17 November, 2018

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Political Pilgrimage To Monks & The Outrage From Asgiriya 

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Gnanasara

The jailing of the mugger-monk known as Galagoda Atte Gnanasara did not result in any stir among the public. The incident may be regarded as another instance of affirmation of the superiority of the law in this island. 

It is hoped that President Sirisena will not succumb to the irrational elements in the polticial spectrum  by giving the monk a pardon or even letting the latter remain in his cell wearing  the robe. Gnanasara has happily got into jumpers just as well as the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka had willingly got into. It would be nothing short of hilarious to see one jailbird in a robe and other jailbirds worshipping him.

SWRD

Pandering to monks, deemed as ‘influential,’ has been one of the unfortunate things our polticians  keep doing. SWRD upheld the saffron symbol in his MEP campaign to wreak power off the ruling United National Party and win a landmark general election in 1956. 

The new Prime Minister, before long, found himself in the evil clutches of the Chief Priest of Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara-the infamous Buddharakkita thero. The latter tried to work out commission deals with the government over shipping transactions. SWRD rejected the moves and Buddharakkita (whom the then charismatic leader of the Left, Philip Gunawardena, referred to as “Buddy Racketeer”) conspired with his stooge Somarama Thero to have the Prime Minister assassinated. Somarama shot SWRD while the latter was bending in two in an act of deep respect for the robe.

That apalling incident received world-wide publicity and it denigrated the Buddha Sasana. For some years, monks were frowned at even in Sri Lanka and politicians avoided the practice of having them on stage.

Back in Action

However, the temptation to re-recruit monks for poltical support keeps coming up, and now we see them back in action. The restoration of our respect for the yellow robe irrespective of the behaviour of the user has resulted in a widespread practice of  abuse by thugs, morons and controversial seedy characters wearing the robe to back politcal groups and join their stage gimmicks. There have been hoodlums in robes who are hired at call to protest. It is merciful that the GMOA thad refrained from recruiting  monks in favour of the doctors’ habitual protest and strike action.

On the other hand, we found Mahinda Rajapaksa liberally using monks and referring to the latter reverentially while addressing gatherings. “Ehema neda Ape Hamuduruwane?” He is heard and seen often asking the rhetorical question turning to monks in his gatherings. His backing orators like Wimal Weerawanse also do that. 

Robe and its Wearer

Nowhere do Buddhist texts enjoin faithfuls to respect the robe regardless of the wearer. In fact, the Buddha did warn his followers during his time that undesirable persons may wear robes and spoil the Sanga. The Buddha wanted his followers to identify and respect only the Arya Sanga (monks on the path).

Sinhalese Buddhism has turned that upside down and Buddhists simply collapse to worship anyone donned in the saffron robe. 

Christians

The Christians don’t make that mistake in symbolism. They do not object to any priest been brought before court for alleged criminal offence. These days, we in Australia observe the former Archbishop and Vatican high-up being brought before court for alleged indirect involvement in serious child sexual abuse cases, while he was serving in his diocese. Nobody and no media has frowned at that development.

Law Above All

In modrnised countries like Australia, the law is above all individual citizens and anybody must account to court for any alleged criminal violations. The law and its administration belongs to a totally secular jurisdiction.That is how it should all be. Religious clergy cannot be an exception.

Champika Ranawaka

What is this ridiculous sacred cow turned out of a monk? Minister Champika Ranawaka was reported as urging the government to have a special court including Buddhist monks to try for alleged criminal violations by members of the Sanga. This proposal logically implies a separate legal system for a group  regarded as privileged. The Champika Court will have to be guided by different laws since the monks in it wouldn’t be versed in the legitimate laws of the country; their judgments will be derived from a different perspective. If one follows this logical line of Champika reasoning one would have to accept Sharia law, too.

I thought Champika has reformed. But,it seems leopards don’t change their spots. Isn’t it false and fake on the part of this prominent Minister to make requests like that? Champika has had a chequered past. I remember how he came to Australia and made incendiary communal speeches to garner backing of blind extremists of the Diaspora. I remember also how Champika went to Paris and how when addressing the delusional jaathiwaadeen he uttered historical lies, for instance, that the Sinhala language is the most ancient language in human civilization. He knew he was conning and he conned. The foolish Paris audience cheered the ‘hero.’ Now, we have Champika again on a false path meant to deceive extremist-inclined segments of our population. Once again, he knows he is conning but he cons. I doubt the broad masses are behind him in these inane utterances made for political effect. We have had a surfeit of cheap politicians.

Asgiriya and Gotabaya

The latest incident of monk mockery is when Presidential aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa had his 69th birthday almsgiving. I doubt Gota ever sought monks for his past birthdays except for his early childhood days when his parents would have taken him to the local temple. But now he goes after monks along with the camera. Gota knows unless he gets 75 per cent of Sinhala votes he hasn’t a chance. Hence, his fake Buddhist sentiments.

As is now common evidence, Gota didn’t behave Buddhistically when he enjoyed his ten years of power along with his might brother, the King or Maharajaneni. We cannot comment on the cases now before court except to say that these are over serious criminal charges.

Asgiriya Monk’s Sampap Pralaapa

On this occasion of Gota’s birthday, Revd Vendruve Upali, of the Asgiriya Chapter, reportedly advised the Presidential aspirant “If they call you a Hitler,be a Hitler… get hold of the military and run the country..” urged Revd Upali.

I am absolutely sure that Revd Upali would not be anything but vague about the holocaust and the the savage mass execution of Jews carried out by the Fuhrer. He would have been deaf and blind both when hit squads ran about Colombo in white vans. The monk would never have heard of Lasantha Wickrematunge, of Ekneliyagoda, of Keith Noyair, of Thajudeen and of many other victims of state persecution.

In fact, the most formidable obstacle for Gota to confront during a Presidential election campaign is his reputation as a malevolent man who oversaw state terrorism.

In such a context, the inappropriate utterance or Sampap Pralaapa of the Sacred Cow at Asgiriya would have had the effect of damaging Gota’s image further.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    Those who are not Buddhist like me but still accept that Buddhism should be the state religion are appalled by the statement of this high official of the Asgiriya chapter. The only justification that could be drawn is that he was ignorant of the colossal massacres that Hitler committed. Most of us Sri Lankans are. The figure of Jews he killed is stated as 6 million in the comments in CT. It is more like 12 million when you take other Jews like Polish Jews and the Romas into account. The question is why the Mahanayakes do not disassociate themselves from the stupidity of this priest who spoke as is he was speaking for the Asgiriya Chapter. They should not condone such stupidity but nip it in the bud. We do not need another period of blood letting in Sri Lanka. Let there be the peace of Buddhism in the country where everyone can live well.

    • 2
      0

      K.
      Why should Buddhism be a state religion? It’s not a religion but a philosophy.
      The ignorant majority in SL worship these monks blindly and the cunning politicians take advantage of this situation and cause mayhem to be in power.
      Lets call a spade a spade !

      • 1
        0

        it is high time a good buddhist should petition Supreme Courts to disband two govigama Nikayas as they discriminate other cast people
        becoming monks of their Nikayas.These two leaders openly flout Buddhas teachings and they should be expelled from Sanga SocietyMost of the crimes carried out by deciples of this Nikaya

  • 10
    0

    Dear Shaymon,
    “I thought Champika has reformed. But,it seems leopards don’t change their spots.”
    You are dead right here.
    There is no difference between ‘Champika, Ganda-saara and the Jarapassas’. They will never change and they think they are immune to everything. Fortunately, that’s not how the ‘KAMMA’ works.
    “Dammo Hawe Rakkhathi Dammachaaree”………Just wait and see. If we live long enough to witness how ‘Kamma’ operates.

  • 10
    0

    Most monks have had very little or no education and hence they have no clue about world history or about Hitler.

    Please forgive them

  • 6
    1

    the malwatte and asgiriya sects violate the basic tenet of buddhism by restricting it to the goigama caste
    i cant understand why anybody who gets a high appointment rushes to get their blessings
    i suppose it is because they havent read king nissanka mallas famous inscription

    • 1
      0

      N.
      It’s called good politics. A vote getter.
      Buddhism is a philosophy but is practiced as a religion in SL.
      It’s a photo opp for the politician as well as malwatte and asgiriya sect.
      Caste plays a significant role in SL politics.

  • 9
    0

    All this fuss over a loose statement of a half baked man in robes. A priest may be informed on Buddhist scriptures but on everything else utterly ignorant. It is the laymen who put them up and quote their silly words like they have deep meaning .

    This man does not know anything about Hitler. We all know what he meant was be firm and resolute unlike the present governmenet, esp RW, forever trying to out wit others and as a result looking devious and unprincipled.

    Gota by appearing as a humble disciple before such ignorant priest is showing already he is not presidential material.

  • 1
    3

    [edited out]
    Most people comment as if the venerable monk asked Gotabhaya to be like Hiter.
    Some even questioning the education of the monk without themselves understanding the context of what the monk said.

  • 10
    1

    I was a sixteen year old schoolboy in Kandy in 1956. A political meeting, in support of SWRD was being conducted at the Kandy market square, which in those days was very different to what it is now. A Buddhist monk in yellow robes was speaking rather vociferously against the UNP government in power. Suddenly, a large Humber car drove by, stopped and out of the car jumped out– Sir John K., who was the incumbent Prime Minister. He strode-up the stage, got hold of the monk by his robe and handed out a thundering slap and as the monk recovered, gathered his robes and ran, Sir John yelled “Yako, tho siwura porowa gaththanam, ay widiyata hitapiyaw”. or something to that effect. Many of the people listening joined in a chorus of support. It is infact, the extreme Buddhism that has affected our civil administration and until we get this out of our system, the nation will be meandering along.

  • 3
    1

    Shaymon, you beauty

  • 0
    0

    Oh Shyamon what a feeling

  • 0
    0

    Kumaran , are you Pathmanathan?

  • 0
    2

    IT is very clear that the arrest of the Bhikku Ghanasara was some foreign agenda and that is why the govt kept quite. SO, there is a radical front in Sri lanka made up of al lthe protestants, NGOs, INGOs, Tele Evangelist funded. I am wondering whether Bond Scam money is playing the game here. SO, the point here is The arrest of the bhikku is elelction related probably to make gotabhaya Rajapkse a Bad guy, to explain to buddhists these bhikkus are doing something bad. Shaymon Jayasinghe wrote about Ranil. IT looks Ranil is not lonmger important. Some are asking Maithripala Sirisena to back Ranil and make him CLean again. Dayasiri Jayasekara’s and Sujeew Senasinghe’s theft came out. That went underground again. Sarah foneseka and Sugith PEmadasa claimed about their connections with bond Scam. but, thse who know say Sujith Pemadasa got money from Bond scam but not in his name. IT is his wife. that is completely legal and there is no need to declare. IT looks IT is Sarath Fonseka and/or Sujith PEmadasa may come forward. IT looks Game is on. What I say, If gotabhaya Rajapkse won’t get selfish and do the right thing. These people lose. Protestnats were given a chance in 2015 and no more. IT is well known CBK, Mangala and Ranil are among the forefront as Western agents.

  • 0
    1

    Here we get the view or rather a summary of well known events for the nth time from foreign Sinhalese who have left the country and do not care about the country, but want to have a say which messes up the our country even further. How many times do we need to read about SWRD or Gota or Asgiriya Mahanayaka? Do these write-ups from foreign Sinhalese or for that matter foreign Tamils add anything of value? Take a closer look at this article and see what this man Shyamon had written which has any value and see whether there is anything new?
     
    Everybody should read between the lines and see that this Shyamon is only interested to project SriLanka as a good Buddhist country and trying to explain away the situation as “some stray monks who are making problems.” The false image of Srilanka as a good Buddhist country is important to him in his adopted country.
     
    Please understand Shyamon, Sri Lanka is furthest from what Buddha taught and people like you leeching on our free education and then taking off and on top of all that wanting to shape our country into some imaginary Buddhist nation which never existed, sitting in foreign countries is a bigger problem than Gota or all corrupt politicians. Gota didn’t come from outer space. He is a Sinhalese and there are millions of Gotas in this country. He is a product of SriLanka, particularly a product of Sinhalese.
     
    Shyamon is writing “Gota knows…” bla bla bla… How does Shyamon know what Gota thinks? Is Shyamon a soothsayer? Or maybe its telepathy…. [edited out]

  • 3
    0

    The statement causing this furore was made in ignorance – certainly NOT in malice. At this point in time, no one in Lanka admires Hitler.
    Instead of educating the ignorants, our politicians are exploiting them – recently LG election, SLPP exploited language/religion-divide.
    .
    By the way, GR is yet to disassociate himself from the ‘offensive’ statement.

  • 2
    0

    What we used to hear from monks is Niduk Wewa Nirogi weva Suvapath wewa may be not known to this Monk. What crime this lady committed to hear from him tho mahaparae hinjgakapiya.. She came to court to find what is happening to her missing husbands case. Is it a crime ? What business this monk had on that day to come to court? whereabout. The so called war heroes showed their bravery upon an un armed civilian and they have forgotten what happened to their prisinor. The war heroes who were enlarged on bail was reinstated by Sirisena to show his yahapalana gimics. This monk is from a village between Karandeniya and Uragaha and that show his native language skills. Kotalawala predicted in 1956 how to treat these monks who let down their religion and Buddha’s teaching. SWRD made use of these uncivilized monks to come to power and he got the return from them.. What can we expect from these useless guys?

  • 0
    3

    You can take anything out of context and spin it in any way you want. Those who deride Hitler (rightly so) never talk about the barbarity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nor continued occupation and genocide in Palatine, war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq in the same vain. Many of those who committed or led those barbaric crimes still live very happily. We continue to venerate those barbarians as the “International Community”. Yet get very upset when a monk utters a name………….

    • 1
      0

      Helass

      “Those who deride Hitler (rightly so) never talk about the barbarity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nor continued occupation and genocide in Palatine, war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq in the same vain. “

      We regularly target/comment/condemn every tyrant past and present or future, little or large, every atrocity, small or large, domestic or foreign, …………………………….
      The issue is that one cannot absolve one’s own share of war crimes and crime against humanity by citing Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Palestine, ………………………. genocide of Aborigines, natives in American continent, Veddahs, ………………. Vietnam, Cambodia, ….

      Aren’t you being too clever.

      ” Many of those who committed or led those barbaric crimes still live very happily. “

      Its sad but true, from 1971 to 2015, nothing has happened to those who committed in this island.

      Is there Karma?
      Please explain to me what Sandra Bullock believes in:

      I’m a true believer in karma.
      You get what you give, whether it’s bad or good.
      -Sandra Bullock

      Do you believe in it too?
      Or being a Sinhala/Buddhist you don’t.

  • 0
    0

    Pol Pot was a Buddhist and massacred more than 5 million innocents men women and children.

    • 0
      1

      Trevor,

      Pol Pot was a Maoist Marxist not a Buddhist. So don’t try with you Tamil racist propaganda on us.

  • 1
    0

    Well observed Saimon. Nice to hear after a bit of quiet and rumour mongering in the fail island.

  • 0
    0

    I salute Gen Ne Win of Burma – now Myanmar.He is one of the few Statesman ( in Capital) who confronted the accursed wearers of the safron cloak.Ne Win told the jokers that he too was a Buddhist, but if the accursed thugs interfere again that he will teach them a lesson. He did. Next day about 100 were buried.

    I have watched the antics of these jokers from 1954 onwards.They have been the people who disrupt racial, religious harmaony. they play the kandyan and low country card, the caste card.They also kill huiman beings and treat caged anumals with cruelty.

    Ne Win is no longerr in power. let us welcome the N,Korean leader and beg of him to conduct his nuke trials pin pointing Kandy for a statrtr.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe . Where were during 1986 to 1989 where 60,000 innocent people were murdered, burned and dumped in every road, every river, every university and when Batalanda killing fields were maintained to say that “the monk would never have heard of Lasantha Wickrematunge, of Ekneliyagoda, of Keith Noyair, of Thajudeen and of many other victims of state persecution.”

    To be fair, please mention about the 60,000 innocent people killed by UNP and JVP when ever you mention names of innocent people mentioned above.

    What I heard about your hero is that his uncle JR enabled him to get into the university and get a degree and then given the safest UNP seat to contest and then given a ministry over many experienced UNPres. Tell me one good thing he has done for SL.

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