19 December, 2017

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Sri Lanka: Towards A Militant Saṅgha State?

By Suren Rāghavan

Dr. Suren Rāghavan

Dr. Suren Rāghavan

Venerable Galagoḍaattē Gñanasāra of Bodu Bala Senā (BBS) has become the single most recalcitrant Saṅgha demanding attention to a different kind Buddhism in Lanka. His out of control anger, fistfights, ruthless and full of filth public speeches are internationalized through the social media. He perhaps is a symbol of a new brand of Saṅgha militancy that is tolerated if not sponsored/manipulated by the powerful and confrontational sections of the ruling regime. BBS has systematically targeted all sections of the society that could give an alternative interpretation to modern Lanka and her democratic struggles. During the war, leading members of present BBS stood against any negotiated settlement. They launched a violent anti –NGO campaign. After the end of the conflict under a triumphalist regime, BBS openly targeted, disrupted and aimed to destroy the fragile multi-ethnic societal fabric. Their anti-conversion, anti UN, and anti-halal agitations proved that the state ideology in some form wishes such ethnocentrism. Ven. Gñanasāra has gone on public record asking every Buddhist to be a member of the ‘unofficial Buddhist police force’ and that all Buddhist affairs to be brought under the army and Defense Ministry.

It is an intriguing yet fearful development that renouncer Saṅgha are becoming soldiers of socio- political militancy as never seen before. Like in days leading to the tragic pogrom against the Tamils in 1983, and in the context that gave birth to 88-89 violent up-rise, the Sinhala intellectuals and the influential Maha Nāyakas have decide to become observer than to intervene. History records that both those points of our recent political despondency, the involved Saṅgha damaged and disgraced the sāsana irreparably. Is BBS a forerunner for an army in the yellow robes as we have unfortunately witnessed in other Theravāda states such as Burma and Thailand? We sincerely hope not because a very fragile democracy that is belligerent by a three decades of war and now under an authoritarian regime, is the ideal condition for a religious fundamentalist ground swell.

Saṅgha and the State

Saṅgha rebellion against the state and its apparatus is not a new issue in Lanka. The Saṅgha/State nexus has worked as a cross legitimization process and such tradition is well historicized. Mahāvaṃsa narrates how worrier king Duṭṭhagamaṇī did what all Sinhala kings should, within the historiographical presupposition. He listened, acted and used (and of course disposed) the Saṅgha to mobilize against anything that is a threat to the Sinhala people – perceived or actual. For this reason even modern learned Saṅgha like Venerable Walpola Rāhula, some 20 centuries later named Duṭṭhagāmiṇi as ‘ undoubtedly the greatest national hero of Buddhist Ceylon’ (Rāhula 1956:79). To some scholars Mahāvaṃsa may not

be the actual history for its subjective ethnoreligious agenda. Irrespective of such position, in Lankan realpolitik, there is no other text that influences and command unchallenged respect and following as this does. Thus, the Mahāvaṃsaīkā model lays the conceptual framework for all Saṅgha and their socio- political engagements. During the late 19th century leading to the independence and certainly during the post independent elitist struggle for political power, the Sinhalas have used the Saṅgha and their rhetoric to mobilize such Buddhatvā, promising the recovery of an organic Sinhala Buddhism as done by SWRD through his Sinhala Maha Sabah in the 50s (Manor 1989). Later JRJ reproduced such consciousness through his ‘Dharmishta Rājjya’ mythology and even spoke of removing the Daladā to the new capital named after him (Perera 1992).Unfortunately the result of such ethnoreligious power centric mobilization of Saṅgha with narrower politics ended in disasters. SWRD became the victim of the first Saṅgha assassination and JRJ retired as president leaving behind a conflict during which more than 1000 Saṅgha were killed, wounded, arrested, and disrobed.

Democratic Opposition

Observers agree that Lanka has fallen into a ‘One Party’ (or rather one family) system under the present regime. Dominant alternative political forces in the south such as the United National Party (UNP) and the Janatā Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) are in political wilderness, deep inner-fights and above all have failed to offer an alternative and viable discourse under which the polity could be reorganized. The Tamil National Alliance, which proves a formidable force in the north, has never been a national party and at least they do not show such ability/interest (yet). It is in this context of vacuum that BBS aims to catapult itself as the symbolic power of the Sinhala Buddhist ethnoreligious consciousness. Those Sinhalas such as Champika Ranawaka of Jātika Hela Urumaya and the aggressive defense secretary Ghōtabaya Rajapaksa, who time and again have displayed their desires to become the next national level leader seems to either benefit or enjoy the path that BBS is paving, on which they bank their political future. Because, after ideology, after ethnic nationalism, religion seems to be the most available avenue for those politicians who seek power without accountability by passing democracy.

In the post-Berlin wall world, religious discourse in public and political sphere sprang around the globe. Initially they were interpreted as a natural reaction to the Western type nation state- nationalism challenged by the harshness of the globalization process. Mark Juergensmeyer (1990) argued that the incompatible assimilative nature of the civic nationalist project in ethnically diverse societies started blazing as religious polity under the weight of globalization that is altering their centuries old social foundations. But in parallel Martin Marty and Scott Appleby in their six volume editions on Fundamentalism (1993-2004) pointed that irrespective of origins, nature and the historical context all religions – including Theravāda Buddhism, has shown organic fundamentalist facets. The tendency to assume that certain religions especially Islam and Judaism are more violent, took center stage after 9/11. Contrarily we believe that there is enough historical/textual evidence to argue that all institutionalized religions, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism (all schools) and the new age cult type religions- have used violence as a means of engagement with the ‘other’. The story differs only because the amount of research and analysis done on certain religions such as Sinhala Buddhism or the shorter histories some faiths share.

It is a sociological and psychological fact that Sinhalas especially the Saṅgha are looking for a point of pride after three decades of humiliation under a homegrown – Tamil armed rebellion led by a school dropout. LTTE not only came close to dividing the state, it was at near success in permanently dismantling the majoritarian hegemonic mind-set of the Sinhala polity. Sinhalas as a regional and global minority, take pride in their steadfast resilient to hold Lanka as a Sinhala majority Buddhist state even after some 450 years of harsh European colonization. What the LTTE – with its terror politics-tried to change was not merely the unitary nature of Lanka but also the historicized Sinhala Buddhist ethnoreligious national pride. Saṅgha as direct recipients and beneficiaries in overcoming such ontological insecurities have become the natural champions of a new order that will not only wipe such shame but also reestablish an overarching control.

We do not think that Saṅgha politics is in essence a negative factor. In fact, elsewhere we have strongly argued that the failure of the peace process in Lanka was due to the shortsighted ‘Norwegian’ model of approach in disregarding and expelling the Saṅgha from the center politics of peacebuilding. For a sustainable democratic recovery, the active inclusion of Saṅgha into the mainstream political discourse is fundamental and is a necessary precondition. However, the manner in which the BBS led Saṅgha forcing to win such place in national politics is more than worrying. The news of Venerable Gñanasāra forcible attempt to disrupt a Human Rights exhibition during the CHOGM summit that involved some relatives of war victims from Jaffna and his subsequent protest opposite the Sirikotha – the national headquarters of the UNP is unsurprisingly typical of BBS tactics. What dismays us is the news of the key UNP leaders coming out and begging forgiveness from the Venerable for allowing and arranging such a HR exhibition and vow to support BBS in their efforts to build a true Buddhist society.

UNP with all its flows and blood soaked past is the alternative ruling party in this country. Unlike the SLFP, this party has had a history of greater room for minority accommodation in its ideology and political executions. Even while its first leader D. S. Senanayake disfranchised nearly a million Tamils and UNP strong man JRJ led an ethnic cleansing project in 1983, to-date a great portion of its voter bank constitutes the Tamils, Muslims and Catholics. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is said to be a dictator without internal democracy and unable to lead the party even to a regional victory losing all last 19 elections. Yet even his archrivals and critics will not be able to establish that is he a racist or does not regard the minorities. On the contrary the damaging profile of Wickremesinghe amongst the Sinhala nationalists is that he is pro – minority. Then it is disturbing to learn the dismantling stand for democracy within the UNP ranks in the face of a rather (un)Buddhist Saṅgha militancy.

Fearless Saṅgha in a pure Buddhist land 

BBS in many ways borrows global and regional religious militancy facets. Like many anti West Islamic groups, it is modern in its operations. It uses all available modern communication and organization strategies. BBS is said to organize their sudden public confrontation agitations/attacks on selected targets with short notice using sms and facebook chat rooms to avoid any opposition from the police or public. It has a daily updating website in which it offers at least 12 aims of the organization that including establishment of a Bhikkhuni/Meheni Sāsana and modernizing the Saṅgha education system. These are truly progressive on the face it. BBS when it became public first, even demanded a transparent wealth sharing process from the very rich Ata Maha Śtana to support rural young Saṅgha. Such Sāsana Shodhana process is essential and long due. However, such aims seem mere textual than actual. Its claim of contributing to a casteless, beyond region, educated , full of Vinaya and Sīla Saṅgha society has become a mere PR façade. BBS seems to take a different interpretation to every known fact of such discipline and the 227 Pātimokkha code of conduct of the Theravāda Saṅgha. BBS strategies are based on two premises. First is historically reasonable – this is that Saṅgha sāsana represents a fundamental, important role in reshaping the socio-politics of the Sinhalas and by that contribution, they have access to a sensitive public opinion. However, the second is a more construct and fanciful projection: namely that Political Saṅgha particularly militantly active Saṅgha have for centuries played a patriotic role in defending Buddhism in Lanka from internal and well external enemies. Such construction is not only un- Buddhist but ahistorical. In Laṅkan there were no solider monks like in Japan or China or soldier Sadhus of Indian (Vaishnava) Hinduism. The Sinhala Saṅgha who advised / supported struggled against foreign invasions in noncombatant way were very limited compared to the large number of Saṅgha who in numerous ways contributed to the preserving of the Theravādin tradition. It is the work of Väliviṭa Saraṇaṃkara under Kīrti Sri Rājasiṃha that revived a fallen Buddhism in Lanka, not the militant tactics of his contemporary Vibävé who led the Wellaśsa rebellion under a forged identity as prince Doraisāmi (De Silva 2005). It is Venerable Hikkaḍuvē Sri Suṃaṅgala who painstakingly constructed an intellectual position for the Saṅgha reform and education under the British rule that revitalized the Pirivena education which had disappeared over a hundred years. It is the learned and eloquent debates of Migeṭṭuvattē Guṇānanda, at Pānadura that answered Christian public challenges on Theravādin abhidharma. History hardly talks of militant Saṅgha if one can find them, how they contributed to the preserving and developing the Sāsana. Instead, it is the tradition of Saṅgha who generation after generation complied, interpreted, popularized and publicly defended the faith by extremely academic, intellectual and dialectical process that protected Buddhism in Lanka.

In post –independent politics major parties are guilty of using ethnicity, religion and religious symbols to harness their vote blocks. MEP, JVP, SLFP, UNP even the traditional leftist parties have used the Saṅgha as voter attraction. My preliminary research shows that there are at least five waves of Saṅgha activism under direct political party affiliation in the recent history of Lanka. 1) D.S. Senanayake /Walpola Rāhula combination running to the independence, 2) S.W.R.D./ Māpitigama Buddharakkhita, 3) JRJ/Davamottawë Amarawaņsa, 4) Mahinda /JHU ( especially Älle Gunawaņsa and Aturaliyē Ratana) and the historical development of an all Saṅgha party as JHU, 5) BBS/Rāvaṇa Balaya/ Sinhala Rāvaya/ with unknown but speculated affiliations with Ghōtabaya Rajapakse. As in the ancient history, at each of this junctures, politicians who used the Saṅgha soon became intolerant of them for they either demanded or forced them to do too much. These short-lived marriages have always ended in bitter divorce and damage. One could say that using Saṅgha for political ends is like walking on fire, you may have faith but the probability of being burnt is higher.

Notwithstanding nothing in the forgoing should take away the monumental influence and the directional role the Saṅgha had played in Lanka. However, the significant fact in Sinhala Buddhism is not the Saṅgha/polity cross legitimizations but how such developments are accepted or even encouraged by the faithful Buddhist lay communities knowing these affiliations are contrary to the Saṅgha vinaya. Walpola Rāhula’s justification for a newer Bhikkshuwage Urumaya (1948) is kind of a modern Mahāvaṃsa for many Saṅgha, who possibly even would not bother to read the intellectual and Vinaya challenge to Rāhula by Venerable Henpitagedara Gñanavāra through his ‘Bhiskuwage Urumaya Kumakda? Or Pävidi Waga saha Sasun Maga by Venerable Yakkaḍuvē Pragñārāma. (See SL. Seneviratne – The Works of the Kings ( Chapter four) for a full discussion here) Because in Sinhala Buddhism ethnicity precedes spirituality. Nevertheless, in a post CHOGM context where Lanka received international attention on her poor Human Rights record that may now be used as unquestionable evidence for an UN led inquiry, the actions of BBS and its leaders are just deconstructing all what the moderate Sinhala Buddhist had desired after the war- A peaceful democracy with economic progress. Then again, democracy and development are not ontogenetic processes. They need be planned, cultivated, preserved and developed. Not only every Sinhala Buddhist supporting the militant path of BBS, but who is silently enjoying or tolerating, will be responsible for the deep damages it promises to deliver. The news of UNP leadership begging forgiveness from militant BBS/Gñanasāra does not only betrays the hope of democratic recovery but also encourages and energizes a destructive trajectory for Sinhala Buddhism.

*Dr. Suren Rāghavan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies – Wolfson College University of Oxford. His new book Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka’s Civil War is scheduled to be published by Equinox- UK in summer 2014

Reference

Juergensmeyer, Mark, ‘What the bhikkhu said: Reflections on the rise of militant religious nationalism’ Religion Volume 20, Issue 1, January 1990, Pages 53–75

Manor, James. The Expedient Utopian: Bandaranaike and Ceylon. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Marty Martin E and R. Scott Apple (eds) Fundamentalisms Observed, Chicago University Press, 1994 Yakkaḍuvē Pragñārāma , Pavidi Waga sha Sasun Maha,Deepani Publishers, Gangodawila Nugegoda, Sri

Lanka, 1970

Perera Jayantha, Political Development and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka , Journal of Refugee Studies 1992, Volume 5, Issue 2 ,Pp. 136-148.

Rāhula, Walpola, History of Buddhism in Ceylon; the Anuradhapura period, 3d century BC– 10th century–AC. M.D. Gunasena & Co., ltd. Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1956

Rāhula, Walpola, Venerable. භික්ෂුවගේ උරුමය .Colombo 1947, 32nd Edition,. Colombo: Godage Brothers, 2009.

Seneviratne, H. L. The Work of Kings: The New Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    have no fear Suren for the patron of the BBS has gone to the Pope to get his blessings for the protection of the BBS. Bensen

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      MORE BAD NEWS FROM SRI LANKA.. WHICH THE CMB TELEGRAPH WILL NOT PUBLISH, AS IT MUST HAVE REACHED ITS BAD NEWS FROM LANKA QUOTA..

      North Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran charges that certain Tamil and Muslim Ministers in the government are blocking the attempt although the government is willing to devolve power to the North.

      Addressing a meeting held at the Chavakachcheri Pradeshiya Sabha in Jaffna today, Wigneswaran said that the particular ministers are trying to block chances of developing a true understanding between the government and the Northern Provincial Council.

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        Raja,

        With unlimited power in hand, Pres. Rajapakse do not need to listen to any Parliament bought up rats to implement anything.

        He could do it over the counter, overnight.

        It is he Pres. Rajapakse who play double game…..acting “thotha Baba” when it comes to minority issues.

        He would have implemented LLRC four years ago and could have avoided all these problems. But he was playing a double game with both international and local communities.

        Don’t worry Wigneswaran will get everything he asked for as Pres. Rajapakse is afraid of Hague, and the criminal trial.

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      “BBS/Rāvaṇa Balaya Sinhala Rāvaya with unknown but speculated affiliations with Ghōtabaya Rajapaks” – yes indeed, this is the MILITARY DICTATORSHIP that is emerging – Gota is cultivating Balu Sena to legitimize his take over of the DEEP STATE and military dictatorship as soon as an international war crimes trial is set in motion…

      These are interesting times, Rajapassa will loose because even many of the Sinhalaya Modayas know the truth about the criminal and corrupt Mahinda Rajapakse family of uneducated thugs..

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      Looking forward to publication of the book!
      Yes the Sinhala Buddhist rump needs exposure and analysis..
      We need new generation of critical Buddhist studies which Prof Stanely Tambiah did in Buddhism Betrayed..

      Sinhala Academic studies of Buddhism like Obeysekere and Seneviratne simply do not come close to an sort of useful analysis of political Buddhism, since they are within the frame of Sinhala Buddhist religiosity…

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      BBS is not anti-minority, they are not anti-Tamil, they are only trying to correct the mistakes what some people do in the name of Religion.

      In fact they spoke in favor of the Tamils when they were in Norway. Even in the US, they met many Tamils and had freindly dinner meetings. If the authorities cannot correct such mistakes some on like the BBS should come forward. BBS even helped the Muslim pilgrims (to Mecca) who were cheated by their own people.

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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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      Comment removed by the moderator is like getting locked up in Angoda Mental ward for psychedelic drugs.

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      ela kolla

      Stupid man

      SWRD Bandaranayake was assassinated by a saffron clad Sinhala Buddhist monk, not by Catholic priest.

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    The fact is Sinhala masses are behind BBS extremism. Luckily the militancy is limited within this small island. It is a gift they got it from Indian invaders (Vijaya – a Criminal thug) and British invaders.

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      Ajith,
      Don’t be stupit, if u believe Sinhala Buddhist will change………No chance

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        They have been changing for centuries. Their last three kings were of a South Indian dynasty. Their Kandyan Convention was signed in Tamil. Get some education you one track moron.

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        Right now and as for long from fascist Japan. presently from extreme right wing Norway and Germany. Rings bells.

        8 fold path in the hands of 4 legged biscuit-boofers cland in the same cloth of bin larden at Gautanamo! We have Katchi for that next equinox when the male cow fly’s.

        Hanuman ki Jai

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    “Sri Lanka: Towards A Militant Saṅgha State?”

    Sri Lanka is moving towards a rump Sri Lanka with a Militant Saṅgha State for the Sinhalese just like Serbia for the Serbs in former Yugoslavia.

    Fresh evidence of ongoing genocide of Tamils is continuing to emerge: Geneva in March 2014 may be decisive in war crimes investigations leading to establish the genocide as a fact.

    Today it is reported by officials that 50 Tamil family women have been compulsorily sterilized in Vanni to reduce the Tamil population. This is already prevalent among the estate Tamils under some dubious pretext. If there is a genuine reason why such sterilization why is not performed on Sinhala or Muslim women?

    In such circumstances it is up to the international community to decide to form two states in the island: Sinhala Dweepa and Tamil Eelam as it has been in the long past.

    Remember the sage of Asia Lee Kwan Yew said so vividly: Somebody must tell the Sinhalese and the Tamils to go their separate ways for the benefit of both communities in the island.

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    whay are you addressing him as “Venerable”….
    instead of “fucking racist [Edited out] in a yellow robe”

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      Exactly ! What is ‘venerable’ about this drunkard thug !!

      ven·er·a·ble
      ˈvenərəbəl,ˈvenrə-/
      adjective
      1.
      accorded a great deal of respect, esp. because of age, wisdom, or character.
      “a venerable statesman”
      synonyms: respected, venerated, revered, honored, esteemed, hallowed, august, distinguished, eminent, great, grand

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      Rajash

      “whay are you addressing him as “Venerable”….
      instead of “fucking racist [Edited out] in a yellow robe”

      Don’t you know both has the same meaning in this island.

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        WOW… you nailed it, mate!

      • 0
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        Brilliant!…..

    • 0
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      Rajesh

      You lift your cloth and show your nakedness to the world

      Think twice before you open your mouth idiot

  • 0
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    BBS is created by MR & Gota for political purposes.
    BBS become very handy last week when they send BBS to attack Sirikotha when Mervins thugs failed to stop UNP activities.

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    GOTA GOING TO THE VATICAN TO GET THE PAPAL BLESSINGS.

    BLOODY HYPOCRITES !!!

    THE PAPAL NUNCIO IN SRI LANKA WILL BE UPDATING THE POPE
    ABOUT GOTA’S “VENEREAL GALABODAWATTES ACTIONS AGAINST
    ALL OTHER RELIGIONS.

    THOSE WHO LIVE BY THE SWORD DIE BY THE SWORD.

    THOSE WHO COME TO POWER THROUGH THE SAFFRON MONKS WILL MEET THEIR
    END THE SAME WAY.

    IT WILL BE A REPEAT OF BUDDHARAKKITA-SOMARAMA ACT.

    ATHTHAHI ATHTHANO NATHO

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    ‘Towards A Militant Saṅgha State’?
    Yes and NO. But This is what we want to show the Sinhala Buddists in order to fool them. We want a Rajapaksa regime forever not a militant Sangha regime. Involve Sangha is the best weapon to threaten other communities while making foolish Buddists happy.
    Mr. Gnanasara’s every move is authorised and approved by Mr Gota.
    When we have the 100% Buddist backing we know how to get rid of Mr. Gnanasara and JHU. Our emperor hon mahinda is not as stupid as Rev. Ven. late Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike.
    We wont allow Mr. Gnanasara or Ven Champika to become a Rev. Talduwe Somarama or Rev. Mapitigama Buddakathika.

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      Fat”Mama” Fuk U Shima

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        Who is this pin head Kali?

        Good comment Yasodhara!

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    A Militant Saṅgha State is the beginning of the end of Buddhism as preached by Buddha. Sinhellists (BBS/JHU/SR/BR) can be compared to the philosophy of Zionism. In time, the Sinhellists will destroy Buddhism just as the Zionists destroying the Jewish faith.

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      …and the Jihadists and Wahabbists destroy Islam.

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        It’s inevitable, all extreme elements are on course to self destruction. The right term is the ‘Khawarijs’ though there is no relevance to Sri Lanka.

        Islam is defined as being ‘submitting to the Will of God, with peace; which is an expression of respect to all of humanity. In Islam, all human beings are entitled to dignity, regardless of who they are and what beliefs they hold; The Noble Quran declares that justice is Divine and should not be subject to prejudices, tribal biases, or subjective desires; In Islam, true faith is incompatible with compulsion; Islam has no mediator between God and humanity; hence, there is no divine clergy or hierarchy with any authority to act on behalf of God. Islam confirms and upholds the teachings of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed; peace and blessings be upon them all. In Islam, no one has the right to claim they represent God or hold the absolute interpretation of His word nor His intent except Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)during his life time.’ Some Muslims may not practice it. However, this is the message of Islam in its essence.

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    This is another Terror Gang of the corrupt Regime, this time in Robes. Unless we rediscover our lost Democratic Sri Lanka and chase away the crazy Jokers who turned it into a corrupt lawless Banana Republic with Jungle Law that serve and protect only CRIMINALS, we are sure to loose our liberated Mother Lanka. To defeat the current form of Terrorism is not as easy as defeating the LTTE. God save our Mother Lanka.

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    Folks,

    One more thing we have to add this discussion. We need to understand the wrong doing saga, which come the common people. Not from the rapist/chauvinistic/wicked/ill educated/gangster/criminal monks and its leader Gnana fucking Sara. People should not FEED these lazy bustards. Let these lethargic Gnana fucking Sara(s) and his criminals’ monks to cook their meals, carry their water, shopping their vegetable. Since these criminals’ get free food, they have plenty of time to do unnecessary things.

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    Shame to say he is a Sangha … he is a criminal & a thug and BBS created by Gota … NOW GOTA is going behind Pope.

    Pope never trust this regime

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    Dont talk poppycock Raghavan. Just because there are a few extreme, vocal laymen in robes, masquerading as monks, it does not mean Buddhist sangha is running the state. It is being run by a family of opportunists, riding on people’s sentiments. If you apply your logic then one could say that a load of fakirs are running the Indian State, men in the garb of christian priests running UK, load of women in barkhas are running the muslim states. There is no ending. Creep back into your tortoise shell, you aired your fart!

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    Dr Suren Rāghavan,

    Thank you for your, as expected, erudite article that covers what now seems to be an inexorable march to sinhala-buddhist hegemony.

    A near total sinhala-buddhist body politic; a near total sinhala-buddhist armed forces, a 73% sinhala-buddhist electorate, a subjugated media; join the dots and see the final picture. The recent overtures of the UNP and the permanent lifetime leader of the opposition is a late coming to terms with impending post-CHOGM fun to come. The BBS will take great comfort from this boost to their national stature. Buddhists who see through this madness will find it impossible to have their voice heard above the unstoppable torrent of the BBS, the Sihala Ravaya et al.

    The bare-faced trumpeting of our nation as multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual on the state website is bullshit for the gullible. The ground realities are different and the 25% who make up the minority had better prepare themselves for the long haul as second-class citizens of this country. There will be a lot of urumaya, little karumaya and no karunawa. Such is the state of our buddhism today.

    As the man on the 155 Mattakuliya bus said to me ‘BBS? the best is yet to come’.

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      for your, as expected, erudite article that covers what now seems to be an inexorable march to sinhala-buddhist hegemony

      Cant be that erudite
      a) Mahāvaṃsa narrates how worrier king Duṭṭhagamaṇī did what all Sinhala kings should, within the historiographical presupposition

      b) UNP with all its flows and blood soaked past

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    Raghavan points out 5 waves of Sangha political activism under direct political party affiliation. There the first one is D.S. Senanayake /Walpola Rāhula combination. The rest of the combinations, according to him, are SWRD/M. Buddharakkhita, JRJ/Davamottawë Amarawaņsa, Mahinda /JHU and BBS/Rāvaṇa Balaya/ Sinhala Rāvaya/ with unknown but speculated affiliations with Ghōtabaya Rajapakse. Then he points out “at each of this junctures, politicians who used the Saṅgha soon became intolerant of them for they either demanded or forced them to do too much.” These sayings implies that 1. D.S. Senanayaka and Walpola Rahula have worked together as it is in the rest of the 4 cases pointed out in the article. 2. The clash between D.S. Senanayaka and Walpola Rahula is a result of forcing or demanding D.S. Senanayaka to do too much by Walpola Rahula. These 2 assumptions are factually incorrect. From beginning Walpola Rahula shared left-wing political ideas and never supportive of D.S. Senanayaka’s politics. (Bhikshuvage Urumaya was written against D.S.S’ political ideas to establish that it is monks’ sole duty to work for the betterment of the ordinary people. Rahula put his arguments in to action through his tireless engagement in the free education struggle. This struggle was for every one and not for Sinhalese Buddhist only. It is true that his book became the hand book of Sinhala chauvinistic politics in later days). It is D.S. Senanayaka who brought Ven. Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha in support of his politics. Therefor, Raghavan’s first assumption has to be corrected as ‘D.S. Senanayake /Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha combination. Now Raghavan’s 2nd assumption becomes correct because D.S. Senanayaka/Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha relationship broke down due to Senanayaka’s unwillingness to do more to uplift Buddhist religion as proposed by Ven. Gnanaseeha.

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    The Bottom line is both Rawaya, Ravana Balaya, Bodu Balu Sena are Rajapakse Creations.

    These Proxy Buddhist Terror Plots were created in order for Rajapakses to hide behind them for Mass murder and Genocidal cover up when UNHRC brings Human Right Violation Law suits against them. Also this is a cover up to eventually evade Hague trials, by instigating communal violance in Sri Lanka.

    These Proxy Buddhist Terror cults are been well Nourished and well taken care and directed by Rajapakse brothers for their own agendas.

    Eventually Rajapakses will plan for another 1983 like criminal Communal, Religion and Racial Progrom war among all communities which eventually will lead to breaking up Sri Lanka into several pieces.

    This is what Rajapakses ultimate plan for the destruction of Sri Lanka.

    Building infrastructure in Hambanthota is part of this plan.

    Citizens be aware of Rajapakses Genocidal plan on Sri Lanka.

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    This idiotic Bahu Bootha Sena (BBS) is a major government sponsored virus. real pariahs..

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    BBS does not lead the sanga . its but a tiny potion . so dont make the BBS the bogeyman .

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    So called Militant Sangha are not enlightened ones and they feel the danger that the majority Sinhala – buddhist nation faces.

    IF Sri Lankan politicians have proper policies, the 13th amendment is the best thing that ever happened to Sri Lanka and 13th amendment and the proper policies can be used to strengthen what is lost and what the Sinhala Buddhists are losing day by day.

    AT present, the vision and the policies for the every president are based on their need to come to power after the next election.

    See how western countries do it. They thrive on immigrants. Their politicians come and go but their policies are strong and they have placed a system which is run by the bureaucrats. who ever the politician or the political party is everybody runs the same system and always those policies at the fore front as the their goals and objectives.

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      Jim Sooty,

      Well done mate:

      YOU HAVE ACHIEVED ENLIGHTENMENT and I think coming from an ultimate Racist like you a State within a State is within reach.

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        kali-ban

        This could be Jim Softy’s long suffering wife.

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          Foreign,

          Jim doesnt have a wife only a poodle.

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    ”during which more than 1000 Saṅgha were killed, wounded, arrested, and disrobed”?

    Can someone say what this means please?

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    BBS is just some individuals who are doing what should have done by the govt which is the protection of the majority culture and the civilization.

    The govt thinks that the economy is the only thing that they should focus on and not anything else, except for needs of those special interest groups such as tamils who always make fuss about them selves and not anything or any one else.

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      It is because the Sinhala Buddhist make massive fuss about themselves since 1948 we are in this mess! You are so insecure and the minorities are insecure as a result.

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    LOST and NOT FOUND….

    We are looking for two senior citizens, who were respectfully called ‘Mahanayakes’.

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      Rohan

      You won’t find them as they are under Gota’s severe Fatwa ever since they questioned Fonseka’s arrest and his subsequent incarceration.

      However Mhanayakes watchers (in fact my elders) tell me they will only re-emerge when there is a talk of a deal being negotiated between the government and Tamil/Muslim parties.

      There is a slim possibility that Gota might parade them in front of media if he thought he should send a strong message to India. Then the two senior citizens would demand the abrogation of Indo Lanka pact and halting of all negotiations on future Free Trade Agreement.

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    THE WRITER’S COOMMENT ON DS/W.RAHULA AFFILIATION IS NOT CORRECT. DS HATED SANGHA INVOLVING IN POLITICS.
    IN REGARD TO SWRD, ASSASSIN IS NOT SOMARAMA MONK.EYE-WITNESS’ EVIDENCE NEGLECTED.TBAT WAS AN OPEN -SECRET.
    BE THAT AS IT MAY; THIS ARTICLE IS AN EYE-OPENER.
    IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE & RELIGION. WE SHOULD CHANGE THIS RACIAL AUTHORITARIAN’S GOVT. AS WE ALL ARE “EKA MAWAKAGE DARU KELA BEWINA”.

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      AGREED ! Well said Dhamme !

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    WELL I SEE A LOT OF FEAR IN THE COUNTRY ABOUT THIS BBS…ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS RELIGEON AND POLITICS DO NOT GO TOGETHER… MOST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES TOOK RELIGEON OUT OF POLITICS…..U LIKE IT OR NOT ITS COMING TO SRILANKA…..WE ARE PRAYING 4 A UNITED SRILANKA…..THE MOMENT A RELIGEON USE VIOLENCE TO TAME THE PEOPLE IT IS THE END OF THAT RELIGEON IN THAT COUNTRY….AS A HISTORIAN ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS THAT HISTORY REPEATS….AND SRILANKA WILL HAVE A WONDERFUL FUTURE AS ONE NATION…..EKE MAWEKUGE DARU KALE SESINA…..NEVER WORKED TILL NOW….IT WILL BE DELIVERED SOON….WHEN UN INTEVENES IN 2014 4 HUMAN RIGHTS….BBS IS THE VEHICLE GOD USED TO LIBERATE SRILANKA…THE VIOLENT MONKS ARE SENT TO GIVE LIBERATION TO THE MINORITIES FINALLY AFTER 65 YEARS OF LIBERATION…. IT HAPPENED IN EVERY NATION COUNTRY…RELIGEON DOES NOT BELONG IN THE RULING OFD A COUNTRY….IT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE ENJOY ON THEIR OWN OF FREE WILL…… WARNA KARU….HOPEFUL .HUMBLE ,PEACELOVING SRILANKAN …..

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      I have stated this for some time on CT: Sri Lanka MUST Separate Temple & State, like the Separation of Church & State in the West ! good that it’s starting to gain traction….

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    A better option is a militant Muslim Brothelhood state!!

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      Yes, then you’ll have to wear a Hijab ! Even if you cover your, you wont lose anything Fathima !

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    Particularly in countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia in South Asia it is difficult to totally separate religion from politics and vice-versa. However, it is the duty of the leadership of the main political parties to courageously establish the dividing lines. We have not done that. If political parties nakedly use religions with a mass base to influence parliamentary politics then governance in the countries concerned become complex. Here the writer’s description “using Sangha for political purposes is like walking on fire …. the probability of being burnt is pretty high” gains relevance. When Sri Lanka went one step ahead where radical religionists, in religious garb and against Buddha’s calls entered the earthly and ugly world of parliamentary politics we must have shocked the Buddhist world. That entry into politics by the Sangha, with the avowed purpose of cleansing “dirty politics” – failed shocking millions of pious Buddhists in the country. The entry of the Sangha into politics has not had a calming effect in our cut-throat politics but has, on the contrary, brought in further divisive tension. We have not got out of the rut yet. The country continues to sail in rough waters – waiting for divine deliverance.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan,

      You say….”The entry of the Sangha into politics has not had a calming effect in our cut-throat politics but has, on the contrary, brought in further divisive tension.”

      But the reality is it is Rajapakses who Scape Goat Rawana Balaya, Rawaya and Bodu Bala Sena making them Sinhala Buddhist Extremists to divide and rule our country.

      Subsequently what happened to Somarama will happen to BBS, and what happened to SWRD Banda will happen to Rajapakses.

      The history of Sri Lanka will repeat pretty soon.

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      Senguthuvan,

      From your name I take it that you are from our Spiritual and Second Home Tamil Nadu but you are living in a Dream World. The enemity between Tamils and Sinhalese goes back thousands of years.
      Up to now it has been along Ethnic lines and Religon never played a part in the conflict. But the advent of an ULTRA RACIST Government in power the Racist elements enjoying the Patronage of people like MR & Goth have reared their ugly heads which has resulted in Religious Intolerance.
      Sadly there is no way you are going to curb it and this is a sign of things to come in Sinhala Lanka unless checked by outside intervention.
      A Buddhist Nationalist will only understabd a Hindu Nationalist and we have to wait for a BJP Government with the Iron Lady wielding influence stop the rot.

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    Dear Dr.Raghavan, Our President , the king of kings is a direct descendant of of the Buddha, a fact which has been proved beyond doubt by none other than the great historian Jacksonus Anthonius (Jack+son = Booru+puthaa). This land which is said to have belonged to the Buddha has now passed into the hands of our king of kings – the rightful owner by heritage. So, he becomes the sole proprietor of Buddhism as well. He is now free to interpret the Dharma according to the “atthakathaa” called Mahinda Chinthnaya in which Corruption,Casino & Comission may be held as the triple gem. Mahaa Sangaratnas like Galagoaatte Gandasaara ganayyaa are the propagators of of his Dharma which will lead us all to Nibbana in no time!

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    What a fine essay. The ways in which religious discourses interacts and acts through the state is what needs unpacking. I am also wondering why Raghavan has not looked at the work of Prof. Tambiah whose book Buddhism Betrayed was banned in Sri Lanka.

    Raghavan’s debates with Dayan is also illuminative of the vacuous Marxism of Dayan who masqurades his racism under a Marxist blanket just as so many Marxists have done and thus spoiling the good name of Marxism.

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