13 November, 2019

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Sri Lanka Unchecked

By Roma Tearne

Roma Tearne

In the midst of a Brexit frenzy it feels more or less impossible to think beyond our own crumbling borders. And, in this increasing insularity it is hardly surprising that the outside world has faded, slightly. But in another far-away place, seven thousand miles from Britain, life goes on in its own peculiar and misguided ways. The violence, injustice and oppression that unfold unchecked in Sri Lanka remains largely unchanged.

Once I lived on its shores and its people remain my people. And so I feel I have some right to speak out, to inform our indifferent world of the extent of the foolishness hidden in this empty paradise.

The story is not a new one. Shakthika Sathkumara is, I understand, a young writer and a poet, an observer of human behaviour, undoubtedly a man of courage and idealism. Without such attributes it would not have been possible for him to write. But write he did, at least until the authorities arrested him in April of this year. He has languished in police detention for 127 days. And though Shakthika was today granted bail, he continues to face the imminent threat of indictment and prosecution.

His crime? A short story which he published on Facebook, a piece that seems (I have read the English translation) utterly innocuous! But someone, somewhere, stupid to the point of lunacy, complained about this story and the authorities, with equal lunacy, arrested him. It is claimed that he defamed the Buddhist clergy. Reading the story several times in order to write this piece I see no reference to anything defamatory. Who are these uneducated people who seem incapable of rational thought? Are they simpletons or is there another agenda afoot? For in the spoiled Garden of Eden that is Sri Lanka, if the written word does not conform to some obscure religious doctrine, writing suddenly becomes a crime.

How laughable are these people who live in such a poisoned paradise. What on earth do they hope to achieve in imprisoning an innocent writer? How backward is this place? I understand that it was some fanatical Buddhist organisation that lodged the complaint in the first place. Do these individuals not understand what Buddhism is actually about? That first and foremost it is a philosophy? Secondly, a most noble religion, with its wonderfully vivid jathaka stories that sends out an appeal to humanity to practice a gentler way of life? To put a man to prison for writing a story is not merely profoundly stupid. It denies a whole nation the possibility of thinking for itself. It is a way of hijacking literature in the name of quasi-religious beliefs while using that same noble religion to keep corrupt politics alive. It is a trick as old as mankind itself, in order to rule, not by charm or intelligence, but by the use of fear. It is, in other words, censorship. Something one would have hoped had been eradicated by the 21st century.

Stories are the lifeblood of any society. Through stories we learn the difference between what should and should not be. Narrative is the moral compass that creates a decent life. To censor our stories is to destroy all that is rich and cultured within a society.

I have long thought of Sri Lanka and its ongoing pettiness as being a hollow paradise. Its sweeping beaches and pristine sands hide unpalatable things, and until it can grow up, be mature enough to take a long hard look at its faults, until it can clean up its legal system and release innocent writers such as Shakthika Sathkumara, it will remain poisoned. The kind of place no decent, educated person will want to visit.

The freedom of expression enjoyed by those living in this beautiful land has been repressed for many decades, but it is within the powers of the current government to offer change. To show mercy to one innocent writer and to release him. For did not Shakespeare say that mercy is twice blessed? That it blesseth him that gives and him that takes… So in the true spirit of Buddhism, I appeal to the government of Sri Lanka to do the right thing. To immediately drop all charges against Shakthika Sathkumara, and to begin taking the poison out of paradise.

*Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born novelist, painter and filmmaker. Her seventh novel was The White City. She is working on her eighth novel.

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  • 5
    6

    “His crime? A short story which he published on Facebook, a piece that seems (I have read the English translation) utterly innocuous! “

    who are you trying to kid madam.is this highly innocuous.[“Yaśodharā8 was sobbing. Though she could have stopped what Channa9 was doing, she let him continue. ‘That’s because I yearned for it’, she thought to herself. ‘Did Siddhartha know that Rahula10 wasn’t his son? Was that the reason for his leaving? Did he know that I wasn’t satisfied? Wasn’t it true he was unable to please a woman?’ Rather than finding answers, Yaśodharā let out a long sigh, in an unsuccessful attempt to find some solace.”] it is not the homosexuality that he brought out that is not innocuous,this is.

    • 5
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      Shankar,
      I don’t think that Skthika was wrong to suspect that the prince Siddhartha had homosexual orientations; many including myself believe that it was a real possibility. As matter of fact, I think that the whole Buddhist philosophy of pessimism arose as a result of this singular personal experience. I also believe that the huge contradiction between the practices of secular life & the ultimate goal of Buddhist philosophy can be resolved by replacing pessimism with positivism without causing any harm to other major principles.

      The fact that everything is always changing is a fact of nature; same is with the concept of non-existence of an inner soul similar to Descartes version that existed among some major teachings during Buddha’s time. However, everything in life/nature is sad/sorrow/unhappy is not a fact; rather, it is a relative opinion only. Therefore, by turning this second proposition of the three to relative statement, the contradiction between the life all living organisms thrive for and the Buddhist teachings can be made to disappear, I think (that doesn’t mean that monks have the same freedom b’cos they already are have committed to the pessimistic view. The most they can do is to disrobe if want to change the mind which is perfectly OK. But having a double life is nothing but cheating).

      However, I also think that Shakthika has gone too far to question the character of Yasodara. But, will such a characterization amounts to a crime? I don’t think so. If so, all the other unbelievable exaggerations on Buddha’s superpowers described in various Buddhist literature has to be treared in the same way. Therefore, I don’t think that we should go beyond saying: “What a fool”! If monks think that Shakthika has committed a crime punishable with law, then there are thousands of monks who deserve same judgement for breaking “Vinaya Pitaka” and thereby insulting Buddha & his teachings almost daily.

      • 1
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        D.P

        “I don’t think that Skthika was wrong to suspect that the prince Siddhartha had homosexual orientations; “

        nothing mentioned about Lord Bhuddha being homosexual by the author.A man not being able to please a woman is very common due to various factors.

        ” I also think that Shakthika has gone too far to question the character of Yasodara. But, will such a characterization amounts to a crime? I don’t think so.”

        you must refer to the law,not what you and i think whether it is a crime or not.I remember reading somewhere that he had broken a law which carried a penalty of max 10 years.It is upto his lawyers to argue like what you do and try to make out he has not broken the law.That is why it is unfair to have kept him so long in remand,because he deserves to have his day in court.However his lawyers can’t argue on the ignorance of the law.I remember reading that law he was supposed to have broken and i was convinced he would be convicted,the bloody fool.He had opportunities to write about anything other than this but he went ahead anyway.

    • 4
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      Roma Tearne,

      RE: Sri Lanka Unchecked

      While you like to write novels, they are usually fiction, unless the novel closely resembles an actual true situation.

      Why not write an actual story about Sri Lanka, unchecked?

      Title: “Who made the Kurunegala women pregnant ? .”

      Colombo Telegraph: Please let the Sinhala narrative given below from the Grape vines, Bulath vines, stand as it is very material to the above question and false charges and the news item.
      “මෙම කාන්තාවන් නොමග යැවීමට කටයුතු කර ඇත්තේ විමල් වීරවංසගේ උපදෙස් මත කුරුණෑගල නගරාධිපති තුෂාර විතාරණ විසින් බවත් ඒ සදහා මුදල් වියදම් කර ඇත්තේ ජොන්ස්ටන් ප්‍රනාන්දු බවත් මේ වනවිට රහසක් නොවේ. මෙම නුගත් කාන්තාවන් නොමග යැවීමට මහාචාර්ය චන්න ජයසුමන නොහොත් නාත දෙවියන්ගේ වරමක් හිමි මිත්‍යාදෘෂ්ටිකයා විසින් සිදු කළ ප්‍රකාශ විශාල බලපෑමක් සිදු කළේය. අතුරලියේ රතන හිමියන්ද බෞද්ධ ජනතාව උසි ගන්වමින් මුස්ලිම් විරෝධයක් ඇති කිරීම සඳහා මෙය අමු අමුවේම භාවිතා කළේය.”

      Thanslation:
      “To mislead these women, it was under Wimal Weerawansa’s instructions by Kurunegala Mayor Thisara Witharana, and the expenses for the project was by Johnston Fernando, and it is no secret. To misled these undedicated women, Professor Channa Jayasumsana made statements that made powerful and forceful impressions on the women. Also, Aturaliya Ratna Thero, by agitating the Buddhist people tried to create an anti-Muslim agitation, have used this raw lying incident .”

      Question: What is the punishment for the conspiracy by Wimal Weerawansa, Thisara Witharana, Professor Channa Jayasumsana and , Aturaliya Ratna Thero. Isn’t this a criminal act?

      Comment: This is Para-Sinhala Para-“ Buddhism”, that is an insult to Buddhis m and to the Buddha.

    • 3
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      May be the Writer, Shakthika Sathkumara, is trying to come to Terms with his own Homosexuality!!

    • 4
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      Roma Tearne,

      The error you are making is in believing and assuming that Para-Sinhala Para-Buddhism and Pristine Buddhism ate the same.

      It is not. You just described one example of a writer being jailed for writ a novel . In one of my posts, how the Para- Sinhala and the Para-Sinhala conspired and cooked up a story to falsely accuse s Muslim doctor at Kurunegala Hospital.

      About 5 years ago, there was this Btitish tourist women who had a tattoo of Buddha, on her arm, was arrested at the airport? Produced in front of s magistrate and deported. She had come from India after spending a few weeks there.

      Hope you now understand what Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhism “ is all about. It is an insult to Buddhism and to the Buddha.

      There is the Temple of the canine tooth in Kandy. There the faithful imbeciles prostrate to Para-Monks, who occasionally molest boys.

      A Land like no other!

  • 5
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    well said roma but nobody listens
    i hope you are not dayans roma

  • 9
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    The case of Shakthika Sathkumara is a very good answer to those who claim that all evil comes from Islam, and Saudi Arabia in particular. If this writer can be jailed for simply writing a story about something that is already public knowledge, then what is the difference between Wahabbi Saudi Arabia and Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka?
    What is the difference between ignorant mullahs and ignorant Mahanayakas?

    • 3
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      if he had wrote something like that about prophet mohammed in a muslim majority country he would have been beheaded,old codger.

      • 4
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        shankar

        “if he had wrote something like that about prophet mohammed in a muslim majority country he would have been beheaded,old codger.”

        We are not living in medievaL Muslim Majority country please don’t make this into one. However along with your uncritical support for thought control this island will soon be turned into a Sinhala/Buddhist fascist Caliphate.

        Your poster boy Black and Decker and you could have some private time in each other’s arm soon to be depopulated land. Is that what you are planning to do?

      • 6
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        Shankar,
        why compare with a Muslim country? It is the Sri Lankans themselves who claim that their Buddhism is so very tolerant and different from Islam.
        But at the same time, non-Buddhists are forced to live by Buddhist rules. If Buddhism is so tolerant, why is meat banned on certain days? This is exactly like Saudi Arabia banning people from eating in public during Ramadan.
        have you ever seen the film ” Jesus Christ superstar” ? It was made in the 70’s in UK, and nobody was beheaded for it.

        • 1
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          old codger

          you are indeed old and suffering from amnesia.If you check your previous comment you will see that you mention ” a very good answer to those who claim that all evil comes from Islam, and Saudi Arabia in particular.what is the difference between Wahabbi Saudi Arabia and Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka?
          What is the difference between ignorant mullahs and ignorant Mahanayakas?”

          now you say “why compare with a Muslim country?” after talking all about islam and comparing bhuddhists with it.And also you are taking me by my nose towards christanity now with the jesus christ superstar crap.If you expect me to go into detailed comparisions now with lankan Bhuddhism and christianity it won’t work cos you may be experienced at leading people by their nose away from areas yo wish they don’t put their nose into,but i am wise to that trick.

          • 1
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            Shankar,
            Quite clearly, you have no arguments to defend your position. I am not favouring Christianity, which has been just as brutal as Islam. Why are you defending Buddhism when it acts the same way?

            • 0
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              old codger

              “Why are you defending Buddhism when it acts the same way?”

              this man has insulted lord Bhuddha and his wife and son too in a very bad way.For that he was remanded for i believe 5 months or so.In an earlier article in CT about him,you can see my comment asking dappula livera the AG to be fair by him and release him to face his day in court without punishing him before he is even convicted.Everyone deserves justice this man as well as Lord bhuddha who is not here to defend himself as he was born about 2500 years ago.Now this writer has been released i believe cos the pres spoke to livera and he will get his day in court.So why are you complaining about the treatment meted out to him as inhuman and comparing it to muslim countries harsh treatment for blasphemy.There was a small travesty of justice in him being remanded for a few months,but he is going to have to do at least 2 years in jail as he has broken the law which carries max 10 years for that particular charge and the 5 months spent in remand will be deducted by the judge.

              • 0
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                Shankar,
                “this man has insulted lord Bhuddha and his wife and son too in a very bad way.For that he was remanded for i believe 5 months or so”
                I am sure you know what I am getting at but prefer to play dumb.
                1. Buddhism claims to be a very tolerant and rational religion (which it is when not interpreted by half-educated buffoons
                2. Islam is intolerant even now, and Christians have been intolerant, in the past. .Buddhism has NOT been noted for intolerance.
                3. A law against blasphemy should NOT exist in a Buddhist country. Even UK doesn’t have a blasphemy law, which is why I mentioned ” Jesus Christ superstar”.
                4. Islamic intolerance is not an excuse for Buddhists to go the same way.
                This new fundamentalism is a betrayal of the Buddha’s teaching. Anybody can be locked up for “criticizing Buddhism”. As it is, there are many Buddhist practices which cannot even be discussed in the mainstream media. So what is the difference between Islam and Buddhism? Is it only the “milder” punishment?

                • 1
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                  old codger

                  i understand your point.Lord bhuddha himself would have said to allow insults.In fact he faced many insults and always ignored and never retaliated.However there is a law here that prohibits doing such things.Everyone must respect the law including this author.If we don’t like a law we should try to get rid of it through due processes,but as long as it is there we must learn to respect it.Also we must think why should people be allowed to insult Lord Bhuddha like this as he is not here to defend such falsehoods of his manhood,his wife’s fidelity and his son’s illegitimacy.

                  • 0
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                    Shankar,
                    You write:
                    “However there is a law here that prohibits doing such things.”
                    Do you think the Christians or the Muslims are the ones who demand such laws? No it is the Sangha and their illiterate followers who demand such laws, and then claim that Buddhism is free of compulsion. Why should the Buddha need this sort of protection when Buddhism survived 450 years of colonialism and is actually growing now?

                    • 0
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                      old codger
                      “Why should the Buddha need this sort of protection when Buddhism survived 450 years of colonialism and is actually growing now?”

                      you know what portuguese did to the coastal areas they had conquered,The dutch and the british were much better but used incentives for conversion instead of brute force like the barbaric portuguese.magha went on a spree to destroy bhuddhism and it was the bhuddhist monks who saved it and also hid the tooth relic.

                      Look at what happenned to india and afghanistan.They were all bhuddhist at one time until the muslim invasions from central asia and persia and arabia.You saw the huge Lord Bhuddha statues in the cliffs of afghanistan that were to be destroyed by the taliban.They were so huge that the taliban had to use rockets to destroy them. Lord Bhudhas teachings on non violence made the monks in taxila and nalanda just give their heads to be chopped off.So the people turned to saivism to fight back the muslims,because their was no restrictions in saivism towards self defence.So lord bhuddha’s teachings literally applied in a practical violent environment to destroy bhuddhism was worthless.

                      That is why some sort of additional protections such as laws are needed to protect bhuddhism.Lord bhuddha meant well with what he said but we are living in an environment where religion is being used for power and political and military purposes and not for what it was intended.

                    • 0
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                      Shankar,
                      So what you are saying is that to protect Buddhism, you have to abandon its principles. Very interesting, if I may say so.
                      Is this the same sort of logic that monks use when they ask for meat (that is not killed for them) ?
                      As for the Portuguese, why is it that converts were mostly from the fisher caste? Is that not because they were oppressed by the “Buddhist” high castes?

                    • 0
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                      old codger

                      don’t worry about those who are not practicing Lord Bhuddha’s principles.Instead you try to practice it.Don’t worry if someone else is having and infectious disease.You take your antibiotics.The cure to the suffering in life is here given by Lord bhuddha.Since you are old now look back upon your life and see if you had started to practice these when you were young whether you could have avoided a lot of grief in your life.All the best.Don’t chuck it into the too hard basket like many of those who call themselves bhuddhist in sri lanka,because you will then be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

                      https://www.learnreligions.com/the-life-of-the-buddha-449997

                      https://www.learnreligions.com/the-four-noble-truths-450095

                      https://www.learnreligions.com/the-eightfold-path-450067

                      https://www.learnreligions.com/the-buddhist-precepts-450107

                    • 0
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                      old codger

                      i forgot to give a important part of what Lord bhuddha said.If you are a hindu you might also see some similarities with hinduism

                      https://www.learnreligions.com/buddhism-and-karma-449992

  • 8
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    This beautiful nation can reach it’s full potential, be secure, safe, and economically successful, ONLY when the clowns we have as leaders, and those conspiring to become one, are sent home packing, and we are able to find a lot who will put their selfish ambitions aside, and WORK FOR THE PEOPLE AND COUNTRY. A miracle it seems.

    • 7
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      Tara:-
      The Answer seems to be to hand over Sri Lanka to Singapore for some time, to put some sense into Our Politicians who Call Sri Lanka a Democracy!
      We are not a Democracy, because we do not Govern for the benefit of the People, but for the benefit of the Politicians!

      • 3
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        Good idea Hamlet. Lee Kuan Yew silenced the Press and locked up the Opposition. If that’s what you want vote for Rajapakse.

        • 3
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          PBG:-
          That would not be a Benevolent Dictatorship!

      • 4
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        Hamlet

        I didn’t know you have this secret aspiration/ambition to destroy Singapore.

        • 2
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          NV:-
          No, I don’t think Singapore as It is Now, is a good Example for Sri Lanka to follow!
          Sri Lanka has so much more in Natural Advantages, that Singapore lost long ago!
          Voting for the Rajapakses would create a Sri Lanka that only Greedy Politicians would want to Live in!

    • 1
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      Tara
      Simply whinging about our clown leaders is of no purpose when the public who make them leaders are at fault by voting for them.
      In the Brexit land where Roma Tearne the author of this article now resides, the voters have the power to recall such clown leaders from parliament. An errant female parliamentarian who had lied and cheated the police about a speeding offence was on conviction by the local magistrate court, immediately expelled from the Labour Party she belonged to.
      Thereafter the voters of the constituency she represented signed a “recall petition”and she automatically ceased to be an MP.

      The said MP who was a Solicitor of the Supreme Court was also struck off from practicing her profession as a lawyer by the Law Society the professional body which regulated her practice.
      Will this ever happen to an errant MP in SL?

  • 4
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    Roma,
    It is said that , “One who knows not, but does not know that he/she knows not is a fool”, and the suggested action is to shun such people.
    To begin with who in SL cares two pennies about Brexit. The British ( may not even be British, with the second referendum on Scotland being planned as we speak) has no influence in Europe, let alone the global context. Let me quote FJean-Claude Junker, the outgoing President of the EU when he said “Forgetting the importance of national landscapes, cultures, national behaviours, reactions, and reflexes is a big, big mistake”.
    It is quite obvious that your are totally oblivious to the ground situation, here in Sri Lanka. You claim that its people ( Sri Lankans) remain my people, and so your right to speak out, to inform our indifferent world of the extent of the foolishness hidden in this empty paradise.
    What you call an empty paradise Roma, is the heaven and paradise to over 22 million us Sri Lankans, to whom you are alien with no clue of how we Sri Lankans lead our day-to-day lives.
    What an Aristocrat you are, trying to dictate terms and preclude some idiotic presumptions without any deductive and sound arguments.
    It is said that thought and language create our world, and so to think critically about the world we must pay careful attention to words: the words we choose, and the words others use.
    Roma, going through your zany write-up , I can only be sardonic about your very little understanding of the ground level here in Sri Lanka, and also your uncanny effort to write articles about things that you have no clue of, thus how stupid you sound in your articles.
    As a patriotic Sri Lankan, and on who is not afraid to “call a spade, a spade”, your article is full of bogus facts and fallacious assumptions.
    Do refrain from commenting about things you do not comprehend.

    • 2
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      A paradise? That’s hilarious! Yes, a fool’s paradise by the sounds of it

  • 3
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    Roma,
    It is said that , “One who knows not, but does not know that he/she knows not is a fool”, and the suggested action is to shun such people.
    To begin with who in SL cares two pennies about Brexit. The British ( may not even be British, with the second referendum on Scotland being planned as we speak) has no influence in Europe, let alone the global context. Let me quote FJean-Claude Junker, the outgoing President of the EU when he said “Forgetting the importance of national landscapes, cultures, national behaviours, reactions, and reflexes is a big, big mistake”.
    It is quite obvious that your are totally oblivious to the ground situation, here in Sri Lanka. You claim that its people ( Sri Lankans) remain my people, and so your right to speak out, to inform our indifferent world of the extent of the foolishness hidden in this empty paradise.
    What you call an empty paradise Roma, is the heaven and paradise to over 22 million us Sri Lankans, to whom you are alien with no clue of how we Sri Lankans lead our day-to-day lives.
    What an Aristocrat you are, trying to dictate terms and preclude some idiotic presumptions without any deductive and sound arguments.
    It is said that thought and language create our world, and so to think critically about the world we must pay careful attention to words: the words we choose, and the words others use.
    Roma, going through your zany write-up , I can only be sardonic about your very little understanding of the ground level here in Sri Lanka, and also your uncanny effort to write articles about things that you have no clue of, thus how stupid you sound in your articles.

  • 4
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    Read the story before condemning the verdict. Look at the names that Sathkumara chose for his characters. What would have happened if he called one of them Mohammed?

    • 3
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      PBG,
      ” What would have happened if he called one of them Mohammed? “
      If he did that in Sri Lanka, he would have been a hero . He would have been given one of those decorations that the Mahanayakas dole out too.

  • 3
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    When the Great Writer – the LEGEND Late Mr. Martin Wickramasinghe wrote “BAWA THARANAYA” did anyone go to complain to Police and get him arrested? Or was this “Legislation” not in the Rule Books then?

  • 5
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    ROMA: Focus of the article is Badgering Buddhism. That is typical thought of the Abrahamic religions. You people have religions. What Buddhist have is a Way of living and some thing far and far superior to Abrahamic religions and people with that view can not understand the Asian Religions. India has casteism. but, they never quarrel based on religions. But, it is not the same in Jerusalem of around. they always kill for the sake of the religions.
    SathKumara is just human thrash. He doe snot know what he is talking except not respecting another religion because of Politics. I think what we say simply very foreign and can not understand for those who follows Abrahamic religions.

    • 1
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      JD,
      Nonsense! The dogmatic versions of Abrahamic religions never allowed/encouraged criticism.

  • 6
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    The link to the English translation of the story has already been given by Roma Tearne. Read it first before commenting.
    Yasodhara – the wife of Siddartha
    Channa – the charioteer
    Rahula – the son of Siddthartha

    “Yaśodharā was sobbing. Though she could have stopped what Channa was doing, she let him continue. ‘That’s because I yearned for it’, she thought to herself. ‘Did Siddhartha know that Rahula wasn’t his son? Was that the reason for his leaving? Did he know that I wasn’t satisfied? Wasn’t it true he was unable to please a woman?’ Rather than finding answers, Yaśodharā let out a long sigh, in an unsuccessful attempt to find some solace.”

    This is why Sathkumara is in trouble, not because he mentions homosexuality or child abuse. Now imagine if this was written about Jesus or Mohammed, there would be demonstrations and riots. Protests by Muslim nations. Anger from the Archbishop. But our Buddhists take it all placidly.

    “Yaśodharā8 was sobbing. Though she could have stopped what Channa9 was doing, she let him continue. ‘That’s because I yearned for it’, she thought to herself. ‘Did Siddhartha know that Rahula10 wasn’t his son? Was that the reason for his leaving? Did he know that I wasn’t satisfied? Wasn’t it true he was unable to please a woman?’ Rather than finding answers, Yaśodharā let out a long sigh, in an unsuccessful attempt to find some solace.”

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      Yes…people are stupid, emotional and tribal…they are thin-skinned…so they will demonstrate, riot, kill…
      Especially in the third world countries…it also explains why those countries are third world countries.

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      PBG – Have you read The Da Vinci Code? I suppose you would want Dan Brown to be arrested?

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        Max – Does Dan Brown refer to Jesus as a homosexual who couldn’t father a child? A mere play (Corpus Christi) that only showed Jesus being followed by a group of gay men was condemned by the Catholic Church.
        You cannot impose Western liberal thinking on a conservative society like ours. You have to be sensitive to local sentiments haven’t you? If at all, local thinking has to be changed gradually, by reasoned argument. You are defending cultural imperialism.

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          PBG,
          The Catholic Church might condemn, but nobody was arrested.

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          PBG – Dan Brown was mentioned as a mild example which most people would know about. Much worse things have been written and sung about Jesus, but I take your point that this behaviour is generally accepted by liberal thinking societies. The word ‘Western’ has been purposely left out, as I don’t believe one needs to be Western to think liberally.

          I’m all for being sensitive to local sentiments but am concerned that these sensitivities manifest only when a certain religion is involved.

          The only thing I am defending is Shakthika’s freedom of expression & his constitutional guarantee of equality under the law. Nothing else. He has offended certain people, but there have been innumerable citizens who openly display contempt of our laws, offend and spew hatred towards other religions who have been treated differently and even revered!

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            Max,
            Yes the problem is that some religions and clergy are more equal than others.

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          Will anybody dare contradict me on these statements?
          .
          None of us has made an attempt to arrest (let alone execute) Dan Brown. However, if some tragedy does overcome him, he alone is to blame. I have yet to meet an intelligent person who regards Dan Brown as anything other than a guy who writes sensational rubbish which he has shrewdly calculated will bring him a fortune. Salman Rushdie is a more serious writer.
          .
          I won’t support any attempt to either arrest or protect Dan Brown. I won’t bother to read all that Shakthika Sathkumara has written even in an English Translation, unless somebody calls into question the excerpt that PBG has given us above. What he has written is needless provocation.
          .
          This woman, residing in England, has written all this protest after reading only a translation, to begin with. Well, going on the PBG excerpt, what was the motivation for writing all this rubbish? I’ve not been provoked, but I can understand others being so.
          .
          We have enough REAL problems, without this issue being raked up the way it has been. Thanks, Amarasiri, for providing both the Sinhalese original and its faithful translation into English to highlight real mischief being hatched by politicians – one of them in Buddhist-monk robes.

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            Sinhala Man,
            “Writing rubbish” is not something that should land you in jail, is it? In that case many CT contributors and the authors of many “holy ” books should have spent time! Do we really know what long-dead people were like? I don’t think it is a crime to speculate.
            One thing to remember is that this was a Facebook post for a very limited readership.All this stupid fuss has provided Shakthika with a worldwide audience.
            Reminds me of Mahinda bragging at the UN that he banned porn on the Internet !

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            True, Old codger, nobody should have put him in jail, and Yes, I had overlooked the fact that this was only put on Facebook.
            .
            I was trying to draw attention to the volatility of the situation in this country – which may be triggering similar, unfortunate, responses elsewhere as more of our people try to escape from what we now recognise as a hell-hole of bigotry.
            .
            All of us have to be careful. Don’t provoke! There’s much thinking that we must do at this time – and a “lasting solution” is unlikely to emerge after we trudge to the polls.
            .
            You see how obsessed I’m with the politics of the day. It affects our day to day life in a way it rarely does in ‘the developed countries’ that so many wish to escape to.
            .
            If we remain here, we cannot afford to be very idiosyncratic.

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      PBG,
      Putting Shakthika in jail for a writing a fiction has to be described as a meaningless act of some overzealous religious hypocrites. From the same token, I also believe that Shakthika’s choice of characterization of Yasodara and her innocent son Rahula, both of whom also have been victims of “unexpected fateful event”, exhibits same lack of judgement. I think that the biggest error in the story is trying to see nearly three thousand years old Brahman culture from modern sensibilities.

      I say this b’cos it is very unlikely that prince Siddhartha ever understood why he felt dissatisfied with his married life. Even though homosexual practices might have existed in secrecy, I doubt whether people, women in particular, ever understood what it really meant. I believe that, it was prince Siddhartha’s urge to understand his failure to have a commonly accepted happy family life that finally led him to search for meaning of life and as a result of the search led him to formulate a new theory based on pessimistic view of life. This explains why Buddhist emphasis on pessimism does stand in conflict with natural way of life of all living organism -humans included.

      lapses in judgement from Shakthika’s part, how poor it might be, may be b’cos of his youthful urge to be “as radical as the Buddha himself” when decided go against Brahman cultural values of his day, shouldn’t be considered as a valid reason for incarceration of a person in a democratic country. In my opinion, Shalthika is not a particular hero (Martin Wickramasinghe’s Bhava Tharanaya didn’t get a similar rant from the clergy even though it also was a fiction that countered tradition, though to much lesser extent); and neither are those who go after him!

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        D.P.,

        Buddhism is not pessimistic as you try to characterise. In this “modern” world as you describe evidently based on what the dominant Western thinking may have imbibed in your mind, where slavery to consumerism has no end, a theory on happiness based on simplicity and a balanced life (the middle path) may sound pessimistic. But it is (Buddhist philosophy) one of the most optimistic explanation of the power of human mind to lead a happy way of life.

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          Hela,
          I think that you got it all wrong b’cos when you say life , you are talking only about human life. But, in my terminology, life means all thinking organisms. Yes, it may be possible to teach humans how to control instinctive desires in the mind and thereby to live a fully satisfied life by resorting only to the bare necessities as ancestral human did. But then such human would never have improved their knowledge beyond the level of hunting & gathering meaning no philosophy, no religions and most of all, no such a thing called science!

          By the way, is that the reason why a vast majority of Buddhist monks don’t seem even trying to attain Margha Pala? Out for Basic Truth, what is the very first one other than premise that the life is fundamentally full of sorrow?

          Don’t blame the west for everything; for, I learned Buddhism in SL from grade three! Speaking of slavery, it existed in India even before Buddhism was invented (read the book “The Wonder That Was India” by A L Basham; 1954). Slavery existed in Africa & S America long before Europe & America got to it).

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            D.P.

            I am not so sure what you learnt from grade 3. If you have studied Buddhism you wouldn’t have missed how Buddhism seeks harmony of the environment, plants, animals, humans included. If you read vinaya pitaka you would note strict rules set for uposatha bhikkus how to treat plants.

            Today’s hot topic of climate change is the result of unbridled exploitation of our environment by humans based on Judeo/Christian scientific and developmental pretext that the world exist only for the pleasure of the humans.

            The Bhikku society also faces the fundamental Buddhist principle of anicca. It faces many challenges to exist in this “modern” Western value system. One example is property ownership which was not an issue in the ancient times. A temple is donated to all sangha arriving and leaving from all directions during ancient times. Current legal framework we inherited from Western colonialism cannot have such a scenario. Today temples have to be legally owned by somebody. A Bhikku who has renounced the worldly possessions now has to legally own a property, become a property manager and pass it to his successor which immediately corrupts his reason to become a monk. In such a scenario can he attain margha pala?

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              Helass

              ” If you have studied Buddhism you wouldn’t have missed how Buddhism seeks harmony of the environment, plants, animals, humans included. If you read vinaya pitaka you would note strict rules set for uposatha bhikkus how to treat plants.”

              True.
              However what has your Sinhala/Buddhist fascism (Mahawamsa) got to do with the teachings of the Awakened one.

              “A Bhikku who has renounced the worldly possessions now has to legally own a property, become a property manager and pass it to his successor which immediately corrupts his reason to become a monk.”

              They Sangha, Viharathipathi, Nilames, … have a choice place all properties in Trust. Though the trust would enjoy perpetual existence and run by trustees, … not by Viharathipathies, …………

              Helass
              There are alternatives and choices available even though the Brits left this island in 1948. Do you know most Vihara’s had owned male, female and child slaves until the Brits abolished slavery in 1844.

              Stop your bull for once.

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                NV,

                Who is writing bull here? Everybody know Mahavamsa is not a Buddhist scripture. It is a chronology of rulers and events during their reign in SL. It has references to Buddhism because the people it refers to are mainly Buddhists (the rulers and the ruled and the original author was a Buddhist monk) just like Sinhala New Year celebrations include many Buddhist elements though it is not a Buddhist festival.

                Do not display the 3rd grader ignorance……..

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    Until you tie these idiots in robes and disrobe them…it will remain a hotbed of yellow robed extremism. What we have in SL is not Buddhism…but a strange cult that is labelled as Buddhism.

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    What we have is western Democracy which is not the same democracy they they practice. but, Western hyper-state political rights group tell us follow their democracy and their human rights. If ROMA does not know even the countries that accepted their kind of Democracy is going back. Because, they know that can not be done unless they destroy every in that country and if they do not destroy what is called “THEIRS”\\
    I heard ther UN wanted Poland to fill their country with so-called REFUGEES. Poland did it fro some time and they are going back and the western Press is complaining that Poland is going back to dictatorship.
    That is why Sri lanka needs politicians who are focused and not the incompetant – dumb dirty Hyenas which we have.

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    Agree with PBG. Let’s do a small test………Let Roma write a piece about the mother of Jesus like what was written about Yasodhara in this story. Let’s see the reaction of the enlightened world……..

    We read from the scripts that Jesus was not Joseph’s son. So Roma can let her mind run wild and build a truly creative piece (and can spice it up with how the story teller got excited when his genitals were tickled by a priest during his stay in a seminary)…………..

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      Hela
      “,Let Roma write a piece about the mother of Jesus like what was written about Yasodhara in this story”

      It has already been done, and nobody except the Vatican was was bothered.No one was arrested. Do not display your ignorance in public.

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        A.N.,

        People were murdered for lesser “crimes” in Christian world. So don’t try to lecture………

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          Hela,
          Yes people were murdered for lesser crimes. But are Buddhists any better?
          Are you one of those who think Somarama was an Anglican?

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        A.N. Other

        Helass and others want to pronounce fattuwa on each and everyone except the crooks, war criminals, politicians, saffron thugs, forall the ills of this island.

        Please forgive this card carrying fascist.

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      Helass

      Why would anyone with an iota of gray matter born or living in this island/country would bother/want to dwell on the lives of foreigner mothers, Aminah bint Wahb (an Arab from Mecca), Virgin Mary (a Galilean Jew), Mahāmāyā Dēvi (a Shakyan, of Kapilavastu), Siva (son of all mothers, a creation of Devi from her mind ‘Manas’).

      Why would a person like you, a member of a fascist ghetto builder bother at all?
      Don’t you have your own mother to worship, whose life and death is determined by goons.

      Please start worrying about living mothers.
      Even the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala worshiped his mother.

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    I think that the many Sri Lankans who left the Island for greener pastures , should be more sensitive to the feelings of those who prefer to call Sri Lanka home. Leave punishment in the hands of the Devas and Gods.

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      Those who have left for “greener pastures” have deep roots here, spent their entire childhood here, and worked here. Most of them send home money to friends and family, and contribute in various ways to good causes. They are entitled to voice their concerns and opinions too.

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      L. Perera

      “Leave punishment in the hands of the Devas and Gods.”

      You mean leave it to Gotas, Prabhas, …………………..
      Good idea, isn’t the reason many left this island in the first place?

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    I know nothing about what led to Shakthika Sathkumara being put behind bars. In Sri Lanka you could be charged for doing nothing! Shakthika, I understand from Roma Tearne, is an emotional storyteller. It seems that he has touched the nerve of someone important!
    .
    Roma Tearne if you really want to help Shakthika stop writing! Get to know someone more powerful than the one who was instrumental in getting Shakthika thrown behind bars. That is how the justice system works in our paradise!

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    What is the ulterior motive of the writer and what is the message he delivers.
    All the critcs ,do they have a basic knowledge of philosaphical ideala expounded by lord buddha.I have surrendered my life to LORD JESUS.
    The buddhist temple teaches man made rituals not the profound teachings of Lord Buddha.
    There is a clear distintion between buddhist philoshpy and the temple.
    If Lord Buddha come back to this world all the buddhist temples will fall .
    If prince Rahula was not the son of prince sidhartha,whose son is he,minister Channa,s,
    Sathkumara was trespassing in an unknown teritory.You can insult LORD JESUS because he is living.
    This is not creative writing ,instead of critisising the corrupted monks he displayed his ignorance of the philoshapy expounded by Lord Buddha.

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      Wimal:-“What is the ulterior motive of the writer and what is the message he delivers.”?

      I don’t believe that the Writer had an Ulterior Motive.!
      As a Sensitive Human Being who can think beyond his Nose, the Writer is Questioning why another Human Being with all the Advantages available to Him, would leave it all and go in Search of Something Ephemeral!
      He seems to be Questioning the Reality, from His Own Experience of Life!

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