15 November, 2018

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The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka

By Raj Gonsalkorale

Raj Gonsalkorale

It was to help humanity that the Buddha founded the Order. He intended it to be a voluntary association of dedicated persons who would devote themselves to the task of making the process of wayfaring through life easier for such among their fellow beings as were weak, helpless and stricken. It is another matter that the order never quite became what it was meant to be. The Bhikkhus (homeless ones) very soon became Priests, living in temples built like palaces. Today the lazy and ceremonious Church, split into Nikayas based on caste divisions, maintains its place in society, not by tendering to the sick, the poor and the helpless but by placing a Messianic halo above the Buddha-myth, and by chanting faint Pali gathas to the cold, fruitless moon – J.R. Jayewardene, Sri Lanka’s President 1977-1987, A Life of Service 

J R Jayewardene was not and is not a fan of many Sri Lankans. Of course he is not there to pat himself on the back or defend himself from criticism. For the writer, a single event dwarfs whatever his achievements were. That was 1983 and either his complicity in the debacle or his sage like indifference to what was going on around him and his three Monkeys depiction of not seeing, not hearing and not talking when all hell was breaking loose in Colombo during that fateful July.

However, in the light of the much talked about resurrection of Hitler by the Venerable Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter and the jailing (and subsequent release on bail) of Bodu Bala Sena head Ven Gnanasara, J R Jayewardene’s point of view has gained some life.

The role of the Maha Sangha in the politics of the country, possibly a topic in the minds of many, but remaining there silently, as do many other important topics, is something that ought to be discussed in an orderly, objective and emotionless way without resorting to foul language or violence.

The role of the Maha Sangha in Buddhism and in politics has been researched and written about a countless number of times. No doubt there will be many more writings in years and generations to come.

The scope of this article is different; as such writings could be left with other more learned individuals. There are others who are more or less detached from the wider role that the Maha Sangha plays in community life who also write equating the extreme elements within the Maha Sangha as the norm within it. Those who identify the Maha Sangha as the prelates and their flock in well corralled institutions of Malwatta, Asgiriya or others, or the so called “rogue” Monks like Venerable Gnanasara, do not necessarily know the role of the Maha Sangha from a wider context, in particular, from a rural and semi urban context.

No doubt many from the wider mass of the Sangha have moved away from the fundamental tenant of Buddhism, if we wish to call fundamentalism here as the renunciation of all things worldly and the pursuit of cessation of one’s life cycle and attaining nirvana. 

However, there is no formal evidence that all who entered a monastic life during Buddha’s time or thereafter, to pursue such a fundamental tenant of Buddhism, in fact did achieve it. It is quite likely that many Monks did not, and they became teachers and counsellors to lay people, as many of them are today.

Irrespective of the cultural aspects associated with Buddhism, whether it is Sinhala Buddhist culturalism or otherwise, the reality is that a Buddhism Monk is fundamentally a teacher, and a counsellor to lay people. They are also part of a community, large or small, and in this respect, they behave as social beings in that community where there role gets defined by the environment they live in.

They are also human beings, and while some Monks have overcome material and biological desires of lay people, some have not. 

The role of a Buddhist Monk has also undergone change due to State intervention. An example is the conversion of Pirivena education entities into Universities, and the narrowing of the gap, maybe unintentional, between lay life and Monkhood. Some may argue that this was an inevitable outcome arising in the world we live in today. This goes for Monks entering the governance system at different level of the system as well, including the National Parliament.

Then, we have the activist Monks who rise to “protect” the Sinhala Buddhist “Jatiya” and the Sasana itself from an existential threat. The persona of some activists, their demeanour, their language and behaviour eclipses their cause, and some like Ven Gnanasara have paid a price for it.

There is another class of Monks who devote their time and effort to humanitarian activities and who genuinely believe that human conflict arises from unhealed wounds of the mind and they pursue avenues to heal minds and work at grass root levels to reach out to people to do this. Unfortunately, there are very few Monks of this calibre. Venerable Galkande Dhammananda, the head of the Walpola Rahula Institute is one such rare Buddhist Monk.  

Ideally, notwithstanding arguments about past history or contemporary times, unless they are able to pursue the path described to them by Buddha, the Maha Sangha should essentially be engaged in humanitarian work and be pious beacons that lay persons could follow. In the contemporary world and within the cultural environment we live in, it would be impractical for many Monks to retreat into caves and practice meditation and work towards their emancipation and freeing from the cycle of life. 

However, the alternative should not be for them to seek protection in the robe from demeanours they may commit where lay persons have no such protection.

Whatever way Buddhist Monks, especially Monks belonging to the Theravada tradition are engaged in today’s society, they are all governed by the Cannon that applies to their behaviour and what they can and cannot do, the Vinaya Pitakaya. As much as the law of the land will punish anyone found guilty of a civil or criminal offense, the Vinaya Pitakaya has to govern the behaviour of Theravada Buddhist Monks. There is a Sangha Court or a Sangadikaranaya for this purpose.

If the Vinaya Pitakaya needs revision because it is not practical or needs interpretation because it is unclear or ambiguous in certain areas, then action has to be taken to address these. It is not the personal views of one or another that must prevail, but the law as applicable for the behaviour of Theravada Buddhist Monks enshrined in the Vinaya Pitakaya and the universal, equitable and transparent application of that law as prescribed in the Vinaya Pitakaya.

It is likely that the structure of the justice system in the Vinaya Pitakaya, and the lack or absence of application of justice as outlined in the Vinaya Pitakaya is the cause for discontentment amongst many lay persons about the Maha Sangha in Sri Lanka. 

Control of the senses, contentment, restraint according to the code of monastic discipline — these form the basis of holy life here for the wise monk –Dhammapada, Verse 375

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  • 22
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    “The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka”

    promoting reconciliation
    promoting all religion as equal
    promoting all races as equal
    promoting love and peace among all
    denouncing corruption by all concerned
    punishing and disowning thugs in yellow robes
    set an example by living a simple life
    etc etc

    • 4
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      Raj Ass, practice your own myth beliefs without trying to teach Buddhism to others. You are a ‘mlechcha’ myth believer who is rotting in our hatred of Buddhists.

      • 12
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        Fak Ass or is it F**k Ass – only fake Buddhist like you get offended by my list

      • 6
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        Fakassh

        “You are a ‘mlechcha’ myth believer who is rotting in our hatred of Buddhists.”

        Could you translate the above into English, Sinhala or Tamil or even Esperanto.

        ” Raj Ass, practice your own myth beliefs without trying to teach Buddhism to others. “

        Could you teach us Buddhism if you found Rajash was not a suitable teacher of Buddhism.

        • 1
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          Mlechcha is a Sinhalese word meaning ‘savage’, normally applying to humans but may be applied to animals too when the animals under special circumstances. Example: Veddas are mlechchayas (noun) but Kalaveddas are stupid and mlechcha (adjective).

    • 9
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      Rajash

      I thought “The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka” is to learn, preach/teach, meditate, practice and attain nibbaana (Nirvana) through embracing the triple gem,

      ”Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami, Sangham saranam gacchami.”

      “I go to the Buddha for refuge, I go to the Dharma for refuge, I go to the Sangha for refuge.”

      Read verses (360 to 382) from Chapter 25 of Dhammapada, an essence of code of conduct for monks:
      Verse 360 Dhammapada – Sense Discipline
      Right is restraint in the eye,
      restraint in the ear is right,
      right is restraint in the nose,
      restraint in the tongue is right.

      Explanation: It is good to be disciplined in the eye. It is good to be disciplined in the ear. It is good to be disciplined in the nose. To be disciplined in the tongue is good.

      Verse 361 Dharmapada. – Suffering End With All-Round Discipline
      Right is restraint in the body,
      restraint in speech is right,
      right is restraint in the mind,
      everywhere restraint is right.
      The bhikkhu everywhere restrained
      is from all dukkha free.

      Explanation: It is good to be disciplined in body. It is good to be disciplined in words. It is good to be disciplined in mind. The monk who is disciplined in all these areas will achieve freedom from all suffering.

      I wonder if most monks, somass, Helass, sach, Eagle blind Eye, Mallawa Arachchige Gamini Jayawickrama Perera …………………… ever heard of Dhammapada.

      Does the present Minister of Buddha Sasana have anything to do with the Jaffna Library?

      • 2
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        If Maha Sangha is only for what you say, who will kill the Kalaveddas?

    • 3
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      Raj Gonsalkorale,

      RE: The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka

      “It was to help humanity that the Buddha founded the Order….. It is another matter that the order never quite became what it was meant to be. Today the lazy and ceremonious Church, split into Nikayas based on caste divisions, maintains its place in society, not by tendering to the sick, the poor and the helpless but by placing a Messianic halo above the Buddha-myth, and by chanting faint Pali-gathas to the cold, fruitless moon – J.R. Jayewardene, Sri Lanka’s President 1977-1987, A Life of Service “

      Thanks. Yes, JR Jayewardene, hit the nail on the head, the practice of the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” Monks, called “Sangha”, who called themselves the Third Gem of the Triple Gem.

      1. First, there was the pristine unpolluted Land to which the Native Veddah Aethho walked to claim as their homeland, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, between 8,000 and 30,000 years ago. The sea levels rose with the end of the ice age, and the Land of the Native Veddah Aethho became separated from the mainland, and was generally known as Lanka, the Island.

      2. Then the Paras, the illegal invaders and settlers came by illegal boats, hora-oru, kalla-thonis, to rob the land from the Native Veddah Aethho and chase then further inland, and establish their Para-kingdoms.

      3. Then the Para Monks came from Bharat (India), came to teach the teachings of the Buddha, to the Paras in Para-kingdom.

      4. The Para- kings supported and established the Para-Monks(Sangha) in the Land , and donated, 10% of the Land, stolen from the Native Veddah Aethho. They are known as Temple Lands.

      5. The Temple Lands and the Monks became Landowners, and the people worked the Lands, and maintain the monks and their hegemony.

    • 3
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      Raj Gonsalkorale,

      RE: The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka

      Continued,

      5. The Temple Lands and the Monks became Landowners, and the people worked the Lands, and maintain the monks and their hegemony.

      6. The monks became the new Lords.They advised and controlled the Kings. The kings made donations from the stolen land of the Veddah Aethho ( just like Mahinda Rajapaksa donated “Sil Redi” from the stolen funds of the people) to the Temples where the monks lived, and the people worked the Land.

      7. The Monks established orders, Nikayas, exclusively for their caste, Govigama, an INNOVATION, that suited their hegemony and needs. This was disrupted occasionally by additional invasions by new Paras from Bharat and Elsewhere ( Europe)., which threatened theit lifestyle and existence. Mahanama was very concerned and agitated as t the decline of Buddhism in Bharat, that he wrote the epic Mahawamsa, with history and with lies and imaginations, to save the way of life of the Monks in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      8. By modern times, the Monks have established themselves, and fooled the Para-Sinhala Buddhist populace that the cult they practice is True Buddhism that the Buddha preached., Dhamma.

      Theory (Dhamma) and Practice in Buddhism.

      See what the Tibetan Monks did in Tibet , below. Are the Priests and Ulama any different?

      Child Abuse by a Monk in Habaraduwa

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNSC93mPs4I

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

      The Land of Native Veddah Aethho. Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people:

      https://www.nature.com/articles/jhg2013112

      .. both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

    • 3
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      Raj Gonsalkorale,

      RE: The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka

      “It was to help humanity that the Buddha founded the Order. He intended it to be a voluntary association of dedicated persons who would devote themselves to the task of making the process of wayfaring through life easier for such among their fellow beings as were weak, helpless and stricken. It is another matter that the order never quite became what it was meant to be. The Bhikkhus (homeless ones) very soon became Priests, living in temples built like palaces. Today the lazy and ceremonious Church, split into Nikayas based on caste divisions, maintains its place in society, not by tendering to the sick, the poor and the helpless but by placing a Messianic halo above the Buddha-myth, and by chanting faint Pali gathas to the cold, fruitless moon – J.R. Jayewardene, Sri Lanka’s President 1977-1987, A Life of Service”

      Para-Sinhala “Buddhism” Cult has made the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” Populace Idiots.

      See what has Christianity done to some. What are the Para-Ulama doing to the Para-Muslims? Where is reason on all this?

      Seth Andrews: Christianity Made Me Talk Like an Idiot

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URr0O9aHW38

      Seth Andrews gave this speech June 3, 2017 in Toronto at the Imagine 7 conference. It’s a humorous (and perhaps therapeutic) romp through Seth’s religious past…and the often bizarre words and attitudes that reflected his Christian faith.

      Raj Gonsalkorale, can you do a similar presentation for the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” Cult in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho in Toronto? Watch out, it will not be safe in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, as you will be subject to the Inquisition bu the Monk Cult and their cult followers.

  • 10
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    The Role Of The Maha Sangha In Sri Lanka?

    TFN: the role of these rabid filth is inside a temple. They step outside to create havoc, they should be exterminated like vermins.

    • 6
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      Not all but most of them.

  • 8
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    Like WATER and OiL , Politics and Relegion cannot mix.

    • 6
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      lohan

      and SWRD found that out the hard way when he was shot.Serves the bugger right.

  • 16
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    The role of the Maha Sangha in politics will always be a contentious topic in Sri Lanka. I don’t think there will ever be a satisfactory solution unless the people change fundamentally. They should try to keep religion out of the public realm as much as possible. And all religions should be cleaned up by the respective followers by returning to the original teachings. Today there is no true spirituality in any religion – only rituals, superstitions, commercialized places of worship and misbehaving clergy. The government can facilitate the process by applying the law of the land equally to religious organizations and clergy without any reservations. Finally the politicians must change their sycophantic behaviour to gain votes. They must realize they are elected by the people to represent and serve them, not to prostrate with their butts up in the air before corrupt, parasitic clergy day in and day out. Politicians’ priority should be to serve the people without bowing down to any vested interests.

  • 11
    2

    So called Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka today seem to be believing that they are more Buddhist than the Buddha himself. If the Buddha happens to appear today in person, I am sure these monks will seek Gotler`s help to murder him. These corrupt .. utterly corrupt inhuman despicable rascals – wallowing in all imaginable sins and vices – have done irreparable damage to this country by misleading their uneducated followers since the days they caused the first regicide ( 119 B.C. Murder of King Thullaththana) in our recorded history.

  • 9
    1

    High time laymen should take over Buddhism from Yellow robe cheaters.From Mahanayakes down to to ordinary monks 99% are dishonest. THese thugs protect the Cast System, which.is opposed by Lord Buddha

  • 6
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    forget it chum
    sri lankan politicians spend more time in temples than monks

  • 8
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    It is my understanding that in Buddhism, there is no discrimination on grounds of race, gender or cast, everyone being considered equal. A Buddhist monk is perceived to have given up materiel life to lead a simple & pious life in a temple / monastery in order to achieve the ultimate bliss of Nirvana some day.
    Accordingly, there should no ‘nationalism’ or ‘patriotism’ in Buddhism, yet we see Buddhist monks openly dabbling in politics, enjoying a comfortable life style & accumulating wealth, thanks to the patronage of politicians who have abused the religious sentiment among the average Sinhala Buddhist people of SL. The recent expressed view of a high ranking Buddhist priest, even though it may not have been made in public, shows how misinformed or ignorant some of them are of world affairs (to be fair, it is after all not their subject) but openly endorsing a man charged with war crimes & massive corruption, even though not proved, is unacceptable & unbecoming of a Buddhist monk. (If the Pope or an Arch Bishop made such an endorsement, there would have been an outcry & public condemnation)

    It is unlikely that SL will ever have a leader with guts to remind the Buddhist clergy that their prime duty is to provide spiritual guidance & solace to those in need & to lead an exemplary life, not dabbling in politics, even in an ‘advisory’ capacity for the greater good. Buddhism has survived for thousands of year & was never forced on people but will be tarnished in the eyes of the world if there are thugs & yobs trying to ‘safeguard’ Buddhism with violence & bigotry. Buddhism is international, yet, some Buddhists have entwined the Sinhala race with Buddhism & believe they are the guardians of Buddhism.

    • 3
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      Raj;
      Why is the SL Press Highlighting only the Dregs of the Saffron Clad Clergy, who Pander to the Egos of Politicians? Are they seeking to Destroy the Dhamma of the Buddha?

      We have yet to Hear in the Press, of the True Buddhist Monks, who follow in the Footsteps of the Buddha, either in Isolation, or in Caring for the Sick and Unfortunate of this World because They do not Seek or Desire any Publicity!

      It is When the Public becomes Aware that there are Still some Good Monks in Sri Lanka, that True Buddhism will be Appreciated!

  • 7
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    The Foremost and Vital Role and Task of the so called maha shanga is;

    COME OUT OF LUXURIOUS PALACES CALLED PANSAL and GO BEGGING DOOR TO DOOR FOR FOOD.. Then they will know and realize how difficult is earning to survive.
    STOP ALL KAAVI REDDAYAS TO INVOLVE IN POLITICS. Then motherlanka will survive and prosper competing other developed nations.
    Bikshu in Pali means BEGGER as promoted by siddartha .

  • 6
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    What is baffling to one, when observing the conduct and behaviour of our Sangha ,how on earth can the followers of Buddhism be expected to observe the tenets of
    ” Bhudu Dhahama”, Are these so called Venerabble clerics calling their followers to
    imitate them ,from what we see in their public demonstrations they are certainly taking a cue from Buddhist clergy. It is not difficult to construe that power greedy politicians are pulling the strings from behind the curtain. Do the Most Ven. Mahanayaka Theros approve these activities many of which are unlawful and criminal, if not why don’t they take disciplinary action to put an end to this mayhem. If the Maha Nayaka Theros do not step in to stem the rot the corrupt politicians will take the upper hand and the perverted monks will head the Nikayas and fervant adhereing Buddhists will be left to fend for themselves. In the name of Lord Buddha we appeal to the Maha Sangha to intervene to preserve the Great teaching of Lord Buddha.

  • 6
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    In defining a role for the Maha sanga we must follow the example of Lord Buddhain relation to Ajasatta Bimbisara incident and Kosala- angulimala Imncident. In both these Lord Buddh did not intervene in the operation of the law. He only preac hd virtues to the people and a way to get rid of the sufferings of life. Our monks also should follow these exampled and not do politics. when

  • 4
    2

    The colonial world order and British colonial rule is responsible for the destruction of tolerance in buddhism. There have been many centuries of invasions and holy war & invasions killed ???? Millions. Now people fighting for survival resources limited. If you wants You can practise the teachings in your daily life but cant forced on others. As religion humanity’s deadliest invention monks has no option.
    The Japanese were predominantly Buddhist, but that didn’t stop Japanese Monks from being great warriors. They are not violent normally, but if they are threatened they would defend themselves and country. If not Monks who will do this for country. When enemy come to my house I have to fight back. History is witness that buddist have always opened their doors and hearts for people of every religion, nut now situation changed. There is discrimination in America. Discrimination in Muslim world is a norm. In 1947, the Hindu population in Pakistan is 23%. How did it become 2%? And same thing happens in India. What happen to Sinhala Buddist population ???
    SriLanka still 1000 times better. Maha Sangha is mot only for what you say, prime responsibility is protect country. Protecting people is the first duty of government, most basic freedom of all freedom is the freedom to walk in the streets unharmed and to sleep safe@ home with kids. So they don’t do it , Maha Sangha has to do this.

    • 0
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      “that didn’t stop Japanese Monks from being great warriors”, Ranil sam you are seeing to many karate and samurai fights in the movies.

      • 0
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        But it is ISIS is the only one in the real News!

  • 6
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    I do have a question for the true Buddhist of Lanka. Dont they have concerns for the religion being dragged in this direction . When mighty churches went wrong ,though initially people did not react or raise concern and some even tried to defend, eventually they had no options other than admitting and take action. If not they knew that they will lose support and the faith of followers. Same with Hinduism where rogues started playing gods and temples started dictating followers, initial silence was followed by up rise and with help of the intervention of courts action was taken.This is because of the concern for religion being dragged in the wrong direction, But in Lanka the culprits enjoy the support of the politicians ,people and machinery.They are provided with special status/law and immunity.To make it worse the religion and politics have always been hand in glove through out history.

    • 4
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      Don’t drag religion into controversy. All the four major religions of the world which are practiced here preach kindness and tolerance today whatever they may have preached or practiced in the past. Religion is to be practiced and not to be argued about. Let us live with tolerance of diversity of beliefs and religious practices. None of the religious beliefs can be proved according to modern standards of proof. The history of beliefs is rather interesting. People have believed the most weird things.
      RMB Senanayake

  • 2
    0

    Raj Gonsalkorale
    The intent of the founders of religions survived perhaps one or two generations of disciples. From then on, a class called priests(or clergy or ulmas call it what you will) emerged. These are human creations and have become commercialised. How come all religions are misogynous!
    It is blatantly clear that the religious hierarchy is doing everything to keep their privileges. For example, right now in Lanka the ACJU is trying to prop up the MMDA1950.
    The latest sales pitch is the ‘danger’ faced by religions. In India, Hindu bigotry is on the rise. IS, KKK? The Lankan Sanga could do with some self-analysis instead of the selfies and BMW/Benz. Is a Gotler necessary?

    • 1
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      K. Pillai, there is no priesthood in Islam. Ulamas are not conducting Poojas, sprinkling holy water or allowing people to kneel before them. Ulamas are just teachers and if the bugger try to be funny he will be kicked and thrown out.

  • 4
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    ‘They are also human beings’, this is a famous quote Mr Gonsalkorale that many use to justify bad behaviour.

    It’s time we become more serious in life.

  • 3
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    ‘If the Vinaya Pitakaya needs revision because it is not practical or needs interpretation because it is unclear or ambiguous in certain areas, then action has to be taken to address these’.

    Who are we to revise what the Lord Buddha has taught.

    Have you gone nuts Mr Gonsal?

    Christians never say Bible must be revised.

  • 2
    1

    Hindoo India is now in direct contact with our most holy Bukkhus. They have convinced them that Buddha never came to Sri Lanka. Only caste-driven Arahant Mahinda came down. Therefore they reason, Sri Lanka should follow her historical traditions of the caste-structure. Blood is thicker than water, they rationalize to our most venerable Harmaduruwos. Our most blessed Monks are sure pondering in wonder, at the ego-boost in the offering. How India tries to skew their most sacred minds! All is UNP propaganda of course, in their insane and treacherous desire to gravity-click with delusional mother India.
    *
    Sri Lanka, has always been a true Buddhistic Egalitarian entity even after Mahinda came down with any of his caste-driven notions. But Buddha is also supposed to have come down and clarified Egalitarianism to the meek and humble dwellers of Lankan who’s natural affinity is Egalitarianism….even if he didn’t come down, Egalitarianism was/is the people’s natural essence. Our whole psyche is different from great-grand-cousin India’s. Our beaches are cleaner, our people are Ahsinsaka, our ways are happy and smiling, our music is melodious. Any caste-system learned from India in symbolic. Let’s keep it that way and keep those Asigiriya Hindoo- priests-turned-Buddhist, self-satisfied and out of mischief (although they do suck up a lot of country wealth).
    *
    Ps. Included in the caste-driven racism is also misogyny towards women (Indian again)….that’s more difficult to combat because the Muslims are also in with the misogyny.

  • 4
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    I was talking to this guy and I was criticizing the actions of politically active monks during the pre-independence period. He turned on me saying that if not for them, we would not have got independence and that they were in the forefront of the struggle etc. My response was that no doubt they contributed greatly towards freedom and that we are all indebted to them, but in doing so they had sacrificed their own goal of Nibbana. They had in fact used the robe and the institution of the Sangha for lay matters. He was silent at this.

    Historically the role of the Sangha has included advising rulers etc and today the mahanayakas think that they have inherited this task. Advice is all very well if asked for, but not more than that. The material bribes, money, power etc that they receive is totally wrong. The same applies to every monk in the Sangha.

    They would all do well to recall the words of Ven Nagasena to Menandros, the Greek king of Bactria in 115 BC “…..So, your Majesty, it is the business of the princes of this Earth to know all about elephants, horses, chariots, bows, edicts and seals, to be well-versed in the textbooks of statecraft, in its traditions and customs, and to lead people into battle…….The Tathagata therefore urged the bhikkhus to devote themselves to their own work, and not that of others….”

    • 4
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      Paul
      -.
      “My response was that no doubt they contributed greatly towards freedom and that we are all indebted to them,”

      Did they really.
      Please let me have reference to support your assertion.

      Please remind your friend he and his imagined freedom fighters should be grateful to numerous, perhaps millions of Indian freedom fighters for their sacrifice within and outside India.

      Tell us what sacrifice did Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Sangha, …………….. made towards the struggle for the island’s independence? When India was freed from White Man’s burden Sri Lanka was given independence on a platter.

      Paul I suggest the little islanders must frequently subject themselves to reality check.

      • 0
        0

        I was just trying to placate the guy, who was on fire with self-righteuos fury! Have you haven’t read Walpola Rahula’s The Heritage of the Bhikkhu? He tries to justify the continuation of the Sangha advising the Government and the involvement of monks in civil matters. A thoroughly bad book, worth reading for that alone.

        • 2
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          Paul

          I doubt he ever understood the fast moving new modern world, expansion of knowledge, inventions, technology, how justice is structured, ………….. international obligations and compliance, …………

          You ought to remember we are not living in a theocracy but a democracy hence some of the ideas purported by old religious practices are no longer relevant.

  • 1
    0

    A group of monks who entered a forest for meditation finds after some time that they are being surrounded by all kinds of ferocious carnivores growling and inching towards them. They have to survive before they meditate,obviously . Some of the more vocal carnivores are asking the monks why don’t you do what you are supposed to do instead of brandishing sticks and throwing stones!
    Soma

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