17 October, 2017

Rein In The Clowns

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

What exactly does “giving the foremost place to Buddhism in the constitution” mean?

This question is related to a huge fuss being made by the saffron robed, and others, about the inclusion of Article 9 of the current Constitution, in the new Constitution of Sri Lanka, without any amendments.

As a Buddhist I ask, why does Buddhism need to be mentioned in the Constitution at all? What benefits has Buddhism, its followers and Sri Lankans as a whole derived, from it being given the “foremost place” in the current Constitution? Has the Dhamma become better than what the Buddha preached, since its initial mention in our Constitution?

What is starkly obvious by this hoo-hah, but not being articulated aloud is that, Buddhism be given pride of place, while other religions and faiths are relegated to, underdog status. If not, what else does it mean?

Is this the way to reconciliation and peaceful coexistence in this country?

Next, I ask, as Article 9 of the current Constitution also includes, “……..it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana……” why, it must it be the duty of the State, to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana? Isn’t this the business of the Maha Sangha and its flock?

As all knowing Buddhists know, the Dhamma is indestructible and needs no protection from anything or anyone, least of all, a mere mention on paper; the Constitution, ensuring its supreme status. For, the Dhamma will always occupy the ‘foremost place’ in the minds of genuine Buddhists, irrespective of its mention in the Constitution or not.

However, despite Buddhism being accorded the “foremost place” in the current Constitution, its image in the eyes of the other stands greatly challenged today, as it has been sullied, not by others, but by those from within the Buddhist establishment; the likes of the abominable Gnanasara, his equally despicable Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), and all what they stand for.

Compounding this menace, we now have yet another saffron robed, Yakkalamulle Pawara and his Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa, claiming to “safeguard the identity of the Sinhala people, and to regenerate the supremacy and pride of the Sinhala people”.

Might I ask, safeguard our identity, from whom and what?

Might I also ask, what in heaven’s name is so “supreme” about the Sinhalese people? What have we, the Sinhalese achieved, others have not, to entertain such “pride”? I challenge all those out there, who keep chanting, “I’m proud to call myself a Sinhala-Buddhist”, to give me a valid answer to my questions, as so far, I have not.

Given the seeming inability on the part of the Maha Sangha, who remain as mere figureheads, to rein in these rampaging ‘monks’, whose only claim to monkhood, is the saffron robe they sport, it is incumbent upon the State to do so.

This ought to be, not only to safeguard the image of Buddhism, in this so called ‘cradle of Theravada Buddhism’, but more importantly, for the sake of reconciliation and peace in our land much ravaged, not by natural phenomena, but by the mentally challenged, amongst its human inhabitants.

The way in which this land is ‘marketed’ as a Buddhist country, first-time visitors may be pardoned, if they expect to see our Buddhist monks with halos above their heads. But instead of the men of peace, visibly refined, given to mindfulness and wisdom, which Buddhist monks are expected to be, we have the likes of Gnanasara, Yakkalamulle and their cohorts, hitting world headlines, for the humiliation and disgrace they have caused, and are still causing, to the image of Buddhism and Buddhists, of Lanka.

As mentioned before, the only claim these men (I refuse to call such, Buddhist monks) have to monkhood, is the saffron robe they wear. Once disrobed, they are nothing but rabble-rousing hooligans. Thus, they ought to be disrobed and punished, for desecrating the image of Buddhism in this country, and the saffron robe they wear.

It is incumbent upon the State, to repair the damage done to the image of Buddhism in this country, by none other than Buddhist monk themselves, by banning them across the board, from engaging in politics, and other business of the laity. If they must, then they ought to be ordered to disrobe. These charlatans, masquerading as Buddhist monks, have used and abused the sacred saffron robe associated with the Buddha and his disciples, for too long.

Politics is the business of the laity, and concerns only the laity, not Buddhist monks. Hence, they should also be instructed to keep their opinions relating to matters of the laity, to themselves, unless asked for.

The Buddhist laity of this country is, much to be blamed for the moral depths, Buddhist monks have stooped to, today. They have failed to respect the monastic conventions of a monk’s life, thus failing to support them to advance in their chosen path. For selfish gain, the laity has, over the years, tempted monks away from their path, and drawn them into their pathetically materialistic lay lives.

Tragically, Buddhist monks of today, in this so called ‘cradle of Theravada Buddhism’ have become symbols, of the good, the bad and the ugly; the latter being in the visible majority.

Most of those who join the Buddhist Order of monks today do so, not because of their understanding of the Dhamma, and commitment to propagating its message of peace, but to take advantage of the benefits accorded to monks, through our education system. There are also those ‘donated’ to temples by their parents for personal and foolish reasons, as well as freeloaders who enjoy the best of both worlds.

Except for the few and far between, they appear to have no idea of, or regard for what the Vinaya stands for. By the looks of it, those like Gnanasara, Yakkalamulle and their cohorts, don’t seem to have ever heard of it.

It’s not too late, for the sincere and good amongst the Buddhist clergy, to cleanse their order, by showing the door to the charlatans. The support of the laity is imperative in this regard, as a monk would find it impossible to live the life of a monk, without their cooperation; respect for monastic conventions. For this, the laity must be aware of what the Vinaya stands for, and establish a relationship with monks accordingly.

Hopefully, this would give rise to a renewed relationship of mutual respectability and sincerity, between the Buddhist clergy and the laity, and repair the damage done to the image of Buddhism, in this so called ‘Miracle of Asia’.

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Latest comments

  • 17
    2

    This is written on the assumption that Sinhala Buddhism is real Buddhism. It is not. It is a narrow Buddhism whereby it becomes possible for anyone to exercise power through robing himself in yellow. It is a Buddhism that is maintained through the hatred of other people. It is all what Prince Gautama preached against. It would appear in the countries that Theravada Buddhism exists, -Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka- bloodletting has been a facet of life. One must pause and ask why this is so. Why is it so that the Buddhist clergy has egged on killings and one little to prevent them? Why is so much of ethnic hatred in the country generated by the Buddhist clergy?

    • 14
      1

      Buddhism in Lanka is being destroyed by BBS and other non-Buddhist organizations whose members wear the robe.

      BBS is an insult to What the Buddha Taught.

      BBS leaders and Ravaya Balaya should be tried and jailed for their hate speech and the disrepute caused to the Sangha.

      Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s militarization of Buddhism has been hopefully stopped by present regime.

      In Thailand Buddhist monks are banned from the Parliament. Same should be done in Sri Lanka and the Mahanayaka’s need to take disciplinary action against monks who destroy vinnaya.

      • 20
        1

        First of all, we should be blessed to read one of the best, very courageous and erudite article by Sharmini Serasinghe. Due to the respect that the Buddhist society has for the saffron robed Sangha, they are reluctant to criticize or condemn the Buddhist monks/bhikkhus who engage in anti-Buddhist acts and violate the Buddhist Vinaya (values and principles). Even though being a Buddhist, Sharmini is bold enough to expose what most of these saffron robed charlatans (cheevaradharis) are who are hijacking the Buddhist religion and not only misleading some of the gullible Buddhists but also betraying Buddhism and insulting the Buddha.

        There is a VERY URGENT need in the country for a Buddhist Disciplinary Commission/Committee to control the conduct of Buddhist bhikkhus and to punish those who do not abide by the Buddhist Vinaya (values and principles).

      • 3
        0

        You are right. Buddhism is being destroyed by the excesses of some in the Buddhist clergy. So, the Buddhist laity, led by decent, honest men and women like Ms. Serasinghe must lead this process. If not, it a matter of time.

    • 4
      1

      Today, Germany is the grand nation in Europe – leading in every areas.

      There constitution on Religion is as given below: But the country is predominantly dominatey by cathelic and protestant christians

      ——————

      The German Constitution (which is called “Grundgesetz”, literally translated to “Basic Law”) has the following to say about religious freedom:
      Article 4 (Freedom of faith, of conscience and of creed)
      (1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom of creed religious or ideological, are inviolable.
      (2) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed.
      (3) No one may be compelled against his conscience to render war service as an armed combatant. Details will be regulated by a Federal law.

      Article 140 of the Basic Law states that articles 136-137 of the Weimar constitution are part of the Basic Law. These articles are:
      Article 136. (Weimar Constitution)
      Civil and political rights and duties are neither dependent upon nor restricted by the practice of religious freedom.
      The enjoyment of civil and political rights, as well as admission to official posts, is independent of religious creed.
      No one is bound to disclose his religious convictions. The authorities have the right to make enquiries as to membership of a religious body only when rights and duties depend upon it, or when the collection of statistics ordered by law requires it.
      No one may be compelled to take part in any ecclesiastical act or ceremony, or the use of any religious form of oath.

      Article 137. (Weimar Constitution)

      There is no state church.
      Freedom of association is guaranteed to religious bodies. There are no restrictions as to the union of religious bodies within the territory of the Federation.
      Each religious body regulates and administers its affairs independently within the limits of general laws. It appoints its officials without the cooperation of the Land, or of the civil community.
      Religious bodies acquire legal rights in accordance with the general regulations of the civil code.
      Religious bodies remain corporations with public rights in so far as they have been so up to the present.
      Equal rights shall be granted to other religious bodies upon application, if their constitution and the number of their members offer a guarantee of permanency.
      When several such religious bodies holding public rights combine to form one union this union becomes a corporation of a similar class.
      Religious bodies forming corporations with public rights are entitled to levy taxes on the basis of the civil tax rolls, in accordance with the provisions of Land law.
      Associations adopting as their work the common encouragement of a world-philosophy shall be placed upon an equal footing with religious bodies.
      So far as the execution of these provisions may require further regulation, this is the duty of the Land legislature.

    • 14
      1

      At the time, Ghanasara the most abusive pseduo kind of monk ran amok in Aluthgama betraying all the silent buddhists in this country -so called Mahanayaka theros were dead silent for no reasons.

      If those mahanayakae to lead the displine in the monk community, we will see the repeats the kind of Aluthgama incidents (going back to 2 years ago) – for sure.

      This the consittution reformers MUST make clear with Mahanayakas without delay.

      With all respect to buddhists and real buddhists like me – I beg to differ with the statements made by Malwathuchapter theros on the reforms yesterday.

      Disipline and law and order enforcement should be everything if the cointry as a whole, a nation to raise the head. Basta

    • 18
      1

      Sharmini Serasinghe,

      If there were a dozen people like you in Sri Lanka, it would revolutionize Sri Lanka to be the miracle of Asia.

      Sad to say they that is not the case: Most Sinhalese – laity and the monks believe that Sinhalese are a chosen people and that the Buddha has endowed the island for them exclusively.

      Why else is the argument? “Sinhalese have only this island for them” brought up all the time. Rohingyas have not an an inch of land they can call it theirs – there are so many other tribes like them in the world.

      Sinhala Buddhist supremacists want the island exclusively for themselves and for no others, even those who are native to the island before the arrival of Sinhalese, and that is the crux of all the ills of Sri Lanka.

      • 5
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        Thiru,

        What you describe, in other words is, the Mahavamsa Curse!

    • 0
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    • 5
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      Sharmini Serasinghe

      RE: Rein In The Clowns

      “What is starkly obvious by this hoo-hah, but not being articulated aloud is that, Buddhism be given pride of place, while other religions and faiths are relegated to, underdog status. If not, what else does it mean?”

      “Next, I ask, as Article 9 of the current Constitution also includes, “……..it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana……” why, it must it be the duty of the State, to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana? Isn’t this the business of the Maha Sangha and its flock?’

      Sharmini, very enlightening.

      May be this is what the monks want.

      “……..it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha and the Monks, so that the Monks can have as many boys they can, without being charged for breaking the Law or carry our any criminal activity, whether sanctioned by Law or not, as the Monks are Infallible”

      Yes. This is to say that the Buddhism Caste is above the other castes of Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity,Islam, Zoroastrianism, Zeus-ism, Agnosticism, Atheism, and other beliefs, whether true or not.

      What about the beliefs of the Native Veddah Aethho, the original inhabitants, to whom the country belongs to?

  • 12
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    Shamini

    first of all Happy Thai Pongal (festival of Harvest) to all CT readers

    You reap (sow) what you grow

    Sri Lanka is over grown with weeds (racism)

    There is no politician yet who has the courage to spray weed killers

    • 8
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      Rajash

      “first of all Happy Thai Pongal (festival of Harvest) to all CT readers”

      Happy Thai Pongal to all CT readers.

      By the way what are you doing here in this forum when you are expected to participate in the Jallikkattu (Bull Taming Sports) in Madurai?

      • 1
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        Hi Native
        Happy Thai Pongal to you.

        Tomorrow is Maatu Pongal

        • 1
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          Native – I love to go to the Jallikattu, it used to be very common in Jaffna during Pongal festival.

      • 1
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        Mr. Native Veddah, you are a veddha, literally and metaphorically!

  • 12
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    “What exactly does “giving the foremost place to Buddhism in the constitution” mean?”

    Sharmini,
    This is an Anachronism, which would have been appropriate soon after Independence.

    Now it would be more appropriate if a Sangha Council (of Suitable Bhikkus) was inaugurated to ensure that every Tom, Dick and Harry in a Saffron Robe, would not be allowed to carry on like they now do!

  • 5
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    These matters are very sensitive for untrained and untamed mind.

    We have been discussing and writing about what the Buddha taught for more than 2500 years. Unfortunately in practical where we are?

    Unfortunately numerous individuals in our Buddhist community, both lay and monks practically are poor.They constantly make loud in public for safeguard of Buddhism but pragmatically where are they now.

    Most Buddhist monks are praiseworthy and their behaviour and deportment is impressive but few individuals are ruining the reputation of monkhood.

    In fact authorities and law makers must constitute some rules and regulations in constitution to remove them from the community of Sangha.

    • 3
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      A)Why do you think the reasons them to stay stagnated untrained and poor ?

      B)Why some think the respect and dignity of MONKS in general were thousand times better decades ago in the country ?

      C)What went with monk community in the recent past to divert their behaviours to the deterioritationg levels as seeen in the nature of BBS and other violent monk gorups ?

      All A), B) and C) are answered by the the manner politicians, abused the religion for their political surivival. Premadasa and Rajapakshe were the leaders that sought political power consolidation thorugh reglions – licking bo tree every times on his return from foregin entourages – could send a message across the gullible folks (the majority of the country) how SADDAWANTHA -reglious he has been. I questioned myself a dozen of time looking at the theatres (which costed tax payers that much) what was going through the head of STUPID Rajapske, while being touching and kneeling down to most sacred and scared Bo tree at Anurapura ?
      As my grand child would join me with his view – nothing but the next political attack, how to be planned etc ? Rajapakshe was never a sensitive politicians. He is/was highly hypocrite by all nature- no comparable to any other leaders in the country. Bastabb

  • 4
    12

    Catholicism is given the foremost place in the Vatican constitution. State protection to Catholics is international. Their agents within and without, even in Sri Lanka look after political affairs of Catholics.

    Same with the Sunni Moslems with Saudi protection, the Anglicans with England, the evangelical Christians from USA and the Hindus. BJP is responsible for the political needs of the Hindus.

    Buddhism is not organised to have a political wing. Although every other religion has piety as well as politics. In this background who looks after the political affairs of the Buddhists? How will a balance achieved?

    • 10
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      Vibhushana,

      If this article has not evoked thoughtfulness in you nothing will! Sri Lanka badly needs secular governance. The Magha Sanga is there to foster Buddhism and let it be. Let the state free of religious interference for the sake nation-building.

      India is a secular country and it will remain as such for ever; look at the progress they are making. BJP is a party that is more aligned with hindu nationalism. This does not mean that the country’s constitution is subverted.

      • 3
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        Burning Issue

        “BJP is a party that is more aligned with hindu nationalism. This does not mean that the country’s constitution is subverted.”

        The saffron clad Hindu thugs are bent on changing the secular nature of Indian constitution. It started with a campaign to rewrite India’s history. They want myth as history and included in curricula. Does this ring a bell?

        Not everything seems rosy in India. Hindians want India to be transformed into a Hindian country. If this is not nipped at butt your future generation too will have to convert into nasty little Hindians.

        • 3
          1

          NV,

          I agree with you that there are people/organisations making noises about making India a Hindu country. But India is far mature than that; there are well entrenched Secular culture in India. There is already a fightback from various academics and prominent people.

          Bear in mind that India is home to Muslims that outnumber numerically compare to Pakistan! This itself is good advert for their secular status!

    • 6
      1

      Vibhushana:-
      Buddhists do not need Someone to look after their Political Affairs.

      Why do we so-called Sinhala/Buddhists, always have to compare ourselves to others?
      Can’t we Think for ourselves as the Buddha asked us to.

      “A True Follower of The Buddha,
      Shines among Blind Mortals,
      As the Fragrant Lotus,
      Growing in the Garbage by the Roadside,
      Brings Joy to all who Pass By.”

      – Verses 58 & 59 of the Dhammapada.

  • 13
    1

    Well said Sharmini Serasinghe, you are absolutely right. I agree with your view “It is incumbent upon the State, to repair the damage done to the image of Buddhism in this country, by none other than Buddhist monk themselves, by banning them across the board, from engaging in politics, and other business of the laity”.
    I am an atheist but almost all of my philosophical beliefs are found in Buddhism and it needs no help from anybody, least of all from our governments that are prone to corruption etc., to stand on its own, least of all by including it in our constitution. Ironically, the only concession given to Church of England in Britain, its birthplace, is the nomination of one representative to the House of Lords for life by the Prime Minister and the only power House of Lords has is to vet proposed legislatures from the Prliament.

  • 13
    1

    Sharmini, you are courageous enough to call a spade a spade but most of our so called ‘Lion Blooded Creatures’ are in a world of their own. Primarily they are patriotic and devout followers of the ‘Enlightened Protectors of the Race and Religon’ like Gnanasara and Yakagemulla.

    Even the Ven Mahanayakes seem to be in two minds about implementing the Vinaya Code. So it is likely that Buddhism will continue to be controlled and represented by the likes of Gnanasara and Yakagemulla whilst the Ven Mahanayakes will continue to enjoy the divine attention of the various politikkas and dignitaries who trek to them for heavenly advise.

    • 5
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      B Mackka,

      How can the Mahanayakes implement the Vinaya Code, when they themselves are not abiding by it?

  • 10
    1

    “It’s not too late, for the sincere and good amongst the Buddhist clergy, to cleanse their order, by showing the door to the charlatans.”

    Sharmini; Who is going to take the Lead?

    What Buddhism has become now is an ‘Agama’, where the Devotees expect the Clergy to intercede with the Buddha as a God, by leading the Chanting while passing the Mal Vatties, by Officiating at Funerals, Conducting ‘ Bodhi Poojas’ chanting Pirith and tying Pirith Nool, Blessings on Birthdays, etc. etc. etc….

    All this in imitation of a Hindu Poosari or a Christian or Catholic Priest.

    The outward expression of Devotion by erecting ‘Thoran’ conducting Dansalas, and Viewing Decorations at Vesak, have become more important than Practising the Dhamma of the Buddha, by observing the 10 Precepts, Conscientiously.

    • 5
      1

      You are correct, Hamlet.

      The Buddha didn’t preach two types of Buddhism; the Dhamma for the intelligent and ‘Buddhagama’ for the fool. The latter was concocted by monks, to ingratiate themselves into the lives of the laity.

      That’s why Buddhagama is an exact copy of Hinduism, with all the idol worship, rituals etc., included.

  • 17
    1

    A very unbiased and constructive piece, that needs to be read AND digested by Buddhists monks in particular. But can the likes of Ghandassara of BBS fame ever understand what the writer has conveyed? The answer obviously is a loud NO.

    We Buddhists must be aware of the doings of Gotabhaya Rajapakaya and his devious brother Mahinda in using Buddhist monks to do their dirty work. Oh where are the so called Mahanayakes? They surely are enjoying the good life, with Mercedes and BMW cars at their disposal.90% of the Sangha have donned robes to pursue other ends. At this rate our so called monks will soon catch up with the lifestyles of the cigarette smoking, car driving, womanizing Thai monks…if they are not already there.

    The greatest threat to Buddhism is not from other religions as we are made to believe but from so called “Good Buddhists” themselves.

    Buddhists awake!

  • 16
    1

    This brave and sensible lady has spoken the ‘Truth’ like the Buddha did.
    Truth needs no support, it is capable of standing on it’s own in space and time for ever without withering.

  • 0
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    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/

    • 3
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      Man

      Keep it brief please.

  • 11
    1

    WoW, what a refreshingly honest and forceful articulation of this silly notion. Politicians over the years have taken advantage of the Buddhist of the sense of pride being Sinhala-Buddhist and creating this fear of somehow losing that pride. Is Buddhism that flimsy and vulnerable such that we need the likes of those robe clad thugs you mention to protect the religion. Does anyone ask, what would Lord Buddha say if he saw the way these thugs are behaving in the name of the religion and philosophy that he preached. It is quite fine for someone to have pride in being a Shinhala-Buddhist as long as you are willing to recognize another persons pride to be something else. No human being can be superiors to others based on race and/ or religion.

  • 13
    1

    Sharmini, an excellent article. As a covenant Christian I ask the very same question you rightly pose.

  • 10
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    Sharmini Serasinghe

    RE: Rein In The Clowns

    Q1, “What exactly does “giving the foremost place to Buddhism in the constitution” mean?”

    Get to Nibbana, Nirvana or (Heaven, if there is one), First in line.

    Q2. “As a Buddhist I ask, why does Buddhism need to be mentioned in the Constitution at all?”

    There should be separation of Temple, Church, Mosque and State. That way, the State does not get in the Middle of those who try to Attain Nibbana, Nirvana or get to Heaven.

    Please keep politics out of this journey.

    Keep it Secular. If not, Amarasiri wants

    giving the foremost place to Zeusism in the constitution, along with Buddhism.

    Zeusism = the debasion of negativity, criticism, and replacing it with positivity and praise. In a world of yin and yang, we are removing yang from the equation. We are changing our universe by cleansing our individual lives of all negative forces. It’s bigger than me and you, this is true philosophy.

    Ever since I started practicing Zeusism, I don’t care what people think. I don’t care when they call me a stoner, or a tool, or comment on my many comments at Colombo Telegraph. I just look up and say, “I’m Zeused ^_^”

  • 14
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    Ms.Serasinghe, nice to see your writings again.

    I seriously doubt if the Buddhist laity will rise to your challenge except to throw insults and innuendo at you.

    The fact that the clergy claims ownership of the Dhamma and its survival, is sufficient proof of the absolute failure of the laity at all levels of society. The behaviour of the samaneras during street demonstrations should give every alert Buddhist the chills!

    Those admitted to the inner sanctums of the big temples have for generations committed fraud and other crimes within and without of those premises, with the cooperation of the clergy.

    I doubt many Buddhists understand why we have a Siyam Nikaya and by extension the Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters. The word Siam has been lankanised to read as Siyam. The fact is our clergy were so great at practicing caste segregation for so long that it took a delegation from the King of Thailand ( Siam ) to set up suitable temples for the low country people to worship. The titular names of the Mahanayakes always lay claim to a heritage, which I guess makes them better people than the rest of us. Does coming from a certain village make one a better man?

    Let us not allow a bunch of fools to claim any type of superiority based on a false identity. The irony here is that the fools know they are making a false claim but still do it, because the audience is even more gullible due to a lack of education.

  • 12
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    Well said Sharmini. We are blessed to have a forthright writer such as yourself…

    • 0
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      Heh heh… Onlyl writers like Mahindapala excite me. Sorry, Samini, you have to pick your game up.

  • 3
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    I was wondering what happened to Ms Serasinghe who was the number one Buddhist basher among the few others who campaigned relentlessly along side late Venerable Sobitha, UNP Anglican Faction , Whisky Madam and the Diaspora to bring Yahapalanaya..

    Perhaps Ms S sneaked out to do a crash course in Dhamma,

    I am glad because by the time Yahapalana expires there won’t be any Sanga left as we know them today.

    And Buddha n who survived even in Nagaddepa when the Eelaam pioneer was ruling the roost, won’t be the same when his statues are distributed among the new Federal States.

    And Ms S can relax.

    All those monks whom Ms S mentions as terrible souls,will be impotent soon with Bodhi Sira’s new Penal Code for Sinhala Buddhist Monks,A. K .A the Saffron Robed Ones as Ms Serasinghe respectfully refers.

    • 7
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      Sumane’ If you define Sharmini’s Call, for an Awakening to the Buddha’s Dhamma, as Buddhist Bashing; You must be a Greater Bigot than I thought before!

  • 13
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    Sharmini

    The biggest issue is the Maha Sanga has no control over the monks.

    You have missed out a few other activities undertaken by the monks.

    1 engagining in politics
    2 becoming directors of listed companies such as Lanka Hospitals
    3 running private buses and owning route licenses
    4 conducting tuition classes and collecting fees
    5 carrying out construction business
    6 involved in trade unions such as the nurses union
    7 allowing temples to be used for political meetings and propaganda work

    Jagath

    • 2
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      Religion intoxication can MORE or LESS lead to fall people even depths. That is what I feel looking at today s china and their unique frequency of marching forward. Not a single chinese would say that they are religious. They just respect laws and order. They are not well at being kind and respectful, but for a country of our kind – systems are no bad. Displine lead everything. Recently, sitting in the TGV from Saarbrucken to Frankfurt, I happened to observe how hard visiting Chinese work for their bread. That is the secrecy of their distinquished achieve in economic areas.

      Like the illiterate leaders in Saudi or other islam countries have the influence on the folks of those nations – srilankens in general are controlled by budhdist monks. No matter those monks would have not the average knowledge about entire world and how the civlized societies are being run etc, we just need to kneel down and please them expecting then only, the nation would beleive anyone in public stage is acceptable.
      This is common to entire UNCIVILIZED world be it islam dominated states or hindu, buddhism dominated states (India, Srilanka and other poor countries).

    • 2
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      Jagath I believe that you cannot call the People who practise the Activities you have listed by the Word ‘Monks’
      We will have to find another name for them.

      The definition of Monk From Wikepedia:-

      “In Theravada Buddhism, Bhikkhu is the term for Monk. Their Disciplinary Code is called the Patimokkha, which is part of the larger Vinaya. They live lives of Mendicancy, and go on a morning almsround (Pali: Pindapata) every day. The local people give food for the monks to eat, though the monks are not permitted to positively ask for anything. The Monks are part of the Sangha, the Third of the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha.”

  • 1
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    Another interesting story as per Lanka e News carried out by a monk……..
    [Edited out]

  • 5
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    Disciple should examine even the Tathagata (Buddha) himself, so that he (the disciple) might be fully convinced of the true value of the teacher whom he followed.” KALAMA SUTRA Anguttara Nikaya, Tika Nipata, Mahavagga, Sutta No. 65, Verse 15
    “Truth needs no label: it is neither Buddhist, Christian, Hindu nor Moslem. It is not the monopoly of anybody. Sectarian labels are a hindrance to the independent understanding of Truth, and they produce harmful prejudices in men’s mind. “ Ven. Dr. Walpola Rahula , WHAT THE BUDDHA TAUGHT

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    The separation of church and state is an indicator of political modernity and emancipation from medieval thinking. Equality, fairness and justice demand that, especially in a multi religious society like ours, no one religion should be elevated to a special place. Special recognition only makes religion more of an establishment than it is now, which benefits those who exploit religion for personal and political gain, both monks and laity. Buddhism in Sri Lanka has for centuries been nothing more than a ritualism to further worldly gain. “Merit” is understood as an insurance policy to escape hell for one’s many misdeeds, and an investment for rebirth in heaven.
    A religion flourishes not by virtue of state recognition but by the religious leadership finding effective mechanisms to instill in the devotee the religion’s ethical values such as compassion, tolerance, truthfulness, and civic responsibility.
    A national government that has ambitions of modernizing the country ought not give into the regressive idea of giving constitutional recognition to religion.
    The new constitution should be secular, and that’s all it needs to mention regarding religion.

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      Prof H.L. Seneviratne

      Thank you for your comments.

      We need lot more wise counselling at this critical juncture only a few are capable of guiding this country from its own self destruction.

      You are one of the few. Therefore you have lot more responsibility than us.

      Hope you take time to instill sanity and imbibe human values on CT readership.

      Thanks again for your previous comment.

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        Yes, I agree with you here fully. He is one of the sensitive professors that mother lanka ever produced.
        We may leave Prof. Glp, Prof. Rajeeva Wijesinghe not having the same levels of understadning of the problems of the day – when going through their stances being passed to the press these days.

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        Dear Native,

        You and your new Professor mate both must be from the Elite Chapter.

        What creates Equality, Fairness and Justice among inhabitants is the Standard of Living.

        This Equality of the standard of living was denied to the great majority of the inhabitant population who are the poor Sinhala rural Buddhists for the past 60 years and up to Nanthikadal.

        It started with the arrival of the British who divided and ruled, denying even an education to the rural poor.

        Sinhala Buddhists were kept ignorant of how the Elite were exploiting them, by preaching that it is the Karma which determines whether one is born rich or poor or able bodied or disabled.

        And it suited the Ruling class and the Elite well”

        I can’t help but laugh at this Professor’s comment about Yahaplanaya being a government which is keen on modernising the country.

        Yahaplanaya hasn’t got the Dosh to pay for monthly import bills , let alone building roads, schools, hospitals , and universities, in the rural sector.

        What ever the poor rural got in the last 5 years to improve their situation, has been brought to screeching halt.

        All because , the West wanted a Government which gives the Ethnic minorities their Homelands, chase the Chinese away,borrow the money from White owned Banks, do business with Whites owned enterprises and keep the Sinhala Buddhists ignorant.

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          KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

          The more you type the more you expose your stupidity.

          The standard of living index does not explain every thing that conditions people’s well being or lack of it. It tends to hide income disparity between rich and the poor. And there are other issues too, such as the shadow economy with which you are too familiar with, say

          Drug production and distribution,
          Prostitution,
          Theft,
          Fraud,
          Tax evasion
          Cash in hand income
          Kickbacks

          There are other indexes which explain comparative progress of a country. These are bit too advance for a person who does not want/refuse to grow up. So lets not discuss about them.

          Here is a teaser:

          Human Development Index
          Multidimensional Poverty Index
          Quality of life index

          However you just forget about all these maze of economic mumbo jumbo and focus on “Prisoners Dilemma”. In case if you are confused read up on Game Theory, rationality, zero sum games, free riders, rent seekers, ….

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      H L, Your words:-
      “Merit” is understood as an insurance policy to escape hell for one’s many misdeeds, and an investment for rebirth in heaven.

      ….Reminded me of a good Bhikku of long ago, who taught us that ‘Merit’ – ‘Ping’ cannot be accumulated like Money in a Bank!

      ‘Ping’ is something that is created as good Kamma in the Mind, and governs the Everyday Life of an Individual!

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    What a wonderful article!! Pity it cannot be translated into Sinhala and widely distributed to all those poor deceived persons who are in a frenzy thinking that Buddhism is under attack. Should be compulsory reading for the carnival of animals aka the “constitutional assembly”! It would be nice to have representatives of the “we are under attack” Buddhist clergy reply to each of the points that Sharmani makes without engaging in abuse and ad hominem attacks.

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    OMG… what is Sharmini saying ????????????
    How could we reign in H/E Maithreepala Sirisena ????????

    Why did david Cameron have to disclose Brittain is a Christian Country………in 2015?
    Why are certain EU Countries with just under 60% Christian population announce that they are Christian Countries……..

    “Has the Dhamma become better than what the Buddha preached,”
    OR
    Has Christianity turned for the better than what Jesus Preached..

    Was there a mandate to spying or maintain media organisations, to change bible versions, maintain or hire NGOs, to assist and run terrorists organisations, invest in the weapon industry, scheme to bring down governments and a host of other glaring matters……

    “t shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana……”” NEED TO CONSULT CONSTANTINE,CLOVIS I & PAST FRENCH REGIMES WHAT THEY DID TO UPHOLD THE VATICAN & CATHOLISM ??

    Lets leave these matters as they are…………. Go on our ways with our individual beliefs. GOD is there for all.

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    Great article, as one would expect from Sharmini. It is no surprise the that the two hooligans in robes, Gnanasara and Elle Gunawansa were first off the mark against the Bikshu Kathikava. The say they will break any law passed by “mere gihiyas” . Well then, they should then be locked up in a gihiya prison.
    It is our indulgence that gives these parasites the idea that they are superior to us.

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    Excellent exposition, Sharmini – you echo my sentiments 100%!

    Let’s hope our so-called Yahapalanayas will (first of all) understand your point of view, then admit that you are right in your assessment and finally approve a constitution that is fair by all ethnic groups and believers of their individual religions instead of being the chauvinist bigots that many of them are.

    It’s also time to clean up the Sangha (what exactly is their purpose???) and get rid of the thugs in robes who are in it for the power and money.

    But most importantly it is time for the Buddhists who flock to temples and pay pooja to the priests, to understand that the basis of the Gautama Buddha’s philosophy is the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path and to live their lives accordingly. Going to temples and worshiping priests is not required to achieve Nirvana.

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    Dear author, you seem to have all the answers. One thing that you have inadvertently or intentionally missed is the fact that there is no other country in this world the Sinhalese could call home in this world other than Sri Lanka and the majority requesting the government to ensure that it takes measures to protect it should not be called as racist or egoistic.

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      I am a Tamil and I call Sri Lanka is my home too! What you need to do is to grow up and feel secure; no one will undermine you in a secular Sri Lanka!

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      Diyani

      “there is no other country in this world the Sinhalese could call home in this world other than Sri Lanka”

      You have a vast subcontinent only 20 miles away from this island where you can live with your brethren either in North or South of India.

      Why do the Sinhalese need a separate state? Is it because they speak a dialogue akin to North South Indian language, eat almost the same food, pray to the same god, ……

      Any government worth its existence are by law required to protect its citizens irrespective of their race, religion, language, region.

      What is the special protection that the Sinhalese are lacking, perhaps protection from themselves, from their politicians, fellow terrorists, crooks, goons, their saffron clad thugs, their bigots, their own racists, or from their own shadow, Dayan, Wimal, ….. ?

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    Well Said Sharmini dear! Hats off to you and keep up your good work.

    It is time for Sinhala Buddhist women to come forth to save Buddhism in Sri Lanka, from BBS and its cohorts who are destroying Buddhism from Within the Sangha. BBS is the Enemy Within. They are distorting the teachings of the Buddha – the peaceful one.

    Today we see MILITARIZED Sinhala Buddhism parading naked on the streets with this “gal gediyo” in orange robes.

    Of course, the Likes of BBS and Yaka-mulle are funded, set up and backed by Mahinda and Gotabaya Jarapassa who militarized and distorted Buddhism to DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE the Sinhalaya.

    Sinha-le is part of that same game to Militarize and Sinhalize Buddhism and distort and destroy Buddhism from WITHIN. All true Buddhists should rise up against this and Disrobe these filthy men.

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    Buddhism needs protection from the destructive forces within so-called Buddhists. With the help of misguided Politicians BBS will rewrite Buddhism within next few years.

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    Well said, and well written realistic article, if Buddhism in Sri Lanka is to survive, and not be disgraced by the vulgar antics of goons like Ganasaraurubokka,
    Methananda, and Yakkamulla yakkos, governement must bring in a strict code of conduct through the Buddhist Ministry and kick out all those yellow robed goons who are a menance, an disgrace world wide to Buddhish. Maithripala and Ranil wake up and execute the buddhist goons who are a national menance.

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    Sharmini says that she is a Buddhist but the words she uses on the ‘bad’ monks reveals a complete misunderstanding of what Buddha’s intentions were regarding Dhamma and Sangha.

    I am a Buddhists and I work in the ME where the state religion is Islam. In the particular country (not Saudi Arabia) where I work, people of all other faiths are allowed to practice their faiths in full freedom as long as it is done peacefully and does not interfere with Islam. No one should try to convert Muslims to other faiths by words, publications etc. Conversion is punishable by death in Islam anyway.

    The rulers not only are allowing this freedom for other faiths but actively help them too. State land for churches, kovils etc. have been donated by the government.

    I do not see why there should not be a state religion in Sri Lanka on the same lines or more favorable to Buddhism. It is alright for Sharmini to say that Dhamma needs no protection. I say it needs defensive protection but not offensive protection.

    Dhamma needs protection from the state so that it can in turn provide succor and protection for the people. Protection against wrong concepts and practices. If that is not there it is bound to disappear gradually and it would be a loss for the whole of humanity.

    Sharmini’s mistake is to believe that this protection is for the Dhamma only. No. It is really for the protection of the beneficiaries of Dhamma. To take an example let us say we have a vaccine for some serious disease which can decimate the population. For some reason, such as introducing their own version of vaccine, a certain group plans to destroy it. What should we do? Obviously, we cannot allow that. Perhaps the other vaccine is better in certain aspects. Is it not better for both to be there so that the people can have real choice on what vaccine they should be inoculated with?

    Are we protecting the vaccine because we love it as a vaccine? No! The aim is to protect the people by having it available. Who knows? The other vaccine may have some side effects that surface only later.

    It is true that Dhamma will not disappear totally even if it is not protected. After all, Dhamma is a description of the Laws of Nature and they will be the same whether the knowledge about them is there or not. Newton’s Laws of Motion will not disappear even if all books, documents – in short all knowledge – about them disappears. The laws will still govern motion, no matter what. But people will not be able to make use of these Laws for making useful things. That is the problem.

    Someone may discover the laws again someday and use them for good purpose. Buddha spoke about Pacceka Buddhas who discover the Dhamma on their own but are unable to explain it to others. But the problem is that we are all not smart enough to be Pacceka Buddhas. I do not know about Sharmini, but I am certainly not smart enough to be a Pacceka Buddha and I am very happy that the Dhamma is there to guide me.

    Regarding her verbal barrage against the ‘bad’ Sangha. It looks as if she has forgotten the main role intended by Buddha for the monks. His advise was ‘Charatha Bhikkhave charikam, bahujana hithaya bahu jana sukhaya…’ – Go far and wide and spread the Dhamma for the benefit of the people. He did not tell them to sit under a tree and meditate to attain Arahat hood. No. The first and foremost duty of the sangha is to protect the Dhamma, explain it to the devotees and to spread it, not by force but by conviction. Then came his own salvation.

    In Buddha’s time, the Sangha had to go walking over enormous distances in search of people. Today, thankfully, they need not do that. There are so many ways they can communicate with the people while staying in their temples. Most monks do that.

    It is my opinion that the Seela of a monk is his own affair. We should not bother about it in an obsessive manner as Sharmini does. Of course, being Putujjanas they may deviate from the 10 million rules of Vinaya. Still I am sure most would try to be an example to their Upsaka Upsikas and win their respect. But if some slips occurs I consider it as of secondary importance.

    If he is good in the knowledge of Dhamma, has the ability to explain it to the devotees so that they understand it well, keeps updated in developments and does his best to read, analyze and remember then he is a good monk.

    There were bad monks in Buddha’s time also. For instance there was Devadatta. Buddha never banished him from the Sasana. Devadatta himself, for his own reasons, broke off and went away. That was how Buddha treated the worst monk we know.

    If Sharmini wants to be better judge than Buddha on how to punish bad monks then that is her affair. But let us not fall that kind of nonsense.

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      We need not follow Islamic countries in relation to Buddhism. The best protection for Buddhism is for Buddhists to lead their lives according to the teachings of the Buddha. Wearing a label or having a sticker in the back of a Three-wheeler saying “I am a Buddhist – and Proud to Say it” does not make us good Buddhists. Actions speak better than words.

      Talking of actions, for a Buddhist country, what happened in 1983 was disgraceful. The subsequent silence is even worse. Our inability to accept the collateral death and damage in the Eelam War also reflects on the low level of Buddhist values in the country.

      Behaviour of many monks, in public and in private, denigrates this noble religion. It is obvious to any observer.

      We have had Buddhism enshrined in the constitution for over 40 years now. Have our moral standards improved since 1972? Or, are they worse than ever before? So what use is there for all the lip spittle about protecting Buddhism constitutionally and politically.

      It is far better for all of us to try our best to keep to the five precepts as best as we can and that will be the strongest protection for Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

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        Darwin’s Theory of evolution, one of the most successful theories in science, also needs protection in countries like US, where there is a big campaign backed by a lot of money, to bring in the so called ‘Intelligent Design’ theory in to science classes in schools. And such protection is provided by the Law.

        I was surprised to find that the Theory of Evolution is being taught in classes in the Islamic country I work in, even in public schools, while in the US, the most technological country in the world, a huge campaign is going on to throw it out.

        The relevance of all this to the subject under discussion here is the power and the resources commanded by Christianity and it different Avatar’s. If they can do it in the US, we can imagine what they can do here in little Sri Lanka, one of the strongholds of Theravada Buddhism. Perhaps, the campaign is re-starting here and this article is the just the initial salvo. The attempt to connect 1983, final days of war etc. to Buddhism is part of it.

        Some brag that Buddhism has been there for the past 2,500 years and does not need any protection. What they conveniently forget or intentionally hide is the fact that Buddhism has survived that long because of the defensive actions taken by rulers like Dutu Gemunu. Without such action Buddhism would have suffered the same fate as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and even India.

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