31 October, 2020

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Ordinary People Blindly Follow Present Day Leaders: What A Tragedy For This Dhammadipa?

By A.T. Ariyaratne

Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne

The Role Of Religion In Reconciliation 

At the outset I wish to thank Mr.Asanga Abeygoonesekera, Executive Director of Lakshman Kadirgamer Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies, for inviting me to deliver the Keynote address at this National Conference on “The Role of Religion in Reconciliation.”

I understand that this conference is the eighth in a series organized by the Institute where the subject of Reconciliation is being studied and discussed from a number of perspectives. For my part I do not claim to be a scholar or a national leader who can influence the intellectuals and the decision makers in our society. From my student days up to today for nearly sixty six years I have been engaged in working at the grass roots level to empower those who are the poorest and the most powerless in our society. Out of this period over fifty five years were spent with the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. So my remarks on the subject assigned to me, namely, The Role of Religion in Reconciliation, will be conditioned by the experiences I had both in our country and abroad in carrying out Sarvodaya activities.

This is a very timely conference, especially as it is being held at a time of great national debate on the system of devolved government and the role of the international community.  The delay in achieving reconciliation after the end of the war gives the discussion to day special relevance.  There is polarization within the country that is manifested in election results that reflect an ethnic divide. Internationally, there is the accusation of serious human rights violations that is not going away due to inability to make a satisfactory response. There is no agreement between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims on key political issues or between Government and Opposition on addressing the burning issues.

Providing a leadership that heals the wounds of war and transforms the structures of governance into ones that meet the aspirations of both the ethnic majority and minorities is the continuing challenge for our beloved country.  It is my conviction that the vision and work of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement can contribute in some measure to reconciling the people of our country consisting of all communities and living in different regions. Sarvodaya is a word coined by Mahatma Gandhi to mean working for the “Welfare of All.” We in Sri Lanka adopted this word giving it a broader meaning which is consonant with the Buddhist cultural background. Sarvodaya we defined as “Awakening of All.” The meaning of the word “Buddha” is “the Awakened One.” The Sarvodaya concept of the Awakening of All goes beyond human beings. It includes:

“ Whatsoever living beings there are, weak or strong, without exception, long or short, large, medium or small, subtle or gross, those seen or unseen, those dwelling near or far, and those born or yet to be born, May all beings without exception be happy.” (The Buddha- Karaniya Metta Sutta)

“Let one’s thoughts of boundless loving kindness pervade the whole world, above, below, across, without obscuration, without hatred, without enmity (The Buddha-Samyutta Nikaya)

“Loving –kindness or compassionate love purifies themind and the mind becomes a very energetic force to radiate for the well-being of others” (Ven.Dr.K.Sri Dhammananda)

“When practiced together with wisdom and insight metta will indeed become a powerful healing force which will transform us into a more compassionate and caring community, as well as transmuting all negative energies and entities into light, love and harmony.” (Ven.Bhante Mahinda of Australia, the Founder of Aloka Foundation and the Metta Round the World Movement)

If at all we in Sarvodaya had any theoretical foundation which inspired us, the teachers and students of Nalanda College Colombo, and later hundreds of other individuals and educational institutions, it was the above thought of Metta or Loving-Kindness to All. Certainly this thought was from the teachings of the Buddha. But it had the capacity to go beyond the boundaries of a religion and become a spiritual force to transform people’s consciousness, their social, economic and political beliefs and behavior. Our principle objective was, first, our own Total Personality Awakening (Purna Paurushodaya) by practicing Metta (Loving Kindness), Karuna (Compassionate Actions), Muditha (Acquiring Altruistic Joy) and Upekkha (living with Equanimity).The Buddha named these four qualities as Brahma Viharas (Four Sublime Abodes).

Metta is an easily acquirable spiritual practice through regular meditation. However one has to take another step to translate Metta into Karuna or Compassionate Action. For this exercise we selected the economically poorest, socially most depressed, politically most powerless, rural communities in our country. In small groups such as 50 volunteers or in big groups such as several hundreds we encamped in these villages, sometimes going several miles on foot, we reached these villages, encamped among the people, organized the community and worked with them physically building access roads, village tanks, irrigation canals, wells, school buildings, community centres, land reclamations and tree planting campaigns and so on, all connected to Basic Human Needs satisfaction of communities as identified by them.

Within nearly three decades we covered the whole country not leaving out any community including the plantations communities. In village communities we hardly faced any opposition to this program from the common people except for a few people whose social status got threatened when caste, class, racial, party political, religious and other barriers that divided people were breaking down. Sarvodaya never aimed to build an affluent society out of these poor and powerless communities. Sarvodaya’s objective was a No-Poverty No-Affluence society beginning from the village communities and progressively going upwards to influence the whole nation and decision makers.

This was no easy task as Sarvodaya believed in three salient principles of Truth, Non-violence and Self-denial. This also implies that we totally reject social, economic and political organizations that promoted Greed, Aversions and Ignorance. Some of these organizations unfortunately are founded on organized Greed and Violence. By controlling the media in various devious ways they keep the people in a Bliss of Ignorance of Reality. It is sad that the same cancerous greed for wealth and power using organized terror and violence that promoted imperialist interests using Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam for over 2000 years have reached our shores in recent decades.

Ian Fry, an Australian scholar, researcher and writer with whom I made acquaintance in the meetings of World Conference on Religion and Peace, has written a book titled “TROUBLE IN THE TRIANGLE.”This book is in five parts and over 2100 pages where the history of three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and their involvement in all the wars and blood shed that occurred not only in Europe and the Middle East but all over the world are vividly described. Sarvodaya struggled for over 55 years to counter this disastrous trend coming to Sri Lanka by high lighting the Spiritual Awakening aspect of religions without being partial to or confronting any religious dogma, rituals or practices.

At this point I wish to quote our most beloved Lakshman Kadirgamer who said “the battle for peace, (has to be ) fought in the hearts and minds of people. It is won or lost there. One can win wars but lose peace.”

It is widely believed that the people are politically apathetic and are too afraid of retribution to be involved in political affairs. This is a justifiable concern; however, it must also be remembered that much of the population remains in a state of poverty and does not have the opportunity to think about ideological issues when their very survival is so difficult to pursue. Furthermore, they have become subject to the propaganda regularly circulated by the media. Seminars, pamphlets and other educational materials, though they may be useful, will thus have limited impact at the grassroots level. We have to aim at a critical mass of spiritual consciousness pervading the whole nation.

I would submit that Sarvodaya’s work highlights the positive effects of a grassroots movement for peace. Working in more than 15,000 villages all across the country Sarvodaya has been able to persuade both the people and their immediate leaders to support and maintain an active peace. Since it recognizes that a holistic effort is needed for full peace to occur, Sarvodaya also works at the district, divisional, and national levels, however, it is most recognized for its advances at the grassroots. What is evident from the work is the reservoir of untapped goodwill that exists between the religious communities at the grassroots level.  When religious leaders are brought together in structured initiatives they begin to better understand each other and to work together.

A Research paper written on Faith-based Peace Building Efforts in Sri Lanka has made the following observation on Sarvodaya’s efforts.

“Peace work at the grass roots level must, therefore, include a means of empowering the people and improving their lives. While the institutional peace organizations recognize in their efforts to address specific needs of the people, an organization that has taken this precept further is The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. Working intensively at the grassroots level, Sarvodaya believes in “peace through development,” and uses the concept of a common human spirituality to heal hostile relations and create a community based solidarity.

“Although infused with Buddhist values, Sarvodaya works through a cross-cultural, inter-religious attempt to bottom-up peace building. Since it views peace as one of many human needs, it organizes programs in which peace and village-level developments go hand in hand. During these programs, people from many religious and ethnic backgrounds convene to work on a common project that both enhances their community, and build strong human ties. Since people overlook barriers such as race, religion or political affiliation to solve a mutual problem, it establishes a sense of a common humanity and allows for an empathetic understanding of the other to take place.

“Sarvodaya work highlights the positive effects of a grassroots movement for peace. Working in more than 15,000 villages all across the country (including the war-stricken North-and East), Sarvodaya has been able to persuade both the people and their immediate leaders to support and maintain an active peace. Since it recognizes that a holistic effort is needed for full peace to occur, Sarvodaya also works at the pradeshiya sabha (divisional council), district, zonal and national levels. However it is most recognized for its advances at the grassroots.”

If I may very briefly mention, from the Sarvodaya experience spanning over half a century a theoretical framework with practical programs which can be implemented at Individual, Family, Urban and Rural Community, National and World levels have been formulated and leaders at different levels are trained at the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning at Bandaragama. These programs are targeted at Total Personality Awakening (Purna Paurushodaya, Family Awakening (Kutumbodaya), Urban and Village Awakening (Nagarodaya and Gramodaya), National Awakening (Deshodaya) and World Awakening (Vishvodaya). The Sarvodaya Movement is already working from village level to world level with the vision, mission, principles, programs and structures which are all being tried out for a non-violent transformation of our human society. We do not want to pollute these spiritual goals with the craze for power, wealth and popularity.

Out of numerous national level programs we have implemented mobilizing people in the 15000 village communities we are working with, for national peace and reconciliation, I will mention only four in this presentation:

One: When in 1983 July the worst ever racial violence took place our Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena (Peace Brigade) members fearlessly took to the streets to mitigate violent actions against the helpless victims by organizing refugee camps in co-operation with the government in all parts of the country. Sarvodaya started what came to be known as the 5R Program, namely, Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Reawakening programs. From 1983 up to 2009 we implemented the 5R program which benefited several thousands of affected Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim people right through disturbed and war times. During the Tsunami we extended this 5R program to North and East also including Mulatiu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts.

Two:   In 1983 August we organized the first ever National Peace and Reconciliation Conference which lasted for two days at the BMICH with the participation of the Maha Nayake Theros of all four Buddhist Nikayas, Hindu Swamys, Christian Church leaders, Islamic religious dignitaries and over one thousand two hundred other participants. A Peace Plan was formulated and signed, and was handed over to the then Head of State H.E.President J.R.Jayewardene. Similar Inter-faith conferences were held right through the war period and even after the war ended the last being about three months ago again held at B.M.I.C.H.

Three: In December 1983 for the first time in Sri Lanka Sarvodaya organized a Mass Interfaith Meditation program in the sacred city of Kataragama where thousands of clergy and laymen belonging to different faiths participated including Prime Minister Hon.R.Premadasa. After the mass meditation program nearly 30,000 joined the Peace Walk (Sama Pada Yatra) we started from Kataragama Krivehera to Nagadipa in Jaffna. After we marched in silent meditation a distance of 13 miles H.E. President J.R.Jayewardene came to Tissamaharama and made a request to us to postpone the peace meditation march as he was informed by his intelligence services that we would be attacked on the way which may lead to a another round of communal violence. With great reluctance we postponed it but after two days we travelled in small groups across villages and concluded it at Nagadipa walking through Jaffna under very tense circumstances but without any incident. But the young Japanese monk who stayed back in Jaffna against our advice and continued walking beating his Peace Drum was brutally shot down from behind by the terrorists and was killed.

Four: Sarvodaya continued its mass interfaith meditation sessions and peace meditational walks in all districts, in all major cities including Colombo, Kandy, Matara, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloe and Ampara and in all major places of religious worship from 1983 to  2013 without an interruption. Over 100,000 participated in each of the interfaith mass meditation programs held in BMICH grounds and Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo. The highest number nearly 900,000 participated in the meditation held at the sacred city of Anuradhapura and this program became the first such spiritual endeavour for peace where many nations joined the program in their own country locations through the internet for peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

In peace and reconciliatory work there should be commitment and continuity. There should not be any compromise with Truth and Non-violence. Power political and sectarian agendas of religions and races should give in to the supreme goal of awakening of all through Metta – Boundless Loving Kindness.

The experience in both Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world of political struggle makes it evident that when the path of conflict is taken there is no natural end, only constant escalation. Stopping the spiral of conflict requires a conscious act of will and a strategy for de-escalation. It requires a vision of a transformative process which will lead to the good of everyone. And it calls for faith that people and institutions will in fact change.   One of the greatest challenges in peacemaking is to see the opponent in a new light, as having part of the truth, whether terrorist or government, which is necessary to bring wholeness and peace. There can be no positive transformation without engaging with the opponent and making them a part of the solution.  This is where the Sarvodaya philosophy which lays emphasis on the Awakening of All has special relevance.

Religious leaders operate with distinct advantages when it comes to conflict resolution and peace-building to the degree that they espouse universal values that stress the wellbeing of all. Indeed, Sri Lanka’s religious leadership has access to several critical resources that could assist peace building initiatives in Sri Lanka, not least religious doctrines that teach universality and the wisdom that the “the world is one family to the wise”. The extensive, well-established religious networks and institutions in Sri Lanka are valuable channels of communication and action. In fact, religious leaders generally have extensive reach and influence in Sri Lankan society, as the majority of the population belongs to a religious community, and are thus accessible through religious infrastructure.

Religion-based efforts hold immense potential to create peace in Sri Lanka. With the moral authority to decry conflict, and the social networks to mobilize support and public action, religious groups could spread the message of peace in effective and sustainable ways. In particular, inter-religious initiatives which aim to bridge ethno-religious divides and establish a discourse of understanding (even in the face of severe opposition), provide hope that a desire for reconciliation is strong and ever growing.

It is also important to note that the leadership of religiously involved personalities is constant and durable, especially when contrasted with the country’s political leaders who are vulnerable to the pressures of a democratic electorate, and thus change more frequently. National religious leaders are long-term contributors to the people’s awakening and upliftment, who have been present throughout the lengthy lifecycle of Sri Lanka’s conflict. As a result, they are well poised to provide much needed continuity in approaches and commitment to peace building initiatives and advocacy in Sri Lanka. The religious clergy maintains a very close relationship with the people of the country. Thus, they are well situated to undertake observatory and educational roles to discourage violence, corruption, human rights violations or other behavior which impedes viable and sustainable peace-building initiatives.

I believe that in many ways, such work may be more effective in changing attitudes and at promoting peace than similar work among those at the political level. The general population, by and large, have no concrete roles or agendas that prevent them from committing to a whole-hearted stand for peace. Peace through the grassroots is also comparatively more stable, since it builds up a movement rather than trying to persuade multiple levels of the political, social, and religious hierarchies from the leadership and down. Most importantly, working at the grassroots bypasses the need to work through those political structures that foster divisiveness; at the same time, it promotes a change in the hearts of the people, who together have the power to elect the political leaders and change the state of the nation.

Anicca (Impermanance), Dukkha (Suffering) and Anatta (Non-self) were the spiritual guide lines our leaders have followed through centuries. These are common to all religious teachings. However, unfortunately, most of our present day leaders including the religious leaders appear to be following the opposite path, namely, upholding the Nicca (Permanence), Sukha(Affluence), and Atta (Egoism) as their guiding philosophy. Ordinary people blindly follow them. What a tragedy for this Dhammadipa? Can we reverse this trend in the name of Peace and Reconciliation?

*Keynote Address Delivered by Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, Founder and President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement at the National Conference on the Religion and Reconciliation held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), Colombo, on 23rd July 13, 2013.

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    One is entitled to wonder why and how – after 60 years of work by
    Sarvodaya working towards laudable objectives of peace, reconciliation and friendship – the country is more divided, splintered and seething in sectarian hatred than ever before. I am not blaming the Dr Ariyartne-lead Sarvodaya for this condition. I worked with him closely for many years to bring unity between the two communities and
    confirm it is an organisation working for peace and unity.

    As one sees from Dr Ariyaratne’s speech here Sarvodaya lays much emphasis on spirituality, compassion, prayer and meditation. That being so, can the failure be that remarkable expression in Christianity where much of the seeds broadcast felt on rocky soil.

    I believe more objective ethical and religious teaching ensuring students understand the depth of kindness, compassion and peace preached in Buddhism may take us in the path to unity and reconciliation. More importantly, teachers – in this case learned Buddhist priests – should ensure their students truly grasp the essence of what they are taught. It is not enough to learn. It is more important to live what you learn.

    I am impressed in this regard by Hindu and Christian/Catholic priests. They are deeply devout in their philosophies and live their religious teachings in day to day life. While the Hindu religious clerical order is by birth, Christians train their leadership from carefully chosen youth. They are then given decades of excellent training
    that includes many years of both lay and religious educational input.
    I hope my comments will not be taken as a slight to one particular
    religion. They are made with unity and reconciliation in mind in these divided and troubled times.

    Senguttuvan

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      Most of the Buddhist monks are uneducated since the pirivnena education is narrow and does not prepare them for modern life in a globalized world.
      Buddhist monk mainly come from VERY poor families and are desperate to get on in life! They are hence are easily manipulated by politicians who promise them goodies and wealth.. and willingly follow the path of corruption in order enhance their life chances.. Who can blame them? THE PIRIVENA EDUCATION NEEDS TO CHANGE AND HAVE A MODERN CURRICULA..

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        Dinuk,

        “Buddhist monks mainly come from VERY poor families and are desperate to get on in life! They are hence are easily manipulated by politicians who promise them goodies and wealth, and willingly follow the path of corruption in order to enhance their life chances.. Who can blame them? “

        This is the general pattern with:

        1. Buddhist youngsters recruited in Sri Lanka, Burma and Tibet.

        2. This is also the problem with Wahhabi youngsters recruited by some Ulema and Mullahs. They only know their memorized brainwashings, and not logic, history and science.

        3. So they learn religion, Pali, Arabic and Quran only.

        4. No Philosophy, Logic, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Mathematics and Science.

        5. It is to the Credit of the Christian Church that they taught all the other subjects in addition to Theology. Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler were all taught by the Church.

        6. During the first 200 to 300 years of Islam, there were Muslim Philosophers who learned Natural Philosophy aka science and theology. Unfortunately the Ulema controlled the people and the rulers, and their hegemony prevailed, and the religious dogma.

        See,
        Just Think- Sam Harris

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHHOiF-dFEg

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG72wpp_mLM

        Buddhism Different Perspective

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

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

        The Life Of The Buddha Full BBC Documentary

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soRMVIB13YA

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      Sengutuwan,

      You ask:

      “One is entitled to wonder why and how – after 60 years of work by
      Sarvodaya working towards laudable objectives of peace, reconciliation and friendship – the country is more divided, splintered and seething in sectarian hatred than ever before.”

      Here are some Answers. Religion primarily Sinhala Buddhism and Racism, and Monk-Hegemony. Secondarily Christian Fundamentalism and Wahhabism.

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

      Sam Harris: What happens if you really follow the bible and scriptures

  • 0
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    Shame on your Sri Lankan’s getting brainwashed and supporting those mudurous monsters.
    Shame on you for also being so uncompassionate towards the tamils after what these animals like mahinda and gotabaya did.
    They Killed off Lasantha Wickramatunga too and are a bunch of vampires in power.
    You claim to be buddhists yet your teacher buddha would disagree with everything you suppport
    supporting the rajapaksas and the war is supporting your ego

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    Dear, Dr Ariyaratne,

    I have always tried to admire you for the work of Sarvodaya.

    But time and again Sarvodaya has come out, just like in your speech being too closely alligned with Budhism. And the Sinhalese people lay sole claim to Budhism in Sri Lanka going as far as claiming Sri Lanka to be Dhammadipa. For all these reasons Sarvodaya itself is looked upon by minorities with suspicion.

    And you erroneously claim that greedy imperialist herelding one Abrahamic religion or another are in someway responsible for the terror and violence that is endemic in our parts of the world. Well, this is not right. Greed, terror and violence was part of the Brahmanic civilizations as well, of which Bhudism is a offshoot. Budhism never erased the cruel caste differences that are part and parcel of the Brahmanic civilizations.

    All your preaching just like countless other do-gooder has done nothing to remove hate and blood lust that dwells deep in the Sinhala hearts. You never face terror as the minorities in Sri Lanka do. When the marauding Sinhala mobs come breaking into your house, chanting blood curdling slogans, imagine how the terrified Tamils huddled in a corner,a child clutching the hand of a father, a woman hiding behind a man, only to be pulled apart by violent hyena like hands and to be beaton and butchered and the women raped. This is the real Sinhalayo. Has preaching ‘metta and karuna’over 2500 years to the Sinhalayo had any effect on the hearts and minds of the Sinhalese.

    And while you are preaching the good message of Buddha, BBS, Ravaya, Hela Urumaya are all sharpening their ‘kaduwas’ in preparation for the next Sri Lankan holocaust. This time sadly it will be the Muslims.

    Dr Ariyaratne, you ask at the end ‘Can we reverse this trend in the name of Peace and Reconciliation?’ And I will say never – ever.

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      Well said.

      This country will never prosper because the intentions are wrong !

    • 0
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      Well said, If good men keep quiet, bad men will take over.

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      Dr Ariyaratne, you ask at the end ‘Can we reverse this trend in the name of Peace and Reconciliation?’ And I will say never – ever.

      GON BELLA: I agree with your above statement.

      The reason, is do you remember that LATE POPE JOHN PAUL came to Sri Lanka said that ASIA IS THE BATTLE GROUND IN NEW MILLENNIUM.

      So, when they are lost in europe and now losing in North America, they wanted Asia converted. That is why Every denomination of the christian church is in Sri Lanka. A born again Christian, George bush wanted whole India converted.

      SO, Islam also has not given up. they also get funds from Saudi Arabia and they build mosques every where getting ready for the future. Wahabism is the born – again Islam.

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        This country will not prosper because of idiotic racists like you.

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      Dear Dr. A.T Ariyaratna,

      Gonbella has clearly articulated the issues.

      I have seen as a child, the Sinhala Buddhist Monks attacking Tamil shops in 1958, and leading the attack with the Sinhala Buddhist mobs and heard many atrocities. Seeing BBS and Sinhala Ravaya, brings me memories of disgust for Sinhala Buddhism, but I know that is not what the Enlightened Buddha preached.

      Then in 1959, Mara Buddharakkita Thero and Mara Somarama Thero were involved in the assassination of the Prime Minister, SWRD Bandaranaike. Was it in the teachings of Buddha?

      The true Sinhala Buddhists should be disgusted with these BBS Monks, who are really following Mara.

      I do not believe, the Sinhala people are racists or any worse. It is the Buddhism with the Buddhist Monks, the Myths of Mahanama that is the core problem, in order to keep the Monk-Hegemony. WQhy are the Mahanayakas silent? Did Buddha teach that?

      What prevents Lanka being a Dharma Deepa? Two Words, BUDDHIST MONKS.

      Had Lanka remained Animist, Jain or Hindu, the way it was before Buddhism, it would have remained a Dharmadeepa.

      Bali Indonesia, 94% Hindu, is peaceful and as close to a Dharmadeepa you can get.

      So, I suggest you ship all the Sinhala Buddhist Monks to India, Maha Bharataya, and free the Sinhala People from the Bondage to the Mahanama Buddhist Monks.

      True Buddhism? Given Below.
      Here is the life of Buddha, from BBC.

      “Do not believe in something because you are told to. Do not believe in something because a holy person said it. Do not believe in something because you read it from a book. Follow and practice the teaching if it brings happiness to you and others then follow it.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzZkdxN85RY

      The Life of Buddha – a documentary film by BBC (English Subtitles)

      Mara Monk Buddhism DharmaDeepa Version? Given Below.

      However, This is how Buddhism is Practiced Today. BBS Racism and Monk Hegemony, courtesy of the politicians, who get in the way of an Egalitarian Society.

      “According to Buddhism, a person ordained as a Bikkhu should practice Ahimsa (non-violence), Karuna (compassion), Metta (affection), and Maithriya (loving-kindness) towards fellow humans, (irrespective of race or religion), not only by words but also in his thoughts and action. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka, due to the influence of the Mahavamsa, a Buddhist Bikkhu is at liberty to engage in racist politics and promote Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and hatred, as we see today.”

      In Tibet, it is not much Different.

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

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

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    Mr Ariyaratana ” all ordinary( Commoner & Janatha) people” of every Nook and Corner Globe are honest, sincerer, and genuine .The very people are kingmakers that which a Modern Democratic state!But indeed Its turn into real governance of power ,by so-called Kings and Queens ever-never heard voice of Ordinary people after they resume by power of Ballot or Bullet.
    People of all lands except few countries, become voiceless and powerless.That is practice through out the world.
    Mr Ariyaratana you had been travel through out many countries and met large number of leaders last fifty-five years, having personal experience ,in many countries,do you know very well Leaders are NOT listen to People.All countries and Nation FORCE by leaders, blindly to people’s follow their foot-path.That is how poverty and IGNORANT remain among ordinary people several centuries large part of world.
    Hope and wish your personal OBSERVATION & EXPERIENCE ,YOU should Not BLAME TO POWERLESS AND VOICELESS PEOPLE OF LAND ‘BLINDLY FOLLOW THEM’ ….LEADERS.! Leaders are living AN EXPENSE OF ORDINARY PEOPLE.

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    When the big crabs go crooked you cannot do anything.
    This is very deep meaningful speech made by Dr Ariyaratne, but do our leaders ever read or listen to this.

    Until people stop electing robbers, rapists, killers, terrorists as their leaders nothing will change.

    very soon the media’s expressing these views will also be annexed to Daily News and ITN.

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    Dr. Ariyaratne
    What I can’t understand is that you are working in 15000 villages and what did Sarvodaya achieve in terms of peace and reconciliation. You could have prevented full scale war if you had wanted to.
    After the war the Government is trampling the Tamils and they have occupied their lands. They have built temples and kept statues where there are no Buddhists to emphasise the triumphalism.
    Now they have done with the Tamils and now they are targetting the Muslims- It is not part of Buddhism to make blood curdling speeches and attack Muslim owned establishments.Have you listened to the speeches made by BBS/ ravaya etc. What did you do when mosques were attacked? Are you waiting for another July 1983, to go after the event and show your generosity. You are held in high esteem Dr. Ariyaratne. Did you ever meet these groups have discussions with them on Buddhism and Islam. Did Sarvodaya which according to you words in 15000 villages do anything (MEANINGFUL) to bring about peace among communities. You have resources in terms of personnel all over the country and your aim is peace, but I do not see you working for peace. In 1983, you went to help them after the event, but what did you do to prevent it. Now it appears that Muslims are under threat, what are you doing about it. You are such a powerful organisations, you can speak to the extremists on both sides and bring about peace.
    We need people like you at the moment. Please help this country to be a peaceful country, where all of us can live peacefully. Extremists on both sides will listen to you.
    If we go for another pogrom, history will blame you for not saving the country.

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      You are talking good sense. I agree with you. A.T. Ariyaratne’s Sarvodaya is obviously ineffective even if he means well.

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    Didn’t he say that he has Buddhist blood in him in 1983?

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    My assesment of the nature of the activities of the so called religious leaders is always passive. They pray for everything without firmly standing against injustice.Prayers is a very much easy thing than standing and voising for justice.The so called Buddhist monks during the war time prayed on behalf of soldiers. They tied white propes after blessing them. The soldiers held deadly wheapons in those hands to kill people.Even now you here the words of “Ranaviruwanta seth pathamu” from the mouths of buddhist monks.I don’t know what kinds of Buddhism this.

    Almost all religious leaders were keeping silence when a war was declared by the government against its own citizens in the country.They never utter a word or raised vice againt the war.This is applicable to Dr.Ariaratne as well.Most of the religious leaders were with the government other than very few who opposed the war.As in the case of the political parties the religious establishments are also became money making enterprises so these leaders wanted to have a free atmostphire to engage in their business activities without any disruptions. So they lined up behind MR.MARA to end the war by any means and cost.Unfortunately we dont have religious or political leaders who really treat all citizens equal in our country.They are sectarian,politically,ethnically and relegiously.Most of these leaders are really big talkers but not workers of justice.

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    Dear Dr. A.T.Ariyaratne:: Sir, I am one who admired, respected and kept in my mind you as a “Role Model”, during the old days of, perhaps, if I remember correct, when you, as a young lad, started teaching at Bouna Vista Senior English School in Unawatuna, Galle. I remember you cycling to school, Bouna Vista from your home located at Pihillagoda to teach us a subject those days called “CIVICS”. During that time, you taught us how to be “good citizens”, in a system of governing and governed. You always reminded us of great persons such as Vino-Ba-Bave, Mahathma Gandhi etc. Thank you and I am so grateful for molding us to be good citizens and responsible administrators.

    Having said that, my attention was drawn to the following statement you have made in your speech. I quote:

    “Metta is an easily acquirable spiritual…….. However,one has to take another step to translate Metta and Karuna or Compassionate Action. FOR THIS EXERCISE WE SELECTED THE ECONOMICALLY POOREST, SOCIALLY MOST DEPRESSED, P0LITICALLY MOST POWERLESS RURAL COMMUNITIES IN OUT COUNTRY” (Note: High-lighted by me)

    Sir, this is where you and all other religious leaders,social activists went wrong. All the social reformers spent most of the time,energy and money in “Empowering” the economically poorest, socially most depressed, politically most powerless rural communities. But did you all ever think who the people who should be targeted to be “educated” to be filled with Metta,Karuna? You not only ignored that sector but “honoured” and “venerated” in high esteem at all public occasions. They are the “Politicians” who took upon themselves of governing the country. Have you not seen how they have ruined this beautiful country over the years? They, by hook or crook mislead that class of people you targeted and “grab” the power and from the time of getting hold that “establishment of Government” create a “paradise” for themselves and their families and hangs on. What has that “powerless rural communities” to do,other than to look towards the heavens expecting something to fall on their lap to eek out a living. Is that what you “taught” them.

    Sir, I have lot to say on that aspect, but prefer to withdraw with the above short note. That too out of the respect I have developed towards you during that school day in Bouna Vista Senior English School of Unawatuna, Galle.

    In short, all of you have failed us and the country, because your choice of the “people” to be empowered with Metta and Karuna was wrong and terribly wrong.

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    Salmaj

    I agree with you fully. Not only Sarvodaya has personnel in the 15000 villages who could preach Buddhist values, but look at the wealth they have amassed in terms of buildings and property. From Morotuwa,Colombo and to the remote corners of the island they have acres and acres of land and buildings. They could afford to educate the masses and the politicians. But what are they doing in this crucial days for the country with so many hate campaigns, murder and in general lack of law and order. Hope at least he acts now.

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