22 October, 2017

Sister Naomi, Thank You So Much For Wearing A Buddha Tattoo On Your Upper Arm

By Ven. Walpola Piyananda –

Ven. Walpola Piyananda

Ven. Walpola Piyananda

I was greatly distressed when I heard about Naomi Coleman, a tourist from the UK, being deported because of the Buddha image tattooed on her upper arm. As everyone knows by now, Naomi was shamefully detained in Negombo for one night and then kept fpr another two nights at a detention center before being thrown out of Sri Lanka, a pattern that seems to be repeating itself. In an attempt to apologize and make amends the Sri Lankan Tourism Authority sent her off with a business-class ticket back home and gifted her with a future holiday on our beautiful island. This is, however, no consolation for the horrible way she was treated. Meanwhile, our international image and reputation have been damaged yet again, and we are now branded as intolerant, lacking in compassion, and narrow-minded – characteristics that can be added to the long list of negatives the international media has already tacked onto our profile.

If wearing Buddha images on the body is offensive to our hyper-sensitive Sri Lankan Buddhist society, what should we do about the monks from Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries that have ritual Buddha tattoos on their torsos? Should we deport them, too? In many countries faithful Buddhists wear Buddha images on amulets around their necks; should we ban those people from entering our country as well? Every year I give hundreds of children – both in Sri Lanka and in America – small images of the Buddha that they can wear to remind them of their Precepts, and help them remember to be compassionate and understanding in their daily lives. Should these children be tossed out of Sunday Dhamma School? In the West we Sangha members wear the yellow robes, unfamiliar attire to many in this society. How are we perceived here? How would we feel if we were persecuted for the way we dress as monks? Should we be deported from America and other countries just because we look different? Is dressing as a monk disrespectful to society?

Naomi Coleman was herself a faithful Buddhist, one who had already been on meditation retreats in Thailand, India, Cambodia, and Nepal. To her, the tattooed image of the Buddha on her upper arm was a mark of respect; she meant no offense to anyone. On the contrary: she only wished to honour her master teacher with an outward symbol of her beliefs. For our immigration officials and judicial system to perceive her mark of faith as offensive and defamatory, we do nothing but demonstrate our lack of skillfulness and compassion in recognizing other cultures’ perceptions and outward representations. Just because we in Sri Lanka don’t like tattoos of the Buddha on the human body, it doesn’t mean that we have the right to demonize individuals from other countries that wear them. In fact, our judgmental attitude totally goes against the fundamental teachings of the Buddha – especially in regards to defining kamma as “motivated action”; and Naomi’s motivation was certainly not to be disrespectful. I read that the magistrate didn’t even allow Naomi Coleman to speak in her defense; she was simply sentenced and shipped out. She was quoted as saying that there was no forgiveness or compassion in Sri Lanka, and her friend said that she would definitely not come back – not even with her free trip.

I have been speaking to our Ministers and other Government officials for years about properly utilizing the media to improve our national image. Unfortunately, my pleadings continue to fall on deaf ears. The only things published in other countries about Sri Lanka these days are articles that condemn us for our perceived wrong-doings. You can be quite certain that unskillful actions like the deportation of Naomi Coleman will do nothing but add fuel to the fires kept burning by the UN Human Rights Commission and others who have agendas to do us harm. I urge the Government to wise up and act skillfully so we can improve our image overseas, encourage tourism, and put the teachings of the Buddha into practice.

Sister Naomi Coleman, may you have the blessings of the Triple Gem! Thank you so much for wearing the image of the Buddha on your upper arm; by doing so you are promoting Buddhism to those who might see you, and present the opportunity to discover the Buddha’s teachings for themselves.

*Ven. Walpola Piyananda – Chief Sangha Nayake of America, International Religious Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka

Related posts;

Tattoo Of The Enlightened One

Under Which Law Did The Magistrate Make The Order To Deport The Lady Tourist With The Tattoo Of Lord Buddha? – AHRC

Buddha’s ‘Blood Relative’ Tolerates His Tattoo But His Officials Can’t Tolerate Buddha Tattoo

The British Tourist Is ‘Shocked And Upset’ After Being Deported From Sri Lanka For Displaying A Buddha Tattoo

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    Ven Walpola,

    Good to see you speaking some sense on this issue Sir but, being the religious advisor to Mahinda Rajapaksa it would be most useful to advice him to follow the true tenets of Lord Buddha’s teachings. If you manage to do that most of the problems afflicting the country will disappear overnight and you will definitely attain nibbana on your death. May Lord Buddha help you to do that.

  • 7
    1

    Hello Ven. Walpola Piyananda

    you dissapoint me. Yo say and I quote
    “I have been speaking to our Ministers and other Government officials for years about properly utilizing the media to improve our national image”

    so you were giving them lectures on public relations? How to utilise the media to give a spin. You were not speaking to them on practicing real Buddhist values in Sri Lanka?
    ——————————————————————————
    I quote you again
    “You can be quite certain that unskillful actions like the deportation of Naomi Coleman will do nothing but add fuel to the fires kept burning by the UN Human Rights Commission and others who have agendas to do us harm.”

    So you are a political stooge of the Govt masquerading as Venerable monk.
    Have you condemn BBS? perhpas you are financing them from USA.?
    if so you and your USA Sanga should also be added to Gota’s terrorist list.
    ——————————————————————————

    • 1
      0

      Send the 40k ++ overseas to kattchitheevu (local gautanamo) to sit under an artificial tree- then there will be some platform for living in the island.

      Another subject like any other that has brought the sihalese and sihalese/tamil/muslim killings – terrorist.- these so called monks are just slimy quacks- they must just teach themselves meditation and die doing it- tai chi.
      When europeans get stressed they the french mainly go for Daisy which is the cheapest not the all knowing sihala. Now still hindu yoga is the fad not religion.

      • 0
        0

        Javi,
        Hanuman ki jai!

  • 7
    0

    Ven.Walpola Piyananda Thero,

    First of all I admire you for coming foreward and revealing the true Buddhism to the world. Nobody should be allowed to hi-jack Buddhism.

    I also would like to bring to your attention few events that took place very recently.

    First you know how much Pres.Rajapakse contributed to Buddhism in Sri Lanka and abroad after he came to power.

    Never in Sri Lanka’s history you see this numer of super luxury cars driven by Buddhist Preletes. Also he gave unlimited land deeds, buildings, temples, education tours and scholarships, buddha statutes and also now building buddhist university, Aarama, meditation center etc, in bodhgaya India Etc.

    What has Pres. MR given or done to other religions are questionable.

    Second BBS Gnanasara say that Pres.Chandrika Bandaranaike never helped Buddhism. What did he ment by it. He says he is happy with what Pres. Mahinda Rajapakse doing to Buddhism. Of couse we see it every day in TV.

    Third it was only from January 2013 and after forming BBS that all these problems started with over 284 incidents including vandalizing Muslim moaques and 175 christian churches etc. All these 450 incidents happened in one year. How come in a short period of one year……after BBS,Rawaya and Rawana Balaya were formed, these incidents happened.

    Fourth, remember that it was the burning of Jaffna library that started the 30 year long Tamil Sinhala communal war. Do you want to see another mass murder to take place between Muslims and Sinhala communities by vendalizing the Mosques and Churches by BBS.

    Fifth you should know how to differentiate Sheep and wolves who come in sheep cloth. Please Rev.you better know it now than regret later.

    Chasing a Woman Tourist (who came twice before) after humiliating, asking for bribes and sexually harassing her without the knowledge and consent of somebody Powerful is questionable.

    Did you hear what the Kandy Mahanayake Prelate told to BBS Gnanasara when he met him. He told BBS to do whatever they want to put back the country. Is it the way to resolve inter religious problems.

    Don’t you see Sri Lanka’s governing has now been hi-jacked by a (Nila Nolath Polis Karayo) unofficial police division called BBS Buddhist cult now spreading fast across Sri Lanka.

    You know Rev.Walpola Piyananda Thero that in USA there is freedom for any person to preach religion, and the Citizens have freedom to choose their own religion. You also may know that at the moment it is Muslim religion that spread fast across USA.
    If so how come BBS restrict to spread Christian or Muslim religion in Sri Lanka. BBS has all the right to spread Buddhism across Sri Lanka whatever way they want and the GOSL is doing it now with round the clock Bana, Radio, TV and Press. So how they say others cannot preach or spread their religions. We need answers.

    We do not approve any kind of Religious extrimisms in Sri Lanka but under Democracy, every citizen has freedom to choose his religion and anybody has freedom to preach any religion under democratic Laws.

    Finally I say that BBS has all the blessings under Pres.Rajapakse Government. Nobody can expand their movement so fast while driving SUVs and with huge buildings and gathering so many people in such a short time without the help of some powerful and wealthy is questionable.

    Rev.Walpola Piyananda Thero,

    Please save Buddhism and Sri Lanka from a Sinhala Velupillai Prabhakaran with another 30 years of Sinhala Buddhist extremist Genocidal war.

    Thank you.

    • 4
      0

      First and foremost the Buddhism practiced by the Sinhalese is an insult to the true preaching’s of Lord Buddha. The Sinhalese are converts to Buddhism thanks to Sangamitta Thera from India. Buddhism is not about planting Buddha Statues in every street corner, by the side of dirty drains, next to meat/fish markets and alcohol shops or close to other locations of other religious worship creating disassociation and a nuisance. Buddhism is not about planting Buddha Statues by three wheeler drivers and administration of the same by such low caste principled yakko type fellows. Buddhism is not about blasting pirith on loudspeakers desecrating the silence of the environment. The statue of Lord Buddha is not a Christmas tree for an ignorant shameless population of Sinhalese to decorate with sparkling colorful lights to gain attraction. Buddhism is not a pedestal for a group of Mahanayake theros to create divisional politics and caste based nikayas such as the Siam, Malwatte, Asgiriya that play and pander with the dirty politics and racist policies of Sinhalese political leaders such as SWRD Bandaranayake and very recently Mahinda Rajapakse. Buddhism is not about these Mahanayake Theras to keep conveniently silent when thousands of Tamils were being murdered on the basis of patriotism and heroism in riots of 1915, 1956, 1958, 1977, 1983 and finally State genocide of 2009 by Sinhalese and only make an issue that Lord Buddha’s photographs need to be banned from being published in Newspapers because fish and meat or alcohol can be wrapped in the those same newspapers. Buddhism is not about banning meat and alchohol and even theatres on Poya days while Sinhalese are seen ganging up at supermarkets and shops the day before filling their larders with meat and alcohol. When Rev. Sangamitra Thera converted these uncivilized Sinhalese to Buddhism, little did he realize that these monkeys would one day abuse and use this religion as a tool for criminalizing society and manipulate the same for religious intolerance and racism. It is sad that India, being the true land of Lord Buddha and having the most exemplary Buddhists of the world fails to make a statement of the level of abuse and shameless indiscipline that is perpetrated by the Sinhalese in the name of Buddhism in Sri Lanka bringing untold shame on this great son of India Lord Buddha. Therefore, Sinhalese are just a shameless race that lives on stating that they are Buddhists to show the world that they are civilized but actually otherwise. The UN reports and the new UNHRC resolution show ample proof of this. It is thus an utter shame to state that Sinhalese are Buddhists though they hang onto this element to process and justify their ingrained shameless criminality.

      • 2
        0

        Spark,

        I agree with every letter, word and thought you have put here.

    • 0
      4

      Evangelist Lasantha aka Jayantha aka Mahela wanted to save Buddhism from BBS and Sinhalese. It looks as if buggers wanted to appoint an evangelist of his Christian sect as the Mahanayake to save Buddhism from BBS.

      This bugger hadn’t read how many attacks took place in the UK against Muslims during last year and how many attacks took place on Christian churches and how many Christians were killed in Muslim countries like Egypt.

      So much so, Gatestone Institute reported, “The rise of endemic Christian persecution in the Middle East was noted in November when Roman Catholic Pope Francis declared “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians” and stressed the importance of “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practice one’s own faith” after meeting with patriarchs from Syria, Iran, and Iraq — all countries where Christian minorities are under attack.” But this bugger Jayanthaya sees Sri Lanka as the worse case scenario.

      Guardian had reported there were over 700 attacks on Muslims in the UK, if I remember right. In Sri Lanka neither BBS nor any other group or individuals wrote graffiti on mosque walls or threw pig heads into mosques like EDL did in the UK.

      Neither had he read that ‘Press TV’ in France reported that attacks targeting Muslim women in France are on the rise and French media choose to ignore the issue. Abdul Alim of Muslim Times date line 1st May 2014 reported as CCIF annual report says “anti-Muslim acts rose to 469 last year, after 298 in 2011 and 188 in 2010.” Situation in other European countries is no better.

      • 1
        0

        I am no muslim,

        Watch the following video to see live action by Men in yellow robes.

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/unseen-footage-emerges-of-muslim-owned-fashion-bug-attacked

        Don’t you think that it’s also good if they take some swimming lessons without their Amude.

        What are the Ponna “Rala Hamis” Police doing here, except cleaning dirty linnen of the Yellow Birds.

        No wonder TRAC has categorised these Yellow thugs as Terrorists.

        Why don’t you send this Video to UNHRC and Youtube to get the opinion from them.

        Yes come June UNHRC war crime inspection team and this month’s World youth conference, you will get the shock of your life.

        Remember beggars are looses. We are not super powers such as USA or UK.

        Good luck.

  • 6
    0

    India should take back their Buddhism from Fake Sri Lankan thugs and Dirty as..es who have now hi-jacked it and selling it as a comodity for their own selfishness.

    It has created more trouble than doing good in Sri Lanka.

    It’s time India Take back the Buddhism from Sri Lanka.

    • 8
      0

      Mahela

      “India should take back their Buddhism from Fake Sri Lankan thugs and Dirty as..es who have now hi-jacked it and selling it as a comodity for their own selfishness.”

      India should take back all her descendants from this island at the same time I want to liberate Buddha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhists.

      • 0
        0

        “Budu Maata Ki…. Jai Ho!” Let all Free-Lankans migrate to the UP and Bihar. The fatherland Kindiya will be beamused of this new Chinholy breeds.

    • 0
      0

      Hay Jayantha, we received Buddhism from Emperor Asoka long before Jesus was born and killed in the cross to save you from the eternal sin.

      • 5
        0

        mechanic

        “Hay Jayantha, we received Buddhism from Emperor Asoka”

        It was a mistake.

        Asoka might be regretting in his state of Nirvana.

        It was Buddha himself converted the Sinhala/Buddhists into Sinhala/Buddhism according to Mahawamsa. Are you insulting Mahanama and Mahawamsa?

      • 1
        0

        Blissful Mlecha_neek, how’d you find that JayaAntha performed so much of “Eternal” evil through your Nirvana brain?

  • 4
    2

    Amidst a lot of irrelevant and offensive comments above, a discerning reader can see two important facts. First, gratitude and appreciation of the Venerable Piyananda for his eloquent and forthright condemnation of the way a a foreign guest was treated. The second, quiet dismay at how at the same time the same Venerable Piyananda can support, and in fact, as it seems, be closely associated, with the Rajapaksa regime. This is the paradox this discussion must confront.

    It is true that Mr Rajapaksa played a role in defeating the LTTE menace, and he deserves credit for it, but he failed to use that marvelous and historic opportunity to bring about national reconciliation. Instead he made it into an opportunity to use cheap Sinhala Buddhist populist sentiment to exploit the country for his private gain, and for building a dynasty. He has demolished our democratic institutions and our individual freedoms. He is treating the office of the president as his private property. He is lying at every turn. He has destroyed the judiciary and the principle of the rule of law. He has wasted massive sums of borrowed money in useless projects like the Hambantota harbour and the Mattala airport. The highways that everybody boasts about are unintegrated with a rational economic plan. Corruption and nepotism are everywhere. There is little distinction between politician, policeman and criminal.

    In view of all this and more it is mind boggling that the Venerable Piyananda can be associated with this regime. His support of the regime makes it hard to believe that the sentiments he expresses are genuine. He is being either hypocritical or extremely naive. I hope it is the latter, because then he can presumably be made to understand that, in embracing the Rajapaksa ideology and actions lock stock and barrel, he is doing a great harm to the people of Sri Lanka and the Buddha’s sublime religion he professes to uphold.

    • 0
      0

      another nutter!

      buddhism is another subject like history- go to China Loyang and see for self.

      What is so great about these nutters??
      They are lazy, rich without any account, plot plan and help kill kill kill.!

      Can they feed the hungry, cure the sick, stop people from killing each other??

      No at Lanaka these saffron saree men have spearheaded the persecution and terror- may they rot while still alive.

  • 2
    0

    The three letters missng in his article is BBS.

    This guy is only worried about the out come of white skinned people held in detention camps and then getting deported, which damage to the imamge of Sri Lanka in the USA and west.

    Calling Naomi his sister.

    I doubt if he will call Taml women held in detention camp and being raped his sisters?

    • 0
      0

      Bagwan Osho, WE know how you love the loving sisters in this forum, ‘aping your peace offering in the afterhours.

      • 0
        0

        too old for that; even Viagra doesnt work:)

        • 1
          0

          Rajash

          “too old for that; even Viagra doesnt work”

          Try Jaffna Murunka, an effective aphrodisiac known to Jaffna man.

  • 0
    0

    my wife may find jaffana murunga too long and too thin.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      They are good for MARA [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Rajash

      “my wife may find jaffana murunga too long and too thin.”

      [Edited out]

      • 0
        0

        [Edited out]

      • 0
        0

        Native Vedda

        can you advise me how long before the murnaga takes effect?
        :)

        • 2
          0

          Rajash

          “can you advise me how long before the murnaga takes effect?”

          I am sorry I have no idea.

          However Thiru, Kali,Anpu, Easwaran, ……….. and other men from Jaffna may be in a position to advise you.

          Exclude Maveeran from the list.

          • 0
            0

            Please tell me what “murnaga” means? I do not have clue. Google did not help me.

            • 1
              0

              Anpu

              When you are in love with your partner you do not need Murunga to find her desirable. When you get older you need a lot of stimulant, Murunga is one of the the natural effective aphrodisiac known to Jaffna mankind.

              English common names include: moringa,[2] drumstick tree[2] (from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed-pods), horseradish tree[2] (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish), ben oil tree or benzoil tree[2] (from the oil which is derived from the seeds)

              From the pages of Wikipedia.

              • 1
                0

                Thanks a lot Native.

                I did not realise that it was misspelt – “murnaga”. I know what Murunga is. But I did not know its extra properties.

                • 1
                  0

                  Anpu

                  I hope you don’t intend to corner the Murunga market.

        • 0
          0

          Rajesh,

          It depends on how long your [Edited out]

          • 0
            0

            I got the idea.
            It’s bank holiday week end in London.So I havce time to test.
            Watch this space I will post the results.

  • 0
    0

    Editor you being harsh and censoring postings made in good humour

    • 2
      0

      Rajash

      “Editor you being harsh and censoring postings made in good humour”

      Is it the beginning of (Tamil/saivaite Sinhala/Buddhist) Talibanisation of CT under a religious thought police?

      Please note Tamil/saivaite, Sinhala/Buddhists, Arab/Islamists, Christian fundamentalists, …… abhor sense of humour.

      • 1
        0

        tell me a favourite vedda joke?

  • 0
    0

    “I urge the Government to wise up and act skillfully so we can improve our image overseas, encourage tourism, and put the teachings of the Buddha into practice.”

    Pray why encourage tourism?
    Did the Buddha say this business was good? Or is it just that you have mixed up your Buddhism unthinkingly with the great American way?

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