job is to receive the politicians and the other higher ups with out carrying out any thing to cleanse the sasana.
The politicins are very clever to make use of them for their propoganda.
My opinion is that hey should be completely banned from politics.