29 October, 2020

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Three Buddhisms & The Isolation Of The Philosopher

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

There are three Buddhisms operating in the world today. I am not referring to Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. The latter are basically perceived as unopposed to each other and their followers are observed to worship together in many an instance. The reference here is to three different kinds of Buddhism often running in contradiction to each other and extending their coverage across the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana streams themselves. My three Buddhisms represent a fundamental differentiation. What are they? They are Buddhism as philosophy, Buddhism as religion and Buddhism as a tribal badge of identity.

There is much evidence to believe that the Buddha was, to begin with, a philosopher of ancient times like Socrates, Plato or Aristotle. An extraordinarily intelligent man, he was given to deep thinking and reflection about the existential condition of the human being;found it unsatisfactory and searched for a way out of the crisis. The Buddha’s focus, though, was different to that of Aristotle and particularly Plato who were theory builders. If comparisons be appropriate, the Buddha was more akin to Socrates. The latter was also interested in focussing on the human being and he went round seeking to get people to clarify their assumptions about issues like life,happiness and justice. The Buddha also adopted a questioning approach similar to Socrates and he loved to talk to people. In a very real sense their feet were on the ground and not in the air of an allegedly’ transcendent reality.’

The basic teaching of the Buddha related to ethical philosophy. In his principal doctrines-the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path he tried to diagnose the personal existential crisis of mind and delineated a moral path that could lift him out of that crisis. While the Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Jewish directed followers to rally round God and worship him and part to him for deliverance the Buddha gave the task of ‘deliverance’ to man himself. The Buddhist philosophy was sharply human-centric. “Be a light unto yourselves,” Buddha advised Ananda in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta on the eve of his passing away. Man is not helpless and he need not seek the help of any divine being for his liberation. By own effort he can do it himself. This was Buddha’s basic philosophical approach. It was dominantly empirical and not dependent on a transcendent entity like God.

In explaining the nature of things (res natura) the Buddha eschewed the divine and resorted to the causal theory of Paticca Samuppada (Dependent Origination). “With this arising that will arise. “ Every phenomena is conditional upon other phenomena. Hence, there is no phenomena that could be deemed to stand on its own- no ‘uncaused cause.’ The Paticca Samuppada impliedly dismisses the belief of a God creator. Professor KN Jayatilleka (Facets of Buddhist Philosophy) points out how Makkhali Gosala had come out with a creation theory and how the Buddha repudiated the latter. Thus, once creation goes off and the creator is also off, so would be the heavens.

There is a controversy as to whether the concepts of Samsara,rebirth and Nirvana relate to the empirical. Some scholars say that these elements of the Buddhist doctrine are empirical given that the Buddha postulated the activity of paranormal powers as being part of the empirical experience (dibba chakku) . Others admit they were trans empirical. Be that as it may, the fact is that such entities had not been accepted as an outcome of faith in a divine revelation. Therefore, the philosophical fence of the early Buddhist Dhamma cannot be disputed.

After the passing away of the Buddha, his teachings evolved into a religion. It is true the Buddha had organised the Sangha and establish the Vinaya Pitaka or code of behaviour for the Sangha. But the Sangha he established was not a body of Christian -style disciples gathering around the Buddha and worshipping him as the Christians did to Jesus-“the son of God.” It was more in the nature of a school for discourse with teachers who would go round and explain the Buddha’s teaching to those who asked for it. The Buddha admonished monks not to exercise any compulsion or conversion. The monks can only ask those interested to come and see for themselves (Ehi Passiko). The Buddhist Emperor Asoka in his Rock Edicts enjoined his people to respect other religions.

After the Buddha passed away, it were the monks themselves who institutionalised the philosophy into a religion. Partly, this was due to devotion. It may also be surmised that monks realised a sense of power that could be expanded and utilised for their upkeep and benefit. Statues came up. The statues of the Buddha are referred to as “Pilimawahanse,” -an appellation given typically to something divine.Worshipping came up.Elaborate rituals followed. So were the incense and the fragrance in temples. It was easy to decorate the philosophy with the flowers and the iconic images. In the process, the externalities (Aamisa Poojawa) took precedence. A whole gamut of ritual that came to be associated with an individual’s critical life stages- birth, marriage and death got into being. Blessings are invoked in ordinary conversation among Buddhists. Like “Jesu Saranayi,” Buddhists say “Budu Saranayi.” Witness a Sinhalese marriage and you will see the references to the Buddha although the Buddha had nothing to do with marital ceremony.

A form of popular Buddhism grew up in the life of ordinary people. Part of the flow toward religion and worship came as a result of the admixture of the Buddhist teaching with local deities of the hosting societies. The point was that a philosophy as such does not offer any ‘salvation’ for the good or any punishment for the bad. Philosophy as a discipline is a rational exercise and an explanation of phenomena.The local gods perfectly filled that vacuum in this kind philosophical teaching. By acknowledging gods, though not a creator-God, Buddhist teaching itself paved the pathway for such a development. Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka do house Indian -origin gods like Vishnu, Shiva, Pattini etc.The concepts of heaven and hell were introduced almost metaphorically to begin with. One may pass merit from a merit bank to those who are dead and gone.The wicked would go to hell and burn while the good will be in heaven (divyaloke). Read the Lo Weda Sangarawa. The Divyaloke was conflated with the idea of being born in a happy place. Buddha statues are all over where Buddhists are. So are bo trees. Prayers are made to the Bo tree seeking special favour.

In its religious process there is a very important aspect impacting on Buddhism. This is the development of emotion to protect the religion from critics and convertors. According to evolution theory emotions play a crucial part in our self-protection.We notice an enemy advancing toward us and we develop aggression or we run away. What guides us in both such instances to take action even before our reasoning can be summoned is emotion.

While emotions have positive benefits they have serious negative sides. This is seen best when considering the third category of Buddhism and that is Buddhism as a tribal badge of identity. Buddhism is an essential part of the ethnic identity of Sri Lankans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Burmese and Thais. The religion acquired special significance to Sinhalese people because of the Mahawamsa claim that the Buddha regarded the Sinhalese as his chosen people. This was obviously inserted by the overenthusiastic author of that great historical document-a Buddhist monk. However it is perceived as true by Sinhala Buddhists over generations.

This third category of Buddhists tend to defend everything about the religiosity of Buddhism. The reason is that that is the popular manifestation of Buddhism. They also point out that the religious vehicle is necessary to popularise the Buddhist teaching.There is some cogency in this practical argument for established Buddhism. The temple has been the epicentre behind the popularisation and widespread acceptance of Buddhism throughout the world. The religious aspects and rituals entered the social life of the people and helped stabilise that life and enhance its richness. Temple Pirivenas in Sri Lanka were the sole educational institutions for most Sri Lankans for many centuries until modern Western-style formal education came in. Most Buddhist monks were exemplary and inspirational in their behaviour and the Sangha acquired considerable reputation those days.

On the other hand, the problem of the third category of ‘tribal Buddhists,’ is that they tended to be absorbed with the identity issue and its associated symbols, thus relegating actual Buddhist practice to the background. “We are Buddhists,” they proudly proclaimed and they are ready to march with the flag. The attendant emotional association has the potential to take on the slippery slope of violence if such followers pursue that Buddhism is threatened. We observe this in Myanmar where the Rohingya Muslim minority was harassed and slaughtered and chased away. We saw it in Sri Lanka with the antics of the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Army). Since Buddhism is an essential component of the self-image of members of the group or ‘tribe’ any perceived external challenge is viewed in a belligerent manner.

The term ‘tribalism’ is used here in a loose sense to cover any in-group loyalty as distinct from the affirmation of the ideology-in this case Buddhism. The broad group or ‘tribe’ takes first place irrespective of whether or not the religion is adhered to in the practice of these people. Myanmar Buddhists murdered Rohingya Muslims although Buddhism is a totally non-violent and peaceful religion. The same with the BBS when they torched mosques in Lanka. In such behavioural situations, the actual religion is only a wearing label to define the in-group and exclude the out-groups. Members of the group perceive that outsiders can be evil or a danger. Hence they can slip into aggression against ‘the other.’ This is the potential danger of the Buddhists of the third category. What they do not know is that by their violence they undermine the professed image of Buddhism as the world’s most peaceful religion.

In recent times, one does not need any other illustration of the evils of tribally inspired religion than what is witnessed in Arab countries in the nature of extreme Wahhabism. Much earlier in history one can point out to Christian persecution and forced Christian conversions of ‘pagan’ populations.

“Tribalism is an evolutionary trait that developed to keep people of like genetic material safe from threats posed by those of dis-similar genetic material. Over the years, we learned how to manipulate it through symbols, stories, and central powerful leaders in order to expand our “tribes” and make them more cohesive and powerful. Examples of this are Nationalism, Religion, Team Sports, and even brand affiliation.”(Valeri Tarico)

The shift of Buddhism from its original philosophical mode toward religion and tribal symbolism is driven by an internal logic. The priesthood can sustain itself only by wielding power. The ‘religious church’ -whether it be the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or the Buddhist establishment is like any corporate for-profit organisation like Coca Cola. To survive it must keep growing in numbers and resources. It has to preserve and expand its market share by persuasion or by the employment of aggressive techniques of conversion as with the deistic religions. It is a wholly different world than in the time of the original founders of these religions.

Against the face of these realities the true Buddhist philosopher stands isolated and even embarrassed.

*The writer can be contacted at sjturaus@optusnet.com.au

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Latest comments

  • 16
    2

    jim softy the dimwit

    Shyamon Jayasinghe writes:

    “Against the face of these realities the true Buddhist philosopher stands isolated and even embarrassed.”

    Now you know as to why Buddhism needs to be liberated from Sinahala/Buddhist tribes.

    • 0
      16

      Dumb NAtive Veddo:

      I standby by my following statement.

      You photo looks like a you are a mature person with bold headed and lot of grey hair. Yet, your article is full of dumb statements. It looks you have read books, but you really do not know much.

      He does not know what he is talking and he has really mixed. He is better off going deep into buddhism.

      Just by reading texts you canot understand buddhism.

      He is just a stupid fellow. A professor for a day.

      • 7
        1

        You could validly call the “mature person with bold headed and lot of grey hair” a “pothe gura”.

        http://www.sundaytimes.lk/141102/plus/memories-of-maname-brought-back-by-the-waving-tree-125372.html

        He was the “pothe gura” when Ediriweera Sarachchandra first produced “Maname”.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ediriweera_Sarachchandra

        Funny. Long after he retired, Sarachchandra made ten trips to Peradeniya in 1983 to teach “Sinhala Drama” to five of us specialising in English. But many years before that, his then divorced fist wife lived behind my house (where I still am) and taught at S. Thomas’, Bandarawela. Around 1963. But I was then in the school at Gurutalawa.

        So, you see “jim softy” the worlds revolve in strange ways. Read carefully, Shyamon Jayasinghe is a wise old man.

        • 0
          2

          Shyamon Jayasinghe is a wise old man.

          They all have a problem of understanding the need for Tribal-badge of identity for Sinhala-buddhists.

          No one ever blame the Muslims only, Tamils only political parties. No one ever critices Tamil tribalism among politicians and the public. No one ever wrtie an article about the church.

          All these people living in austrlia never talk a word about how Aborgines are living in Austrlia..they come and criticize BBS.

          All these comparison to Plato, Socrates, Makkali gosala just crap.

        • 1
          0

          Sinhala_Man

          //”So, you see “jim softy” the worlds revolve in strange ways. Read carefully, Shyamon Jayasinghe is a wise old man.”//

          That is the problem with Dimwits and Nitwits. They cannot tell a wise wise man from a not so wise man.

          The dimwits and nitwits are also known by other names, such as

          a stupid person, fool, idiot, moron, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod; informalnitwit, halfwit, dope, ninny, nincompoop, chump, dimwit, dingbat, dipstick, goober, coot, goon, dumbo, dummy, ditz, dumdum, fathead, numbskull, numbnuts, dunderhead, thickhead, airhead, butthead, flake, lamer, lamebrain, zombie, nerd, peabrain, birdbrain, scissorbill, jughead, mouth-breather, jerk, donkey, twit, goat, dork, twerp, hoser, schmuck, bozo, boob, turkey, schlep, chowderhead, dumbhead, goofball, goof, goofus, galoot, lummox, knuckle-dragger, klutz, putz, schlemiel, sap, meatball, dumb cluck, mook, and treskull.

      • 8
        1

        jim softy Dimwit

        “I standby by my following statement.”

        Where is your statement? I am still looking for it. If haven’t typed it yet, don’t bother.

        “It looks you have read books, but you really do not know much.”

        Are you saying unlike you, Shyamon Jayasinghe has read books? Don’t you think reading books in itself a great achievement for any person?

        “He does not know what he is talking and he has really mixed.”

        Seriously Dimwit, do you really know what you are typing about? By the way, I know what he is talking about and many in this forum do, except you the Dimwit and MR’s official b***s carrier KASmaalam KA Sumanasekere.

        ” He is better off going deep into buddhism. “

        How, in a submarine ( Gungan Bongo Submarine) or Spacecraft (Mon Calamari Star Cruiser)?

        “He is just a stupid fellow. A professor for a day.”

        If he is a stupid fellow what are you then?

        I guess you are a stupid fellow X 9999999999999999999999999999999999.

        It means you are, stupid to the power of infinity.

      • 4
        2

        Finally I thought we have a good article by. Shymon after all the rubbish he writes. However my idea was shortlived as he writes about. the BBS having scorched mosques in SL. who ever gave this info to him is wrong or his imagination is running riot again.

        • 6
          0

          Sarojini, you are wrong.

          We did destroy mosques and we did incite violence that resulted in deaths of Muslims in the south. No need for imagination to cite facts.

          And for the record, Shyamon never writes rubbish. Read his writings again without bias and see the sense in it.

      • 1
        1

        Jim who ever,

        Your empty sentences, reflects on your empty head. I dont believe you understood a single sentence in the well written article.Or are you part of or own ‘bodyu balu sena’?

        • 0
          0

          Abey

          “Your empty sentences, reflects on your empty head”

          That is why jim softy is also known by other names, such as Dimwit, Nitwit etc.

          The bigger question is how many Dimwits are out there in the Land?

      • 0
        0

        Why do you say so? Can you explain further ? I like Shaman’s article

  • 2
    18

    Mr. Shyamon Jayasinghe:

    You photo looks like a you are a mature person with bold headed and lot of grey hair. Yet, your article is full of dumb statements. It looks you have read books, but you really do not know much.

    You talk about Tribal buddhism. But, compare that with about 40,000 denomination in christianity. That is the same religion preached by Jesus. Sri lanka has Anglicans, evangelical, portugeuse – catholics killing dutch catholics, protestants, puritanists, and these groups competing each other to become the predominant denomination of christian religion and catholics fighting to save them from other forms of christianity. Think about their numerous conquests.

    How many sects of Islam. It i2 79 sects or more. HOw they have killed each other, how now sunnis are killing shiites, their conquests to convert.

    On other hand, Sinhala buddhists becoming assertive is identified by you as tribalism ?

    Instead of making dumb statements, devotees of other religions born or lived in Sri lanka want to ridicule sinhala-buddhists. But, no one wants to understand the predicament that they are in. what is that, jealousy, hatred against buddhism, religious intolerance by devotees of other religions or simply dumb intelleactuals ?

    You compare, Socrates, Plato and Buddha on the same plane. After that you have mentioned so many things about or related to buddhism. That shows simply you do not know what you are talking. On ther other hand, it is stupid for me to explain item by item to you. Buddhism can not be understood just by reading texts. The best thing is practice and understand yourself. There are people in the west who practiced it and use results in daily life.

    You simply show your idiocy, lack of knowledge and some hatred towards sinhala buddhists. That is all. If you really want to understand buddhism, start practising it. That includes meditation. Then you realize something different. If not you are just a blind person who is trying to exaplin how an elephant looks like.

    • 5
      1

      If somebody hasn’t got enough analytical skills to understand something, they usually misunderstand it or focus on wrong concepts. How do you think one can experience or practice Buddhism without good understanding on core Buddhist teaching or Buddhist framework? Just by mimicking words???? OR concentrate or mediate on something which they couldn’t understand. I think JimSofty shows his idiocy not Shyamon..

      I know lot of Buddhists who do regular meditations and frequent temple visiting, do not have any clear understanding on how/why Buddha define human with “PanchaSkanda” and “Nama/Rupa”, “Sakkya Ditti, or Patticca Samupada”.. Do repetitive meditation and frequent “Bana” listening for 30~40 years make them at least a better human beings? No……

    • 0
      0

      Cock and bull story telling Idiots canot understand any thing but howl, may be you belongs to that category!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

      How many precepts do you observe????????.

      not even One???????????.

  • 11
    0

    An excellent exposition on the evolution (or, more accurately, the regression) of the Gautama Buddha’s pristine philosophy.

    ‘Organized religion’ is the bane of mankind and has been responsible for the most horrendous wars and other unspeakable atrocities throughout the ages. And this trend continues to this day.

    The ‘fear factor’ is what attracts the herd mentality to assume the false piety that they display with their meaningless rituals and actions that have nothing to do what the Buddha or Christ or other philosophers whose teachings were perverted to create organizations for the consolidation of power and wealth.

    The true followers of the teachings of the great ‘religious’ (for want of a more suitable word) leaders don’t need to worship or pay obeisance to the high-priests or false idols/statues of their chosen faith. All we need to do is lead decent lives in accordance to the teachings we find most suitable for each individual.

    • 4
      0

      Organization and clergy are the bane of all that we should like to hold sacred. Their brain-washing of children may be done with a degree of sincerity, but when there is lying and cheating in the name of “protecting the faith”, I think that we have to denounce them in no uncertain terms.

      Colombo Telegraph has always boldly exposed hypocrisy, so I was surprised when I was sent an e-mail saying that no more comments would be accepted about this story:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/

      I’m now glad to tell you that after three weeks of blackout comments have once more been accepted. It may be that we ought to thank the spirit of the lasses of Uduvil Girls’ College for this development. However that may be, this acknowledgement comes with a big thank you. So, there are silver linings!

  • 2
    12

    Quite an objective and comprehensive article on Buddhism. Still it falls into the realms of religion, because unlike Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, Buddha went into Jhanic meditation, and discovered previous lives as a continuum that imprinted themselves on the present life. Thus, this places the religion into another kind of divine paranormal state (trans-empirical, yet elusive). Hence the need for religious culture, identity, and defence of convictions.

  • 4
    1

    Great article Shyamon. However, how effective is your straight forward explanation? Most of our SB people can’t read your writing “as it is”, because of “Sakkaya Ditti”s they learned from their loved one in their childhood are hard-coded as “Mental Factors” in their “Chitasika” (subconscious & unconscious mind/brain)… Your writing will be filtered through those hardcoded perceptions, many people read it very differently.
    According to little known history (after the period written in Mahawamsa), there was no Buddhism in Lanka from 1200CE to 1750CE (500 years). Three kings tried to revived Buddhism in this period but failed except “Walivita Saranankara” and the Tamil king’s effort in 1750. Monk Saranankara (1750s) wanted to learn Pali to study Buddhism but he couldn’t find single monk who knew Pali. Later he found one laymen knew Pali & grammar. This is how bad Buddhism was in Lanka…

    In those periods, Monks were called “Ganayo” or “Ganai”, they didn’t know Buddhism or Pali, they knew “Pujavaliya” written in Sinhalese and only told laymen about Buddha’s “Samsara” stories in “Pujavaliya”..It is said Walivita Saranankara (after reestablish Buddhism with the help of 20 Thai monks) travelled a lot around Lanka including Down South to teach Pali and Buddhism to “Ganayoo”s.
    .
    Robert Knox book (1680) suggests that people didn’t know about “Mahawamsa” stories or about “Vijaya” arrival at that time. Mahawamsa and Buddhist Trapitakas were written in Pali (using “Suddha” Sinhala scripts)..So General public have no access to those as “Ganayoo”s didn’t know Pali..

    • 1
      0

      AVB, a less known fact it is.

      During the time you mentioned, was the predominant religion practiced in SL Hinduism ?

      Further, in this forum I read that the Tamil King negotiated a deal with the Dutch who controlled the Maritime Boundary to send out emissaries to Burma and got their monks to come and re-popularize Buddhism.

      My question was it Thai or Burmese Monks who made it happen ?

      Thanks.
      V.

      • 6
        0

        Visvajith,
        I believe Lanka had mix of all religions … Robert Knox (1680) wrote that Sinhalese worship Hindu Gods and Buddha God, but he said when “Girahaya Nicha ” (this our horoscope) none of their Gods could help them :-)..Isn’t it funny?
        I also read that King Vijaya Rajasighe manage to get 20 Siam (Thailand) monks. It says king tried 3 times (first in 1741) , only the third time he managed to get Thai monks led by “Upali” in 1750 (?).. With the help of these Thai monks, Lanka monks were trained and Ordained (Upasampada) , and “Siam Nikaya” established. In around 500CE, Lanka had “Jethawana Nikaya”, “Abayagiri Nikaya” and “Maha Vihara Nikaya?”. But now we have Siam Nikaya (Thai) and Amarapura Nikaya (Burma). Is this good?
        Those Kandy monks didn’t allow Salagama, Karawa monks in Down South to become ordained Monks. I think about 50 years later, rich business man in down south (David) got a delegation from Burma and established “Amarapura Nikaya” ..
        I also read in articles written by British scholars who studied Buddhism in Lanka saying that usually Amarapura Monks (down south ) have properBuddhist understanding compared to Siam Nikaya monks in Kandy.. When you think about great Buddhist monks like “Walpola Rahul”, “Ananda Maitriya”, “Madihe Panghasila”, all were “Amarapura Nikaya” monks.. Even now, “Malwathu” and “Asgiriya” Siam Nikaya chief monks make public statements like utter fools. These two big shots still put pressure to keep public road going in front of “Dalada Maligawa” closed to public transport. Ugly and Very un-Buddhist.. ( I am from Kandy not from Down South)

        • 2
          0

          Thank you AVB.

          I am informed through your writings.

          Cheers.
          V.

      • 1
        3

        My question was it Thai or Burmese Monks who made it happen ?

        Dumb questions, I am jumping into it.

        boarders are chaning. Thosedays thailiand (siam ) and burma had different boarders.

        I think even todate they fighting for the disputerd region. that whole area was buddhist. Boarders changed later.

  • 7
    1

    Brilliant! Just brilliant!

    “What guides us in both such instances to take action even before our reasoning can be summoned is emotion.”

    And you have written this piece without resorting to your emotions. Not many Lankans are capable of it!

    “The priesthood can sustain itself only by wielding power. The ‘religious church’ -whether it be the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or the Buddhist establishment is like any corporate for-profit organisation like Coca Cola.”

    Oh boy! I wish I could have said it myself.

  • 3
    7

    For Christs sake, can you stop insulting our Srilankan Buddhists , their Sanga and the Buddha Sasana..

    You got your Yahapalanaya,

    Batalanada Ranil is flat out drafting that Federal Thing.

    UNP one time Buddhist Faction Leader Uncle Karu is, drawing up the list of Commissioners to fix the Armed Forces and pay Compo to the Tiger widows and Parents and siblings.

    And nominate the Commissioners to recommend War Crime charges .

    Abraham swears that Buddhism will be expunged from the Constitution.

    Biswal even met the Tiger Spiritual Leader and the main banker in London, to up date them on the US despatches from Colombo, on the progress of Batalanada’s Federal Thing, OMP and the War Crime Tribunal.. .

    Bodhi Sira says our Dalits will have it even before the next Sinhala New Year?.

    What more do you want, to stop this incessant Sinhala Buddhist bashing?….

    • 8
      1

      KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

      “For Christs sake, can you stop insulting our Srilankan Buddhists , their Sanga and the Buddha Sasana..”

      If cap fits wear it. Sinhala/Buddhism deserve much more than insult.

      I am looking for enlightened Buddhists to liberate Buddhism from Sinhala Tribal Buddhism. You and Jim Softy need not to apply.

      Sinhala Panda, max moron, somas, Country Farce ….. just ignore this comment.

      By the way, if you really read Shyamon Jayasinghe’s brilliant article, you will see that he wants to liberate Buddhism from your tribes and save awakened one’s rational teaching for the benefit of ordinary people.

      Please go away as you have important job to do, MR is looking for you.

      • 2
        4

        Dear Native,

        Why would he want to do that..

        Has he converted….

        • 5
          0

          KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

          “Why would he want to do that..”

          Maybe he understood the awakened one’s teaching.

          “Has he converted….”

          If one learns what the awakened one taught, one does not need to convert oneself, the rational ideas stays with oneself forever.

          Its for Shyamon Jayasinghe to respond to your very stupid questions.

          By the way, when do you plan to learn Buddha’s teaching and become one of his followers?

    • 3
      2

      Sumanasekaram,
      Truth is that:
      You are not a Buddhist,
      You are not a human,
      You are not a Srilankan,
      You are not a normal creature.
      Blood is your focus.

      • 0
        0

        “Where is this mind you talk of ? Can you show it to me?
        There is such thing as your mind and my mind.Mind is everywhere, sort like the air we breath.
        All religions and important philosophies have put before us a more or less superhuman figure who has somehow transcended the relative world.
        But we are ordinary people not capable of colossal, fearless or intrepid action.
        That is the truth.

        • 0
          0

          Correction
          There is no such thing as you mind and my mind.

    • 0
      0

      Jim who ever,

      Your empty sentences, reflects on your empty head. I dont believe you understood a single sentence in the well written article.Or are you part of or own ‘bodyu balu sena’?

  • 4
    6

    Sinhala buddhists are about 13 – 15 million in Sri lanka and are threatned by other religions. Present global political culture also threatnes buddhism in Asia. In the case of Sinhale, It needs a stronger BBS organization. People should be informed about the present situation.

    Sinhala buddhists accept it is not any more important explaining it to Anti-sinhala- buddhists. Some of these people may be NGOs.

    The problem exoists in Sinhale, Burma and Thailand.

  • 5
    3

    Shyamon Jayasinghe

    RE: Three Buddhism & The Isolation Of The Philosopher

    “My three Buddhisms represent a fundamental differentiation. What are they? They are Buddhism as philosophy,Buddhism as religion and Buddhism as a tribal badge of identity.”

    Thanks for succinct and well-written article.

    “The religion (Buddhism) acquired special significance to Sinhalese people because of the Mahawamsa claim that the Buddha regarded the Sinhalese as his chosen people. ”

    “This was obviously inserted by the overenthusiastic author of that great historical document-a Buddhist monk. However it is perceived as true by Sinhala Buddhists over generations.”

    This is just another Myth of Mahawamsa, copied from Deepawamsa and Katta Katha. The Enlightened Buddha, the Philosopher, is far too wise to make such a stupid claim, because even today, the Sinhala Buddhists Average IQ is 79.

    If Buddha had a choice, he would have selected the Japanese, Koreans or the Chinese, whose heaver IQ range from 108 to 100.

    “In recent times, one does not need any other illustration of the evils of tribally inspired religion than what is witnessed in Arab countries in the nature of extreme Wahhabism. Much earlier in history one can point out to Christian persecution and forced Christian conversions of ‘pagan’ populations.”

    “The shift of Buddhism from its original philosophical mode toward religion and tribal symbolism is driven by an internal logic. The priesthood can sustain itself only by wielding power. “

    Yes, Religious Tribalism is the greatest threat to peace and security.

    The Monks are practicing Machiavelli Philosophy, not Buddha’s Philosophy, to maintain their hegemony.

  • 6
    2

    Thanks Shyamon Jayasinghe,

    These thoughts I have seen expressed before, but you’ve presented them with startling acceptability, clarity, and even humour!

    As you say there are “three different kinds of Buddhism often running in contradiction to each other: Buddhism as philosophy,Buddhism as religion and Buddhism as a tribal badge of identity.” Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana don’t contradict one another when they remain philosophical.

    I think that adherents of other “religions” too would do well to abandon their allegiance to organisations akin to Coca-Cola. “Dignitaries” of all religions realise the power that they exercise, and they will, when faced with the challenge to embrace secularism in public affairs, indulge in mutual back-scratching. So you have Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith mutually back-scratching with the Mahanayakes to prevent us healing the wounds in society caused by tribalism.

    The sooner we start educating our children to think out all issues for themselves, the better. It will be impossible almost for us to reach in to every home, but we should be able to set about dismantling the social networks that these guys maintain, especially in the area of public orgnisations. Chandrika B.K. may not be a scholar who can match Dayan Jayatillake, but she’s understood THIS aright. So, I think does Maithripala; he keeps his religion to himself, and mainly speaks of organised religion as something that he has to reckon with as a politician. And he’s had to make compromises owing to various political factions, and made actual blunders like accommodating the likes of S.B. Disanayake.

    I’m sure that in clumsily trying to apply what Shyamon Jayasinghe says to what we need now, I’ve said a few things that can be contested, but let us see whether his thesis is convincingly countered, or whether there are, instead, all sorts of ad hominem attacks on people like me who applaud Mr Jayasinghe.

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    A very good article SJ. ‘If the disciples live properly, the World will not be short of Arahats.’

    • 8
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      Taraki

      Thanks for reading the article.

      What are you going to do about tribal Sinhala/Buddhism, keep it alive as a destructive political force, and continue to allow crooks, murderers, ….. hide behind Buddha Sasana, Sangha, .. Sinhala/Buddhist smart ass patriotism?

      Think about it, if at all possible.

  • 10
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    I think Mr Shyamon Jayasinghe is really defending the teaching of the Buddha and arguing for its preservation and protection from social deceivers.

    • 0
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      shyamon Jayasinghe should understand why buddhism vanished in India. why it was easy for Brahmins and Muslims to eradicate buddhism from India. Why no one was protecting the Nalanda University.

      Any political organization that protcts Sinhala culture cannot separate it from buddhst influence.

      For example, Sinhala – Catholics/ christians or Sinhala Muslims cannot and won’t save buddhism. Because buddhist culture is foreing to their cultures.

      • 1
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        Buddhism vanished in India because:

        One of the various reasons they the indians also should have abusers like Rajajakshes, Wimal Buruwasnses from today examples. They made every effort to interpret buddhism in favour of their policial, reglioius or other agendas. They abused it… then it was slowly vanished from them

        1) Now adays Rajapakshe even change his daily costumes being surrounded by bikkus of their kind. Latter bikkus are just extreme elements see nothing for the benefit of the nation or future, but being stuck on to their unlernt theories and myths. They beliee Jathaka kathas were true stories. Each every incident according to them are being realities, though modern discoveries are totally against

        2) Like the myth that ANIMALS such as lions should have been the creature of sinhala origin in the country, even if all world reserach experts have not the 1000000000000% provable evidence to go for hybrid theories of human creation… stupid folks also being fertilized by Mahanama theories – further believe as no other..

        3) They but attack those who believe the god and god relgious adherents – calling that is missionaries… may well be all forms of abusers are there in chritian religions too, but all inall, good and bad are existent in every religion.

  • 7
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    A good piece it is.

    The tribe is already un-liking it.

    Cheers.

  • 4
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    “……Buddha statues are all over where Buddhists are…..”

    No, Mr Jayasinghe, they abound nowadays where Buddhists are NOT – or may be the army sees Buddhists everywhere with that fantasised ability you call dibba chakku!!!

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    Yes Shyamon, you are perfectly right in saying that Lord Buddha was the most intelligent human being to have attained Nibbhana. It was a pleasure to read your paper. Bensen

    • 4
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      Dear Bensen Berner, I salute the respect you show for Gauthama, but when we say that “he was the most intelligent human being to have attained Nibbhana”, we have already paid him the highest possible compliment.

      Let the “Lords” in the British Upper House who are “unmentionable go in pursuit of the uneatable”.

      I hope you don’t mind my attempt at humour.

      • 4
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        Sinhala_Man

        “I hope you don’t mind my attempt at humour.”

        Man, we need more humour than what is available in this forum. Though we are entertained with comic relief by jim softy, K A Sumanasekere, Ballah, Nuisance, sach, Dyan, Izeth, HLD M, lal, soma …. and few others, it is not sufficient to go around.

        Please feel free to add more sandhosaya.

        Let’s have more fun.

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    A well argued and beautifully presented article-straight talk and no nonsense. KA Sumanasekera is part of the tribe.This is the reality of Buddhism-worldwide. Tribal leaders are ruining a pristine Dhamma

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    It is a pity that Mr Jaysinghe is using Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as the yardstick to measure the Buddha’s intelligence.

    Dear Mr jayasinghe, it is the misfortune of our eastern mindset oppressed by colonialism always unconsciously “look up” to them to make ourselves feel better.

    It may surprise you to learn that the three philosophers whom you use as your ‘standard’ lived 1-200 years after Gautama Buddha had lived and died c. 563 BCE to c. 480 BCE. Socrates 470-399; Plato 437-347;and Aristotle 384-322).

    A careful examination of the views expressed by these philosophers shows they were merely spreading the Buddha’s original ideas delivered to them (from India) by Buddha’s contemporary Pythagaros who lived c.570-495 BC.

    We should now learn to view history of the world, especially relating to moral philosophy, standing on our feet and not on our heads. The view we have of the so-called human-rights led junk philosophy – being spread by self interested American Jewry – is the supreme in world history can only be repelled by developing Samma Dhitti as the Buddha preached.

    May God help you open the eyes.

    • 5
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      Serapis

      Thanks.

      “May God help you open the eyes.”

      There is no God on Buddhism. Buddhas is neither God nor Lord. Man created Buddha as a God, and made statues to be venerated or worshiped as God.

      Buddhist philosophy is based on reason and thinking, not blind worship.

    • 2
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      Thank you Serapis, for pointing out something that is very important.

      However, we should be thankful that Jayasinghe did not refer to the Buddha as “Lord” Buddha as most colonials do.

      Thank God for that!

  • 6
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    Jim softy, the Sinhala Buddhist seems to be a super Buddhist. This type of Sinhala Buddhists wallowing in the mire of Avidya, like buffaloes, believe that they are know-alls of Buddha`s teachings – the proprietors of Buddhism!. I personally believe that there no real Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The so called Sinhala Buddhists are a misled crowd – brain washed by the Supiri Buddhist monks of the Deavadatta Nikaya!Bloody hypocrits practising Tree worship and Idol worship never encouraged by the Buddha. Buddha was no God. He was no Saviour. He has emphatically said that he was only a Teacher!

    • 1
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      You are dead right Diogenes.

      ALmost every buddhist in the country are born buddhists. Most of them are no kind hearted as apeared to be.
      If any kind of fradulent ideas are passed them to earn a living, anyone would just agree. See, how many of among them in west coast sells themselves to earn their living Most have moved out of European cities are from Hikkaduwa, Basel, Zurich, Amsterdam are from those areas – of course not ones have moved out of the island for their further education like for example to London. Latter is the exception.
      See, how many of the society today are more to abusive nature of life inthe country. It is believed European youth are even better than that of lanken average. Colombo school leavers having had the chance to go to Royal, Ananda, or other popular schools – most of them today end up with drugs and any other abuses rather than succeed their life. Those come from rural areas only you will find have raised their head to become doctors, engineers or the like. Even if those professionals are called bayyas, but the truth is most among the urban cultures are easily captured by drugs and its trafficking by today

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    Shyamon,

    “Against the face of these realities the true Buddhist philosopher stands isolated and even embarrassed.”

    Your articles on CT have always been good to read, and you can be some sort of a renaissance philosopher for the Sinhalese masses by writing in Sinhala or translating your English writings into Sinhala.

    I seek one clarification though. I think you held some secretary to the ministry or similar high level position during the Premadasa regime. What did you think of the many alleged atrocities by Premadasa ( against not only the JVP but others whom he disagreed with), and how did you feel about serving under such a man? I am just trying to understand how people handle conflicts in choosing career and economic life vs. principles and conscience, and not trying to put you on the spot over it.

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    RESPONSE TO AGNOS.Thanks for your comment and question. I was a career Sri Lanka Administrative Service Officer and I rose to the position of Ministry Secretary by seniority and hard work. As career men, we have to serve under various governments. I served in such capacity in several Ministries. Premadasa had a lot of good points. He felt a lot for the poor and he believed in some kind of professionalism in the Public Service unlike Mahinda Rajapakse. He had no white elephants and rarely did he bluff the people. He would have done much better and been less authoritarian had he got the backing of persons like Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake. The latter had cornered him and he reacted.

    • 1
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      People lit cracks when Premadasa was assassinated, just as they lit crackers when VP and his ilk were killed.

      You have given us context, why Premadasa behaved the way he did.

      Thanks.

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      Shayamon,

      Thanks. OK, so it is entirely understandable that you were in the career SLAS and had to serve any President. But I don’t agree with your other part about Premadasa, because his extrajudicial killings were not justifiable; while some of it could be just rumors, as an undergrad at Peradeniya at that time I heard about and saw a lot of bad things that cannot be dismissed; whatever good things he did cannot make up for it.

    • 3
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      Shyamon Jayasinghe

      “He would have done much better and been less authoritarian had he got the backing of persons like Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake.”

      Premadasa was cornered by those heartless upper class upper caste twits. He had told his close aides that VP was fighting for his downtrodden (lowers caste?)people just the way he was. The problem he analysed was the upper caste wouldn’t have it on both sides of the divide.

      As close associate of Premadasa would you say he was genuinely felt that way or was it his spin?

      I was told he honestly believed that VP, Mahathya, and other members of LTTE should be given due places in the armed forces and serving the country than fighting it.

    • 0
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      “He had no white elephants”.
      He was a thug and father of bringing in the culture of drug dealers and murderers to the political support base through whom he abducted and exterminated political opponents. And the truth is you supported this regime.

  • 3
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    Well, going by the results Buddhism has done nothing tangible in Sri Lanka. All that we bestowed on the great philosopher is shame. The Sinhalese who claim to be the guardians of Buddhism are most degenerate, most base, most acquisitive (thanha), most bestial, harbourers of the vilest form of racism, mass murderers and rapists. And the worst label goes on and on.

    On the other hand – when I discussed the above with friends they suggested, what would Sinhalese be without the moderations bestowed by Buddhism – well I shudder to think.

    • 1
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      Twenty million people judged all together by one ignorant fool.

      • 1
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        Taraki

        “Twenty million people judged all together by one ignorant fool.”

        Don’t listen to Wimal Sangili Karruppan Weerawansa he will make you feel stupid.

    • 0
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      “vilest form of racism, mass murderers and rapists”.
      You must be referring to our Middle Eastern brethren BBS Rep;-)

      • 2
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        Paul and Taraki,

        Sorry to have upset you. But the facts are stubborn.

        The JVP killed and the government killed tortured and burnt bodies, often just innocent youth. Almost all were Buddhist Sinhalese.

        Countless pogroms against the Tamils, kill burn and loot. Almost all offenders were Sinhala Buddhists.

        Anti Tamil and anti Muslim and anti Christian and anti this and anti that, and all degenerates are Sinhala Buddhists.

        When the LTTE were defeated along with the decimation of hundreds of thousands of innocent Tamils we lit firecrackers and fed kiribath to one another – the seth pirith included. All exhibitions of lack of sympathy, lack of humanity and almost all such reprobates were and are Sinhala Buddhists.

        For saying this if I am an ignorant fool so be it. We certainly do not need to look at the hell in the Middle East Paul, hell is Sri Lanka – underneath the beatific smiles of the average Sri Lankan lurks a utterly degenerate, inhuman, bestial beast. Sister Taraki and brother Paul – I have seen it.

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          Both JVP and LTTE were unelected terrorist organisations that had to be eradicated for the betterment of the country and its citizens. Don’t bring in race and religion to it. When small nations with meagre resources are in the middle of such conflicts, short cuts are taken from time to time and not everything is happening according to UN Human rights charter.
          Just like Al-Qa’ida and ISIS are terror organisations which the civilised world is determined to eradicate. Race and religion do not come in to the picture. Even wealthiest countries stepped the boundaries eliminating terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. That is just the reality. Live with it.

  • 2
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    I totally agree, he is a “I know more than you” type, uppish, arrogant person. He knows nothing about Buddhism: Born as a Christian with Dutch or another European ancestry, he proudly boasts to be an atheist with no religions beliefs.
    I really wonder if he is spending any time to understand what a Buddha taught except with a view to picking on some faults to write on. If anything he is an agent of all those un-Buddhist forces hell bent on destroying Buddhism in Sri Lanka…

    • 1
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      Paul if I may say so – did buddha teach you to underestimate people the way you have been doing ? I really dont think so.

      What makes me confusing is – those who feel to be buddhists but to go against caste, race, and the backgrounds of the others come from like your contents prove – how can they ever be buddhists…

  • 3
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    AGNOS. The killings attributed to Premadasa were actually done by one or two cops who imagined they were thinking for Premadasa. There were many stooges who similarly thought for Hitler and committed crimes. But, I think, Premadasa should have acted quickly to bring the offender to account..

    • 1
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      Valuable observations for historians to note.

    • 1
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      Shyamon

      I am afraid you are allowing your fidelity to RP colour your thoughts.
      If you have Ronnie A in mind, I am afraid you are wrong. We had it in confidence from his late brother he (Ronnie) carried out instructions “from the top” in the abductions and disappearances. Green Pajeros were freely used then. Let us hope those dark days are now well behind us. Of course, MR/GR, who came later,found this intimidating medium useful at times and so the Green Pajeros became white with variations in the form of grease yakas and what have you. These are all creations of fickle minds of ill-educated men who had illegally hijacked plum positions. Alas! They now live in mortal fear Hague will inevitably beckon them. If you notice, the Beraya is already shivering.

      The Third Reich, Sir, did not sink that low, if you will pardon me.

      Backlash

    • 1
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      Shyamon,

      Thanks, but I don’t agree with the characterization that only one or two cops were responsible. The culture of committing atrocities with impunity in the guise of fighting the JVP and the LTTE (but in fact people who had absolutely no connections to those groups were disappeared, including a couple of undergrads I knew well) became strong during that time; left unchallenged and unquestioned, it grew even worse under the Rajapaksas.

  • 1
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    TO NATIVE VEDDAH. Thank you for the question. Yes, it was a clear class reaction within the UNP at the time when Lalith and Gamini tried to undermine and discredit Premadasa. It must be mentioned here that of all leaders Ranil Wickremasinghe alone backed Premadasa at the impeachment motion. That was creditable of Ranil and it showed his quality as a human being.
    I cannot say anything about your speculation re VP and LTTE leaders. However, Premadasa was more empathetic toward his enemies in the LTTE. The latter demonstrated their gratitude by assassinating Premadasa.

    • 1
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      Dear Shyamon J

      You are an articulate and good reader of the human mind. But surely, Ranil supported RP against the Lalith-Gamini duo not because of “his quality as a human being” He did that to strengthen his chances for the top job when RP’s natural term is done. Cannot blame him for that. After all, he too is a political animal – but, I grant, a well-bred, secular, educated and cultured one. In the crop of sub-standard leaders we are today fated to lead the besieged country, Ranil is miles ahead. But will the Buddhist priest cabal, the politicised ones in the army and Sinhala extremism allow him to save the country?

      Backlash

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      Shyamon Jayasinghe

      Thanks for your response.

      ” The latter demonstrated their gratitude by assassinating Premadasa.”

      Was it LTTE or an inside job?

      There had many versions of the assassination. Fingers were pointed at Athulath Mudali who was the all-powerful minister of security prior to his assassination.

      There had been several questions raised about the quality and thoroughness of the investigation. For example, the crime scene was wiped cleaned or washed, within five hours of the bomb blast.

      The man supposed suicide bomber whose head was published in the media belongs to a Brahmin family. The family requested the security forces to release remaining parts of his body as they were bound by Brahmanical code to perform the last rites within 24 hours. The security forces duly obliged. Under PTA the state was under no obligation to hand over the dead body of terrorists. Many observers wondered why the security forces were in a hurry to dispose the body knowing that the body would be cremated, completely erasing whatever forensic evidence left in the remainder of the body.

      I was told prior to his assassination Athulath Muthali had warned Premadasa in a coded message, that his life was in Premadasa’s hand and Premadasa’s was in his.

      There was also another rumour floating around among Colombo chattering classes was that Ranjan Wijeratne (assassinated in 1991) was tough on organised crimes and illegal casino dens being run/controlled by members of Chinese triad. It was the Triad which arranged the assassination of Ranjan, probably hiring LTTE.

      There have been too many assassinations and counter-assassinations and no one exactly knows what happened or who was behind.

  • 1
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    Paul is referring to he crimes committed by MR. He is a MR bootlicker but he is honest to admit MR’s faults

  • 0
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    The three Budhisms does not take into account the Sinhala Mahavamsa Buddhism which is the reality of Buddhism as practised in Sri Lanka. It is a blood soaked, hate filled Buddhism that pretends to respect life of beings such as when a spider is killed but does not shirk at the killing of human beings. The Sinhalaya had the highest murder rate in the world, quite independently of the killing of Tamils. It is paralleled only by countries like Columbia or other Buddhist countries like Thailand and Myanmar.. Why be sanctimonious and discuss the tenets of Gautama which were never practised in Sri Lanka. .

    The article whitewashes the serial killings of Tamils over the years. It talks about Bodu Bala Sena which is a recent phenomenon aimed at Muslims. Mahavamsa Buddhism is a revival of recent times. It was not a major force until the rise of Sinhala chauvinism as a route to power. The so called Anagarika Dharmapala was an afterthought who rose in prominence only during the time after the rise of Sinhala-Buddhism in mid nineteen fifties.

    Sinha Le Buddhism is blood soaked wickedness. It is best that it be eradicated. This article is good but is soft in identifying the malaise that afflicts Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

    • 2
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      Mama Sinhalam

      “The Sinhalaya had the highest murder rate in the world, quite independently of the killing of Tamils. It is paralleled only by countries like Columbia or other Buddhist countries like Thailand and Myanmar..”

      Could we have evidence to support your sweeping conclusion.

      • 0
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        It is an old book but the book by CHS Jayawardene, Homicide in Southern Ceylon, contains such information with statistics. I do not have access to the book. I talk from memory of having read it. He was talking only of the Southern Province. It is a matter of hearsay that in places like Balangoda violence was readily used at least at the time Jayawardene wrote. I believe he was in forensic science.

  • 0
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    “Mamam Sinhalam,” talks of the Mahawamasa Buddhism. The writer himself refers to it and puts it in the class of tribal Buddhism. For the knowledge of Mamam.

  • 0
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    Understandably, the author offers a somewhat simplified version of Buddhist history, glossing over differences of opinion about some of the basic points, and without disclosing his own modernist biases. The essay is interesting as one more example of the impact of modern academic study, and post-scientific western episteme about reality and history, on more popular perceptions about ‘original’ or ‘authentic’ Buddhism; one more example of a recurrent rhetoric about ‘cleaning up’ Buddhism of its religious accretions.

    The comparison with Socrates, etc., really reminds one of Gombrich. And so does the idea that the Buddha perceived himself in a ‘humanistic’ way while his followers fundamentally misunderstood him. I wonder, though, whether it is so convincing to superimpose 21st century (fundamentally Christian) ideas about secularism, etc., onto such a far removed historical context, wherein the exceptional qualities of the Buddha had most likely been described and emphasized by the Buddha himself (or at least, this is what all Buddhist texts from all traditions tell us).

    The essay is obviously well-meaning and is meant to promote some level of harmony through self-criticism. On the other hand, it does not clarify its own theoretical presuppositions and offers a highly personal portrait of the nature of Buddhism as if it were a self-evident, matter of fact shared reality. By projecting a rhetoric of mild-mannered rationality (or rather, reasonableness) it contrasts its own voice against the loud clamors of the ‘religious Buddhist’, thus painting an unfair caricature of a tradition filled with exceptional Arhats, Ācāryas and Bodhisattvas, to this day far more impressive than the author would allow them to be.

    I don’t think that bringing Buddhism from monasteries, caves and forests, to this armchair-flavored tame reasonableness makes it rational (it just makes it tame and thus not very effective). There must be better and more imaginative ways to evoke harmony.

    • 1
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      jñānagarbha

      “There must be better and more imaginative ways to evoke harmony.”

      Such as?

      “I don’t think that bringing Buddhism from monasteries, caves and forests, to this armchair-flavored tame reasonableness makes it rational (it just makes it tame and thus not very effective).”

      The Buddhism presented, preached and practiced in this island is somewhat similar to fast food menu, fast forward Buddhism, suitable for their own needs, depending on how it is packaged by Monks, Politicians, Bigots, and crooks.

      I am a layman and also bit thick.

      Please tell us how best to live as Buddhist (follower of the awakened one)in a fast changing culture, technology, …… and greed driven society.

      • 0
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        Native Vedda

        “There must be better and more imaginative ways to evoke harmony.”

        Such as?

        Such as cultivating the four brahmavihāra, i.e. maitrī, karuṇā, muditā and upekṣā; such as reflecting on the nature of reality; such as becoming aware of the one’s presuppositions, and their actual origin, and the complexities involved in discussing of the Buddhist past.

        “I don’t think that bringing Buddhism from monasteries, caves and forests,
        to this armchair-flavored tame reasonableness makes it rational
        (it just makes it tame and thus not very effective).”

        The Buddhism presented, preached and practiced in this island is somewhat
        similar to fast food menu, fast forward Buddhism, suitable for their own needs,
        depending on how it is packaged by Monks, Politicians, Bigots, and crooks.

        I am a layman and also bit thick.

        Please tell us how best to live as Buddhist (follower of the awakened one)in a fast
        changing culture, technology, …… and greed driven society.

        I trust your assessment. Yet I think what may bring depth to one’s Buddhist practice is the development of renunciation, which largely comes from the type of devotion, or philosophical marvel, that is the basis for building Buddha statues and engaging in many of those ‘religious’ aspects that the author seems to belittle. A sense of wonderment is not in antithesis to philosophy; it may be its very origin. In my opinion, the main point is to become genuinely aware of death and impermanence, and the rest follows without much effort.

      • 0
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        “The Buddhism presented, preached and practiced in this island is somewhat similar to fast food menu, fast forward Buddhism, suitable for their own needs, depending on how it is packaged by Monks, Politicians, Bigots, and crooks.”

        If this is true, it cannot be solved by presenting fast-food simplifications about the history and nature of Buddhism, or can it? If we propose to be philosophers, we need to be ready to be thoughtful and, as far as possible, provide well-informed accounts that take notice of different opinions and uncertainties.

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