6 July, 2022

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Sharmini On Buddhism And Ritual

By H.L. Seneviratne

H.L. Seneviratne

H.L. Seneviratne

I started this as a comment on Sharmini Serasinghe’s “Open Letter”, but it turned it to be too long for a comment. So I am asking CT to publish this as a separate piece.

My view of Buddhism is broadly similar to that of Sharmini, and there obviously are many other non-ritualist Buddhists like Sharmini and me. But there is another side. While the monks can fairly be accused of making a ritualism of Buddhism, it is ritualism, and not the “philosophy” of the Buddha, that has enabled it to gain popularity and become a world religion. Even in the modern west, Buddhism is often culticized by individuals and groups, though free of the gross ritualism of the traditionally Buddhist societies.

Thus, though a necessary condition for the popularity of Buddhism, ritualism came at a price, that of tarnishing Buddhism by an excess of it. The invention of ritual was a large-scale project that spread over the centuries, and its nature varied from locality and time, with the effect that in some places and at certain times, it was disciplined and remained more or less compatible with the spirit of Buddhism, and in others, took bizarre forms.

Had it not been for the ritualism that catered to the emotional needs of the many, Buddhism may have remained a “philosophy”, as many intellectual Buddhists claim it is. And the Buddha may have been not the great teacher of world stature that he is, and has been for centuries, but a philosopher like Socrates, unknown except to philosophy students.

This does not absolve the ritualist monks from the blame of making Buddhism into a ritualism, because it is obvious that they have overdone their use of ritual to popularize Buddhism, ignoring in the process its ethical content. The failure of the monks is not that they ritualized but that they failed to achieve the right mixture of ritual and ethics that could have enabled Buddhism to remain true to its ethical core while it spread across continents. Any cultural concessions the monks made should have been made only after ensuring Buddhism’s ethical autonomy.

Why did the monks overdo ritualization? They did it out of their un-Buddhist craving for gaining more supporters among the laity. In order to gain supporters, monks came up with rituals that they thought were more appealing to the religiosity and needs of their clients. This is a process that goes on today in front of our eyes, although we often fail to notice it. Colored Pirit threads, monks leading a bride and bridegroom to the Poruva and in other ways officiating in weddings, monks writing songs urging soldiers to kill, Bodhi Pujas for gaining profit and power and destroying enemies, holding a highly publicized Buddhist substitute for Valentine’s Day, and television Buddhism, are all part of this.

The initial spread of Buddhism in India and along the trade routes was made possible not by a vulgar ritualism but by the needs of the emerging trading and other non-agricultural classes for a code of ethics for success in their business, and its legitimization. This tells us that degeneration into cultism is not necessary for the popularization of Buddhism.

The above observations also mean that we cannot paint all monks with the same brush stroke. There certainly were virtuous and intellectually schooled monks, who fashioned rituals that remained true to the core values and doctrines of Buddhism. Unfortunately the disciplined ritual of those monks did not prevail, and what has prevailed is the kind of ritualism that Sharmini righty criticizes.

The greatest historical failure of the Sangha is its failure to encourage and achieve that mix of rationality and ethical religiosity among the populations it ministered to. Such a mix would have infused the society with an urbanity that would have accommodated ethnic and religious difference, and a civility that would have minimized parochial thought, laying the foundations for a healthy, prosperous and happy society.  The reason for this failure on the part of the Sangha is its quite un-Buddhist greed for wealth, power and status, whether it’s at the level of the village, or at the level of the political centre. This is not confined to Lanka, but is common to all Buddhist societies.

In our bemoanings about the state of Buddhism today, we tend to explicitly or implicitly posit a golden age of Buddhism in the ancient period of our history. I doubt very much that there was any such.  The likelihood is that things were not very different from what they are today. Tyrants like Dutugamunu used religion for purposes of gaining and remaining in power, and as opium of the masses, and there were willing supporters among the Sangha, as there are plenty that support the tyranny of our own times.

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  • 19
    3

    Excellent sir.
    “Tyrants like Dutugamunu used religion for purposes of gaining and remaining in power, and as opium of the masses, and there were willing supporters among the Sangha, as there are plenty that support the tyranny of our own times.”

    • 17
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      Excellent intervention and we need many more scholars of Buddhism such as Prof. H.L to deconstruct MODA SINHLA BUDDHISM in Sri Lanka today which is an increasingly violent and militarized non-Buddhism used by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka to DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE the Sinhalaya Modayas.
      The Sangha needs modernization and education to broaden their minds, but because they lack these, the greedy saffron thugs use racist Sinhala Buddhist nationalism to boost their ENVIOUS and JEALOUS egos and acquire wealth by running behind political parties and big business patrons.
      Malinda Seneviratne’s comment here exemplify Moda Sinhala Buddhist nationalism – the idea that if the other jumps into the well, them EGO must jump too! If the other commits a crime then I must commit a crime! Then this the most warped logic and is used to commit crimes even before the other has thought of it! So the Muslims in Lanka who have not taken up any weapons are being attacked because they might take up weapons!

      • 16
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        Sinhala Buddhism today is Corrupt.
        It is not Buddhism at all!
        Sinhala Buddhism is violent and politicized and ritualized and dominated by thugs and politicians who are its high priests – thugs in orange..

        While this may happen to any religion it is time to STOP THE ROT in SInhala Buddhism.
        Remember Jesus in the synagogue – “You have turned my father’s house into a den of thieves”..
        Sinhala Buddhism must be rescued from the hands of corrupt monks and their corrupt political and business and military patrons!

        • 3
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          Ritualistic Buddhists are innocent fools, we all are imperfect and people need help from invisible power. But Buddhists superiority complex is utter foolishness and it is dangerous..
          Anura

    • 3
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      Sadly Buddhism is no exception to those who will have NO compunction in bastardizing religion for their own devious purposes. Whether for power or profit charlatans are queuing up to have a go. So now it has come to Sri Lanka! Now every time my driver stops to make his contribution as we pass yet another ‘historic’ temple, I cannot but think ‘there goes my contribution to the beastly business that is engulfing us all’.

      • 0
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        “Had it not been for the ritualism that catered to the emotional needs of the many, Buddhism may have remained a “philosophy”, as many intellectual Buddhists claim it is. And the Buddha may have been not the great teacher of world stature that he is, and has been for centuries, but a philosopher like Socrates, unknown except to philosophy students.”
        True HL, Buddhism is a Philosophy, but it was also meant by the Buddha, to be a ‘Way of Life’ leading to Understanding of a ‘Way’ out of the ‘Dukkha’ of everyday Life.
        ‘Dukkha’ is not the Sinhala ‘Duka’ as it is often mistranslated. It is the resultant Unsatisfactoriness of our search for Happiness in material Things. It is a very difficult concept for ordinary Human Beings to understand, so Rituals have evolved through the Ages to keep Buddhists visiting temples to listen to the Buddha’s Dhamma, and hopefully set their faltering steps on the Noble Eightfold Path.

    • 0
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      Anpu,I beg to disagree.I think that the priests set up Dutu gemunu to destroy Elara.Elara was an invader accepted, but said to have been a just man. Gemunu was 25 yrs and Elara 75 years.The fight described in detail by two parties i read, Martin Wickramasinghe and P.G.Punchihewa formerly of the CCS, could not have taken place.The probability is that Gemunu killed Elara not at combat but may have throttled him or stabbed him. The killing angered the residents of Anuradhapura, that how the war started.I believe that Ellawala medalankara insists that Elara’s point of burial had not been found.

      • 0
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        Upali, I believe that Prof. HL’s version of the story on Gemunu is correct. The Mahavamsa states that when Gemunu’s mother asked him why he was sleeping while he squeezed himself and he replied saying that how he can sleep straight position while in “DAGUNE GOLU MUTHE AND IN UTHURE GADI THEMALU”

  • 6
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    For Gods Sake CT we had enough of this Buddhism crap here. Please no more articles on Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhism. Look at the video of Bduhhist Monk attacking Churhces and Mosques …..that is Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhism

    • 7
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      RajaH – Actually on the contrary we need to have a debate on the sorry and violent state of so-called Sinhala Buddhism today. There have been enough attacks on Muslims, Christians and Tamils – it is indeed time for the Sinhalaya Modayas to reflect on their own Moda and violent religious rituals..

      So, thanks CT for providing the space for a discussion on how Buddhism may be rescued from the Saffron Thugs and their political patron, Like Gotabaya Jarapassa the white van goon who is the patron of Bodu Balu Sena.
      Sinhala Buddhism today is an insult to WHAT THE BUDDHA TAUGHT. I hope that such a debate will make the ritualistic Buddhists think reflexively about who the teaching of the Buddha have been distorted by the politicians and political monks who are as Prof. HP says very greedy for power and money and are highly CORRUPT.

      There needs to be a Buddhist REFORM MOVEMENT and the BBS and Ravaya Bala monks who insult Buddhism and play politics like the JHU should be stripped of their robes.

      • 5
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        Dodo

        if you guys want to rescue Buddhism from the Saffron Thugs and their political patron, Like Gotabaya Jarapassa the white van goon who is the patron of Bodu Balu Sena, please take to the streets of Sri Lanka , organise protest marches, seminars and educate the rural people..who think what BBS doing the right thing.

        So called Intellectual writting arguing and counter arguing to showcase their knowledg is not going to help.

        • 5
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          The rot runs deep and it will be a long march to save Buddhism from the thugs in Lanka!
          Buddhism is a shell game in Sri Lanka today. Buddhism has been distorted and hollowed out. It is a shell, a shell game for politicians and their saffron clad thugs – a shell game played in the name of the great nation of Sinhala Modayas!

          This debate right here on CT is the start of the long march to rescue Buddhism from the corrupt and criminal Jarapassa regime and its saffron thugs..

          • 3
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            well yes it will be a long march…., by the time you so called intellectuals argue it out here on CT..you will only find the embers of Buddhism in the streets of Sri Lankan

            • 1
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              correction…embers of Sri Lanka Sinhla Buddhism…

          • 4
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            Dude

            “This debate right here on CT is the start of the long march to rescue Buddhism from the corrupt and criminal Jarapassa regime and its saffron thugs..”

            You mean it would be the world’s largest hostage rescue operation holding UN charter in both hands.

    • 1
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      Rajesh,

      Buddhism is so enmeshed in the socio economic status of Sri Lanka that it is not possible to talk about Sri Lanka without talking about Buddhism. But the irony is that pacifist Buddhism continues to play a major contributing role in all that is horribly bad in Sri Lanka.

      If Sri Lanka is to rise from the rubble of man made devastation, the only way it could be achieved is via a truly secular state, and where all religions including Buddhism is dumped into the dustbins where it should be kept forever.

      • 0
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        so lets take to the streets of sri lanka to achieve it

    • 0
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      Ok Rajjash

      Shall we talk about Hindunism instead of Bhuddism

      • 0
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        I dont think any here has the intellectual cpacity to talk about any religion

  • 8
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    I think HL is ideally positioned to do a compare and contrast with Christians/Christianity and of course Muslims/Islam. Otherwise of course it’s just another case of Buddhist-bashing couched in academic language. ‘The greatest historical failure of the Sangha is its failure to encourage and achieve that mix of rationality and ethical religiosity among the populations it ministered to.’ Considering the aggression shown by adherents of non-Buddhist faiths in setting up shop in Sri Lanka AND considering their inability to do so in other countries, in a comparative sense, the above is a gross simplification.

    • 11
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      Malinda Seneviratne

      ” Otherwise of course it’s just another case of Buddhist-bashing couched in academic language.”

      Sinhala/Buddhists bashing is needed, good, not enough.

      Liberating Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhism should be our long term duty or objective.

    • 10
      2

      Malinda Seneviratne’s comment here exemplify Moda Sinhala Buddhist nationalism – the idea that if the other jumps into the well, them EGO must jump too! Or, if the other commits a crime then I must commit a crime!

      This is the most warped logic and is used by Sinhalaya Modayas to commit crimes against minorities – even before the ‘other’ has thought of it! So, today the Muslims in Lanka who have not taken up any weapons are being attacked because they might take up weapons!

      This sort of thinking reflects the irrational phobia of the Jarapassa regime accused of war crimes – the delusion that the Buddha warned us against!

      • 3
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        “Malinda Seneviratne’s comment here exemplify Moda Sinhala Buddhist nationalism – the idea that if the other jumps into the well, them EGO must jump too! Or, if the other commits a crime then I must commit a crime!”

        This must be what he learnt at Harvard.

    • 3
      2

      Dear Mr Malinda Seneviratne,
      “..aggression shown by adherents of non-Buddhist faiths..”

      What about this? Is this OK to you
      “State sponsored Sinhalization has been increasing in Tamil majority areas in post-war Sri Lanka”
      http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2012/03/social-architects-on-sinhalisation.html

    • 5
      1

      Malinda, the point is not about “..compare and contrast with Christians/Christianity and of course Muslims/Islam”, rather, it is about how the Buddha’s teachings have ‘evolved’ over the centuries. How do you see the recent incidents perpetrated by Buddhist monks – the destruction of churches and mosques and violence against followers of other faiths? Are critical views on these incidents what you call “Buddhist bashing”? You say “…adherents of non-Buddhist faiths (are) setting up shop in Sri Lanka AND considering their inability to do so in other countries..”, so what is wrong with anyone following the ‘faith’ one chooses to? Do you want ALL Sri Lankans to be Buddhist? Sure looks like it, huh?

      Your slip is showing and I doubt it’s intentional!

    • 6
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      Malinda- Come on its a cheap shot!
      Is that the best you could offer? I expected better from you (even if you were tethered)
      Would you call the above article Buddhist bashing truthfully?
      Prof HL is merely pointing out the ritualization of the Sri Lankan Buddhist monks no more so different from the mullahs, christian and hindu priest.

    • 5
      2

      Instead of calling Malinda Seneviratne names and abusing him, I would rather ask him to expand on his claims. Not only is he is a strong spokesman for Sinhala Buddhist nationalism –but I have heard it said, that he has had some brush with social science – and will be able to articulate its ideology more clearly. For example, “What does set up shop here” mean exactly? Does he then want all the religions of the world to stay away ant those here already to leave or submit themselves to humiliation and deprivation and oppression without protest? Does he and his fellow ideologues want to establish a theocracy following the example of medieval Catholicism? Does he want Sri Lanka to construct a polity by taking the example of certain middle eastern states? Is this what the Buddha and Asoka recommended?

      • 4
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        Kavi Sunderam,

        Yes, that is exactly what Malinda wants on behalf of his paymasters.

        Prostitution comes in various forms.

    • 5
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      Malinda

      I think you hit the mark. The crux of the issue is to distinguish between much needed honest, objective analysis and criticism of unsavoury trends in Buddhism in Sri lanka today AND, as you put it, “Buddhist-bashing couched in academic language.” And also it goes without saying the current developments should be contextualized for the critique to be objective and not degenerate into anti-Buddhist hate-mongering.

      Looking within Sinhala society itself, these developments reflect class/caste tensions and urban-rural frictions. Looking outward, these developments are part of the rising tide of fundamentalism in ALL religions in Sri Lanka at the moment. Further, these developments in Sinhala-Buddhism are also a reaction to real or perceived threats to country’s sovereignty emanating from the 30 year civil war and its aftermath that we are currently facing. Looking further beyond, these developments are ramifications of globalization and the accompanying cultural dislocations.

      What we urgently need is such a contextualized perspective and a dispassionate analysis in order to address the emerging negative trends in the country as a whole. Otherwise the discussion will descent into mutual mudslinging and hate-propaganda as evidenced by the oversimplified junk churned out by people like Sharmini Serasinghe and Wijeyawickrema in the guise of scholarly articles.

      That is why I posed my “eight-fold” question to Sharmini as my response to her latest article [CT, Jan 13]

      If the discussion fails to take cognizance of the complex nature of rising Sinhala-Buddhist stridency in the country, people like Sharmini on the one hand, and on the other people like Gnanasara will be two sides of the same coin.

    • 9
      2

      Malinda,

      It is best that you keep quiet when learned people are engaged in talk. Your juvenile and asinine contributions are not on the same level.

      Buddhism is not going to rise from the cesspit of worldliness by pointing at faults in other religions.

      Just grow up.

      • 3
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        Well said, BBS Rep.

    • 3
      2

      @Malinda-

      Historically Theravada Buddhism has at once been resistant and incorporative to intrusions of ritualistic religious forms such as Tantrism (from which pirith noola comes), Mahayanism and Hinduism. The Theravada tradition put up a strong resistance to incursions from Mahayanism and Tantrism embodied in the sthaviravada sect. Blood was shed (of tera Sanghamitta, etc) arson was committed (on the Mahavihara building) kings were excluded from favour (Mahasena, etc), schisms appeared (Mahavihara Vs abhayagiri). But eventually, in due course, in the fullness of time, the encompassing nature of Sinhalese Buddhism incorporated these initially resisted doctrines into its ritualistic outer crust. Same with Hinduism. Initial resistance is strongly manifest in anti Brahmanical and Hindu invective in Budhist texts. But still, eventually the Hindu rituals and deities and belief systems were differentially incorporated. This is a complex social process, the result of different forces interacting with each other over millenia. Not some conscious activity of the Sangha. The idea that the Sangha got together and said “Let’s incorporate this, that, that and this (like a housewife on a shopping spree) so that we can enlarge our congregation and get more donations” is an odd position for a sociologist/anthropologist to take. But there is evidence to show that HL, the anthropologist/sociologist is not much of a researcher when it comes to writing to public forums. See (http://tinyurl.com/HL-the-linguist).

      Also his perceptions on this particular issue (social Buddhism) may be less than clear. This is shown by his readiness to give serious mental houseroom to a non-cognoscenti commenter like Sharmini Seresinghe, who is probably trying to deal with issues of self esteem (most likely arising from a problematic post menopause) by coming out with simplistic, one dimensional adolescent-bravado-revolutionary- intellectualisms of the “dalada is not a real tooth-it’s awfully big- why are we worshiping it?- Mahavansa was written in pali-so the people thought it was the tripitaka” variety.

      • 3
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        Linsay

        Well put points to ponder:

        “This is a complex social process, the result of different forces interacting with each other over millenia. Not some conscious activity of the Sangha. The idea that the Sangha got together and said “Let’s incorporate this, that, that and this (like a housewife on a shopping spree) so that we can enlarge our congregation and get more donations” is an odd position for a sociologist/anthropologist to take.”

        “simplistic, one dimensional adolescent-bravado-revolutionary- intellectualisms of the “dalada is not a real tooth-it’s awfully big- why are we worshiping it?”

        Bravo!

        • 2
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          @ Pointman

          My response was not wholly free from a “neecha” streak though. Note the use of the ‘M word’ to denigrate.

          Interestingly, in 2008, HL was holding up the reality of religious syncretism in Buddhism to urge reconciliation (“Most of what goes as Buddhist ritual is actually derived from the Hindu rituals particularly of Tamil South India.”, see http://tinyurl.com/island-HL)

          Today, after 2009, he is using the same syncretism and incorporative drives of Buddhism to denigrate the Sangha. The difference in the two positions can be explained in one word; opportunism. Even more interestingly messianic, mavericks such as Dharmapala and Gangodavila Soma thera who were purist reformers and wanted to do away with all syncretism have generally been denigrated by “moderate hats”as arrogant, intolerant, purist, protestant, etc, etc.

          “Ironically, during the colonial era Sinhala Buddhist ‘liberation figures’ drew upon Western intellectual currents to enforce similar readings of ‘good Buddhist practice.’ One example is Don David Hewavitarne, better known as Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1934).[xiv] It was because he absorbed the highly rational interpretations of Buddhism presented by Protestant Western intellectuals who were attracted to the Dhamma, such as Rhys-Davids, Paul Carus and C. T. Strauss, that Dharmapala became a fervent opponent of “all ceremonies, rituals, tomfooleries, abominations which go under the name of astrology, charms, sacrifices and beliefs in Ghosts, demons, godfathers…” (diary entry 18 Aug. 1902). Thus, on one occasion in 1905 he intervened personally and forcefully to drive away a body of music-making Muslim Malayālis who were part of a traditional procession entering the Kālaniya Temple (diary/entry, 10 Aug. 1905). This arrogant act, surely, marked his purist antipathy to religious syncretism and was in tune with a broader sweep of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism…”- (http://tinyurl.com/MR-Intolerance)

          Also interestingly even though today they attack reformist/second coming prayer centers, it’s more than possible that in another 200 years time Buddhism will incorporate the concepts of the Holy Spirit and Redemption (because they are such powerful, life affirming concepts). I wouldn’t be surprised if in 200 years even the Lankan sorcery ritual (assuming the sorcery rituals survive till then) incorporated the Holy Spirit into thovils as a healing deity or demigod under warrant from Buddha to heal afflicted humans. That’s how colorful, inclusive and incorporative Sinhalese Buddhism is.

      • 4
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        Linsay,

        You start off by commenting like a know-it-all and a “cognoscenti” over and above Prof. H.L. Seneviratne. If so, why are you hiding behind a pseudonym?

        You should have stopped at the end of your first paragraph. The rest of it gave you away, as a dried-up and frustrated old bitch.

        You might want to use a lubricant, to solve your main problem!

        • 2
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          Mahadana Muththa (Jnr)

          Looks like you’re speaking from personal experience. No wonder you sound unfulfilled and grumpy all the time like a horny old man. My Naana says, seek marriage counseling without exposing your better half to public ridicule.

          Kutti Machan
          (with Naana cum Editor)

          • 2
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            Kutti Machan,

            At my grand old age, I have had many experiences, personal ones too.

            “No wonder you sound unfulfilled and grumpy all the time like a horny old man”. How would you know, is your father like that?

            Since my “better half” is no longer amongst the living, I cannot expose her to “public ridicule”, so you are most welcome to send your “Naana” to relieve me of, according to you, my “horny old man” symptoms.

            • 1
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              [Edited out]

              • 1
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                Mahadana Muththa (Jnr)

                I’m sorry to hear
                for you it’s not a
                matter of irrigation
                but a matter of total
                deprivation.

                Kutti Machchan

      • 2
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        Linsay:
        You make some sound observations about the evolution of Sinhala Buddhism and then refer to HLS essay and say,” The idea that the Sangha got together and said “Let’s incorporate this, that, that and this (like a housewife on a shopping spree) so that we can enlarge our congregation and get more donations” is an odd position for a sociologist/anthropologist to take”.
        And then you cite Ratnavalli’s diatribe as evidence of HLS’s scholarly deficiencies — Ratnavalli of course being world-renowned scholar in historical linguistics!Neither she or the person she cites–Gair-have any such credentials.Oh tempore or mores!
        You go further and say:
        “to a non-cognoscenti commenter like Sharmini Seresinghe, who is probably trying to deal with issues of self esteem (most likely arising from a problematic post menopause)”
        How do you know about her menopausal condition?Do you have intimate knowledge?
        You have denigrated HLS’s scholarly credentials,Does this kind of sexist polemics bespeak to your scholarly credentials?

        Indeed one must ask here :Why is that debates these fora descend to these low levels by both Tamilo-phobes Sinhala-phobes?Does this abuse of women indicate a sub-conscious sentiment that women shoud stay away from serious debates?

        • 1
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          Kavi Sunderam,

          You are a very intuitive person.

          Linsay is one of those people, suffering from a massive inferiority complex, projected as a superiority complex. Because of this, His/her use of language is clearly intended to intimidate/bully.

          His/her invective against H. L. Seneviratne and Sharmini Serasinghe, clearly denotes a perceived threat by such people, to his/her assumed intellectuality.

          This pseudo-intellectual Linsay, reveals his/her true personality, through his/her unwarranted, personal attack against a female (Sharmini).

          However, such people are ‘gems of study’ for those of my profession.

        • 1
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          @ KaviSunderam
          Certain people should indeed stay away from serious debates and concentrate on their jobs, health and relationships. Irrespective of gender, these people are 1)Those who, even after their 15th birthday has become a sweet, remote and largely forgotten memory , can still come out with arguments of the ilk; “ dalada is not a tooth-it’s awfully big-why worship it”

          2) People who are so out of it as to be capable of committing in public faux pas such as “Gair does not have credentials”

          By that “Oh tempore or mores!”, I judge you to be fairly elderly. So uncle can I suggest something? Forget Gair and such irrelevancies. Take an interest in grandchildren or religion or yoga or some lighter public interest subject.

          • 1
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            Linsay:

            A brilliant reposte,if there ever was one!Such forensic skills.
            I am truly crushed.
            By the way,why are you so obsessed with issues like menopause etc?
            Are you having your own troubles in this department?There indeed some cures you can try…

  • 9
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    Where are you Sinhala/Buddhist Hela, Navin, Abhaya, JimSoft, sach, Banda, Bandu, Vibushana, …… The country needs you!!!!!

    Here is another opportunity for you to attack sanity, rationality and intellectual honesty,… Commence attack on Prof H.L. Seneviratne now.

    • 1
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      They gone for kassippu holiday in down south…they will be back with vengence…

  • 9
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    Religion and ethnicity are useful tools, I should say weapons in the hands of the rulers to intoxicate the populace. Talking about rituals take for an example ” the katina ” ritual which is in fact a ‘ celebration’ to mark offering of a new robe – ” sivura” to a monk. What Buddha used as ‘sivura’ was in fact the clothes that were used to wrap dead bodies with. In order to conceal the stains from the decaying bodies Buddha soaked these clothes in tree saps and extracts from tree leaves etc. Now the sivura comes in various choices of colour make and style. It is also worn in different styles owing to the sect one belongs to. The sects or ‘nikayas’ in turn are purely based on casts. The whole thing is an ‘ inconvenient’ joke. Pitith noola is another joke.. Nowadays you cannot find anybody without a pirith nooola wrapped around the wrist. People are so intoxicated to believe that a pirith noola can bring some good. In fact pirith noola is a piece of thread which has been chanted in to some ‘pirith’… well pirith in turn is nothing but a written story, starting with the usual phrase ‘ once upon a time’ which goes in P!ali as ” evan me suthan” etc..Wrapped around one’ s wrist the ‘pirith noola’ usually turns from white to dirty brown. … becoming breeding grounds for bacteria and a health hazard. Yet the joke still continues. …………

  • 2
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    [Edited out]

    Please write instead of posting links – CT

  • 6
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    IS THERE DHAMMA IN BUDDHIST TEMPLES?
    1 Every temple has a till to receive coins and currency notes from Buddhists and non Buddhists visitors.The collection goes to the pocket of the head priest of the temple.

    Pilgrims who visit Sri Pada throw money onto the stone slab where the Buddha is believed to have placed his foot print.Net income received by the priest who owns Sri Pada must be over one million rupees a day.Multiply it by 100 and that is the income the chief priest of Sri Pada receives during the pilgrim season that begins in December and ends in April in the following year
    The income, the owners of Temple of the Tooth and the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura receive cannot be less than the Sri Pada priest receives.
    What happens to that money?
    What happens to the money received from visitors as contributions by other big temples such as Bellanvila Raja Maha Viharaya, Kelani Viharaya etc?
    A lot of Buddhist priests own property, movable and immovable.
    The Lord Buddha told his disciples not even to touch money as it enhances craving, the biggest obstacle for Nibbana.

    According to Buddha’s teaching no Buddhist priest can own property.

    2600 years ago the Buddha rejected the caste system. Yet a child of a so called low caste is not ordained as a priests by many sects(Nikayas)in this so called ‘Dhamma Deepa'(island of Buddha’s teachings).

    The Buddha preached the path of non-violence. Yet the tribe of BBS and the tribe of Hela Urumaya are probably ready to kill non Buddhists to ‘save’ Buddhism.

    Please don’t assume that I am a non Buddhist.I follow the teachings of the Lord Buddha as much as possible.I don’t steal, I don’t kill, I don’t hurt,I don’t hate, I don’t misbehave,I try not to lie,and I don’t take strong alcohol.I was born to a Buddhist family but now I rarely visit temples as they are the homes of un-Buddhist monks.
    Buddhists! save the teachings of the Buddha from un- Buddhist monks.

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      Thank You Punchisingho for giving us hope. More people like you should speak up loud and clear to end this madness. Every time my driver stops the vehicle in order to make a contribution to whichever temple we are passing (notable at Kalutara bridge), I cannot but help feeling that I am contributing to a ‘profit centre’. What happens to that money? Indeed, the Nikaya’s themselves dishonour the Buddha by the way they segregate and discriminate. Already Sri Lankan ‘Buddhism’ is becoming the laughing stock of the universe.

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    By erecting hundreds of buddha statues and dagobas in places where there are hardly any buddhists,the army in the north is carrying out “buddhist intimidation”.
    This type of ‘propagation’ of buddhism is only in sri lanka.
    At the same time many hindu temples have been looted,desecrated and partially/totally destroyed.
    Hindu priests who are confined to temples and do not take part in politics,are attacked when they entreat military men not to enter temples with boots on.
    Some have even been killed.
    Broadcasting sermons loudly by amplification from buddhist temples does discredit to buddhism and is used as a mode of harassment of people by the sangha.
    Buddhist ceremonies to “bless” flags of army regiments is anti-buddhistic,and has become another wrong ‘buddhist’ ritual.

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      Justice: many of us would agree with you. It is oxymoronic to speak of Buddhism and Armed Forces in the same breath. We are now seeing the proliferation of various acts connected with Buddhism by people committed to violence, and elsewhere the thugs and crooks have infiltrated our temples ‘to safeguard’ Buddhism (notably Mervyn Silva and his self-appointed stewardship of the Kelaniya temple). The mind boggles.

  • 4
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    Sharmini must be over the moon, to have a person of Prof. H L Seneviratne’s stature, endorse her views.

    Congratulations Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe

    • 4
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      ask polbemuna to read this slowly again . I dont think prof HL agreed with the fool .

      • 3
        4

        Abhaya,you stupid oaf,

        There’s none so blind as those (like you) who will not see!

        • 2
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          ask puwakbaddilla to read it one more time .

          • 1
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            As suggested by dimwit Abhaya

            “My view of Buddhism is broadly similar to that of Sharmini, and there obviously are many other non-ritualist Buddhists like Sharmini and me”- H L Seneviratne

      • 3
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        Abhaya

        During MR’s recent visits to Palestine and Israel did he enjoy kosher and halal food or did he rely on food prepared according to Aryan Sinhala/Buddhists recipe, kiri bath for example?

    • 1
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      I totally agree with you MM (Jnr).

      Prof. H L Seneviratne has paid the ultimate compliment to Sharmini.

  • 2
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    I thought the readers would be interested in this video clip.
    Prof H. L. Seneviratne on the state of violence in Sri Lanka –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gGOQHOdz_Q

  • 4
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    The unpalatable truth is that humans need rituals to maintain their sanity!
    HL is right. The Buddha’s teaching would have died (like those of Socrates) if not for the rituals and un-buddhistlike beliefs.There is no point in comparing and contrasting Buddhism with other faiths. More ‘rational’ to remove the ‘beam in one’s own eye’.

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    Buddhism should be the practice of a silent secret elite not thugs and gangsters and ritualists and fascists.

  • 2
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    HL

    While I broadly agree with you . I dont think every ritual came from the sanga .

    Didn’t the Buddha himself do a animisalochana puja at the bodhi tree under which he attained enlightenment ?

    if all ritual is to be removed what does this mean ? He could have said that is a dammed tree and just walked away . isnt it the same as respecting and worshiping ones parents that we do ? .

    While it is true that there is a lot of hindu gods worshiped in Buddhist temples . This is I think a byproduct of a hindu populace converted to Buddhism . just remnants of the previous religion .

    • 5
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      where in the article the writer says those rituals to be removed ?

      What kind of pingona are u Abhaya ? Either brain is hired by rascals, or you can see beyond.
      Ponnayas of your kind of breeding easily.

      • 0
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        apologies:

        it should be you CANT see beyond.

      • 1
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        thank you for braying like a gonbooruwa ,

        My question was meant for an intelligent reader not a [Edited out] like you .

        crawl back to your hole and stay there

        regards

        • 0
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          crass :(

  • 1
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    H.L. Senevirathne is one of those who came from the same era as his other colleagues like Jayantha Dhanapala who are either Christians or the so-called buddhists who studied in christian Schools.

    Here he is trying to be an Intellectual by criticizing the Sinhala-buddhist culture.

    What does H.L. Senevirathne has to say about Monk Devadaththa who used buddhist practices in the wrong way, became a magician and wanted to be the Head of the buddha sassna while Lord buddha was living ?

    Even at Buddha’s parinirvana one monk had said some thing like “be happy, now the Lord is passing away, we can have our own way”.

    Don’t you H.L. Senevirathne know that every one has cravings, attachments, Greed, as we are not enlightenend ? that is why we are in this Samsaara. In that sense, the SOME or MOST- buddhist sangha are NOT-ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE and they can have greed, attachments, cravings.

    DON’T YOU THINK, IT IS YOUR CRAVING, SO MUCH ATTACHMENT AND GREED, THAT YOU TRIED TO SCORE FROM THIS SITUATION AND TRIED TO BECOME AN INTELLECTUAL.

    AS LEARNED INDIVIDUAL, AS AN INTELLIGENT INDIVIDUAL WHY DID NOT YOU TRY TO UNDERSTAND THINGS IN THEIR TRUE PERSPECTIVE ?

    Do you know the words called compassion, Equanimity, sympathetic joy etc. ?

    • 1
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      Well said Jim Softy, HL Senavirathne may be qualified in different field therefore what he said about bhuddism is not always correct because he has doctorate , we don’t have to believe everything what he said

      If someone have doctorate or professor in economics then how does he knows about bhuddism therefore don’t take what this guy says sereously

  • 1
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    In support of H.L. Senevirathne, I have to say something.

    LORD Buddha began his journey in a FAR HOSTILE world than this.

    Lord Buddha’s first instructions to monks were “monks go in different directions and two do not go the same way and for the benefit of lay people explain my doctrine”.

    That is best way to make buddhism known to people. there is a hugh craving for buddhism in the west. That society is simply crying for it.s need.

    On the other hand, H.L. Senevirathne should not have accused every monk lived during the entire buddhist histiory alike.

    I don’t want to exaplin because, the christian eyes are very keen in watching these things and do their best to destroy buddhism in Sri Lanka.

    But, H.L. Senevirathne should have been fair. As I said, even during the Lord Buddha’s time there were bad apples.

    On the other hand, even though Buddha preferred Prathipaththi -pooja and not the Armisa Pooja, even buddha, sometimes, contributed to some of the Armisa – pooja.

  • 1
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    A ruler who exercises power in a harsh, cruel manner. 3. An oppressive, harsh, arbitrary person. [Middle English, from Old French, alteration of tyran, from Latin …

    As I SUSPECT,H.L. Senevirathne has more than one degree, not only his first degree, from a University.

    Above is the definition of the word TYRANT.

    I really like to know from H.L. Senevirathne, how King DUTUGEMUNU falls into the TYRANT category.

    If some one is trying to take away what is yours and if you save them and those, because you are man, do you become a Criminal ?

  • 1
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    -The initial spread of Buddhism in India and along the trade routes was made possible not by a vulgar ritualism but by the needs of the emerging trading and other non-agricultural classes for a code of ethics for success in their business, and its legitimization.-

    So according to H.L. SNEVIRATHNE, the SPREAD OF BUDDHISM is along trade routes and among non-agricultural classes because they did not have code of ethics.

    So, IT is the not the age old practice as Buddha wanted that monks go to every village and explain the DHAMMA.

    IF SO, WHY DID BUDDHA ASKED MONKS TO GO IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS AND TO EXPLAIN THE DOCTRINE ?

    I like to know from H.L. Senevirathne where he got this information from ? What books ?

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    In our bemoanings about the state of Buddhism today, we tend to explicitly or implicitly posit a golden age of Buddhism in the ancient period of our history. I DOUBT VERY MUCH THAT THERE WAS ANY SUCH.

    WHY DON’T YOU PROVE THE STATEMENT THAT YOU MADE WHICH I HAVE CAPITALIZED.

    BAMIYAN BUDDHA STATUES, BUDDHIST TEMPLES THAT SOUTH KOREN AND VIETNAMESE CHRISTIANS NOW ARE DESTROYING SAYING THE DEVIL GOT INTO THEM — WHAT WERE THOSE ?

  • 1
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    The greatest historical failure of the Sangha is its failure to encourage and achieve that mix of rationality and ethical religiosity .

    When you use terms that only you can understand very well and no definitions given, then those become just DUMB statements.

    Why don’t you explain what this RATIONALITY, particularly the TERM ETHICAL RELIGIOSITY.

  • 1
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    H.L. SENEVIRATHNE:

    If you are an Acedemic and educated, take your own as example. OR just take you as example.

    How many thousands rogues are their in the academic and the intellectual world ?

    Why other societies can not have the same ?

    Why do you expect extreme purity from BUDDHIST – SANGHA. If that happens buddhist teachings can not be true.

    Because, Buddha has explained how buddhism will degenerate. DO YOU KNOW THESE THINGS ?

    I see lot of hatred andjealousy towards buddhism from you. I think, it is your education – the FAILED EDUCATION OF POST-COLONIAL, POST INDEPENDANCE SRI LANKA.

    BUDDHIST CHILDREN WERE EDUCATED IN CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS. NOW, THEY THINK THAT THEY ARE BUDDHISTS BUT ACTUALLY THEY ARE CHRISTIANS.

    I am not saying that because you are criticizing some monks who do the wrong practice and who teach the buddhism wrong. IT is the way you comprehend what is happening around you and it is the way how you present it to the reader.

  • 5
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    HL, has given the Sri Lankans food for thought though not as rash as sharmini speaking the unbiased truth? True Sri Lankas Buddhism needs an introspection. Buddhism is for the intellectuals as it touches the intellectual realm. While saying so I endorse the views of HL that the so called Sinhala Buddhism should be practised as a right mix of Ritual and ethnic religiosity. CT should be congratulated for giving space for a dialogue among different and meaningful exchange of ideas on what shape Buddhism in SL should take.HLs article is more to the point. But what is unfortunate is the language used for the dialogue cannot be grasped by many. Therfore Sharminis, Shyamans,and other valuable articles should be translated into Sinhala and Tamil too? the main reason why Sinhala people are called fools is that they are outside the elite English speaking community who have access to intelligent articles written on matters that matter to the welbeing of the Sri Lankans.

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      I have heard this name SUNILA MENDIS.

      [Edited out]

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        Jim Softy,

        “I have heard this name SUNILA MENDIS”.

        So have I.

        Unlike you, she’s a very intelligent lady.

    • 0
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      Buddhism is for the intellectuals as it touches the intellectual realm.

      SUNILA MENDIS

      What an idiot you are , go and study buddism before you make hilarious statements in public forums,

      the main reason why Sinhala people are called fools is that they are outside the elite English speaking community who have access to intelligent articles written on matters that matter to the welbeing of the Sri Lankans.

      What an idiot you are Bhudddah didn’t speak or preach in English , do you think that you can speak English therefore you are intellectual ?????

      Don’t you know even lunatics in England are speak English

    • 0
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      You are right Sunila. We are all ‘Frogs in a Well’ who are bogged down by GOSL sponsored Sinhala Media.
      HL and Sharmini could start a campaign to produce more Sinhala books on their understanding of Buddhism, and print them in Sinhala for free distribution. Maybe ‘Those with Little Dust in their eyes’ will be able to dig themselves out of the Pit they are in. The Dalai Lama’s Book, ‘Beyond Religion’ could be a good starting Point.

  • 3
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    Facts simply said. HLS, you have a good mind and an easy way with words.

    However the ideas and rituals in Buddhist practice that one grew up with is so deeply ingrained it is almost impossible to separate the grain from the chaff in Buddhism. The arousal of pleasant senses that the sights, sounds and smells of the temples bring even in imagination, will probably never leave one’s psyche no matter how anomalous such practices are to Buddha’s message.

    There is no argument that the outlandish behaviour of muscular thugs dressed in robes of Buddhist monks is the greatest disservice to the Buddhist faith in present day Sri Lanka.

  • 3
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    Softy – all your mumbo-jumbo aside, just tell us if you think the recent violence by those Buddhist priests against the churches and mosques are worthy of being identified as ‘Buddhist’. Do you think they should be prosecuted in a court of law? In your view are they adhering to the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths’ and ‘Eightfold Path’?

  • 1
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    “Tyrants like Dutugamunu used religion for purposes of gaining and remaining in power, and as opium of the masses, “- True that some facts like this have been highlighted, here as first time. But nobody is sure how much is Gamunu’s fault and how much Mahanama’s twisting for his goal.
    “Why did the monks overdo ritualization? They did it out of their un-Buddhist craving for gaining more supporters among the laity. In order to gain supporters, monks came up with rituals that they thought were more appealing to the religiosity and needs of their clients. ” – It is really very hard to show this is how it happened. Did the monks really looked for the crowed and attempted to attract crowed? Aren’t these monks come from India with Buddha’s message of “beg and eat”? Again it suggests that is the powerful racial campaigners like Mahanama, who lived in Sri Lanka responsible for the bad turn in the religion.
    “There certainly were virtuous and intellectually schooled monks, who fashioned rituals that remained true to the core values and doctrines of Buddhism. Unfortunately the disciplined ritual of those monks did not prevail, and what has prevailed is the kind of ritualism that Sharmini rightly criticizes.”- This is where this article detracts from actual problem. It failed to recognize the connections. It is suggesting the governance for the country could have come from the Philosophical Buddhism, rather than the ritualistic Buddhism. The reason outsiders of the Buddhism also looking into the inside problems of Buddhism is because it is being used to draw necessary support to cling on to the power by the families like Senanayake, Bandaranayake, Rajapakse. The problems that residing inside the Buddhism is not emanated to others who are suffering from it is not by the misbehaving monks, but it is by the Sinhala Royal Families they are coming to power by drawing their support from the misbehaving monks. The real problem that comes from the misbehaving monks is going to only the honest Buddhist. Fixing the Buddhism is a solution to fixing the country’s problem. But it looks like many are misunderstanding that this is a call for replace Mahanama by Ms.Serasinghe and they are coming out with their support or opposition as they want. This call is about providing the governance to the country is only by a democratic process and not by any kind of Buddhism. That is why Ms.Serasinghe is asking to replace Mahanama’s Buddhism with Buddha’s Buddhism.
    Royal Family is not interested in any rituals. In Fact there may be very few Tamil, Hindus might be visiting to South Indian Temples like Mahinda. There are Hindus in the Royal Family too. Royal Family did not kill them. Then why average Sinhala Buddhists killed neighbors who lived for generation next to them from 1958? Problem is not Buddhist monks misbehaving. In all religions their leaders misbehave time to time and masses wake up and fix it. Why would the racism come into fixing they are their own religion?
    Many misunderstand the three points appears in the original article. Or to say better, they are confusing them and misconnecting in the wrong order. Practically, Buddhist rituals are coming from Hinduism. Why, then, in India Islam and Christianity have not faced the same problem as they are facing like in Sri-Lanka? Because, though it is also corrupted, the main party of India, The Congress Party does not depend on the Hinduism to come to power. So the extreme ritualism in North Indian Hinduism is not so far corrupted the politics of India. “Racism, hijacked rituals and misbehaving, the pipeline to power” these are the three elements the original article is trying to high light. What the original article is suggesting is fixing the current corrupted religion to the Buddha’s religion will release the grip on the democracy to govern the country. Of cause the fixing process is going to be a deep Buddhism procedure, outsiders may not have much to comment on that part. What they can do is keep reminding the fixed religion is going to be only a byproduct and the main product will be a true democratic country.

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      Mallaiyuran,

      You appear to be one of the very few, who has understood Sharmini Serasinghe’s message.

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    HL has to peddle the same point of view as the author of “Buddhism Betrayed” etc. The younger generation of academics in the US was, and is, beholden to the older generation like Thambaiah and Obesekera for their chance to move up the ladder and get ahead. So HL has to also embrace their political philosophy for a high dose of superiority over the local yokals with their ritual Hinduism and ritual Buddhism.

    In their time Thambiah and Obeshekar had to peddle the line of the colonialists and study the natives, and their quaint habits, paththini deiyyo, valli amma, beliefs and customs etc) to make headway in the western academic world. This was not confined to Ceylon, but even more so in India.

    According to HL, Buddha would have remained a philosopher like Socrates !
    except for ritual.
    Get the hindus to follow Nagarjuna and the Buddhists to follow this imaginary “intellectual Buddha”posited by HL.

    Buddha (if we take standard chronology) passed away in the later part of the 6th century BC. Emperor Asoka reigned in the 3rd century BC.
    Buddha was already the acknowledged teacher of a Great Empire., and as yet, for three there was very little ritual. So even without ritual Buddha had attained what HL thinks would have not been possible.

    Christ would have remained a like any other wondering teacher according to the logic of HL,if not for ritual. But they had NO ritual until Constantine.

    All this from a social sciences prof who does not understand the Darwinian mechanics of memes propagation because they have not yet embraced evolutionary models of social change

    Sharmini’s problem, and Wigneswaran’s problem are that they think of the Mahawamsa aa a “Sacred Buddhist text”. Also, they, and also HL belong to the same anglicized colonial Colombo set that, in the aftermath of the Bandaranikes coming to power, decided that the country had gone to the dogs and staged a coup.

    The Bible is an epic of the Jews, and also a sacred text. The mahawamsa has become an epic poem of the Buddhists of Lanka, but, unlike the Bible, it is NOT a sacred text venerated by the Buddhists.

    However, while the properly educated Sinhalese are very proud of their epic, the Tamils of Sri lanka have for a long time felt the lack of a similar document to justify their claims, and have felt severely irked by it (as pointed out by Jane Russell in her study of Communalism). In the 1930s they tried to usurp the Mahawamsa, saying that it is really a history of the Tamilsm, starting from Vijayan, through Pandyan and Kasi-Appan etc. Then they have also, from time to time, claimed that Raavana is a Tamil, while the Sinhala nationalists have also claimed that Ravana is a real Hela, while the mahavamsa has out of reality.

    Read Tambimuttu’s history of the Dravida written in the 1930s, and resurrected by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam in the 1940s for his Arasu program. Wigneswram, Sharmini, and HL should read that.

    .

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      H.L. Senevirathen wants to say he is a buddhist.

      No one wants to come as christians and discuss.

      If Christ remained christ without the involvement of the ROMAN Kingodm, there won’t be any Christianity.

      H.L. Senevirathne says that buddhism spread along Trade routes and in Agricultural areas.

      HE should explain what era he is talking about. WERE NON-AGRICULTURAL BUT INDUSTRIAL TOWNSHIPS THERE AT THAT TIME.

      [Edited out]

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        JimSofty

        You lazy fellow, if you need more information on Trade and Buddhism, go do your own search.

        You are causing too much grief to those people who have other important things in their life. Go find information on your own.

      • 2
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        Jim Softy,

        Are you a disgruntled Christian?

    • 2
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      I have never read such confused garbage even in these confused pages.Kautilya is keeping true to form undertaking vindictive personal attacks and deep ignorance of social science.Tell me Kautilya:Why shouldn’t one study the Pattini Cult or the or other local religious/cultish practices?Don’t they exist?Should we pretend that they don’t exist?Should we pretend that they were not brought to the island by South Indian immigrants who later became “Buddhist”Silvas and Fernandos etc but contiuned to practice their ancestral cults?
      Of course if we study these cults and publish the findings,it will undercut the myth that ALL the Sinhala people are descended from Bangali — or is it Gujarati– unblemished Aryan immgigrants and who still carry their genes!Such studies are indeed a challenge to not only the poliltical hegemony that Sinhala chauvinists want to claim but also to a kind cultural hegemony that the the Nazis claimed in Germany:
      ONE Religion,ONE Language,ONE RACE,and use every bit of writing to eastablish this.The ground reality however is more complex than that as Hitler too realized, rather too late.

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        The pattini cult was brought to Lanka by King Gajaba, according to the chronicles. But I suspect it existed in the island even before Gajaba. The Pattini and Yakkini cults are closely related, and our sociologists do not say a word about the latter. I have no time to write about all that here.
        The Pattini cult should indeed be studied, but not in the condescending style used by the colonials, and their their henchmen academics who look at everything with the wish to civilize us from Princeton or Vermont.

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    Ritualism is introduced by certain clergy to establish control over their followers. They wish to become the intermediaries between God and the Person or the key to Niravana etc as the case may be. Often the followers end up worshipping these clergy and showering them with alms and gifts.

    This is supposed to be a meritorius act. Whereas many are hungry and starving our clergy become very prosperous and obese. These demi-gods then attain spiritual powers and their places of worship become famous. A favourite ploy is to have a statue by the side of a main road so that motorist can stop and drop a few bucks into the till thus ensuring that the Gods will protect them during the journey.

    This type of religon is good to fool the uneducated people who think that the Gods can be bribed by money and religous displays. the true essence of religon which is to achieve good qualities and live peaceful lives is lost on these hoi poloi.

  • 2
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    “Fixing the Buddhism is a solution to fixing the country’s problem. “

    You got the point.

  • 1
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    The real issue here is that the Sinhala Buddhists are more engaged in rituals than follow the Buddha’s teaching.
    So, according to Buddha himself, repercussions of that will be theirs and theirs only.
    Then, why some have gone over board about it.
    Though Buddhism is based on ahimsa, it does not prohibit anyone from self defence. When Buddhism comes under attack same applies and it is up to monks and laymen to protect it.
    Those who criticize Sinhala Buddhists for trying to protect what is rightfully theirs must also see, if they are fair minded, that none of other established religious places have been attacked. Only the unauthorized tin shack prayer houses which have invaded this country have been demolished.
    The trouble here is some people who have picked up few things about Buddhism here and there have become pandiths of Buddhism and are trying to interpret it the way they understand.
    Buddha never expected every one to understand it and attain nirvana!
    The comedy today is even Veddhas have come forward to liberate Buddhism! as if Buddhism needs to be liberated.

    Buddhism is the liberation of mankind.

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      NAK

      “The comedy today is even Veddhas have come forward to liberate Buddhism! as if Buddhism needs to be liberated.”

      This is what I wrote:

      Liberating Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhism should be our long term duty or objective.

      Note its about liberating Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhism and not from Buddhism.

      Why do you think it is comical for my people wanting to liberate Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhism?

      “Buddhism is the liberation of mankind.”

      Sinhala/Buddhism enslaves people, it is driven by greed, Ahimsa is avoided at all cost, …………

      You should inform Clan, politicians, bureaucrats, Armed forces, policemen, legal eagles(?) drug smugglers, ………… laptop journalists, yourself, that “Buddhism is the liberation of mankind.”

      Well since you are a Sinhala/Buddhists Buddha’s teaching is unfathomable.

      Would you mind organising a lecture tour by Dalai Lama? You may benifit from his lectures.

      I am sure BBS, Ravaya and other saffron clad thugs would welcome him with open arms.

      Here are a few of his quotes:

      Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
      Dalai Lama

      Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.
      Dalai Lama

      Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
      Dalai Lama

      Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
      Dalai Lama

      When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’
      Dalai Lama

      Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
      Dalai Lama

      I like the last one, why don’t you try it?

      Don’t worry China is not watching you.

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        It is comical when you compare it with Vedi Bana.
        Buddha’s teachings are not in the custody of the Sinhala Buddhists. It is freely available in the open for any one interested in following it.

        Don’t get carried away with the term Sinhala/Buddhists, it was coined by the Eelamists because Sinhala Buddhists were their only enemy.
        Sinhala Christians/Catholics were silent and the Church was covertly and some times openly in league with them and Sinhala Christians never protested that.

        I am Buddhist but not a Sinhalese and it has become the practice to call every one that when their expressions support them.

        I have listened to Dalai Lama and agree every thing he says is in accordance with Buddha’s teachings.But he has lost his country so has the Buddhists in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Maldives and Bangladesh. They are threatened in Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia.The Buddhists in Sri Lanka who 99.9% Sinhalese are fighting to prevent that from happening in Sri Lanka as well because they feel they are threatened in many fronts.
        I am not afraid of China and believe me I am trying the last one.

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          NAK

          “Buddha’s teachings are not in the custody of the Sinhala Buddhists.”

          But the Sinhala/Buddhists believe they are the sole custodian of Buddhism.

          “Don’t get carried away with the term Sinhala/Buddhists”

          The idea behind Sinhala/Buddhism one of regressive narrowly defined nationalism, which all fairness to Eelamistas was in vogue since late 19th century. Eelamistas didn’t invent the term and please refrain rewriting history.

          “I am Buddhist but not a Sinhalese and it has become the practice to call every one that when their expressions support them.”

          The last Buddhist was Buddha.

          “They are threatened in Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia.”

          Therefore you support the attacks and discrimination of other minorities believing those were preventive measures to save guard Buddhism.

          Firstly Afghanistan was controlled by Asoka’s religious police and not all people living at the time were not converted to Asokan Buddhism.

          NAK you have long way to go with your persistent paranoia.

          Spend some quality time in the jungle. The experience might make to think outside your conditioned mind.

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    What a shallow piece of writing. Rituals in Buddhism as in other religions are what sustain them. Moreover, rituals such as pirith chanting, bana sermons, bodhi poojas and dhana (alms giving) assist people to live a more rounded and meaningful life.

    It has been scientifically proven that pirith chanting has an effect on water. And with the human body being 80% water, pirith no doubt impacts all those who listen. Bana sermons help people understand life more deeply. Dhana is a ritual that provide opportunity to share. All such rituals occur in other religions as well.

    The rituals may be corrupted by some to certain degrees today, but that happens in all religions. Take televangelism in the US for example. The activities of BBS and SR are that of a minority and is a manifestation of political triumphalism and should be condemned and put down.

    It has been buddhism that has been under siege for centuries, with invading cholas, portugese, dutch and english trying to forcibly spread the writ of their respective religions in Lanka and other regions. Take for example Afghanistan, it was a buddhist country prior to invasion of the moghuls. The same goes for Indonesia. The Lord Buddha visited Lanka in his lifetime and thus the country had known Buddhism even prior to the visit of Arahat Mahinda.

    Lanka has been a Buddhist country from the 5th century BC. The Mahiyangana Chaitya bears testimony to this.

    So please dont try to provide a corrupted view of Buddhism in Sri Lanka just because the BBS and the SR is being used for political purposes.

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      Another Big Joke!

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        Please provide your case/arguments for the joke.

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      Banana,

      “Rituals in Buddhism as in other religions are what sustain them.”

      Yes, for people like you who have bananas instead of a brain, that’s the only way.

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        For people who smell like karawala (rotten dried fish), religion and rituals make no sense as their brains are rotten as karawala.

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    A little nugget I carry after six decades; we have as many ‘versions’ of Buddhism IN Sri Lanka as we have Pol Sambol recipes. And we do have many varied recipes of our favourite native dish!

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