20 August, 2019

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Sri Lanka’s Army Of Buddhist Power

By Eric Ellis

Eric Ellis

A founder of Sri Lanka’s Army of Buddhist Power tries to explain his militant views on Muslims, and how they fit with the government’s triumphant story of post-war reconciliation

Sri Lanka’s raffish capital, where we begin our series, is in economic catch-up mode. Colombo is replacing the colonial-era roads and railways built when Churchill was a boy and ‘Ceylon’ was a languid tropical afterthought for the British who ruled the plantation island.

Though it took its time – 10 years – to be completed, a sparkling new tollway to the beachy Rajapaksa heartland in the south has cut the journey from Colombo from a congested three-to-six hours to just one.

In the conflict-ravaged Tamil north, Indian engineers are re-connecting the war-severed train line that once carried passengers from Colombo to Jaffna.

In the mostly Sinhalese ‘deep south’ of the island, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s home region of Hambantota is being lavished with the country’s biggest infrastructural project, a US$1.5 billion stampede of white elephants that’s giving the town a new port, international airport and cricket stadium – all named after President Rajapaksa – and a convention centre and even an alternative Bollywood complex.

Read more in the The Globalmail

*Eric Ellis is an award-winning journalist who writes about the politics, economics and societies of South and South-East Asia. He has written for a range of international journals; Fortune Magazine, Forbes, the Financial Times, Time Magazine, The Times, The Bulletin/Newsweek, The Spectator,Institutional Investor, Euromoney, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review and the International Herald Tribune.

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    Thanks Erric. “Sri Lanka still has a long way to go before it can claim to be Paradise.” Long long long …. way before it can be a paradise and to convince fair minded people that they are real Buddhists.

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      This is below 5% of the Buddhist population supporting the agenda. But political top is 100% behind the issue.Its lost island near future.

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        Eric Ellis,

        Your concern for Muslims is appreciated, but you know very well that not a single Muslim was killed by BBS or any body in Sri Lanka. Did you forget to write that.

        Did Your concern for Muslims ever compel you to write at least one article on, killing of 1.2 million Muslims in Iraq by Christian US/UK forces , in search of “Weapons of Mass destruction” they never found ?
        or
        killing of 103,000 9 (as of yesterday & continuing) Muslims in on-going Christian US/West sponsored “uprising” war in Syria ?

        or,

        Killing of some 3,000 Muslims in Egypt in US sponsored Military Coup that ousted democratically elected Egyptian President Morsi of Muslim brotherhood ?

        Where is your Journalistic standards ? Isn’t it double standards ?, Mr.Eric Ellis ?? pl. tell.

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          Please do not equate US and UK to Christian. These countries are Christian only in name. They contravene practically all Christian values and doctrine.

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      Eric Ellis,

      Your concern for Muslims is appreciated, but you know not a single Muslim was killed by BBS or any body. You forgot to write that.

      Did Your concern for Muslims compel you to write one article on, killing of 1.2 million Muslims in Iraq by Christian US/UK forces , in search of “Weapons of Mass destruction” they never found ?
      or
      killing of 103,000 9 (as of yesterday & continuing) Muslims in on-going Christian US/West sponsored “uprising” war in Syria ?

      or,

      Killing of some 3,000 Muslims in Egypt in US sponsored Military Coup that ousted democratically elected Egyptian President Morsi of Muslim brotherhood ?

      Where is your Journalistic standards ? Isn’t it double standards ?, Mr.Eric Ellis ?? pl. tell us.

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    Colombotelegraph.com has put the jitters on the powers that be, and is now blocked from access to ordinary folks back at home. What a shame. Wonder what triggered it. Probably the refusal of Visa by US to two Army personnel under cloud of suspicion to HR abuse.

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      Blocked all right…here I am accessing through proxy :)

      Search for “proxy” and access through on of these ..

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    what bodhigaya is birthplace of lord buddha? oh people, Lumbini was his birthplace and Kushinagar was where he attained salvation

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      Manisekaran:

      You are an idiot and you don’t know that.

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        jim nutty,

        what i don’s know? Be specific, read the article you idiot

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          spelling mistake correction don’t instead don’s

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            Little Mani with little brain,

            It’s Bodhgaya, Lord Buddha attained enlightenment (salvation)

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              Stupid john.. do you know that there is a difference between enlightenment and salvation? do you know what is pariniravana? can you tell me where buddha attained parinirvana? Answer yourself with self-help then you would understand who has little brain.

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    thank you for your time and the effort !

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    Buddhism according to Gandasara – All Muslims bad people, they must be stopped.
    Dilanthe Vithanage – apologist and nanny for Gandasara.

    Thanks to the author for the straight questions and drawing out the true character and hollow ideals of this unholy gang of facist.

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    Paradise lost forever. Sin Hela, a place for sinners, that is what this country has come to!

    Sin Hela

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    Eric Ellis’account of his encounter with the mutant Buddhist group BBS would be considered hilarious if not for the seriousness of it’s undertones and the implications it poses for Sri Lanka’s future. It is indeed amazing how swiftly BBS has come in to the limelight, an obvious pointer to vast resources of funds and political backing. Despite all that, the interview highlights BBS’ ignorance and it’s warped view of Buddhism and how Sri Lankans should live. It’s Achilles’ heel is it’s tolerance of the “vices” of drink, drugs, and gambling.

    My forecast is that this type of mutant Buddhism is a temporary phenomenon, and in view of it’s actions being diametrically opposed to true Buddhist teaching, will not have the legs to last. Though there will be some support from extremists, the vast majority cannot support it’s programme without abandoning true Buddhist values, and I cannot see that happening. So I give it another two years before it disappears.

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      Mr.Wickramasiri, I beg to disagree. Even if the BBS disappears in 2 years as you say, it would still be a disaster. They have already sown the seeds of disharmony in a younger generation. Nothing short of an immediate stop to this rot will give Sri Lanka even a chance. But sadly,we can’t expect this to happen when it is the ruling regime itself that started and nurtures it.

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    “This is the birthplace of Buddha,” Withanage says of the Bodhgaya site. “And it should be protected.”

    Is withanage really Buddhist? Because he doesn’t know the birth place of Lord Buddha.

    Read the full article of Eric Ellis interview with BBS.

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    Eric Ellis’s article concludes: “Sri Lanka still has a long way to go before it can claim to be Paradise.”

    Paradise, of course, is a Christian concept, not a Buddhist one. Buddhists argue that everything in this world is samsara, that is, imperfect and subject to the cycle of re-becoming. Whatever Eric Ellis got his award for, it certainly shouldn’t have been for inter-religious understanding. That aside, it’s an interesting but rather depressing report.

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    ‘Candidly’ may wish to take into account the context of this article http://sri-lanka.theglobalmail.org/ and then perhaps take issue with state-owned SL Airlines and various other state authorities, not least the convention bureau http://med.gov.lk/english/?page_id=25 before his/hers ill-informed contribution.
    In any event, paradise is not exclusively a Christian notion, as a casual research of various faiths would reveal. Not everything is viewed through a religious prism.

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    My view is that no one should promote disharmony between religions, races or any other differences between humans. Some few, opportunist misguided extremist elements are responsible for creating trouble and should be curbed before a little pimple becomes a cancer , which it can be soon.May all races and religions live in harmony in this beautiful country.

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    All the countries that supported SL Govt. in the War wanted to devolve Power and resolve the minority Issues.
    Now when they ask about the devolving Power to the Provinces, Our Govt. is accusing them of interference in the internal affairs of Our Tiny Nation. Somebody should Stand up to this Govt.
    BBS should organise a seminar as to ascertain the cause for this war to last for 26 years.
    Our well armed, well trained armed forces out numbering the LTTE by 1:15 or 20 times, using sophisticated warfare equipments, armaments, MiG Fighters and fighter boats took this long to subjugate this bunch of Child soldiers without proper military training, 35% female army, wearing flip-flops on the Battle fields, totally ill-equipped band of mis-guided youths.
    What took us this Long? The delay, ruined our Country.

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      Chrisha,

      What took us this Long? The delay, ruined our Country.

      The definitive answer to your question has yet to be written.
      Sadly, the BBS are not capable of providing the anwers.
      Governments of Sri Lanka, ever the since the fifties, never adequately funded the security services, always suspicious of the ‘smarter’ top echelons and anxious of their machinations. So in 1971 it depended on help from outside countries to put down the first JVP uprising. Later, instead of nipping in the bud criminality of the various nascent tamil factions, and restoring law and order in the north, JR’s government lost the initiative and allowed matters to slide down the slippery slope to vicious civil war that lasted three decades. Mind you there were many who wished for the war to be ‘managed’ and go on for as long as possible. Nuff said! It fell to the political will of MR that led to the inevitable downfall of the LTTE who, had after all those years running the armed forces ragged, had come to believe in their invincibility. What you will see now, at least with this government, is the determination never to allow any type of civil disobedience to take root. Tamil? Muslim? Sinhalese? as we have seen, there will be no exceptions.
      Criminal activity, however, carries on with impunity and perpetrators who enjoy the patronage of ministers and politicians have unprecedented protection and justice will be suspended in keeping with our age-old custom of ‘shaping things up’.
      Our only hope is that enough young people will come forward to stand up to the rotten administration we have today. Alas, we may be hoping for too much. Young,capable,professional people are queueing up to leave the country. The road to good times will be long, hard and winding; with many a twist and turn. But don’t lose hope!

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    intellectually devoid of all forms of decorum, poor mannerism, scant respect for the law, including all media both foreign and local, treating all visitors with contempt, suspicion of having ulterior motives which itself is a sure sign of insecurity or an inferiority complex, are all the hallmarks of failure, which exudes in abundance in the Monk’s Armory of self appointed Buddhism saviors for this country, the infamous BBS. Even the crafty request for funding to promote its ‘hate’ campaign (my emphasis) worldwide only proves that they are struggling to maintain the momentum even to sustain themselves, before going to the public. It is a big relief to us Muslims that the majority of Buddhists in this country now understand how these pseudo monks have hijacked their pure and refined Buddhism into a tyrannical form of hate and fear mongering religion, which bears no resemblance to its original teachings. Giving support and leadership to this is a Government which depends on bigotry to claim its stake to govern the country. Where is this country heading, and what is in it for our future generations to come. More like a sink hole pulling us all deeper into a dark crevice of darkness and of no return.

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    a comprhehnsive article and now Leela of Lee Potter ( K A Sumansekera) will come up with his nonsensical theories and make us all laugh at his foolishness!

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    See christiaans writings.

    Christian priests all over the world molested children and it is spread over more than a century and every country in the world. Vatican has problems. Head of the anglican church is a woman who is heading a dysfunctional family.

    but, the behaviour of few monks is making head lines for COLOMBO TELEGRAPH IT’S CHRISTIAN WRITERS.

    MUSLIMS ARE KILLING ALL OVER THE WORLD. Muslim do all kind of dishonest, immoral and some times Criminal activities in order to spread their religion. but, when a few monk against that, that is a big deal for them and all they do and did for centuries are covered with that.

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      Jim,

      Why are you crying?

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    Dear Mr. Ellis,
    I am afraid that you are being disingenuous in your criticism of Sri Lanka and the importance of Buddhism to the majority of Sri Lankans.

    Ever since king Devanampiya Tissa (307 to 267 BCE) became Buddhist, it was incumbent on all the kings of Sri Lanka to wear the mantle of protector to safeguard Buddhism and the Buddhist heritage in Sri Lanka. Even Sri Lankan kings who were originally Hindu and dynastically related to former kings undertook this as a privilege on ascending the throne.

    Your selective criticism of the 1978 constitution not mentioning followers of other faiths contributes to your lack of historical knowledge of Sri Lanka and the implication that history and continuity bestows on modern day Sri Lanka.

    I would like to draw a parallel with the United Kingdom and its unwritten constitution that unlike Sri Lanka is not a secular state. In Britain the Anglican religion reigns supreme. Anglicanism is the ‘state religion’ of the United Kingdom and the Queen Elizabeth the second is its temporal head and ‘defender of the faith’. Not only does it discriminate in favour of Anglicanism it adds insult to injury by appointing the Bishops of the Church of England to the ‘House of Lords’ an equivalent in Sri Lanka would be the ‘Mahanayakes’ being appointed to parliament. By contrast Buddhism in Sri Lanka is not a state religion as per your quote below.
    ‘The current constitution, passed in 1978, holds that Sri Lanka is a secular state guaranteeing its citizens freedom of religion, with Buddhism holding the “foremost place”. There is no mention of Hinduism, Islam or Christianity in the document.’

    Moreover Sri Lanka as a nation is lot older (543 BCE) compared to England (1066 ACE). Hence even in the realms of antiquity Sri Lanka reigns supreme. If a modern so called liberal democracy like Britain can have a state religion that does not mention others does a non state religion like Buddhism in Sri Lanka need to mention others too!!

    I am afraid you are also being pedantic and your assertion that the civil war was against the Hindu north is also misleading. In the annals of Sri Lankan history and even Indian history for that matter to my knowledge there has never been a religious war between Hindus and Buddhists. Unlike the pogroms that was unleashed in Europe by your ancestors and mine in the name of religion the culmination being the holocaust of the Jews during the Second World War.

    We also have the crusades against the Muslims sanctioned by the Pope no less and all those who died in these crusades were martyrs who went straight to heaven – we can see the parallels in modern day Muslim suicide bombers today.

    We also have the imprisonment of Galileo for his truth about the heliocentric planetary system and the burning at the stake of Giordano de Bruno for his assertion that the ‘Sun’ was a star and similar planetary systems existed elsewhere in the universe. Giordano had the indignity of his tongue pierced by a spear prior to his death by fire. Need I mention the Spanish inquisition and the horrendous punishment meted out to its victims?

    I am afraid your ancestors and mine have a lot to answer for Christianity unlike Buddhism and its gentility, its philosophical aspects and its non-prescriptive nature. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism does not have a punishment aspect like hell nor does it imply it. It is a personal religion where the individual is responsible for all their actions and no amount of praying to a non-existent deity will absolve any of the individual’s misdeeds.

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