22 October, 2020

Blog

Sovereignty, Port City & The Dalai Lama

By Gananath Obeysekere

Prof. Gananath Obeysekere

Prof. Gananath Obeysekere

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a conference organized by colleagues in the University of Delhi and presided by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. The conference itself was on how children’s secular education could be transformed in order to bring in values of compassion and caring sorely lacking in contemporary models of education. In my introductory talk I dealt with the significance of Jataka tales in molding the conscience of ordinary Buddhists right through the ages while other colleagues actually dealt with successful models of education using the centrality of compassion in selected places in British Columbia, Bhutan, Mongolia and Vietnam; while yet others dealt with experimental studies of the brain and the positive effects of insight meditation. Right through the proceedings the Dalai Lama commented on the papers and fielded questions from the audience with his rich insight into Buddhist compassion and its relevance to our times. I will add that no one among the speakers or the large audience of students and devotees ever brought in politics into the picture. Further, those who have met him, myself included, were impressed by the sincerity and depth of his understanding of Buddhism and his sense of humility and the personal charisma that he seemed to emanate, not to mention the breath of his knowledge and writing and his textual erudition of Buddhist philosophy. They appear in his popular writing for ordinary Buddhists as well as his more academic writing in, for example,The Universe in a Single Atom: the convergence of science and spirituality that contains among other things a lucid discussion on Paticca Samuppada or “conditioned genesis” first formulated by the Buddha himself. I write this because of my dismay that the Chinese are dogmatically hostile to his visiting Sri Lanka and my fear that like earlier governments the present Sirisena regime that prides itself in wanting to create a more open society might make a similar decision. I have talked to the Dalai Lama just as many educated lay-folk and monks also have done. All he wants is to visit Sri Lanka as a pilgrim and above all worship the Buddha represented in his Tooth Relic in the Maligava. Buddhist pilgrims right through the ages have come and gone without let or hindrance. If so, it seems to me that in denying not just the Dalai Lama but any Buddhist pilgrim to visit the land believed by most Sri Lankan Buddhists to have been hallowed by the presence of the Buddha is to admit that we have lost our autonomy as a nation and have succumbed to political pressure.

This loss of autonomy is clearly evident in the Port City project. We are told that the project is underwritten by a Chinese company with dubious credentials according to some critics. Ultimately, it would seem that the Chinese government or its accredited agents will have full right over a small but significant territory in the port such that for the first time in our twentieth century history we have ceased to have sovereign ownership over part of our own land. Does this mean that Chinese vessels and planes can come unhindered in our Sri Lankan space? In this regard I remind the reader that right through history our kings have considered Sri Lanka’s integrity as a nation and foreign invaders were there on sufferance. That sense of the unity of the nation continued even when we became a British colony. I am appalled that political leaders agreed to sign away our national autonomy when they agreed to the Port City project and wonder whether it was ignorance or some darker motives that prompted them to sacrifice the integrity of the nation.

Critics have pointed out that the Port City project might also have tremendous consequences to the coastal environment and of course the livelihoods of fishermen and I am surprised that the Catholic hierarchy have largely ignored these issues crucial to the future of coastal inhabitants. My own concern is somewhat different and has been expressed by others also, namely, that we have to dig up our land in order to supply rocks, sand and gravel to fill up the sea to make the Port City work. Where is this massive amounts of soil coming from? Even when I witness contemporary highway constructions and ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate house and hotel constructions I am, like other concerned citizens, troubled at the vast amounts of land that have to be dug (along with rocks and stones and trees) without much concern for the environment. How much more damage would incur with the huge unrestrained demands of the Port City project. In this regard I mention an important fact we tend to ignore. Sri Lanka is a very small nation of only 24,000 square miles, roughly the size of West Virginia inhabited by under two million people but our population is close to that of Australia. This smallness of scale and large population means that every inch of our territory should be carefully preserved and huge excavations leading to large scale decimation and loss of soil, rock and debris cannot possibly be tolerated. Large nations such as China, Russian and the US might be better off in this regard but if projects of this sort are envisaged, transfers of soil in large proportions should come from the nations proposing such projects.

One of the disturbing features of our contemporary situation is the demonization of the US by influential politicians and publicized in the media even though that nation had zero influence on the Port City and other major development projects. It is a nice way of putting the blame on an easily available scapegoat. No liberal thinkers will defend American adventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere and its horrendous drone programs but one should at least grant that there is considerable freedom of opinion in the US and that even now a very important member of Congress has been indicted for corruption and this happens all the time, although some of the accusations against them seem minor by Sri Lankan standards! It is hard to believe that the former president Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa would endorse this anti-American view because he does visit the US for health reasons and we know that he and his wife have met the US president many times and cordially greeted him. Much more relevant is the fact that three of his brothers are US citizens and I presume that their children are all attending schools in this demonized land. This is course true of many of our so-called patriotic Sri Lankans. Push comes to shove they would prefer to migrate to the US or some other Western nation. Who but the poor would even dream getting their children educated in China in spite of the fact that China has a good educational system? The US still remains a draw for many wealthy Chinese who flock there for their education.

It seems to me that the principle underlying the Port City project or any other project should concern the integrity of Sri Lanka as a small-scale nation with limited territory vulnerable to ecological and other forms of damage whatever the political and monetary costs involved. In this regard consider the massive infrastructure of buildings, hotels, casinos and so forth that are being envisaged as part of the project and supposedly beneficial to the masses of Sri Lankans. This piece of fantasy has yet to be shown to have benefits. How many Sri Lankans will enjoy the benefits of owning those apartment buildings and even patronizing the hotels and other places that will spring up? There is no doubt that many waiters, workers and some managers will benefit but it is doubtful whether the material wealth of the working people will increase from what it is today, namely, around twenty five thousand rupees at the very most. Is this the brave new world envisaged for ordinary Sri Lankans by companies such as John Keells who have invested much and propose to invest more? I want to make it clear that I am not against the importance of the stock market, I am only concerned with the specific case of John Keells and other companies in respect of the Port City project. It seems to me that the simple issue is this: if the projects proposed by such companies are realized how much of that wealth will diffuse to the majority of Sri Lankans and in what form? We know that even in a wealthy nation such as the US, only 10% of citizens own shares in companies but unfortunately I do not know how that wealth component is distributed. Income disparities are everywhere in the so-called developed world and in the US at least half of the population live below the poverty level or in a low income bracket. It therefore seems reasonable that we question how the expected income generated from the anticipated Port City project will benefit Sri Lankans and how much will in reality go to those non-citizens who will own the major shares and become its major players. The fantasy that the nation as a whole will benefit from investments in the Port City project has to be met squarely with the proviso that the interests of the nation as a whole comes first.

That persistent question regarding the interests of the nation must lead us to the treaty with the Chinese and its supposed inviolability. Treaties have never in modern times been treated as sacrosanct but have been constantly negotiated and renegotiated. Sometimes treaties are abrogated or dismissed as pieces of paper and I am sure Chinese history will have plenty of examples of these processes. Any treaty regarding the Port City has been literally shoved under the carpet without proper consultation of the people at large. As some have already mentioned in newspapers a project of this magnitude surely should have been widely debated and put to a referendum. I am not suggesting that we tear up the treaty but surely one must negotiate and revise the unpalatable conditions enshrined in it. This is going to be a long and arduous process and it would be foolish for me to predict an outcome.

A final word. I do not want to create the impression that I as well as others I know are in any way anti-Chinese. We are only critical that a small segment of the Chinese polity that has proper consultation produced a city that is antipathetic to the larger interests of a small and vulnerable nation. I have myself been to China many years ago and lectured there and everywhere I have met with unfailing courtesy and kindness. So is it with Chinese scholars and students I have met in the States. It is some of the political issues of our time in respect of China that I and many of my Sri Lankan colleagues are concerned about and in this regard we must decry those in positions of power among our own countrymen who have betrayed by their actions the independence and integrity of our nation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 10
    0

    The Dalai Lama wants to make a pilgrimage to one of the holiest shrines in the Buddhist world, the Temple of the Tooth, and the government has a duty to welcome him as they recently did another religious leader, the Pope. No consideration should be an obstacle to welcoming the Dalai Lama who, over an above his position in the Buddhist world is, like the Pope, a remarkably charismatic yet kind humble human being. The Chinese are our friends and their support of our small country is greatly appreciated. Our welcoming the Dalai Lama will only enhance the sentiments of friendship the people of our country have for China.

    • 0
      0

      May be this is a good time that some of you get it through your thick skulls that you as a “small and vulnerable nation” cannot do whatever you please. Chest thumping from Wimal or the diatribes of Dayan may have given you the wrong impression but Dalai Lama is a political hot-potato if you let him come to Sri Lanka there will be repercussions for the whole country not just the arm-chair heroes.

      So the “academics” who are coming out of the woodwork lately might think that they just had a brilliant idea but I hope you haven’t already forgotten what happened when JR decided he can to do what ever he wants against the wishes of India.

  • 5
    22

    This man is singing for his supper. He lives in the US
    He hides the fact that US is one of the Key promoters of anti Sri Lanka
    setiments prodded by the Tamil Diaspora.US attempt was to bring human rights allegations against and isolate Sri Lanka. They achived part of their coup by
    “regime change”

    • 19
      4

      Luxhman

      “This man is singing for his supper.”

      He doesn’t.

      “He lives in the US”

      No he doesn’t.

      “He hides the fact that US is one of the Key promoters of anti Sri Lanka setiments prodded by the Tamil Diaspora.”

      He has nothing to hide.

      “US attempt was to bring human rights allegations against and isolate Sri Lanka.”

      In the absence of credible domestic investigation is it surprising that the west want to impose one?

      “They achived part of their coup by “regime change””

      What was the coup?

      What is your own opinion about Prof. Gananath Obeysekere? Have you ever heard of him before 3rd May 2015?

      • 7
        1

        Dear Native Vedda,

        Thanks for your rebuttal. Prof. Gananath Obeysekera, is one among the few ‘EDUCATED’ Sri Lankans living in this island!

        He has raised very pertinent issues. Why should not the Dalai Lama visit as an eminent and respectable Buddhist Personage? Sri Lankans have a right to see him in person, listen to his discourse and interact with him. He may be the medicine Sri Lankan political Buddhism that is becoming increasingly strident needs. Even the non-Buddhists will see a different and a softer face of Buddhism in the Dalai Lama and understand what the Buddhist monk hood can be or should be,

        Further, Prof. Gananath is right about the port city project. Sri Lanka and Colombo do not need such a project and one that lends a part of her sovereignty to China. Why should we be indebted to China for a long time for such a unnecessary project that will also magnify the inequality within Sri Lanka and become a play ground for the monied elite?

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 5
        1

        Thank you, Native Vedda.

        If Luxhman reads the article and digests it well he’ll take a message to the Vasu-Weerawansa-Dinesh troika.

        This article must be translated into Sinhala and widely distributed to dispel the ignorance dissipated by MR to keep vulnerable masses from learning the truth about anything and everything.
        (I have great reverence for his knowledge of the anthropology of Sri Lanka, esp that of 20/21 C.

    • 5
      0

      Don’t make accusations against the writer, if you don’t know your facts. He does NOT live in the US, and he does not have to sing for his supper. If you don’t like to read a well written article and do not agree to the writers perspective, there is no need to simply attack the messenger. It seems you are unable to counter his argument with any facts.

    • 7
      1

      Luxman – Prof Obeysekera has no need to “sing for his supper”. You obviously have no idea who he is or what he does, or you won’t be displaying your ignorance, prejudiced by your obvious racist and ‘regime’ influenced nonsensical comment.

  • 14
    0

    Listen,Listen Pl.Listen.

    Social Anthropologist Prof:Gananath Obeysekera[First class Honours in English-First degree] says ,the Independence and the Integrity of our Nation has been betrayed; Vasu,Dinesh,Wimal Kohathe Yanne Malle Poll?

    The Princeton university Prof:has hit the nail on its head!

    • 3
      0

      Better late than never. Where were these Sinhala intelligentsia hiding during MRs apex
      actions against the Countrys well-being? (White-van phobia?) The Dalai lama is kept
      out of Buddhist Sri Lanka owing the threat held on the use of UNSC Veto by China on
      the IC backed UN Inquiry, may have been used for the banning the Reverends visit here?

    • 1
      0

      It could be argued however that this country has rarely been fully INDEPENDENT in the true sense of the word. The simple nature of our economy and our inability to solve the ethnic issue has forced our leadership rely on the good graces of powerful nations. Now it’s the Chinese, use to be the US under J.R. and looks like it’s going to be India again that going to be the shot caller.

      So while I agree with what the good professor has to say it occurs to me that the only way to be fully independent is by uniting our feuding people and bring all our citizens onto a level playing field.

  • 8
    2

    Sir
    Its pathetic if the government does not allow his holiness Dalai Lama to visit SL as a pilgrim. Any sensible
    Buddhist will abhor such as decision. It is unlikely with the current situation though.
    But, what is there at Iranawila? Does the strip of land belong to SL or USA? can anyone tell us what happens there? the facade is of course a transmission station yet the level of secrecy is well beyond at a level of protection required to prevent theft o few transmitters, i read sometime back.
    US interferes with our politics and it is very likely that they listen to our leaders mobile communications, blackmail officials and take various measures to control the political environment. Snowden’s whistleblowing is too recent to be forgotten.
    Big or small, the hegemonic nation wants total control over any country which defies, either its or its allies requests. Noam Chomsky gives so many examples from several countries. There are many instances where the US and UK missions in Sri Lanka has interfered with internal affairs going beyond any conceivable diplomatic limit. This includes training youth groups in twitter propaganda campaigns to actual direct contact with potential groups of peoples who would initiate protests against whichever the government in power.
    As my knowledge in Engineering, geology and environmental science is less than rudimentary, I am unable comment on your elaborations on use of sand and earth. Even though the information seems detailed, your description does not seem to go beyond a lay person’s hypothesising. Yet interesting of course.
    Both USA/UK and China are looking for expansion and control over the world. As a nation, we should utilise whatever the opportunity we get to take advantage of the situation. It is unwise to succumb to US side as well as to china. And the colonisation did not end with the granting of political independence in the year of 1948.
    “The Political Economy of Underdevelopment” would remind us of the reasons why we have be on guard.
    Who the larger evil is clear, but being a tiny piece of land with a developing economy places us at a somewhat difficult position.
    Many Thanks

    • 8
      1

      Chaminda

      “Any sensible Buddhist will abhor such as decision. It is unlikely with the current situation though.”

      First of all Dala Lama is a humanist hence he belongs to the world not just Buddhists.

      “Who the larger evil is clear, but being a tiny piece of land with a developing economy places us at a somewhat difficult position.”

      Leave the worrying to Hindia.

    • 1
      1

      Thank you, Native Vedda.

      If Luxhman reads the article and digests it well he’ll take a message to the Vasu-Weerawansa-Dinesh troika.

      This article must be translated into Sinhala and widely distributed to dispel the ignorance dissipated by MR to keep vulnerable masses from learning the truth about anything and everything.
      (I have great reverence for his knowledge of the anthropology of Sri Lanka, esp that of 20/21 C.

  • 2
    0

    There is widespread corruption in China.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_China

    The Chinese company involved in Port City too, is in same mould, and has presumably offered inducements to Mahinda Rajapakse who is thus obliged not to allow Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka as China objects to this.
    Dalai Lama represents the faction of Tibetans in India who want China to leave Tibet.
    Hundreds of Tibetan monks have self-immolated themselves, making this demand.

  • 4
    0

    The Professor deals with two separate issues. The first is Dalai Lama’s visit to Sri Lanka. Clearly, as a Budhist leader or simply as a Budhist pilgrim, the Dalai Lama has a right to visit the Dalada Maligawa. It will not be a wise or humanitarian thing to do to deny him this right even at the cost of Chinese displeasure.

    The second relates to the port city. The events leading to it seem to be shrouded in secrecy. It is unlikely that there was a treaty involved. The making of a treaty in the circumstances would be difficult and procedures have to be followed. Secret treaties are difficult to make in modern times. More likely, it was a contract that had watertight provisions on arbitration etc which made it difficult to break. But, it would be doubtful whether such a contract was made in a lawful manner. The requisite clearances relating to the environment etc may not have been obtained. Again, it is necessary to know the facts. It would be good if the government can release them.

    The third relates to the hostility some show to the US. The Professor is right when he points out that the Rajapakse’s have everything to do with the US, send their son to Sandhurst etc. They would not think of having anything to do with China except probably get a few handouts, which may be relevant to know, as corruption could make the contract invalid. Every country in the world which exercises power has a lot of skeletons in its cupboard. Sri Lanka, so small, has the blood of so many of its own people, the Sinhalese young killed during the JVP unpromising and the thousands of Tamils killed over a course of time. It would be hypocritical of Sri Lankans to direct any venom against the United States, which does not kill its own people any more. The US has to be admired for its institutions. Its War of Independence was the first anti-colonial struggle. Its Bill of Rights, its progressive efforts at dismantling slavery and enabling the black people to an extent that a black President is possible, its judiciary and free press are matters that one should admire and learn from. The fringe may want to throw a few stones but it will not affect the US or the fact that Sri Lankans will always admire the US and know that the infringements of international law that the US so often engages in must be condemned in most absolute terms. We are discriminating enough to do that.

  • 1
    0

    Ganatha Obsekera was out of Sri lanka many decades ,he almost lost all relationship with Sri lankna people and their vested interest of Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, Independence and Democracy last 40 odd years. During in 1987 IPKF had been invaded Sri Lankan soil by Indian RAW; and war lunch against People of Sri Lanka by Tamil Terrorism of Ruthless -LTTE back by TNA ideology of separatism agenda at that time Obsekera was not rise a single word of Sovereignty of Island People.

    Currently PRC is supporting many need projects, end of war 2009 recover ours Nation Building economy. The Colombo grater Mega Port City is now under the construction by China is one of that.
    Given small part of land to Chinese on lease basis , that we are not going to loose ours sovereignty by that Obeskera is advocating stop projects. I think Obsekera has to learn Global economy and world become Global village, and capital market as well, which is that believed by USA, where his footing in that soil.

    He is seems to be teacher of Anthropologist made objection to Port City projects funded by China that is the on ground of Environments impacts on Sri lanka and other Ocean countries.

    I do not see that Obsekera has expertise knowledge of World and Ocean environment studies at all. The man of sober minded Obesaker that ulterior motive is to scraped ongoing projects benefitted to our Nation funded by China. We are having reasonable doubt of his move on against ongoing city expanding fully benefitted our nation economic developments and its growth an opposed Obsekera by Indian and US of pivot Asian policy.

    I wish give the US back ground worst financial crisis since Great Depression for boom to bust an economy in since 2008. In this candid and historical legacy of broken financial system in US has no choice its become second class nation in Globally in Capital market .
    The US financial crisis 2008 lost world Investment of Major part of nations and its pattern, uninterruptedly to become credit to debater nation on last several years. US has no capital to be an Investment for such huge projects in Sri lanka like Port City. By and large US not sown any interest of Ours economic development last 67 years of an Indpenaenace since 1948!

    Indian is too poor in own country, it has not put own house in to order, that millions of Republic Indian living poverty level 40% population out of the 1.3 Billions population.

    • 4
      0

      Piyadasa Yalagala

      “their vested interest of Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, Independence and Democracy last 40 odd years.”

      Could you explain what Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, Independence and Democracy mean to you in Sri Lankan context.

      “Ganatha Obsekera was out of Sri lanka many decades ,he almost lost all relationship with Sri lankna people”

      He has published more than 40 important papers on Sri Lanka and 10 books.

      “and war lunch against People of Sri Lanka by Tamil Terrorism of Ruthless -LTTE back by TNA ideology of separatism agenda at that time Obsekera was not rise a single word of Sovereignty of Island People.”

      Could we also discuss about Sinhala/Buddhist terrorism against the people in 1971 and between 1987 and 1991? By the way whose sovereignty are we talking about?

      Whats wrong with Separatism?

      “Currently PRC is supporting many need projects, end of war 2009 recover ours Nation Building economy.”

      China is a piece loving country, it loves a piece of this island.

      Remember when JR decided to grant lease for Oil Tanks and VOA Hindians made sure foreigners don’t step on the shores of this island with their own agenda. And the country paid a heavy price.

      You are a racist because you only saw Tamil terrorism and not the Sinhala/Buddhist terrorism nor the war crime committed by the state since 5th of April 1971. Therefore you have disqualified yourself from commenting on Prof Gananath Obeysekere article.

      “Indian is too poor in own country, it has not put own house in to order, that millions of Republic Indian living poverty level 40% population out of the 1.3 Billions population.”

      Leave that to Hindians. You better put your own house in order before worrying about other countries.

      “I do not see that Obsekera has expertise knowledge of World and Ocean environment studies at all.”

      Have you?

  • 1
    1

    All,owing Dalai Lama visit – YES. Rest of the gibberish suckin up to you know – NO.

  • 1
    0

    Are you suggesting that MaRa government refused entry to HH Dalai Lama? If not don’t write “hiding eggs inside the stomach”.

    • 3
      0

      paul

      “Are you suggesting that MaRa government refused entry to HH Dalai Lama?.”

      Brilliant typing which reflects your own ignorance.

      The appropriate question is did MaRa or for that matter any of the previous governments invite Dalai Lama on an official visit?

      “If not don’t write “hiding eggs inside the stomach”

      Aren’t you sitting on your brain?

  • 1
    0

    Hon. Dali Lama issue has come to the lime light of political issues of People’s Republic of China, which that spilt Tibet from mainland China by Lama political activities back by US, UK and Indian ruling class. We, Sri Lankan cannot share with such splitting
    anti- Chinese political activities which engaged against and by committed national crime against great people of China.

    This is crucial issues, of the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of PRC.
    Such political and Diplomatic an issues are crucial between two countries.

    Ours relationship between Govt. of Sri lanka and Govt. of China very important it was tested best in Asian nations..

    China is true friend of our People, that we do not want meddle with Chinese People any cost of undermined long-term friendship with Govt. of China by an inviting Dali Lama in Religious on that Buddhist Mission.

    We are highly evaluated Tibetan Buddhist that school of Mahayana Thought, that though is different from Thavarada teaching in Principle of Buddhist theory of causality.

    By ours Greatest writer Martin Wickramasinghe reveled as nutshell of Buddhist theory of knowledge ;

    In fact ” according to the Dependent Origination formula, sankhara give rise to consciousness from which arise nama and rupe or mind and life.
    Even if the Dependent Origination formula or the Chain of Causation is not cosmological ,but gives only a causal account of factors operating in maintaining the process of the new individual, the concept of Sankhahara postulates an idealistic metaphysical interpretation . Matter and life evolved from mental elements called SANKHARS. Karma is their activity.”….book written ‘ Revolution and Evolution’ 1971 May. by MW..

    The promoter of Buddhism and wish of Pray for Buddha Tooth Relics Temple is accepted fact; by Dali lama visiting to Sri Lanka, the matter is different issue; by using that, we are nation, who is not in positions to encouraging arbitrary hateful towards among People of China and their sovereignty.

    We cannot allow the land of Buddhists belongs to Sri Lanka to be used SPLIT the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA at any cost of hidden agenda of Western Christian ideology.

    Professor Ganatah Obasekera has understand this simple truth by his own conviction.

  • 3
    2

    [Edited out] . where was the integrity when the LTTE was running its own country , which the Chinese helped us take back .

    Stupidity of these morons is earth shattering .

    Cheers

    Abhaya

    • 3
      1

      bla bla blAbhaya

      “Stupidity of these morons is earth shattering”

      A good reflection on your typing.

      Self analysis and self criticism are good, however don’t go overboard as it could worsen your inferiority complex and paranoia.

  • 1
    1

    Interesting to see another Sri Lankan “academic” who has found his voice on not-so-patriotic acts of the Rajapaksa “Patriotic Regime” (may be next time you’d drop your academic muscle and just write as a regular human being). When we saw the “academics in support of Rajapaksa” it seemed there were none in opposition to the daylight rape of the country and its people. Now it looks like there had been some; just that they had not bothered to say much about it.

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  • 2
    0

    An excellent article by Prof. Gananath Obeysekere.
    “…Every inch of our territory should be carefully preserved and huge excavations leading to large scale decimation and loss of soil, rock and debris cannot possibly be tolerated…”

    Excavations are ongoing big business, even in a small island in north like Neduntheevu(Delft). Sand and soil are dug up from the coastal areas(Vellai) of this Island without any concern for the environment.It can leads natural disaster.

  • 0
    0

    Our politicians and many in general public talks of sovereignty (for them sovereignty is most important.) What sovereignty we have if we cannot allow a great Buddhist leader to visit Sri Lanka on a pilgrimage? This shows that our foreign policy was dictated by China during the MR regime. So no only a valuable piece of Sri Lanka (Port City) is going to be under Chinese dictates but also our was freedom as to decide whom to allow to visit or not. MR fully fell to Chena Patas.

    The present regime should tell Chin not to interfere in such matters, and invite Dalai Lama to the “Me Budunge Deshayi” (This is Buddha’s land) as some extremist like to call.

  • 0
    0

    Todays economics will not loo countries to be independent and non aligned.

    Therefore we will never be allowed to invite Dalai Lama.

    That is the bottom line.

  • 0
    0

    The learned professor is perfectly justified in making a case for the
    Dalai Llama to visit the holy temple of the tooth as a pilgrim. There is absolutely no reason for Dalai Llama of all persons to be denied this opportunity. The economic entente with the Chinese has no real relevance to this issue. Bensen

  • 1
    1

    The criticisms of what Gananath Obeysekere has to say range from the ludicrous to the typical outpourings of the xenophobic marching in lockstep with the Rajapaksas: everything is a Western plot, performed by those paid by the (Tamil) diaspora or some similar idiocy.
    When intelligence is conspicuous by its absence this is what kicks in!

  • 0
    1

    The fact that scholars such as Prof Obeysekara are now prepared to come out with their views on current events, is a reflection of the change that has occurred since Jan 8th. Such views and a lively debate on them is essential in deciding policy for the future.
    I fully agree with the views expressed in his article relating to the Dalai Lama and the Port City project and would wish to ask one question. Of what benefit would projects such as the Port City/Casinos be to the general populace in Sri Lanka; or are they only for the benefit of John Keels and others of their ilk- and their shareholders?

  • 0
    0

    More or less world community irrespective of their faiths aware Buddhism has two branches called as MAHAYANA and HINAYANA.The people in Japan,China,Tibet ect, are following MAHAYANA doctrine which elaborate everyone could be a budding Buddha and the ultimatum will be become a Buddha. In addition to this MAHAYANA concept,there is a another path in the same roof called THANTHRA YAANAYA which emphasis Buddhist Astrology and Buddhist MANTHRA which are widely practicing through the Tibet territory. The way of THANTHRA YAANAYA is part and partial of their lives.

    More or less Tibet people respecting Sri Lanka Buddhism and Buddhist monks because of following three reasons.

    1. The history reveled in 12 century a prominent Sinhalese monk named Rev,JAYABDHRA thero visited Tibet and had done marvelous service to Tibet Buddhism and Thanthrayaanaya. Now-days they worship this thero as a god.

    2. Rev, Jayabdra thero brought the wooden stature of AVALOKITHESHVARA BOODHISATHVA to Tibet. This stature is still remain in Tibet.

    3. Tibetans are believing that their most popular suthra called LANKAVATHARANA SUTHRAYA was chanting in SIRPADA mountain in Sri lank.

    Therefore each and every Tibetans respect Sri lankans and their dream to visit Sri Lanka and be participate to Sripada pilgrim and Kandy tooth Temple.
    Rev, Dalai Lama thero though he is the political and spiritual leader of Tibet, has no exception in this regard. But China who absorbed Tibet territory thinks this leader as a terrorist. Therefore they opposed his visit in sri lanka. Because of maintaining China and Sri Lanka political harmony, We are helpless.

    If Prof, Gananatha Obesekara actually practicing his Anthropology concept,he may have ample room for studying the Sri Lankan influence of Tibet Buddhism and the civil society. But there is no single signal in this regard.Therefore it is obvious that he is eating his super. That’s why he is trying to couple with Port city project and Rev, Dalai lama throe’s wishes.

    samarasekara

  • 1
    0

    Native Veddha
    GO’s hitory in known to me from the days he was lecturer at sociology dep at university of Peradeniya almost 50 years ago. What was he doing when this country was getting devastated by a ruthless terrorist outfit. Living in the US and doing nothing about his motherland. I am not talking about his outstanding scholarly achievements.
    He has suddenly appeared giving us sermons on the benefits of becoming a satellite of the US is somthing which makes me to conclude he is singing for his supper

    • 2
      1

      Luxhman

      “He has suddenly appeared giving us sermons on the benefits of becoming a satellite of the US”

      He didn’t suddenly appear on the scene, he has been around and writing his thoughtful articles in Island news paper. Had you read island and other journals you would have benefited immensely from his contribution. It appears from your rude typing that you are not a person who is inclined to learn, think and act. It is fashionable to be anti intellectuals in this island.

      “is somthing which makes me to conclude he is singing for his supper”

      Don’t misrepresent what he wrote. Show me where has he advised this island to become a satellite of US? On the contrary he has criticized MR clan for them being US citizens and MR’s fondness towards US presidents.

      I believe he draws a pension and is 85 years young. Why would an intellectually honest scholar sing for his supper? You have lot to learn. start learning from today.

      “What was he doing when this country was getting devastated by a ruthless terrorist outfit.”

      Its a good question, I am sure you didn’t expect him to join the Sri Lankan army as a soldier and fight the war and commit war crimes and crime against humanity.

      By the way what was Gota the American citizen doing between 1995 and 2005? He was parachuted by the American straight into defense ministry as the secretary after his brother had been elected the president of this island, while MR was plotting to rig the elections by paying VP a large fees.

  • 0
    0

    The last paragraph could apply equally well to the US and the ordinary American people.

  • 0
    1

    The Buddhist Monk Asin Virathu of Burma,Leader of Miyanmars 969 was described by Time Magazine as a Buddhist Bin Laden.On March 20th 2013,riots in Mynmar against Muslims spearheaded by thousands of Buddhist monks of 969 was led by Virathu.
    Govt:of Burma[MIYANMAR] supported 969 in the Muslim clean-up!

    Bodu Bala Sena operates on the same lines as 969.This was the reason that monk Virathu came to Srilanka recently.

    But the Dalai Lama?

    I am reminded of late Prof:S.J.Tambiah,another Social Anthropologist from Havard who authored the book Buddhism Betrayed!

  • 0
    0

    Oops sorry a spelling mistake.

    HAVARD should read as HARVARD.

  • 0
    0

    Buddhism was born in India. Almost all Sri Lankans have their distant origins in India. Buddhism is the largest part of our common heritage. It is important therefore that we welcome the Dalai lama to our island.

  • 0
    1

    Native Vedda..has every right and having power to comments and an insult to other views by facts without the truth has not been reveled by himself.

    I have common understanding that Obsekera’s muddle with many issues.

    The China Mega projects has been contributed ours national economic development and growth, the Dalia Lama visit to Sri lanka that definitely undermine ours good book with People of China; and Sovereignty will ever-never lost of given piece of land on lease basis to China.

    All his negative views of Obsekera’s approach had fail and that many issues were fundamanility unfair.

    I am not an enviormenist, I too believed Obsekera is also same…
    As consequences are that underlying his thesis by Obsekara is incorrect.

    In fact the reality sink in that we are no longer a Sri Lankan of opportunity and that even our long-vaunted rule of law and system of democratic justice have not been compromised.

    Even what I have to say OURS sense of National Identity may be put into jeopardy.

    Let Dr Obsekera has devoted more studies on Anthropology thesis by Fredric Engels,…. Family, Private Property and State.

  • 0
    0

    Piyadasa Yalagala.

    Is there a relationship between Anthropology and Fredrick Angels work?

    Native.
    There is an impostor on CT!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.