Of A Sustained Buddhist Extremism In Sri Lanka

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Opinion,Popular |

By Raashid Riza -

Raashid Riza

The last few months have seen a rapid increase in anti-Muslim sentiment amongst sections of the political class in Sri Lankan society. The situation has yet to deteriorate to the extent that the default image of a Sri Lankan Muslim is one represented by an anti-Sri Lankan or anti-Buddhist element. But the trend that is developing is truly alarming and surely points towards such an inaccurate mental image.

The rise of extremist Buddhists in Sri Lanka is truly disturbing and does not bode well to the sense of national resilience that the government is trying to foster, at least in its rhetoric.

There is to be a protest march in Colombo today that is supposedly against ‘Islamic Extremism’. The leaflet however, unable to find tangible examples of Islamic extremism in Sri Lanka, instead highlights international examples. The leaflet was first tweeted by Groundviews and was then picked up by other bloggers. The language used in the leaflet is particularly confrontational and is written in jargon generously peppered with phrases such as ‘enough of being silent’ as a precursor to the more confrontational language that follows.

The leaflet speaks of numerous instances where it alleges that Islamic extremism has acted malevolently towards Buddhists and Buddhist holy sites in many parts of world, including in Burma, Thailand, Afghanistan and even the eastern parts of Sri Lanka. It is clearly designed to fuel the ignorance of the apolitical (mostly innocent) Buddhists against the Muslims and is therefore composed of materials that are innate historical inaccuracies at best and factually vacuous at worst. It specifically refers to the recent incidents in the south of Bangladesh where there have been attacks on Buddhists by groups of Muslims. Of course nowhere is the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by Buddhist extremists in adjacent Burma mentioned.

The last paragraph of this leaflet quite explicitly states something on the lines of: it is time to show that this (Sri Lanka) is a Buddhist country by word and deed; many have forgotten that this is a Buddhist country, this notion should be reawakened. Extremists should be struck down as they flee. When cruel Islamic extremists prey on other innocent Buddhists, and when the entire world remains silent in the wake of it, it is time that we reawaken our race (Sinhala Buddhists) to respond to this.

The implications of the call to “reawaken” invoked in this context is particularly disturbing.

Sri Lankan Muslims have absolutely nothing to do with the alleged crimes against Buddhists or Buddhist interests in Bangladesh. Similarly Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Buddhists have absolutely nothing to do with the heinous crimes committed against the Muslims of Burma. What these Buddhist extremists seek to achieve for the alleged benefit of their Buddhist compatriots abroad remains to be seen. For Buddhists who feel that they are persecuted in other parts of the world, this exercise by minute sections of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community will be futile. Surely the Buddhist leadership in Sri Lanka is intelligent enough to grasp this fact. What exactly then does this exercise seek to achieve?

The result of these sorts of protests (yes, plural, this is to be one of a series of protests) are multiple.

Sinhala – Muslim relations have always been cordial and strong. The current generation of Sri Lankans cannot easily be buoyed into buying an argument that Sri Lankan Muslims are a bane on the nation’s social fabric. Buddhism as a faith has thus far survived the vulture-esque assault by sections of a largely secular media that paints most religious faiths as violent, something that protests such as these threaten to undo. Moreover, Sri Lanka is rebuilding itself as a nation after decades of conflict that not only curtailed and stunted growth but also damaged it. Creating an environment that will marginalise Muslims can sow the seeds of future conflict.

Yesterday, the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU), the main decision-making theological body for Sri Lankan Muslims, released a media communiqué condemning the attacks on Bangladeshi Buddhists. The wisdom of releasing this communiqué is certainly questionable. Whether the ACJU has released statements for similar causes previously is anybody’s guess. There is no doubt that the body acted in the best interests of Sri Lankan Muslims and of Sri Lanka as a whole, yet the timing or indeed decision to make such an overture seems hasty.

The despicable acts on Bangladeshi Buddhists have absolutely nothing to do with Sri Lankan Muslims. However, such a press release can create the impression amongst wider Sri Lankans of a sense of guilt amongst Sri Lankan Muslims when there is none due to there being no grounds for guilt. Additionally, the release of such a statement can institutionalise the necessity to release communiqués almost every time a Buddhist place of worship is attacked anywhere in the World, thereby creating an undue burden of responsibility.

Elie Appelbaum of York University comments in her research paperExtremism as a Strategic Tool in Conflicts:

“as a country becomes wealthier, more powerful, or more democratic, its level of extremism decreases, but at the same time, its rival’s level of extremism increases. Similarly, higher stakes in the conflict tend to increase the level of extremism in the relatively poorer, weaker, and less democratic country, but decrease the level of extremism in the other country. The countries can use extremism as a strategic tool in the conflict. The use of extremism is a double-edged sword: extremism provides a credible threat, but it also involves a risk. Similarly, when the countries are sufficiently asymmetric, higher stakes in the conflict tend to increase extremism in the country that is relatively poorer, weaker, or less democratic.”

Now, replace the word ‘countries’ with ‘communities’ in the paragraph above and see how it reads. The roots of extremism rest in vested interests of various interest groups as much as it does on the absence of law and order and the socio-economic state of the parties in conflict. The Sri Lankan economy at the grassroots is in turmoil and the Sinhalese community, as the larger ethnic group, is the most affected. An economically weak nation with near bankrupt sections of the public can foster groups that are represented by intellectually bankrupt individuals who posture as leaders at a local or national level and exploit patriotism for their ends. As Samuel Johnson wrote, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. One only need observe a group of scoundrels against a group of self-confessed patriots to realise that there is too often much in common.

The 1915 riots are commonly known as the ‘Sinhala – Muslim’ riots, not by the name of individuals. The way in which the Sri Lankan Muslims react now will determine how history will testify for or against them. In the future, no matter what the political situation in Sri Lanka, the Muslim community will continue to exist in every strata of society.

Muslims in Sri Lanka are living in politically perilous times; they reside amongst a largely accommodative Sinhalese and Tamil population, apart from the odd elements that opportunistically seeks to whip up racial tensions. In the short term the Muslims should act prudently and actively within the framework of Sri Lankan law. They would do well to deal indifferently towards bankrupt extremism and not dignify it by seeking to confront it, except with a pragmatism that respects legal and constitutional norms. In the long term they should be conscious that Sri Lankan Muslims are more tangible as a constituent element of Sri Lankan nationhood than a transient Buddhist extremism. The latter not only misrepresents Sri Lankan Buddhists at large but is against a unified vision of Sri Lankan nationhood.

*Raashid Riza is the Multimedia Editor of The Platform. He tweets on @aufidius. Above article was first published in the www.the-platform.org.uk

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148 Responses to Of A Sustained Buddhist Extremism In Sri Lanka

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    All ye muslims please read the article below and tell us whether you are citizens of SL or your affiliations are with another islamic state. Very relevant to all muslims living in lands of peace and serenity. Open Letter From An American Airlines Pilot CANADIAN AND BRITISH COMMENTS APPEAR AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE AND ARE MEANINGFUL. This pilot hit the nail right on the head in his open letter. The paper stated that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling him because he has been checked three times while getting on an airplane. The following is a letter from a pilot.This well spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart, beautifully. ……………………………………………………..YOU WORRY ME! By Captain John Maniscalco, American Airlines Pilot I’ve been trying to say this since 911, but you worry me. I wish you didn’t. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country. But you don’t blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me. I notice you because I can’t help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now. I don’t fully understand their grievances and hate, but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks. On September 11, Arab-Muslims hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings, killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children’s mothers. The Palestinians celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed as was most of the Arab world. So, I notice you now. I don’t want to be worried. I don’t want to be consumed by the same rage, hate and prejudice that has destroyed the soul of these terrorists But I need your help. As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist. How do I differentiate between the true Arab/Muslim Americans and the Arab/Muslim terrorists in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in our communities under the protection of our constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter more of the same good neighbors and children? The events of September 11 changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with all of its religions, with all of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me. I want to know, I demand to know and I have a right to know, whether or not you love America. Do you pledge allegiance to its flag? Do you proudly display it in front of your house, or on your car? Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation; that He will protect it and let it prosper? Or do you pray that Allah with destroy it in one of your Jihads? Are you thankful for the freedom that this nation affords? A freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by also paying the ultimate sacrifice? Do you love America ? ? If this is your commitment, then I need you to start letting me know about it. Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions YOU are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America. Please, no more benign overtures of regret for the death of the innocent, because I worry about who you regard as innocent. No more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks, because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy; I am interested only in action. What will you do for America – our great country – at this time of crisis, at this time of war? I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the American flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting ‘Allah Bless America ‘. I want to see young Arab/Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time and emotion to the victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole. The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize right now in Muslim communities. You know them. You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now! But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals. The very few Arab/Muslim representatives that have appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating. They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States proves who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed towards them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing ‘leaders’ like Khadafi, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat. IF the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people, then I want chapter and verse from the Koran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Koran are good, pure, and true, when your ‘leaders’ ARE teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance? It matters little how good Islam should be if huge numbers of the world’s Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion. A form that has been demonstrated to us over and over again. A form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide. A form whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members (some as young as five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our presidents, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the great United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted, that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam. We will never allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us — our rights under the greatest constitution in the world. I want to know where every Arab Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know. I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American…but there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance, and it is up to you to show me where you stand. Until then, “You worry me!” CANADIAN COMMENTS: I totally agree with this sentiment. I hope you will forget all about the ‘political correctness’ mandate we’ve had rammed down our throats, and see if this doesn’t ring true in your heart and mind. For Canada, with all the multiculturalism we’ve been told is so important….why should we not, as Canadians, expect that the millions of new people immigrating to our country will show their love for our country, their allegiance to our country, their willingness to obey the laws of our country, and acceptance that we are a Christian country? Just because they are able to enjoy exercising their own religion, they should NOT expect us to be ashamed of ours. They knew Canada was a Christian country when they came here. Why are we erasing Christianity because immigrants who are unwilling to adopt our way of life expect us to? There is just too much insanity in the world, and we have to start taking a stand. I hope you will forward this, so that others will feel they are not alone if they are starting to feel the same. BRITISH COMMENTS: At last a clear non racist example of the concerns that the vast majority of our Nations population probably share. The pilot’s letter encapsulates all that is fair and just about national pride and protection of one’s national culture. I fear it may be too late here in UK , BUT we too want our country back in the form that attracted all these different cultures to come here in the first place!! In all our conversations with a wide range of friends and acquaintances we have not met one that disagrees with our own views. If only we all had the courage of our convictions to pass this on, it is a statement that should be accepted as the heart-felt feelings of someone with honest commendable national pride. THIS IS TOO GOOD TO JUST READ AND DELETE — LET’S SATURATE NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, UK, EUROPE, USA, CANADA AND THE REST OF THE FREE WORLD WITH THIS ONE! MAY GOD BLESS THOSE WHO HAD THE COURAGE TO WRITE THE ABOVE AND MAY GOD BLESS THOSE WHO READ AND PASS THIS ON AND MAY GOD BLESS THOSE WHO WILL HELP STOP THE INSANITY!

    Geoff
    October 14, 2012 at 5:29 am
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      Dear Geoff, Can you write an equally articulate perspective of the Arab Palestinian and Afghan who lives the same life of terror you speak of? There are unmanned drones that kill women and children, thousands died and continue to die in these countries. Are these lives expendable because these are lives of a lesser god? I see the same bigotry, and stereotyping of Muslims everywhere. Reflect on the histories of the conflict in the Muslim world and the anti western movements.The European invaders left the Middle East post the 2nd world war with despots. Kingdoms were endowed where none existed thanks to the largesse of the West and people disenfranchised en masse. Mosadesh, an elected Prime Minister of Iran was ousted by the British, and a dictator planted. The open secret was to prevent the nationalization of the precursor to BP. People turned to religion and Mullas to oust the despot because mark my words ” the west protected the Shah”. Human rights didn’t matter. A secular country was turned into a theocracy. Take the case of Afghanistan- a pawn in the Cold War. Taliban was a creation of Pakistan and was armed to the teeth by the US to fight the Soviets first and the soviet backed war lord later. We heard of shoulder fired stinger missiles for the first time from the Afghan rebellion. Again the rise of militancy to fight external forces. Israel remains defiant and continues to defy international law with impunity, thanks to the backing of the USA. The rights of the Palestinians matters not to the American polity. The holier than thou attitude of every community be it Christian Jew, Muslim or Buddhist has been the bane of modern society. Did not the US President go to war in the “name of god” Don’t get me wrong. I abhour violence of any kind. My heart goes out to all those families who lost their loved ones in 9/11 and to the families of the women and children whose lives were taken away by unknown assassins all in the name of preserving “our way of life” I can also relate to the plight of the Muslim Doctor. Deny as much as you do, I was singled out for scrutiny on the last occasion I visited the US. My visits before 9/11 were a breeze. The only conclusion I can arrive at is that my last name was a dead giveaway. The officers were polite,the questions intense, probing and very professional. Every fact I presented was cross checked verified and ticked. I was detained for nearly one hour and every piece of my baggage scrutinized. While all this was done with official panache, spare a thought for the victim. I don’t intend to visit the US unless it is an absolute necessity. Reverting to the situation in Sri Lanka, we have shed blood, killed and maimed hundreds of thousands all in the name of protecting the large community against the belligerence of a smaller community. The smaller community would argue the converse. We have not an iota of remorse in our collective conscience, there is no reflection of what went wrong and no attempt at reconciliation. Read carefully the comments from the urban elite, the literati, or the bourgeois if you like it, note the venom that is spouted in the name of religion and race! There is triumphalism, and impunity and a total lack of sensitivity. We are sure enough hurtling towards another 30 years of disaster! I want you to replace Muslim with Christian or community or country as quoted by the Author Rashid (Elie Appelbaum of York University comments in her research paper, Extremism as a Strategic Tool in Conflicts) and you will have the grievances of the Muslims. As long as your way of life was not challenged, you were content to stay secular and want secularism in other countries. The minute you are challenged you cover behind the bogey of Militancy There is a Sinhala saying – Before worrying about the splinter in the eyes of others please worry about the plank in yours. Oh tempora Oh moresil Nab

      nabil
      October 14, 2012 at 7:18 am
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    Leela more power to you for fighting single handed. No body is yet to accept my simple challenge . Please show any mentioning of,orders to do any violent act in Buddhist Scriptures. In contrast I can show many perverse things with references in other two religions.People call Sinhalese Buddhist Racism. But if you look at Political Parties, except Sinhalese parties, most parties depict their race. This is Racism.Only a handful of Buddhist related violence are recorded in World History. But if you take other religions , it will total up to over Billion blatant Murders of innocent men , women and children.

    Paul Smith
    October 14, 2012 at 6:21 am
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    Islam is a cancer and like all cancers it must be eliminated. There’s no two words about it. And this bugger Raashid Riza is another alarmed Jihadist who has realized that the Buddhists of this country are awakening to the true danger that lies ahead of them!

    Dulani
    October 14, 2012 at 8:37 am
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      Pray how do you propose to do it, Sir/Madam, enlighten us you enlightened one!

      nabil
      October 14, 2012 at 8:51 am
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      Dulani, you please better go to kindergarten again and learn to learn the basics (to respect your fellow citizens and not to forget the dignity) How dare you to say – Islam is a cancer ? Even if some islamists today could practise Islam that could be not acceptable to many. Is that then wrong to accuse the some rebel monks of their wrong behaviours in some parts /temples in SL ? Or any hindu or catherlic priest that behaving to unacceptable manners in the country today ? I am a born buddhist but I would not say, that Islam is that halmful to fellow people in SL. See the Islam that is being practised in Malaysia, Indonesia ( the largest muslim population of the world) and several other countries, they dont avoid their females adherents to stay illiterate. Not the islam but the people themselves cause to creat those illerate people in those countries. We have to respect all reglions respectfully so long they dont harm to our lives. In the name of buddhism, there are lot more fradulent business going on in SL. Majority buddhist and even buddhist authorities stay mum.

      Jayawathi
      October 14, 2012 at 10:38 am
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    Leela: ..”but the translation that I picked up is from no student like you; in fact, it is from an expert of the Koran and Arabic language who knows A to Z of them. And his name is Ali Sina.” Are you referring to Ali Sina.org or Ibn Sina the ancient Persian polymath? If it’s the former, well, like I said before you sneak into anti-Islamic websites to quench your thirst and hunger for more venom. If you want to read a good translation of the Quraan from reliable sources then I suggest that you read the translation of Mahmud Pickthall, Yusuf Ali, Mushin Khan or Sahih International. But if you insist on reading the Quraan according to the interpretation, teachings and understanding of mullah Omar and his ilk, well, I wish you all the best!

    asif
    October 14, 2012 at 10:42 am
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      This is probably one Ali Sinai Alisina.org ~ Everything You Need to Know about Islam http://alisina.org/blog/2011/11/20/the-infalibility-of-the-quran/ He is obviously not a Muslim as he says ‘Sir, The entire Islamic world believes that the Quran is infallible. This belief is so rooted in their psyche that when a Muslim friend of mine introduced me to Islam, he presented this as evidence of the divine origin of the Quran. He argued that because the Quran unlike all other holy books has not been changed it must be from God. Please reply about this whether the Quran is corrupted or not.’ ‘Whether the Quran is infallible or whether it has been corrupted or not are two different subjects. As for the first question the answer is that the Quran is not infallible. It contains thousands of errors, absurdities, contradictions, inaccuracies and sheer nonsense. It contradicts logic, history, science, the Bible and even itself. It even contains grammatical errors that show its author was an illiterate man. Hardly can you find a book as absurd as this book. It is so poorly written that I cannot call it literature.’ So its quoting the devil to explain the quran.

      Muslim
      October 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm
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        Muslim, JazakAllah Khairan. I was like; who on earth is this “Expert of the Koran” Ali Sina who has translated the Quraan with such accuracy that Mullah Leela has come forward to proclaim to the whole world that his translation is probably the best available. Hmmm! Very encouraging. Keep on misleading the masses you creepy little iguana. A couple of more crawling creatures like Leela and this world world be a better place to live.

        asif
        October 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm
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    Hundreds of Christian Fundamentalist Churches have been torched,their clergy beaten and congregations assaulted by mobs led by buddhist monks. Is this not ‘buddhist extremism’ ?

    Justice
    October 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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      But that should still be the minority. In general the buddhists as far as my knowledge is concerned would not attack the other adherents easily. Sure, the country is in a mess today. Even disguished monks run businesses as no other times in the history.

      Seelawathie
      October 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm
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    Native Veddah – Pseudo-patriotism/nationalism often cloud clear thinking. There is always the tendency to create instant-history in a competitive environment – such as ours. It looks more like hydraulic irrigation clearly came here from nearby Tamilnadu as the Sigiriya frescoes were the product of the original artistes in Ajantha-Ellora in the AP/Maharasthra States. I was amazed at the latter when I visited there last. But it is politically incorrect to say this loud here – and more so if you from a minority group. Our super-patriot Ranawake may set his hordes of mullahs with their raised yellow cloth upon you. I have always been struck by your passion for your people – our own adivasis. I think you should do something to compile a list of the community and attempt at media support to widen knowledge about them. I have a feeling there will be tremendous scholarly and popular support in a world in a world desperately looking for their “roots” and in love with “first people” I certainly will do my best for its propagation. Next time you are in Central London you should spend time visiting the Royal Asiatic Society – who are likely to be interested in working with you. Senguttuvan

    Senguttuvan
    October 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm
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    Reading the above, is the creation of a Secular Society only a pipe dream? Some day if we do create a Secular Society how nice it would be to live in such a society away from all this mayhem!

    gamini
    October 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm
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    Jim softy “sinhala buddhist allowed you to build mosques and churches in Srilanka”.Jim,it’s terribly artfully calculated move for Sinhalese to become real Buddhists.For Sinhalese to become Buddhists,they need more than fifteen million bowls and people to fill them.We muslims and the christians can manage it,you calculated.After all a chance for muslims to wash away their sins.But look Jim,bowls are in plastic and still to be returned for recycling,we are now environment friendly.

    whywhy
    October 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm
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    Choppe, Buddhism gives the ultimate guidance , to manage any form of crisis. That is why many Buddhist methods are used in Modern day psychology. What William JAMES OF Howard said, was long ago preached by Lord Buddha. Pls Google as to who W . jAMES IS. NEBIL TO GET ENLIGHTENED, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BECOME A Buddhist. Go to you tube and listen to the sermons of Ajan Brahmawanso once a day and of other monks , with a neutral ,unbiased mind and you will soon become enlightened. Buddhism doesn’t order to believe.It says listen and see and it is up to you . Hundreds of Christian Fundamentalist Churches have been torched,their clergy beaten and congregations assaulted by mobs led by Buddhist monks. Is this not ‘ Buddhist extremism’ ? A very Funny post by JUSTICE. General consensus is that it happened the other way. I challenge you to name 15 Churches burnt by Buddhists, with the country and the period or dates to educate us on the History of Buddhism.

    Paul Smith
    October 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm
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      Yeah I read about him. A child prodigy but not recognised by society. Died a tragic death at 46.No mention of he being a Buddhist though. http://www.damninteresting.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-william-j-sidis/ ‘William did not live long after that; in the following July his landlady telephoned the police after discovering him unconscious in his Boston apartment. Forty-six year old Sidis had suffered a massive stroke, and he never again regained consciousness. Such was the end of the one-time prodigy who had astonished a Harvard math audience at age eleven; he died a reclusive, penniless office clerk.’ I have deep respect for true Buddhist and Buddhism, but I think what it does not say is more important than what it says. All people are not going to be Arahats or become Bodhisatvas. Denying life and being reclusive is not a solution. Solutions are required for daily problems. Problems have to be faced and solved. It is good to listen to fine discourses on physchology and cosmic science but what about the mundane affairs of a human being. What about marraige, sex, parenting, trade, commerce, law, crime etc. Everyone cannot be celibate, the human race will end. If there is no guidance or rules then it is open to interpretation and will not work. We need to observe the precepts not only on poya or in the temple but every minute and second of our lives. Same goes for Muslims, Islam and other religons. We should not judge a religon by the misdeeds of a few or make sweeping statements condemning without knowing the facts. There is a lot of hate, malice and fiction floating around on the WWW. We need to be selective in what we read and accept.

      Choppe
      October 16, 2012 at 2:05 am
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        Exactly Choppe. Very sensible point.Running away from problems and facing up to challenges of life are two things.Peoples have capacity to improve their life standards through putting their brains to proper and advanced use.Man has achieved unimaginable level of success through striving hard and using only 5% of his brain power. Yes,there’s war,there’s greed,there’s corruption,mischief and bad governance and because of all these atrocities there’s sufferings. But solution to all these are not taking up bowls in hand and withdrawing to jungles.That’s easy,lazy and ultimately slow death. Look at your small ones and see for yourself what they want in life.

        whywhy
        October 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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    Thanks Choppe for your decent post and I wish to correct some points only . You got Hold of a wrong William James and I am talking of Prof W . James of Howard University. Here are few excerpts about him William James, 1842–1910 By Alan A. Stone, M.D. never actually practiced medicine, but he may be Harvard Medical School’s most distinguished graduate. He is also Harvard University’s most important psychologist and arguably its greatest philosopher. William James was and is an intellectual hero to many—he had the capacity to struggle for knowledge while accepting uncertainty. Although he is now sometimes ridiculed for choosing to believe in free will, those who know his life and his ideas understand the profound humility and wisdom of that choice. He was a man who raised up hope against the darkness. As to your comment,on marriage, sex, parenting, trade, commerce, law, crime etc, Lord Buddha preached how to live a peaceful life as lay men like you and me , including all the above things you mentioned , and many more. That’s why I highly encourage you to listen to the sermons of AJAN BRAHMAWANSO in you tube , without changing whatever the religion you practice. Ven. Thero was a Physics Professor in Cambridge University , and have worked with Prof Stephen Hawkins , before becoming a Monk. So his insight in common humans like you and me is immense. Thank You

    Paul Smith
    October 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm
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    This is to Choppe and Why Why. . Buddhism describes complete set of guidelines to common people like you and me as to how to conduct life. This is called Eight Fold pathway. There is the Eight fold Path, the atthangika magga – the way out of suffering.’ It is also called the ariya magga, the Ariyan or Noble Path. The second aspect is: ‘This path should be developed.’ The final insight into arahantship is: ‘This path has been fully developed.’ The Eight fold Path is presented in a sequence: beginning with 1 Right (or perfect) Understanding, 2 Right (or perfect) Intention or Aspiration, first two elements of the path are grouped together as Wisdom 3 Right Speech, 4 Right Action and 5 Right Livelihood – also referred to as perfect speech, perfect action and perfect livelihood, 6 Right Effort, 7 Right Mindfulness and 8 Right Concentration, These last three provide emotional balance. This makes the heart pure, and the mind becomes peaceful. This covers all aspect of Mortal life. If we master practicing these , our mind and the body will attain ultimate Health or Peace Of Mind , which the modern Psychology describes as Supreme Health or Spiritual Health. Though these words carry deeper meanings , I am sure my friends here are intelligent enough to ponder over each ,without absolute intention of not harming any Human Being in any way. You can grasp to a great extent of the truth, which lies within. If you can live according to these , your life will be complete. No need to go to the JUNGLE. Take any topic and you will understand , how to do it , by analyzing it under these concepts without hurting another Human Being.

    Paul Smith
    October 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm
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    There is the Eight fold Path, the atthangika magga – the way out of suffering.’ It is also called the ariya magga, the Ariyan or Noble Path. The second aspect is: ‘This path should be developed.’ The final insight into arahantship is: ‘This path has been fully developed.’ The Eight fold Path is presented in a sequence: beginning with 1 Right (or perfect) Understanding, 2 Right (or perfect) Intention or Aspiration, first two elements of the path are grouped together as Wisdom 3 Right Speech, 4 Right Action and 5 Right Livelihood – also referred to as perfect speech, perfect action and perfect livelihood, 6 Right Effort, 7 Right Mindfulness and 8 Right Concentration, These last three provide emotional balance. This makes the heart pure, and the mind becomes peaceful. This covers all aspect of Mortal life. If we master practicing these , our mind and the body will attain ultimate Health or Peace Of Mind , which the modern Psychology describes as Supreme Health or Spiritual Health. Though these words carry deeper meanings , I am sure my friends here are intelligent enough to ponder over each ,without absolute intention of not harming any Human Being in any way. You can grasp to a great extent of the truth, which lies within. If you can live according to these , your life will be complete. No need to go to the JUNGLE. Take any topic and you will understand , how to do it , by analyzing it under these concepts without hurting another Human Being.

    Paul Smith
    October 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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      Thanks for the information. It is good if these precepts are practiced by all at all times. Human being is subject to various evil forces such as craving, jealousy, desire, greed, anger, hatred, enmity etc. These can be controlled by spiritual exercise such as, prayer, fasting, meditation, charity, pilgrimage etc. In Islam these are compulsory and practiced on a regular basis. I think all religons call upon their followers to practice such good actions. It is when people try to compete with and attack each other for wealth, land and control that things become nasty. Then many evil acts occur in the name of religon, race etc. If we understand that this world is impermenant and we are here only for a short time then such conflicts can be avoided. Respect for the rights of others and unselfish behaviour would result in a peaceful society where all can live in happiness.

      Choppe
      October 18, 2012 at 3:29 am
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      You have not mentioned the four noble truths which precede the eightfold path The Four Noble Truths 1. Life means suffering. 2. The origin of suffering is attachment. 3. The cessation of suffering is attainable. 4. The path to the cessation of suffering. I think life is not suffering. Life is also happines and joy. Life is contentment and satisfaction. Life is Love and Compassion. Life is to help others in need. Life is to be lived by adopting the correct beliefs and practices. There is suffering when you do not live according to the correct beliefs, principles and practices. Suffering is the result of your own actions. There are means by which you can protect yourself from the harmful actions of others. Do you suffer when you are sick? Do you suffer when you are injured? Do you suffer if you are handicapped? Not neccesarily. Suffering is in your mind whereas your body and all material things are impermanent. In Islam we surrender to the will of God. Then there is no suffering only realisation of the eternal truth. Right living is the path to success. In Islam it is called the straight path. I think you will find there is much in common between Buddhism and Islam. Do not judge Islam by the misdeeds of a few.

      Choppe
      October 19, 2012 at 1:39 am
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    Paul Smith “your life will be complete. No need to go to the JUNGLE.” A spell in the jungle always did good to me. You should try.

    Native Vedda
    October 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm
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    BUDDHISM DIFFERS FROM ISLAM IN MANY RESPECTS ISLAM SEEKS TO IMPOSE DICIPLINE IN FOLLOWERS BY EXTERNAL MEANS.THE RELIGION MAITAINS A VERY STRONG GRIP ON FOLLOWERS BY MANDATORY FIVE TIMES A DAY PRAYERS(THERE IS HARDLY ANY FREE TIME LEFT FOR ANY THING WHEN YOU PRAY FIVE TIMES A DAY)THE QURANIC TEACHINGS INCULCATE BOTH PRESSURE AND FEAR AGAINST ANY FREE THINKING .FURTHER THERE ARE RELIGIOUS COURTS WHICH PASS JUDGEMENTS AND FUTWAS AGAINST ANY BODY WHO TURN BACK AND QUETION THE TEACHING THERE ARE PUNISHMENT BY STONING TO DEATH ,CUTTING OFF OF LIMBS AND BEHADIND.IN MOST MUSLIM COUNTRIES THERE IS A RELIGIOUS POLICE.MUSLIMS CAN ONLY ENGAGE IN MONEY EARNING VENTURES ,PRAYERS AND UNLIMITED SEX(FOR THIS WOMEN ARE NOT PERMITTED TO HAVE HIGHER EDUCATION THEY ARE JUST PLAY DOLLS FOR MEN,S SEX DESIRES.)ALL THE MEANS OF ADVANCED HUMEN DEVELOPMENT SUCH AS ARTS ,DANCING ,SCULPTURE ,MUSIC ,DRAMAS, POETRY, LITERATURE AND CINEMA ARE SUPPRESSED IN SHORT ISLAM MEANS EARNING MONEY, EATING FIGHTING WITH OTHER BELIEVERS IF NOT BETWEEN THEMSELVES(WHERE THERE ARE NO OTHER BELEIVERS THEY FIGHT AMONG THEMSELVES)AND HAVING WOMEN AS SEX SLAVES. BUDDHISM LEAVES IT TO INDIVIDUALS TO IDENTIFY UNWHOLESOME IDEAS LIKE GREED,ENMITY, JELOUSY,ANGER ETC WHICH ARE BORN IN OUR MIND AND TRY TO ERADICATE THEM PRACTISING OPPOSIT .EVERY BUDDHIST IS EXPECTED TO OBSERVE THE FIVE PRECEPTS IF CORRECTLY FOLLOWED THERE CANNOT BE ANY CRIME IN THE COUNTRY.PUNISHING THE WRONG DOERS IS A MATTER TO BE HANDLED BY THE COUNTRY,S LEGAL SYSTEM NOT BY THE RELIGION. BUDDHISTS ARE LIVING HAPPIER LIVES MORE THAN THE OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS BECAUSE THEY SEE THE REALITY OF LIFE.

    GUNADASA
    October 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm
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      Your imagination must be running riot. All this rubbish about sex and dolls. You mean to say there is no crime in this country and innocent people are not suffering. Hardly a day passes without people being raped or murdered. Criminals roam free while innocent people suffer. Anyway you are free to enjoy life while we are free to practice our religon. To you your way and to me mine.

      Muslim
      October 20, 2012 at 1:19 am
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      Sorry to have upset you. Off course there are major diffrences as well. For instance belief in God. However I think your comment about muslims engaging in sex etc is quite misplaced. You find problems in other religons as well but now a days people blame muslims for everything. Especially in Sri Lanka our womenfolk are able to do anything. Of course they have to dress modestly which is their choice. Given the situation here with rapes etc we have to be careful. Better safe than sorry. As you say we have a rather strict system but we dont face much problem following. Other people spend hours in bars and clubs wasting there money. We prefer to spend with our families and help the poor. So there is a difference. We fast which is difficult but it is good for our health as well. Others waste money on eating and feasting. By engaging in prayer, meditation etc we become spritually sound. Of course the modern çivilised lifestyle is to booze, dance around and have fun. So good luck.

      Choppe
      October 20, 2012 at 2:15 am
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    Gunadasa – Almost all civilised religions in the modern enlightened world allow much space and freedom for their adherents. Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity tolerate – nay, welcome – self-criticism and evolve with the times. They do not generally condition or regiment their follower/s. That is how it should be in the modern world where these religions move towards peace, harmonious co-existence, tolerance and respect to each others history, cultural pluralism rituals and so on. The recent visit of the Pope to England and the warm and respectful welcome he received from the Archbishop of Canterbury was wonderful for the peaceful people of the world to see. And so the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Catholic Ireland and her considered thoughts and words towards reconciliation. Senguttuvan

    Senguttuvan
    October 20, 2012 at 12:21 am
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      Off course you dont mention the activities of the LTTE, Israeli actions in Palestine and massacres carried out by the West in Iraq and Afghanistan. Civilised, Modern, Enlightened???

      Muslim
      October 20, 2012 at 1:24 am
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      Mr S, either you are naive, have the IQ of a five year old or you are so full of hatred, that you don’t even know what you are ranting about. Here are some pointers- How do the Queen, the Pope and the Archbishop all highly placed dignitaries and Christians by the way, support your argument? Are all these people going to be violated if they visit a Muslim Head of State? In our own country, from a religious perspective Muslims usually don’t go burning and vandalizing Kovils and Churches, or Pansalas. Since this discussion is about Buddhist Extremism, we would all have an informed debate if you could argue for or against the position taken by the Author. Your raving and ranting only goes to expose how weak and imbecilic you are. If you want to broaden the debate and bring is the political dimension, Muslims in Sri Lanka are peace loving, whatever the issues we haven’t taken up arms, we work within a democratic framework and we respect the constitution. How many of you can say that? 1971, 1989 and 1980-2008, were insurgencies against an elected government Will you rave and rant again? Nabil

      Nabil
      October 23, 2012 at 6:53 am
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    @Jim softy If you want to see a classic example of distortion this is it . Muslim; Quran, in 121 places uses the word KILL. What do you say about that ? Jim Softy – October 13, 2012 1:52 am This incudes usage of word parts like ‘ killing’ in the verse ‘ pharaoh affecting you with a horrible torment “killing” your sons and sparing your women’ and also when it appears in the negative as “do not kill”. Jim Slimy omits words like MERCY (158 times) KIND ( more than 233 times) FORGIVE ( 158) LOVE (61). Incidentally I chose the same search criteria as SLIMY JIM

    Jamal
    October 20, 2012 at 8:19 am
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    Muslim – I just logged into this page which is outside the face of the blog. I take it “Civlised” “Englightened” are words alien to your culture centred in revenge, blood and the sword. Slitting of throats of children as commonly seen in Syria in such painful regularity; using chemical bombs on hundreds of people queueing for bread in Homs; shooting the face at point blank range of a 14 yr old beautiful child only because she wants to go to school – are all highmarks of certain religions in today’s “modern” world??? Where is the feeling of the human being here? We beg to differ. Israelis/Jews are far too cultured to sink to this deplorable atavastic level. This is why the Rajapakse Govt values their diplomatic relationship with the reliable Israeli Govt. You call me a Zionist – a very legal reality to protect the people and State of Israel. Nothing wrong there – except the coming into being of the modern State of Israel in the land of the Palestinians in 1948 is debatable. But the Israelis claim that was also their land until the Pharoas banished them into the diaspora??? As to the LTTE, you know what turned them into bestiality. But they did’nt sink to the extent of the Afghan/Arab savages. Your case is so naked you have no place to turn to in this Island inhabited by two nations for millenia. So recognise your plight and learn to live peacefully with the others around you. Senguttuvan

    Senguttuvan
    October 22, 2012 at 1:50 am
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      Mr S seems to have arisen from his slumber to rant and rave and spew hate and venom at Muslims. No mention of the barbaric LTTE and the massacre of Muslims at Katankudy. No mention of the 600 policeman slaughtered in the Eastern province. No mention of the slaughter of Bhikkus at Arantalawa. Muslims in this country have never indulged in the imaginary bloody exploits of Mr S. The Zionist killings in Palestine go unabated, hundreds of children are killed, but Mr S is so concerned about the shooting of a Muslim girl by terrorist trained by the LTTE.

      Muslim
      October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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      Senguttuvan,why don’t you explain on your last three lines? like,A)your case is so naked.B)you have no place to turn to in this Island inhibited by two nations for millenia.C)So recognise your plight and LEARN to live peacefully with the others around you.It’s hard to imagine that a Sengu can come down to this level!You are a matured person who advocates unity in all communities but these lines….?

      whywhy
      October 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm
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    We fight wars and shed blood on the very mere fact that we fail to accept the differences of one another. If we simply accept these differences, allow ourselves to be less egoistic and so damn arrogant maybe the world wouldnt be miserable place to live in. We unite as humans, we unite in goodness. At the risk of sounding a cliche, we need put aside these aggravating issues and simple figure out a system where we accept one another, and respect one another as you would want to be respected and live in harmony. We Sri Lankans deserve peace.

    Sabeera
    December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm
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    “Even as a mother would cherish her only child with her life, even thus towards every living being,Let him cultivate a boundless heart and amity..” -LORD BUDDHA(KARANIYA METHTHA SUTRA) “If,O monks, Robbers or highwaymen should with a double-handed saw cut your limbs and joints,whoso gave way to anger thereat,would not be following my advice. For thus ought you to train yourselves; ‘Undisturbed shall our minds remain,no evil words shall escape our lips; friendly and full of sympathy shall we remain,with hearts full of love, free from any hidden malice. And that person shall we suffuse with loving thoughts; and from there on the whole world.” -LORD BUDDHA “Kakachupama Sutta” “Monks, if anyone spoke words which insult me, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, don’t let this thing prompt you to hate, take revenge, and turn against them. If, because of this, you become angry or annoyed, then it will become an obstacle in your quest to liberate yourself, and cause you upset. However, if someone speaks insulting or false accusations about me, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, then you should state which is wrong and point out the mistake by explaining that because of this proof and that, then that is not true, or it is not like that, that kind of thing is not us, or occurring in us. But if someone praises me, the Dhamma, or the Sangha; don’t let this thing make you feel proud, joyful, and happy. If you act like that, then it will become an obstacle in your efforts to achieve your own final liberation.” -Lord Buddha (Brahmajala sutta)

    Wijaya
    February 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm
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    “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”–in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease. 4. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”–in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease. 5. For hatred does not cease by hatred in this world: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule. 6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;–but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once. -Dhammapada (Chapter 1, The Twin-Verses, )

    Dulanja Senarathne
    February 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm
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    The 1818 Uva-Wellassa Uprising also know as the Great Rebellion and the Madulla Massacre resulted in multiple atrocities against Sri Lankans by British imperialists, including razing and annihilation of villages. The entire Uva region male population above the age of 18 years were killed in revenge for resistance against British imperialist occupation under Governor Robert Brownrigg, which had been controlling the formerly independent Udarata. The British confiscated the properties of the people involved in the uprising, they killed all cattle and other animals, burnt homes, property and even the salt in their possession during the repression. Paddy fields in the area of Wellassa were all destroyed. The irrigation systems of the duchies of Uva and Wellassa, hitherto the rice-bowl of Sri Lanka were systematically destroyed . During the rebellion a Gazette Notification was issued by Governor Robert Brownrigg to condemn all those who rebelled against British Rule in Sri Lanka. All those who participated in the uprising were condemned as “traitors” and their properties confiscated by the government under the notification. Several governments after the independence of Sri Lanka in the past wanted to revoke this ignominious Gazette Notification, however could not take action in this regard. In 2011, the Gazette Notification issued by Governor Robert Brownrigg was brought to Sri Lanka on the instruction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was submitted to the Parliament and was revoked with the signature of the President. This allowed all those who participated in the uprising to be recognised as National Heroes, and their label as traitors erased.

    Nalliah Thayabharan
    April 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm
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