15 December, 2017

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Some Questions About Violence & Theravada In Buddhism?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Recent attacks on Muslim mosques instigated by certain sections of Buddhist monks, as well as the post-independence orientation of the Sangha almost in general (aside admirable exceptions) against the Tamil community in Sri Lanka raises serious questions about the theory and practice of Buddhism in the country, commonly declared as Theravada Buddhism. One could surmise that such a dichotomy between the theory and practice is common to all organized religions. However, the contrast appears drastic particularly given the fundamentals of the Buddhist teachings and the practical implications that this has brought to the political surface in recent times. Most alarming is the active involvement of at least some Buddhist monks in violent politics.

Not only that the Buddha’s teachings were extremely moderate, pacifist and peaceful, but when Buddhism came to Sri Lanka in the third century BCE through the initiatives of King Dharma Asoka, the guidelines were to tolerate other religions. The four immeasurable concepts of Karuna (compassion), Metta (unconditional love), Mudita (empathy) and Upekkha (equanimity) do not appear together in any other religion in that clarity or prominence. Dharma Asoka’s advice also was to ‘respect other religions as much as you respect your own religion’ (Edict XII).

Early Religious Plurality

After the arrival of Buddhism, it spread through the length and breadth of the country as evident from pagodas, inscriptions and chronicles. However, the country preserved the plurality of religions and plurality of interpretation of Buddhism allowing different schools to survive side by side. The prominent schools or nikayas were Mahavihara, Abhayagiri and Jetavana. In this sense, Theravada led by Mahavihara was only one school, but the most prominent one.

The proper origins of Theravada could be traced to the Fourth Council held in Sri Lanka during the first century BCE. There was another Fourth Council held in Kahsmir in the First Century CE which gave birth to Mahayana tradition. It is during this time that Abahayagiri came to prominence in the country, following Mahayana convictions. That tradition was quite liberal and open to new ideas including the worship of bodhisattvas.

There is no question that Theravada school or Mahavihara contributed immensely to preserve, interpret and enhance the teachings of the Buddha for posterity. Some of the contributions came from visiting scholars like Buddhagosha in the sixth century and his compilation of Visuddhimagga is testimony to this fact. However, there was another side to its contribution. In a sense, Theravada tradition was rigid, doctrinaire and in certain respects sectarian. There was a clear attempt to portrait Sri Lanka as a sacred land (dhammadipa) and to emphasize purity and lineage both in terms of sangha and kingship. Mahavamsa, authored by one of the key monks of this tradition is an example.

The above aspects of Theravada tradition became boosted after challenges from several South Indian invasions and occupations. The other reason was the unification of the three schools or the abolition of the other two (Abhayagiri and Jetavana) and the establishment of the predominance of Mahavirhara in the twelfth century. It is this Theravada which went to Burma, Thailand and Cambodia.

Some Questions

Last year, John Clifford Holt edited a book on Sri Lanka titled ‘Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities: Religious Conflict in Contemporary Sri Lanka’ contributed also by three Sri Lankan academics. Holt stated in his Introduction that “The rise of a Buddhist militancy victimizing Muslim communities strikes most Euro-American observers as surprising.” The reason he gave was while the West ‘profile Buddhists as peace loving, meditative and representing pacifism and gentility, Muslims are often branded or imagined in almost polar opposite manner.’ He also observed,

Before addressing the situation specifically in Sri Lanka, I need to point out that Sri Lanka is not the only Theravada Buddhist dominated society where tensions and violence between Buddhists and Muslims have flared in recent years.” (p. 2)

He was particularly referring to Burma and Thailand and observed many similarities between the violent Wirathu movement in Burma and the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) in Sri Lanka.

Over two decades ago, when I was doing my doctoral studies on human rights, I selected Burma, Cambodia and Sri Lanka as case studies given the magnitude of violence and human rights violations that had occurred in these countries in contemporary times. What struct me later was that all these countries are Theravada Buddhist countries. Although violence in Cambodia was not directly related to the monks or Buddhism there, during the Khmer Rouge violence, the Cham Muslims were overwhelmingly killed. I also had occasion to visit where the Chum Muslims lived and vanished. I also came across the Khmer word ‘Thimil,’ which was used to mean the enemies of Buddhism. There were all indications to believe that the word originated during the Sinhala Buddhist (Theravada) influence in Cambodia.

A Possible Link?

It might not be correct to make a direct link between Theravada thinking and violence in these countries. Because there are various other factors that have influenced violence in general and the monk’s involvement in violence. In the case of Cambodia, the monk’s involvement in violence during 1970s or thereafter is minimal. On the other hand, they were victims. The Cambodian monks also do not generally get involved in politics. It is prohibited by vinaya and law. This is also more or less the case in Thailand. Therefore, the question is more general than specific. But in the case of Burma or Sri Lanka, the question is both general and specific.

Is there anything doctrinal within Theravada thinking/tradition which makes (at least some) monks or the general adherents intolerant of other religions and disposed towards aggression and violence? That is the question which I am posing in this article. One may dismiss or denounce the question as anti-Buddhist or Western conspiracy. In my sincere opinion, that would not render any good for Buddhism which I respect immensely or the country. According to Kalama Sutta, this kind of questioning is necessary to understand the reality. I would not say the ‘truth’ which is generally relative in my opinion.

There should be a dialogue within the Buddha Sasana and in general (if not to find the reasons or any connection) to bring the peaceful teachings of the Buddha to the forefront. The lateral way might be the best, avoiding intractable issues. That is the way to spread Buddhism to the world without confining it narrowly to one ethnicity. Likewise, there should also be moderation on the part of the other religions and communities without exacerbating the frictions. Violence does not serve any purpose, even for the perpetrators. As I have stated at the beginning, Theravada tradition itself has rendered a major service to Buddhism by preserving, interpreting and enhancing the teachings of the Buddha. If there is anything wrong in the order, the discipline (vinaya) or the way the teachings are interpreted today, those must be corrected for the general good.

A Way Out

Visuddhimagga (path of purification) of Buddhagosha might be one way out. Not only individuals, but also the whole country must be mindful (the principle of mindfulness) of ‘what is being done, not being done and how things to be done in the future.’ There is an abiding duty on the part of the Maha Sangha, the Sangha Nayakas and the Buddhist scholars to address these issues. As predominantly a Theravada country, there were periods where religious tolerance and plurality prevailed. As Robert Knox recorded (1681), the Kandyan kingdom was such a period. This was apart from the glorious Anuradhapura period which spanned over a millennium. Same was of most of the Kotte period.

With reference to the Sinhalese, after describing their way of charity, Knox said, “Nor are they charitable only to the poor of their own nation; but as I said to others”’ There were Moorish pilgrims coming from the other coast, he said. What he meant by ‘the other coast’ was India. They were Mohametans by religion, he said. “These have a temple in Candy. A certain former king gave this temple this privilege – that every freeholder should contribute a pannam to it” (p. 171 in Part III, ‘An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon in the East Indies’). Knox’s descriptions of religions in the Kandyan kingdom were about plurality.

While critically commenting on Portuguese destruction of some Buddhist shrines, he also noted that the people ‘respect Christians’ because “They love a man that makes conscience of his ways.” While making a distinction between Buddhist temples and others, he said, “But these Arms are not in the Buddou’s Temples, he being for Peace.”

‘He being for peace,’ was Knox’s understanding the Buddha.

The purpose of the whole article is not to blame Theravada for violence, but to search for answers in curtailment of violence in the country and beyond. As the history of many organized religions show, there were priests and monks who involved in violence at times in the name of religion. The reason might be the erroneous belief that ‘their version of the world is the absolute truth.’ The Crusaders were one such example from Christianity. There are more recent examples from the Islamic faith. However, none should be an excuse on the part of the Buddhists to indulge in violence. One may argue that Buddhism could be considered the most peaceful religion in its philosophy and teachings. There is nothing wrong if each religion considers or argues itself as the most peaceful. But that must be put into practice on everyone’s part.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    8

    Why don’t you also write about fascist ideologies of extremist muslims? The slow invasion that’s going on right under our noses? Destruction of relics to attain that purpose? Destruction of Wilpattu with the aid of terrorist nation Qatar to start muslim colonies?

    What’s your job? Propaganda against Sinhalese? I have seen plenty of Sinhalese speaking against violence and extremism of all sorts. But not a single Muslim speaking against the wrong-doings in their community. Deforestation, recent murder resulted from domestic violence, etc. Nope. Not a single one. And they call Sinhalese ‘racists’. What a joke?!

    • 3
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      Deforesting their own land is not extremism you moron. Also how did you connect domestic violence to extremism? You clearly don’t have an understanding of what extremism is. According to this imbecile building houses for muslim IDP’s is apparently ‘colonization’. Where are they supposed to live if morons like you are against them building houses in their own villages? This is the sort of distorted thinking the author talks about. When you learn buddism and conspiracy theories from true extremists like Gnanasara all logic and reason fly out the window.

      • 3
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        Balu, —– Muslim IDP is a hoax. What is Muslims doing in Sri Lanka? There are NO Muslim villages.

        • 3
          3

          The only hoax here is the Sinhala buddist victim act. You terrorists are the victimizers and then you play the victim card. Whether you like it or not there are muslim villages and they will get their rights no matter what you thattayas do. [Edited out]

    • 5
      2

      Sndn,
      ==========”But not a single Muslim speaking against the wrong-doings in their community. Deforestation, recent murder resulted from domestic violence, etc”
      =================

      How many people died from illegal Muslim house building? Zero.
      How hany people died from illegal Sinhala house building and land-filling causing the floods? 300================
      Who raped and killed 5 year old Seya? Sinhala Buddhist.
      So which is worst, Sinhala or Muslim illegal things???????

      • 3
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        yusuf, Tell us how old was Aisha????????????.,

        • 3
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          The buddha married his OWN cousin. No wonder you people are also showing signs of inbred mental sickness. You inbreds clearly can’t even have boundaries with your own cousins LOL

          • 1
            1

            Mohomad G nane, ——European royal families are all related to each other, they marry their cousins to maintain/ pass on “blue blood”, they don’t accept MUSLIMS, see what happened to your Dodi.

        • 2
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          Johnny,
          She was older than Seya, and also older than that abithiya in Pahiyangala. OK????????????????

          • 1
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            yusuf,—– why Imams/ Lebbe are obsessed of circumcision of new borns????? Are you aware of Muslim practice of “dancing boy”?????, The list goes on forever.

            • 2
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              John,
              ————“yusuf,—– why Imams/ Lebbe are obsessed of circumcision of new borns????? “————- Why supposed holy monks in London Buddhist Vihara and Mihintale got caught abusing small girls??????????????????? Are you aware of buddhist practice of samanera kidnapping?

      • 2
        1

        Are you ignorant of all the gross human right abuse which goes on in some Muslim majority countries? Also their intolerance of all non Muslims? also all terrorist acts done on behalf Islamic fundamentalism?
        The Buddhist religion has never had wars for expansion but will defend against extremism and terrorism of others.

        • 2
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          Typical misguided buddist moron. Then what did emperor asoka do? He was a killer and a rapist. And he waged wars for expension. What about the gross human rights violations and intolerance in SL, myanmar, cambodia, thailand etc.? Blind much? The buddist religion first creates extremism through violence and then claim to defend against it, again playing the victim card. You sinhala extremists are joke because you try to defend something completely made up and pumped into your heads through FB monks and their propaganda terrorists.

          • 3
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            Your ignorance knows no bounds. Emperor Asoka did this before becoming Buddhist. You forget all the destruction done by your fellow Muslims all over the world throughout history. You pick on Sri Lanka and Buddhism but cannot see that the entire civilized world abhor Muslim aggression/extremism/terrorism. Buddhism does not have this horrible reputation. Just because their are a few mad monks the religion is very peaceful. Are you living under a rock or brainwashed beyond repair where you cannot see how stupid you are trying defending the indefensible.There is no point arguing with me. Argue against the entire civilized world.
            I am not for one minute saying all Muslims are bad. Some of my dear friends and their families are Muslim and many more are very decent people who privately hate the misinterpretation of scriptures and the aggression of Muslim fanatics.

    • 0
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      “SNDN” demonstrates very common thinking pattern we Sinhalese Therawadi Buddhist inherited through genes… ….. As Laksiri indicated Hinayana is very orthodox form of Buddhism. (Therawada is one sect of Hinayana).. Buddha preached for 45 years. In this 45 years he talked about many advanced concepts about human mind and metaphysics, since it is complex Dhammas, he said Dhamma differently to different audiences (but both versions are true to my belief). One ordinance he said “There is rebirth”, and to another audience he said “There is NO reincarnation”.. Orthodox Hinayana believed in keeping these original but confusing original text in Pali (Pali cannon) .. Whereas Mahayana (young free thinkers) were different, they more relied on great scholars like Nagarjuna, Dharmakirthi,… (100 ~500 CE) who summarised 45 year Buddhist teachings and add values. And other good thing was, at very early stage Mahayana Buddhism was converted to Sanskrit.. So later stages, Chinese, Tibetans and Japanese had no issues of translating those teachings to their own languages.. Because of this, many local peoples have access to real Buddhist teachings and good Buddhist ethical values are preserved and passed through generations.. In Therawada SL, we lost Pali literate monks from very early stage (after 1000CE ), so we started loosing Buddhism.. Even Vissudhimagga was written in Pali (500CE) and it said “Sinhalese Commentaries” in MahaVihara, Jethawan times were destroyed. Since there were not many Sinhalese Buddhist scripts except “Pansiya Panash Jathakaya, Pujawaliya”, we couldn’t pass through those good ethical values through generation.. So we become warmongering nation in year 2000.. Burma may have similar reasons.. But I think Thailand or at least North Thailand is different..

    • 2
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      Dr. LF does not appear to be a Muslim. It may be the reason for him not to write about Muslims and also Tamils.

    • 0
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      sndn,
      In my reading this article is about Buddhism and its close link to violence and politics, not about Sinhalese. If you don’t know about those Muslims right about violence that is your fault, not the writers fault. There are lot of Muslims write about violence. First you should understand that this country is ruled by Sinhalese and Sinhalese military & Sinhalese police. It is the duty of the state to protect all citizens of Srilanka, not to protect those who create violence. Do you want to kill all Muslims by Buddhist Monks?

  • 7
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    The basic premise is justice. If there is no justice there is no peace. Gnanasaraya is a disgrace for Buddhism, even when you listen to him, there is no doctrine in Buddhism which he adheres to.This pig speaks utter filth in his speeches. If Buddha talks about vinaya this pig talks about the complete opposite. But considered Buddhist because of the robe. Eventually a war is on the cards, and this time it can get international. The President and some ministers backing this goon, shows the general Buddhist are indifferent to Muslim grievances.

    • 2
      2

      Idiot Jehan,—- Gnanasara thero ( subhanahu wa taala) spoke divine words recently is a hero among genuine Muslims, terrorists may hate him but nobody cares. Look round, Muslim terrorism is already international. Sri Lanka will be the first country to ban 1slam.

      • 6
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        John you delusional sinhala extremist. Let alone muslims even genuine buddists hate your foul mouthed ‘hero’. Buddists terrorism is also going international as seen in myanmar, SL and cambodia. Trying to portray that your hands are clean while the whole world now knows your hands are the dirtiest!

  • 4
    2

    Why should the Buddha Sasanna call a special meeting to examine supposed violence against Muslims, when in fact most of the civilized world is at war with militant Sunni Islam? It is not just Wahhabism, what you need to understand is that there is only one Sharia. The goal of the “Ummah” is to implement this Sharia worldwide and they will support whoever is spreading it.. It sounds like a conspiracy plan, but the demographics speak for themselves. According to Pew Research, “While the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060.” The real problem in Sri Lanka are outside influences. The Buddhist civilization has been fending off attacks from South India, then Europe/Christianity, then (South Indian) Tamils again. Of course at some point it became necessary to take up arms, that is why some monks supported it. But the civilization itself, like its Vedic counterpart in India, is not inherently violent. That honour belongs to the Christians and Muslims.

    • 7
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      Extremists will always have justifications. Lester, your comments are known to be hatred withour proper facts, or you pick the info from unreliable sources and add some cosmetics to cover some obvious lies and present it here. How can someone trust that?

      • 1
        1

        Fathima: Why don’t you explain how ISIS can expand so rapidly without popular support from Sunnis. More than 50,000 European Muslims joined ISIS. Obviously there is a common goal. Pew Research is a think-tank in Washington D.C. that provides demographic data: “The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan American “fact tank”, which is based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world.” Can you prove that their data is unreliable? Even CNN uses their data in their media reports.

        • 0
          1

          Lester,
          “Facts”, statitics and damn lies. ————————–” More than 50,000 European Muslims joined ISIS. ” Yes out of 1.6 Billion. ———————————————————————- About 50,000Tamils joined the LTTE too. So does that prove there is “mass support among Tamils for the LTTE? ————————–
          Stop using your rear end for the wrong purpose, boy.

          • 1
            0

            LAC3: After years of bending to your imaginary sky god, you are obsessed with rear ends. That is why the infidels don’t force their women to wear bedsheets, you see, the men will end up like you.. “Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of the Dutch city of Rotterdam, speaking after deadly terror attacks on Paris claimed the lives of 129 people on Friday, argued now was the time to fight…. “I am no military strategist, but as a manager I say ‘it is time to wipe out the 40,000 to 50,000 people who have joined ISIS.”

  • 5
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    The problem here is all these “Professors” and “Scholars” are viewing and writing theories and making proclamations based on “Religion Teachings” that are MISREPRESENTED ; MISINTERPRETED and USED and ABUSED by “Organized Groups” who make a “LIVING” out of a chaos. If you impartially view this problem anyone of such caliber could find to what heights this “CHAOS” has been escalated and made use of by “Fundamentalists” and “Power Blocks” of the world. This “CHAOS” has been used to make huge profits by “Arms Manufacturers & Dealers” on one hand and on the other by the “Big Power Blocks” (countries) to topple, depose and do regime changes in other countries who are making an untiring effort to make and give a decent life to their citizens. The irony is the Governments and State Machinery, though capable and competent to identify the “DANGERS”, DO NOT want to nip it in the bud because that TURMOIL itself is made use of for their survival and good living. In that situation, any conflict of this nature becomes a huge “BUSINESS VENTURE”. Even that thirty years war with LTTE was a similar exercise. That is over; but START another one based on “RELIGION”. The “VULTURES” are waiting to go for the PREY.

  • 2
    2

    There is a possibility that Theravada is a deeply flawed school of buddhism and that its practice – possibly the kind of structures that it generates – leads to an attempt to spread through violent domination and control of the human individual. This flaw may not be inherent to the practice of buddhism BUT may arise from the DESIRE for enlightenment which grows to terrible proportions when collectivized and collectively magnified and expressed within a community as a dedication to the “Protection” of buddhism. Who or what introduced this DESIRE for enlightenment…? Was it deliberately introduced by one who knew well the path to enlightenment….in order to present a barrier to the transcendence of the self or the “you” or the individual identity…?

    • 3
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      “There is a possibility that Theravada is a deeply flawed school of buddhism and that its practice “————————————-
      What is practised in Sri Lanka is not Buddhism. It is a corrupted form of the ancient animist religion with bits of Buddhism pasted on here and there. ———————————————————–The Buddha did not condone tree worship, veneration of relics , or worship of Hindu gods. He did not propose building stone images of himself either. One of the samaneras at Pahiyangala is just six years old.———————————————————————–But in SL we have an obscene competion to build bigger and bigger lumps of garishly painted concrete, and make every effort to keep away TRUE Buddhism in the form of the Dalai Lama. ——————————————– Otherwise, why is it our government does not issue a visa to the most acknowledged world Buddhist leader?

  • 7
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    The enemy is not

    Buddhists
    Muslims
    Hindus or
    Christians
    The real enemy is Extremism.

  • 7
    0

    There is nothing wrong with Sinhala Buddhists or Buddhism, the whole fault lies with the rulers of this country who have allowed the law and order situation to deteriorate to frightening levels. If this country could come up with a system where , educated and highly civilized representatives of the people are elected to power, this would be paradise in a couple of years. The comments made by Douglas above should be understood by these rulers in addition to what I have penned.

    • 3
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      Good, to add to that, younger representatives with much early age as retirement for politicians than other professionals. After 40, most people tend to get selfish

  • 3
    0

    In the beginning the clergy of all the religions served people. The clergy set aside the privations and material suffering as part of the sacrifice. The inevitable evolution has occurred “The people must serve the clergy”. This is visible in SE Asian countries practicing Theravada sect where the clergy has become a jobseeker domain complete with promotions, perks and the like. Laksiri’s angst centres around SL. Buddharakeetha helped SWRD B win to “defend Buddhism”. His sordid pland nearly worked! In Myanmar the Wirathu group is an arm of the Burma Junta. They are holding down Aung San Suu Kyi. In Lanka BBS has become a force to be reckoned with. They seem to align themselves with a group to whom violence is a means to an end. Under the pretext of “protecting Buddhism” they are only damaging the reputation. By the way across the Strait the Godseites are emerging – sad sign.

  • 6
    4

    This article is going to stir a hornet’s nest. All the pseudo-Buddhists are going to come out of the woodwork spewing bile. A relevant question has been raised as to why a religion of peace is practiced in the most violent places of the world-Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma. The violence is not only directed against Muslims, though they happen to be a target now. This question has to be honestly answered, instead of spitting venom at the writer.

    My answer is to defend Buddhism, a noble religion. The Sinhala-Buddhism is not true Buddhism, Theraveda or otherwise. It is born in the Mahavamsa, which preaches hatred so that a race consisting of diverse migrants from India could unite with the Sangha as its head. Hatred against the Tamils was a unifying factor. The story of Dutugemunu killing only one and a half persons is a case in point. Tamil killing is okay, same as in the concept of the Islamic fundamentalist as to jihad. Without this enmity to the Tamils, the Karawes (who came fishing), the Salagamas (who came to peel cinnamon) cannot be welded into one group. So, bash up the Tamils, then, the Muslims, the Christians and start anew.

    We also forget the underlying animism of the Sinhala rituals. These are by no means Buddhist. Incidentally, Mahindapalan, the joker, makes use of Knox to show the tolerance of the Sinhalaya as well. Obeysekere’s new book, The Doomed King, shows how the Kandyan aristocracy conspired with the British to get rid of a good king.

  • 5
    2

    One glaring trait of the people who are following therawada Buddhism is jealousy and utter stupidity, they are in the tail end of running the country in to ruin, according to a recent article on BBC, at the current level of debts, the only way to survive economically is by selling the country, which as you can has already started.

    Just Finished a 30-year war and now hell bent on starting a new one, only this one they will never be able to finish, imagine what will happen to the economy if a bomb goes off, when all the super power countries are trying hard to come out it, these dumb idiots are inviting it with open arms, how stupid these people can be.

    I guess they will never be able to come out of the slogan,”Sinhalaya modaya, kawm kanda yodaya” maybe passed down from the vijaya-sinha , kumar-sinha, and Vikram-sinha genes coming from the bengals 2000 years ago.

  • 3
    2

    Those whi follow Middle eastern thiestic religions talk about buddhist – violence. Political Science is another subject like Economics. Are there any political scientists or economicsts who really contributed to the world except fooling university students in order to fill their stomachs ?————————-Just teach crap that doe snot work in the practical society. So, they think they are “vidwathuns”.

    • 0
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      So apparently the internet/FB ‘educated’ ‘professor’ jim softy knows so much better than the vidwathus with an actual education. Your level of education is well known in this forum. You are also a popular third class extremist that never fails to give us good folks on CT a good hearty laugh with your ‘internet educated facts’. Now go put on your tinfoil hat before the aliens get you LOL

  • 6
    0

    As usual it is only preaching and seeking popularity to his own version of Buddhism, but the learned professor’s essay is not focusing on the problems. Army rulers of Burma are not comparable to democratically elected dictators of Lankawe. We cannot go too far as comments end in 300 words. So let us look at from the end of Kandyan Kingdom. Hindu Kings were allowed to rule because of the religious hatreds proclaimed in the Mahavamsa were only in the books. The Hindu King became a Patron of Buddhism too. The Sinhala Religion always had 50% Hindu contents and 100% Hindu Rituals; never attempted to be pure Theravadam. In contrast, if you look at most Vinaya Maraimalai Adigalar of TN, he insisted of every Aryan word removed from Tamils. Whether it is bad or good or bigotry, the current Tamil is obligated to him for this status. He even translated his name from Vedhachalam, believing it is pure Sanskrit. (But, now we know, it is not). Don David Hewavitharane changed his name as Anagarika Dharmapala to give more importance to his cause that was spreading or protecting Buddhism. Though Tamils are proud of their language, Unlike Anagarigam’s Buddhism purification, Maraimalai Adigalar’s purification of Tamil was not known as root cause to birth of any violent movement. Liberation of Ceylon was more important cause for Humanity than Tamil purification. So, the cause Anagarigam was nobler than the one of Maraimalai Adigalar. Anagarigam later broke up with Theosophical Society because of his stubborn attitude. So it is not Theravadam causing the problem, it is the Pakkavatham created by Anagarigam is causing the problem. In reality it is Crusados of Lankawe creating the problem, not the Buddhist. Crusados Don David, Don Stephen, Solomon, Junius, Richard and Percy, are guys who buy and use Monks, not Theravadam makes monks as extremist.

  • 2
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    Now Therawada Buddhism is no longer the “Doctrine of Elders” that draws its scriptural inspiration from the Pali Canon, or Tipitaka, but a debate among Theras like G’sara and S’dhamma. A few others who prefer “solitude” in “Ashrama” or “Asapu” have joined the bandwagon.

    Internet based Social Media provides the platform for almost everyone to preach what they interpret as “True Buddhist Doctrine”. State funded schools no longer promoting Pali to be included in the curriculum has also contributed greatly to this chaotic situation. Very rarely can a student with O/L Qualifications with Pali as a subject be found.

    I remember my O/L Buddhism teacher telling the class (1970s) that he was the only lay examiner of Buddhism in the previous year. During our times at school there were no Buddhist Monks teachers. Buddhism, Buddhist Culture and Pali were taught by lay teachers. All of them could speak in good English and were well read.

  • 3
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    sri lankans like to call themselves Theravada Buddhists while practicing Mahayana and hinduism

  • 2
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    Religion should be confined to Speeches of peace alone. Violence of any form has to regarded as crime. Separate the two and treat accordingly. There is no religion or god one above the other. Politicians should not abuse religious teachings and imbalances to create disharmony within society.

  • 2
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    This article is rubbish, even the heading is bullsh1t.[Edited out]

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    Dear Dr. Laksiri Fernando!

    ”I also came across the Khmer word ‘Thimil,’ which was used to mean the enemies of Buddhism.”

    In ancient time, the Tamils of Lanka and South India were “Mahayana” Buddhists. They spread “Mahayana” Buddhism from the Eastern countries like Japan. China etc. to the Western countries. There are hundreds of archaeological finds to confirm this. In China we find a Tamil Inscription. Japanese and Korean languages contain hundreds of Tamil words.[Edited out]

  • 0
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    Dear Dr. Laksiri Fernando!

    ”I also came across the Khmer word ‘Thimil,’ which was used to mean the enemies of Buddhism.”

    In ancient time, the Tamils of Lanka and South India were “Mahayana” Buddhists. They spread “Mahayana” Buddhism from the Eastern countries like Japan. China etc. to the Western countries. There are hundreds of archaeological finds to confirm this. In China we find a Tamil Inscription. Japanese and Korean languages contain hundreds of Tamil words. In Korean language, father and mother are called Appa and Amma as in Tamil. Thus, the word “Tamil” could have been used to indicate “Mahayana Buddhism!” The “Theravada” Buddhists considered the “Mahayana” Buddhists as “Enemies of Buddhism.” The word “Tamil” could have been changed into “Thimil” as time went on!!

  • 0
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