20 July, 2018

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Sangha & Sovereignty In The Age Of The Republic 

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Buddha is the physician. Dharma is the medicine. Sangha is the nurse. This luminously lucid analogy explaining the Buddhist concept of the three jewels – Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is given by Professor Richard Gombrich.

In the age of our republic, the Sangha are bent on being physicians. Some wish to be surgeons such as those in BBS and the more learned ones wish to be anesthetists, insisting that Elephants are essential to sustain Buddhist traditions.     

This is the conundrum we are trapped in. Sanctimonious framers of the new constitution have become derailed trains intimidated by pseudo profundities of a priestly class cocooned in privilege from the time of our last kings of Kandy. 

A paradox confronts us: Prince Siddhartha is back in the Palace.

Monastic indolence and canonical caprice have repealed and replaced the essential Buddhist wisdom- Renunciation and Nonattachment. 

Buddha is the physician. Dharma is the medicine. Sangha is the nurse. This luminously lucid analogy is given by Professor Richard Gombrich. In the age of our republic, the Sangha are bent on being physicians. Some wish to be surgeons such as those in BBS and the more learned ones wish to be anesthetists.

Our purpose here, is not to rediscover the distilled truth in Buddhism. It is an attempt to understand how the Sinhala Buddhist Sangha, in post-independence years particularly after the 1956 political transformation, have succeeded demonstrably to run with the spiritual hare and hunt with the political hound. Their political punch drives ruling elite to call on the two principal monasteries in Kandy routinely to exchange pedestrian pities. Their presumed spiritual saintliness as custodians of the ‘sacred tooth relic’ is above and beyond public scrutiny. It allows them an undeserved and an unearned invincibility in public discourse. In the 21st Century, our Republic is taken hostage by a phantom kingdom in Kandy.

The Asgiriya Chapter fired the first volley by a clever chemistry of the thinkable and the unthinkable. ‘We do not approve of the actions of Galaboda Attee Gnanasara but his protestations have merit’. They condemned the bigot, endorsed his bigotry. In effect, the Asgiriya monastic order was signaling the government that inclusive governance was subject to boundaries that they will determine.

The three main ‘Nikayas’ have now decided to oppose government’s constitutional reengineering and if at all undertaken to limit it to what they consider as needed.

Venerable Professor Dr. Bellanwilla Wimalarathane thero Anunayake of the Kotte Chapter, Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila temple (film maker Asoka Handagama’s choice as the refuge of insecure minds of Colombo Buddhist middleclass in Agey Asa Aga) Chancellor of Sri Jayawardenepura University has assumed a pivotal role of presenting a learned opposition to constitutional changes.

We are elated. Confronting literate bigotry is less complicated. 

The two monasteries Malwatte and Asgiriya manifest the Sangha community in our popular mind. The sangha community of Sri Lanka is not unitary. The largest and the most influential is the Siam Nikaya which is ‘govigama’ centric, decidedly aristocratic and feudally administered. The top layer of Malwatte and Asgiriya were manor born. The practice remains intact.

The Ramanna nikaya is a subsequent development catering to non ‘Govigama’ castes. Malwatte and Asgiriya higher echelons in the time of kings were manor born.

The Amarapura Nikaya is yet another offshoot with its origins in the south. The irony is that its federal structure escapes their blinkered minds.

The Sri Lanka Sangha is not a timeless institution either in practice or by  tradition. Their claim to have preserved the Theravada tradition for two and half millennia and more is endorsed only by cagey and conniving politicians. The 2500 years of unbroken Buddhist tradition is an idea that invaded Buddhist popular mind when the State decided to celebrate the 2500th year in the Buddhist calendar.

Constraints of space prevents further amplification. India – the land of the Buddha also appointed a special committee headed by Vice President Saravapalli Radhakrishnan – the philosopher. He celebrated the life of Buddha – “he was born a Hindu and died a Hindu” who reformed the caste ridden Brahmin society.

The story of our Sangha preserving our 2500 years old Sinhala Buddhist heritage is not untrue. It is stating the obvious with a pinch of salt. The Sangha was integral to society and thrived or decayed parallel to the rest of society. Any religion leaves an imprint on the landscape, culture and lifestyle of the territory it dominates. Cagey clerics spin yarns on it and conniving politicians enthusiastically spread them.

‘Sangha’ in Sri Lanka –  the three Nikayas – Siam, Ramanna and Amarapura as we know them today do not represent a timeless, homogenous institution of antiquity or sanctity. We need not strain ourselves to prove it. We can look around.

With a crown and kingship trapped in uncertainty, turmoil in the kingdom of Kandy, did not spare the Sangha. The clerical order was in decay and neglect. The kingdom was bereft of monks who had obtained the higher ordination – ‘Upasampada’. They remained ‘Samaneras’- novice monks. Deprived of supervised discipline or peer review some degenerated to being regular householders abandoning celibacy. They wore a yellow thread or shawl around neck to signal their priestly vocation.   

King Wimaladharmasuriya the first consecrated king of Kandy, to erase an inconvenient past of fraternizing with the Portuguese, and to legitimize his rule built a new palace to house the sacred tooth relic.  The new King  needed a  functional sangha to observe the elaborate rituals associated with the tooth relic and to  perform their  historical role as mediators between  subjects and king.  He got down monks from Rakkhangadesa – a part of Myanmar to reinstate the Upasampada order. The experiment was short lived.

Historian Lorna Devaraja, assesses the impact of the Siam Nikaya founded   on the full moon day of the month Asala in 1753. 

“The establishment of the Siam Nikaya was the climax of centuries of endeavour on the part of the Sri Lankan rulers and it is considered an event of singular importance in the religious, cultural and political history of the island and is recorded in elaborate detail not only in the Mahavamsa but also in several contemporary and near contemporary literary works…. “

Sinhala Buddhist Society at the time was a rigid caste based society. At its apex was a king whose divine right to rule was incidental to his responsibility as the custodian of the sacred tooth relic and the royal superintendent of the ‘Daladamaligawa’, the Temple of the Tooth.

The king made tenurial grants of huge swathes of land to Malwatte and Asgiriya, the two monasteries assigned with the exclusive right and responsibility of performing the rites and observing the rituals of and related to the Temple of the Tooth.

The people – ordinary folk worshipped the Dalada from a distance. The sanctum sanctorum was the preserve of aristocratic priests of Malwatte and Asgiriya and officials of noble birth assigned duties as required by priests.

It was an interdependent relationship between the king and the two monasteries. The priests exercised sacerdotal authority and the King minded the state. This equilibrium was lost when the King was dethroned. The British despite their undertaking to continue state patronage handed over all responsibilities to the two monasteries and one lay official the Diyavadana Nilame.

The rituals of the Palace were intended for an enshrined relic with mystical powers. One such ritual was the symbolic bathing of the relic with a special herbal preparation with fragrant flowers and scented water. The holy water from the ritual Nanumura Mangallaya was believed to contain healing powers.

Rituals of the palace were and still are expressions of homage to a sovereign. Throughout history, the sacred tooth relic was the symbol of sovereignty. In the besieged kingdom of Kandy, it was more than a symbol. It was the suzerain around which governance revolved.

To the present day, the two monasteries cling to this belief system. A Minister justifying the cost of the central highway leading to the palace in Kandy clings on to the same belief system.   

The Asala Perehara mirrored the social hierarchy of the time. It was a grand choregraphed event where provincial chiefs had to coalesce at the center assuring fealty to the king.

British takeover in 1815 changed the system. They humored the priests in the beginning but under pressure from their own missionaries were content to leave matters to the two monasteries and an official –Diyavadana  Nilame.

The social reawakening of 1956 unfolded while Malwatte and Asgiriya monasteries remained in peaceful slumber. They were enjoying the tithes from land holdings, secure in the knowledge that by birth and family tradition they were the custodians of the symbol of the nation’s sovereignty.

It took a little longer for them to parlay it for a real political punch.    

The serious political transformation of the system occurred when Nissanka Wijeratne Civil Servant and Sinhala Buddhist activist contested for the position of Diyawadene Nilame.

It was a curtain raiser for a subsequent foray in to national politics. The then Prime Minister devoutly Buddhist, devotionally feudal, fielded a relation with a superior manorial pedigree.

He lacked the poise and punditry of the historian civil servant Nissnka Wijeratne, whose election as Diyawadene Nilame irretrievably politicized the institution in our representative democracy.  The controversial contest propelled the two Mahanayakes in to political prominence. If they had any influence on the election of the lay official, now they became indispensable arbiters.

Soon after, the then Leader of the opposition J.R Jayewardene used the Maha Maluwa as the venue for a satyagraha with the permission of the Diyawadene nilame.

When the police dispersed a LSSP protest in 1991 held with no permission from temple authorities Mr.Bernard Soysa filed a fundamental rights petition on grounds that Maha Maluwa was a public space.

The Supreme court ruled that the Maha Maluwa of the Dalada Maligawa is a place to which public have access for the purpose of worship. It cannot be treated as a public place for the purpose of holding a satyagraha by persons standing together in a single line and displaying posters and placards and sometimes shouting slogans or other vociferous protests. Satyagraha was a political event for which no implied permission can be presumed in relation to the Dalada Maligawa. Express permission would be required for the purpose”. 

President Premadasa chose the Octagon of the Palace to take his oath as President. He fixed a golden canopy over the main shrine.

Historian and Sinhala scholar Anuradha Seneviratne was consulted over its official Sinhala nomenclature. He called it a ‘Runviyana’ and got in to bad books of the president. A mischief maker had informed the President that the term ‘viyana’ had a caste connotation. 

We must reframe our nation’s sovereignty and traditions attached to it in the age of the republic.   

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    …….. here he goes again .

    • 5
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      The world is what it has always been.

      The super-rich, the powerful, the smart ultra-cunning, have tilted the balance in their favour by bribing the ruling classes all around the globe. The ultimate aim is to avoid a honest-day’s work and live off the toil of the working-class.

      In SL, it’s difficult for the working-class to come up for air as there are so many parasitic-layers of non-working leisure-classes heaped/burdened on them – the political class, the religious class …….. all hell bent on avoiding an honest day’s work.

      With the new tax-collection regime, the burden will be further tilted towards the honest working-class/toilers . …………. Will the pols or the various religiosities forego at least some of their free perks and privileges garnered by taxing the hard toil of the working-class?

      In SL, they have set it up so well, ……………. not only they avoid a honest day’s work but get the hard-workers/toilers to come and fall at their feet and thank them for it.

      Someone has written somewhere that there is a dearth of trades-people in SL ……… and suppose, an over-supply/surplus of politicians and priests.

      The choice one is left is, which side do you join for a career?

      My only complaint is, in SL, there is sheer crudeness and utter lack of professionalism in the avoidance of a honest day’s work. We are light years behind in that too ………..

      • 3
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        nimal fernando

        ” In SL, it’s difficult for the working-class to come up for air as there are so many parasitic-layers of non-working leisure-classes heaped/burdened on them – the political class, the religious class …….. all hell bent on avoiding an honest day’s work.”

        Could you loosely define, working class, non-working leisure-classes, political class, religious class.

        Do you see feudalism still playing a larger destructive influence on state decision making process, political parties, religious establishments, armed forces, state functionaries, among rich businessmen, …………….. ?

        The religious institutions were used to Temple Slavery and benefited from captive labour. Though the physical slavery might have been abolished nevertheless the attitudes of Viharathipathies might still remain pre 1833 era, essentially feudal.

  • 10
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    Chief priests have no say or control over the younger monks. They are a law to themselves.
    10,000 temples and 30,000 monks in the country. Hundreds of court cases against monks today for land encroachment, thuggery, intimidation, murder, misappropriation etc etc
    Hope the so called Chief Priests and Maha Nayake Priests will wake up one day!!!

    child abuse cases against Christian Priests as well.

    Chief priests are getting involved in issues which have absolutely nothing to do with them. Imagine trying to advice on SAITM, Central Expressway, ETCA trade agreement etc !! I am waiting to see the day that monks demanding to see govt budget proposals before they are presented in parliament.

    Monks have lost focus today:
    Examples:
    1 some monks want to get on to company boards (Lanka Hospitals)
    2 some monks want to lead trade unions ( Nurses Union)
    3 some monks want to protect the corrupt ( LITRO chairman was hiding in a temple)
    4 some monks want to enter parliament ( Hela Urumaya)
    5 some monks want to be active in politics (Abhayaramaya)
    6 some monks just like business, antiques and construction ( Gangaramaya temples)
    7 some monks simply protest to look after them selves ( Kandalama Hotel protests)
    8 some monks steal elephants ( case currently on)
    9 some monks fight for real estate and leadership ( post Ven Sobitha Thera / Naga Vihara)
    10 some monks simply love their BENZ, Land Cruisers and BMWs and the iPhones

    Most of the issues can be resolved by simply transferring monks from temple to temple every three years.
    Also law has to be dished to everyone on an equal basis.

  • 5
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    Thank you Mr. Alwis. Quite interesting . Lot of information.

  • 7
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    That GREAT TEACHING of the BUDDHA has been “Destroyed” by the present day Clergy who have divided themselves into varying formations, beginning with the NIKAYA principles and carried deep into a rotten state of segregation on the political platform. The Gauthama Buddha had only ONE following embracing ALL irrespective of “Caste”; “Creed”; “High”; “Low”. HIS disciples were known by the only name SANGHA and the only “ACADEMICS” were those “SANGHA” who MASTERED and PRACTICED the TEACHINGS and NOT those who acquired the status of “Mahachariya”; “Aachariya”. That is how they were RECEIVED and ACCEPTED by the then rulers who sought GUIDANCE and ADVICE in the matters of Governing. Comparatively, what a “DESTRUCTION” these present day “CULT LEADERS” (Nikaya High Priests) and the “Mahachariya”; “Achariya” running around in saffron attire (that also of varying colours) and camping with corrupt politicians have done to that GREAT TEACHING of Gauthama Buddha? It is ALARMING!

    • 3
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      It is true. there are so many “parasvayas”. The word “Sangha” has been abandoned. Even though buddha could have done so many things until the very last moment buddha was unequivocally, exemplary. We have to accept when Sangha becomes Sammuthi – Sangha, peoples respect also goes down propotionally.

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      Douglas

      “HIS disciples were known by the only name SANGHA and the only “ACADEMICS” were those “SANGHA” who MASTERED and PRACTICED the TEACHINGS and NOT those who acquired the status of “Mahachariya”; “Aachariya”.

      However these “Mahachariya”; “Aachariya” have their eye on other mundane things, such as honouring the crooks, war criminals, ………………………. by bestowing worldly titles on them, foe example, ..

      Vishawakeerthi Sri Threesinhaladishwara,
      Shri Rohana Jana Ranjana
      Sthuthi Sthroththa Pathra (Scroll of facilitation)
      Sri Lanka Rajawansa Vibooshana Dharmadeepa Chakravarthi
      Sri Lanka Dharanishwara Kalyana Dharshi

      I wonder where did the Grant Dukes of Mahasangha keep all these titles before they bestowed them on the only patriots in this island.

      What the Grant Dukes failed to acknowledge or recognise is the fact that about 6,200 soldiers were killed between 2006 and 2009, and about 30,000 were injured during the same period.

      The saffron rope has turned out to be burden than a blessing.

  • 3
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    You have written completely a different article this time. Venerabe Mahanayakes should kindly stop receiving every padada politician. except the president, even the PM is a known thief. I don’t know why prelates should receive him In order to protect sovereignity, we should abolish parliament SELECTED PM and should leave only the people ELECTED Executive president who is answerable to the law except it is a clear case of security. there should not be protexction for sil-redi like cases and when sons get indirect millions to establish companies——————- In the UK, out of respect to queen, there is no politicas based on religions. It is labour and concervative. In the USA, to begin with, whether it is democratic or republican, it is different groups of religious politics. In Sinhale, Tamils, muslims are allowed. when buddhists want to do politics every one and come and talk about extremism. Earlier, every one scolded sinhala – buddhism. Now diredctly, they want us to be good buddhists while the Buddhist culture is now highly tainted by muslims and christians

  • 9
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    Sarath de Alwis,

    “Buddha is the physician. Dharma is the medicine. Sangha is the nurse. This luminously lucid analogy explaining the Buddhist concept of the three jewels – Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is given by Professor Richard Gombrich.”

    Yes, now the Sangha wants to be Buddha.

    Sinhala “Buddhism” is an insult to Buddhism.

    Mahawamsa is an Insult to the Buddha.

    • 3
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      Moda amarasiri: buddhists are living in a christian dominated world and now muslims are fighting for the share. So, use your dumb – brain to think. that buddhists have a civilication and culture which is highly being tainted because, the corruopt and stupid politicians are the expert – rulers in the country.

      • 7
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        Gon Dimwit Jimsofty,

        “Religion is the opium of the masses”, and equally applies to Buddhism, especially Sinhala “Buddhism”, as well, along with the other religions.

        They all believe that the Sun goes around the Earth and worship or venerate the Moon.

        The Priest, the monks, the mullahs, the politicians and their cronies are for the spoils , and the modayas follow them, expecting unproven benefits in after life.They all have plenty of modayas to choose from, especially when the national mean IQ is 79.

        • 2
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          Even some Sangha members like to identify buddhism as a religion. As othe religions, buddhism also has a component which says discipline yourself. but, butddhism does not force on you sayinbg almighty or hell will be upon you if you do not listen to the scriptures. IT is your own karma in buddhism. SO, BUDDHISM IS NOT A RELIGION. IF IT IS COUNTETS AS A RELIGION, THAT IS HOW IT IS DIFFERENT.

      • 4
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        Jimba Shitty, how did a gamaya idiot like you who hates Christians end up with a Christian name? Go and re-name yourself to the following;

        •Saparamaduwe Srivarnakulasooriya Jayantha Udaravane Punchibanda Mahinda Rajapaksa or you can call yourself SSJUPMR or to make it really easy you can call yourself Jackass.

        What I have suggested above is quite fitting name for a hick from the deep south of Lanka.

      • 4
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        Jimba Shitty, what is Buddhism? It is a philosophy.

        How did this ever become a religion? What are you idiots praying to? Are you praying to a philosophy? What are you hoping to achieve?

        Did you and your ancestors cook this up?

        When did Buddha ever have Godly powers?

        Whatever Buddha ran away is what you and your goon friends preach these days.

  • 6
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    What a brilliantly unorthodox, refreshingly thought-provoking and knowledgeable essay! The author must continue this analysis and take it to completion.

    • 2
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      Anti-Buddhism dies hard. It is vibrant today, as it has been over the last 3000 years. See here, how the syphilitic Church of England version of history by De? Alwis is being cheered by the Catholic pretend-Buddhist sympathiser DJ. Wonder where Jehan Perera is! The Brahmins destroyed it in India and adulterated with the so-called Mahayana version. The colonisers felt inferior to the sophisticated egalitarianism of Buddhism they found in Sri Lanka, that undermined their justification of colonial invasion and subjugation of peoples. So these kinds of rants are to be expected from the colonial lackeys. At least Buddhists, unlike Alwis, are not worshiping a religion founded by a syphilitic sex deviant for his own purposes. DJ should read a bit about the history of the corruption ridden papacy that finally gave rise to ‘reformed’ versions of it. You are people compromised by events of history, assuming the coloniser’s names and religion. Buddhists understand this, but will fight with their blood to defend Buddhism. No false-intellectualise this, Alwis.

    • 2
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      Dr.D.J ,
      You know me long enough to know that I am no social anthropologist or any thing near it. Unorthodox yes.
      I had the good fortune of reading “Saranankara Sangaraja Samaya” by Ven. Kotagama Wachissara thero – an incisive analysis of religion in the Kandy kingdom.

      Professor H.L. Senevitatne’s ‘Ritual of the Kandyan State’ out of print, made accessible by fortuitous events, was the immediate inspiration.

      Venerable Dr.Walpola Rahula Maha Thera in What the Buddha Taught says ‘Buddha was a human being pure and simple.”

      Ven.Dr.Bellanwila Wimararatne in his Sinhalese Commentary of ‘Baudhdha Pudapooja Sanskruthiye ” declares that Venerable Rahula Maha Thera is a controversial character. ‘Wivadathmaka Charithyak.’

      Venerable Rahula was Vice Chancellor of Jayawardenepura, He left on differences with Iriyagolla not completing his term. Pragmatic Mahinda made Bellanwilla Chancellor of the same University. Pious Maithree reappointed him for a second term and personally handed over the letter of appointment at his temple.
      Therein lies the tale of Theravada doctrine and politics in Sri Lanka.

    • 2
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      Dayan ~ “……….The author must continue this analysis and take it to completion.”
      “Completion” when Sarath de Alwis concludes “Bring back MR/GR and they will regenerate Gnanasara (May his Mr Universe muscles increase)”?

  • 5
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    Nosey Parker.
    ….here he goes again.
    Does truth hurt you by any chance. Its better to destroy all the nikayas and we will have peace!

    • 2
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      Got into the game ha…. Annesley how about Catholics killing protestants. anglicans going against Catholics. Dutch-Cathlics, in colonial Sinhale, killing portugeuse catholics ? Now all the christians ganging up against Catholics ?. Did buddhists do that ?

    • 4
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      Dear Author and all Participants,
      Religion for all is not the life. Religion is a part of life. Religion is not just Buddhism. Religion is not meant to be classified as major religion and minor religion. This is twenty-first century. It is very obvious Sri Lanka has pushed itself back towards the 17th century policies. Those Countries ruled by orthodox religious rules were established well above 500 years back. The problem for Sri Lanka is maintaining superiority and power by the numerically strong Sinhalese only. They always keep it that way with the excuse of democratic elections. Because the minority provinces are traditionally non Sinhalese. Whatever the rulers undertake to get over international pressure, it is never fulfilled because of their background and fear of minorities coming to power. It is always good for them to allow the religion take care of the rulers and they return to power always and keep the minorities oppressed.

      • 4
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        Richard: That is your view as a Tamil. It is a different case becaue scum bsgs politicianms use religion for their benefit. Differentiate rulers and people.

      • 4
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        Richard

        I can broadly agree with what you have said above.

        “The problem for Sri Lanka is maintaining superiority and power by the numerically strong Sinhalese only.”

        Only a minority among the numerically strong Sinhalese benefited and continue to benefit from all those centralised power. The main problem with numerically strong Sinhalese is that their emotional attachment to irrationality, lies, rumours, myth, ….. propaganda and trust crooks, racists, bigots repeatedly in every elections since 1956.

        The saddest part of the island history is that there is a gang of noisy minority among the populace still believe in the the Sinhala only language Act was the best thing ever happened to the people. The Act destroyed community relation belief in right and wrong, and faith in democracy, treated periodic violence as a tool to deal with democratic dissent, justified tyranny of the majority, ……………….

        The least the intellectually honest among the numerically strong Sinhalese could do is start looking at themselves, ask difficult questions, about the past, present and the future of the people. It would be a painful journey nevertheless the journey should start now.

  • 2
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    A tiny island in the middle of nowhere. 500 years of Christian domination. And yet Buddhism, however corrupt, still managed to prevail, thanks to the Sangha and the people.

    • 3
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      Taraki

      “And yet Buddhism, however corrupt, still managed to prevail, thanks to the Sangha and the people.”

      If what you practice is corrupt, it is not Buddhism, call it by any other name, perhaps appropriately Sinhala/Buddhist Fascism.

      Yet you are proud about it.

      When will the Buddhists liberate Buddha’s teaching and Buddhist way of life from Sinhala/Buddhist Fascist?

      • 2
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        Native Veddah no religion is practiced perfectly anywhere by its followers as you well know. But at least the doctrine is available if not the practice. If Buddhism as found in Sri Lanka is corrupt, those who want to can easily follow it without being corrupt themselves.

        Please give us a list of nations where Christianity and Islam are practiced in perfect accordance with their founder’s ideals.

        • 4
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          Taraki

          “Please give us a list of nations where Christianity and Islam are practiced in perfect accordance with their founder’s ideals.”

          So your excuse to continue corrupt practice is that Christianity and Islam are not practiced according to the founders’s ideals.

          I understand your rationale, the problem lies with Christianity and Islam not with Sinhala/Buddhism or Sinhala/Buddhists. Let us blame Christianity and Islam for the down fall of Buddhism in this island.

          Thanks for your usual , its been a great help.

          Now let me see if I could amend the constitutions of countries where Islam and Christianity are being practiced and followed:

          The kingdom/republic of …… give assurance to encourage Sri Lanka that we ensure we practice our faith in accordance with founder’s ideal’s.

          In other words, CHAPTER II – BUDDHISM of the constitution of Sri Lanka which shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana is a total lie, and not working.

          • 2
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            No excuses or prevaricating, still waiting for that list…..

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              Taraki

              “Please give us a list of nations where Christianity and Islam are practiced in perfect accordance with their founder’s ideals.”

              What is the point if there is one.
              As far as I am concerned human institutions are corrupt,………………….. vile …

              My question was straight forward and simple, I asked:
              When will the Buddhists liberate Buddha’s teaching and Buddhist way of life from Sinhala/Buddhist Fascist?

              Have you got an answer or not?
              Are we comparing merits of each and every religion? I don’t think so.

              I will cross that bridge when I come to it, Sinhala/Tamil Christian fascism, Sinhala/Tamil Muslims fascism, Tamil/Saiva fascism, ………………. Now its high time we dealt with Sinhala/Buddhist fascism.

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                I had no idea that you were overweight. There are better forms of exercise than jumping to conclusions…….still waiting.

  • 3
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    the sangha did not advise the early Sinhalese kings this is a myth

    the king was the head of the sangha . they did not need their advice as the Brahmins performed this role
    so why not go back to those early days

  • 3
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    Let us take our hats off to Sir John and mighty JR for the wisdom displayed in handling religious matters. Mahasangha are a part of the electorate having a vote each no different to our farmers etc.. Like Mahanayakas there are Govirajas whose opinions matter in constitution making. We must not forget that changes in 1956 were a result of a joint peaceful upheaval by Sanga Veda Guru Govi Kamkaru with Sangha being a minority as far as their voting strength is considered.In the present context while Mahasangha can exercise their democratic voice the electorate will decide at a referendum on what is good for mother Lanka. Any attempts to stop people going for a referendum their democratic right that should be fought tooth and nail.
    Its advisable for Mahasangha to concentrate more on their ultimate goal of cessation of life from this birth than getting involved in things material.

  • 2
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    Amarasiri,
    Read Buddha’s first sermon: Dahamma Chakka Pavattana Sutta, and give your comments before you write anything else on Buddhism. Don’t try to poke into everything under the sun thinking that that you know everything. You could end up being like the proverbial monkey that got his testicles trapped between the 2by8.

  • 3
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    Native Vedda: Thanks for inviting my attention to those “Titles” you have enumerated. I am of opinion, that according to Buddha’s Teachings: “Every thing has a Dependent Origination” i.e. “PATICCASAMUPPADA”. Accordingly, those “TITLES” originated from the “Duty Free Vehicle Permits” (unlimited numbers); “Employment Opportunities in Government and other State Agencies” e.g. “Advisors”; “Coordinating Secretaries”; “Chancellors, Lecturers in Universities”; “Teaching &Clerical Posts” in Govt; Schools; “Tie Pirith Nool & place the Daathu Karanduwa on the Head” etc…..etc… So my friend, everything has a “Cause & Effect” and also don’t forget “Everything has an Explanation”. Have nice day.

  • 1
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    Read Sarath de Alwis’s ~ ” Sangha & Sovereignty In The Age Of The Republic” learned a lot. Read it again and learned even more.
    One concludes that recent changes in the practice of Lankan Buddhism needs a thorough thinking over.

    Sarath quotes the former Vice President of India, (the late) Saravapalli Radhakrishnan celebrated the life of Buddha – “………..he was born a Hindu and died a Hindu” who reformed the caste ridden Brahmin society…..”. There is a bit of Archi Bunker here. The caste ridden Indian society got rid of the progressive teachings!
    Practice of a religion always evolves away from the original religious teaching – preservation of privileges is the main driver here.
    In the West, now, Hinduism is a force to be reckoned with by the expats. Tamil Hindus are introducing more and more superstition into their life. Astrology is thriving more than “back at home”. Marriage brokers can rattle off one’s pedigree one never knew. Caste system is thriving as never before.
    Back here, one cannot ignore the power yielded by ACJU Chair Ritzwi.

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    Sarath de Alwis once again shares his enormous knowledge with the readers of CT – in the good tradition of Tissaranee G/Vishvamitra. It is comforting to know Sri Lanka is not entirely devoid of learned journalists-analysts. Add bold and fearless to that.

    The priesthood post-1956 has grown in political influence to a point Parliamentary power is devalued to a point of near-irrelevancy. Aiyo Sirisena not only genuflects before the politically activist Mahanayakas but is clearly scared of them. The man knows what will happen to him and his disproportionate newly acquired loot (as well as that of his immediate family) if he is to be denied his crown. With the trail of foreign debt burgeoning with every passing month, the country – including the poor 20 million + – are in the road to hell.

    After all when the enormous power of what should be the apolitical Sangha unabashedly enters the political snake-pit in an unconventional marriage, the outcome is unending turmoil and bloody death.

    Kettikaran

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      kettikaran

      “The priesthood post-1956 has grown in political influence to a point Parliamentary power is devalued to a point of near-irrelevancy.”

      Apart from saffroniasation of democracy since 1956 there has been a deliberate process of militarization of our parliament, democracy, education, history, media, trade, …………………………………

      The cake is too small to divide among the crooks, war criminals, single handed military fascists, saffron clad fascists, ………………………………….. and the people. Hence a larger conflict/chaos is unavoidable.

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    We expect the mahasanga to show us the path to heaven [nibbana] but on the contrary the way they are sowing the seeds of communal disharmony we will end up in hell.

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    The late Vice- President of Indian Republic that Dr Radakisihan wrong an approach of that outlook of that thinking of Lord Buddha philosophy, that the Buddhist Theory of Knowledge of Causality has denied that Hinduism advocated World or human Created by God.
    I having doubt that Sarath Alwis has an opportunity to read Buddhist Philosophy.
    I think so he not being to any Universities Education inside or out side an Island.
    I do not want go more polemics with Mr Sarath Alwis …
    Here is Martian Wickramasinghe said his book of Revolution and Evolution. ….
    “The Buddha rejected the animistic and occult aspect of religion. During his life time his personality and spiritual aspect of his DHAMMA INSPIREED THE INTELLIGENTSIA and illiterate with the sense of the holy.”

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