Worries Of Budu Bala Sena

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION,Opinion |

By Rifai Naleemi -

Dr. Rifai Naleemi

Do we really need to response to the provocations and hated campaigns of this tiny group of extremists in Sri Lanka?  Much has been said and written about them in various news papers and TV broadcasting. It has been highlighted in recent media presentation and press release.  Reading through what has been said and written about them I could notice that there are two schools of thought in our response to the provocations and activities of this group. One school of thought argues that BBS should be left on its own and we should not response to their provocation and activities. It will meet its doom day naturally.

The more we response to them the more they will be encouraged to provoke Muslims and therefore, it would be better to leave them alone to shout as much as they like. This school of thought is maintained by some of highly respected academic and venerable monks in this country. It is noted that one of the venerable monks remarked that BBS will be eliminated within the periods of two Poyas:   In a sense, this observation is right and timely needed observation. I partially agree with this highly respected academic and venerable monk. The BBS will shout for some times and after a short period when they will calm down and even disappear from the scene.

Such notion is somewhat acceptable given the human nature and habit of majority of Sinhalese people. it is true some of them get emotions then after sometime they forgive and forget all what happened.  Most of Sinhalese people are pure in their hearts and they  do not hide enmity and hatred at all. Most of them are honest and open minded people. They do not have any hidden jealously in their hearts and for that reasons I could convincingly say that BBS agenda would not get grounding among Sinhalese people.

The second school of thought on the matter is to challenge and encounter BBS, to challenge their ideologies, to encounter their vigorous criticism, face them intellectually and academically, psychologically and spiritually. Not to be silent but to face them and encounter them rationally, morally and politically from different platforms. Initially, I was skeptical and of two minds, whether to challenge unfounded accusation of this handful people: Some of them do not have any academic backgrounds and some of their arguments do not have any academic or intellectual credits.  Why should I waste my time and energy in responding to all these allegations?  Of course, most of these allegations are baseless and unsubstantiated with logical or rational evidence. Yet, it came to my mind that I do not reply to these unfounded accusations and allegations, the ideological philosophies of BBS could influence and shape public opinions and they could give bad impression about Islam and Muslims in this country so that I was compelled to pen down my response to their allegations and accusations.

Muslim community is under attack in Sri Lanka. Muslim community and Islam are under attack in Sri Lanka politically, spiritually, psychologically and even physically and to be silent at this crucial juncture would be moral bankruptcy of Muslim intellectual if any Muslim intellectual did not reply to these false allegations. It is imperative that Muslim academics and intellectual should respond to them with rational arguments. To be idle and do nothing in the face of these barrage of hostile and hatred campaigns against Muslims and Islam would be moral crime. Moreover, if there is no intellectual responds to BBS ideologies and activities from Muslim perspectives what would happen for public perception of Islam and Muslim in Sri Lanka?  Moreover, silence of Muslim intellectuals could send many negative impressions about Islam and Muslims in Sri Lanka.  Moreover how do public know the truth about Islam and Muslims? And public would not have alternative sources to know about the true picture of these allegations if Muslim intellectuals provide them with clarifications and explanation,

For these reasons, I shall try to write series of articles in responding to some of the allegations made by BBS. I shall try to be objectives in my writing and I shall be making some constructive criticism: It is not my objective here to damage communal harmony in Sri Lanka rather to enhance communal harmony and peace between communities in Sri Lanka. We should use our brains and gauge these issues and problems logically and rationally. We should try to understand different cultures and ways of life. This is in the greater interest of all communities in Sri Lanka. When I write this I do not intend to offend any one or any religious faith or doctrines. It is my humble request to Sri Lankans irrespective of their religious attachment to read my articles completely until final parts to come to some solid conclusions;

BBS and its Ideological philosophies 

The historical origin, motives and philosophies of Budu Bala Sena should be examined and analysed in the context of its concerns and emotional feeling. Every one knows that it has been pouring its sensational emotions since its inception.  The psychological, moral, political, and socio- religious mindsets of these people should be examined in light of sociological and historical perspectives. Why these people are so emotional and why these people are so angry? What makes them so angry? Why do they feel that their cultural, religious heritage, customs, traditions and way of life are in jeopardy?  Is it really because of minority communities or is it because of the failure of successive Sri Lankan governments to protect Buddhism in this country or is it because of the failure of religious leadership of Buddhist clerics to reach out to Sinhalese public in professional and scientific ways and methods with Buddhism? Or is it because of the western influence in Sri Lankan.

With modern technological advancement and intrusion of internet and Web culture young generation goes away from religious faith and practices not only in Sri Lanka but also all over the world. This is a general trend in all communities and communal and socio-religious values and principle are peril in all countries. This is a reality of the world we live in and Sri Lanka is not an exceptional to this general rule.

These are some of genuine questions and we should examine them in light of modern development in Sri Lanka. Rather than challenging or debating these clerics it is the duty of each and very Sri Lanka to try to understand their problems and their worries. I think that it is a collective duty of all Sri Lankans.  Their worries and problems would affect all Sri Lankans in one way or another.  Today live in Sri Lanka as a one family unite and we can not ignore these problems at all.

We should understand problems and worries of these people objectively without any bias with sympathy and empathy.  What went wrong with Buddhism in Sri Lanka to make these people so angry?  Why that Buddhism is is in decline as it is claimed by some of these monks? Who is responsible for such decline/?   One wonders whether these people are trying to follow Anagarika Dharmapala who tried to revive Buddhism in Sri Lankan in early 20th century.  It seems that these people have been using same slogans and mottos as Anagarika Darmapala did. It is often said that he succeeded to some extent to generate nationalistic feelings in his days.  One wonders as if history repeats itself now in Sri Lanka today.

In one of his TV interviews the President of Budu Bala Sena venerable Kirama Vimalajothi clearly outlined BBS’s objectives and missions in Sri Lanka. He said that he and his fellow members were worried and concerned about the status of Buddhism in Sri Lanka right now.  He said that he was worried about alien cultural intrusion and influence among Sinhalese Buddhist communities.  He argues that 2000 years Buddhists culture is in peril and has been threaten by different cultural invasion and influence.  Particularly he contends that since independence Sinhalese community is subjected Christian missionary onslaught of converting poor Sinhalese people from Buddhism to Christianity. He claims that hundreds of NGO are working day and night in Srilanka with hidden agenda of converting Sinhalese into Christianity.  He claims that these NGOs are working in disguise as Montessori, nurseries and charities as missionary agents with the intention of converting people.

He said that Sinhalese Buddhists are losing their cultural identity.  Western way of life is intruding in Sinhalese community. For instance he lamented that Sinhalese are celebrating “Mothers day” in Sri Lanka now.  It is a western concept and how did this intrude into our culture. We care and love our parents 24 hours a day and 365 days in year unlike western people.  He further lamented that alien languages, food, songs and even Cinemas are dominating Sri Lanka.  Sinhalese people like to wear as westerners wear.  They like to eat as westerners eat and they like to behave as westerners behave. Venerable Monk says if this trend continues what would happen to our culture and our way of life. Where does this country of ours go?  What would happen to our people and our culture? He says that some patriotic Sinhalese people are asking these genuine questions. He further noted that a lot of people today are worried about this new trend.

Hence it could be said that BBS was instituted primarily with the objectives of purifying Sinhalese Buddhist community from alien cultural and religious influences. Venerable Kirama Vimalajothi clearly said in his TV interview that their primary objective was “to clean our garden from all types of dirt and filth”. Therefore, BBS main concerns and worries are not wage wars on other religious faiths and practices as it is assumed by some its followers.

Venerable Monk says that we had 30 years of wars and we do not want to create any more problems in this country and we know how much we suffered during these thirty years.  We are here to protect our race and our country.  We are not racists and we do not have any racist agendas. We are not against any race or any religion. We are here to speak on behalf of our people and we are here to protect our community. These are some of worries of these monks. I personally do not see any problems in these concerns and these are really genuine concerns and worries. No one should doubt about it. Yet, how these address these concerns and how do they try to find solutions to these problems and concerns.

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15 Responses to Worries Of Budu Bala Sena

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    There may be genuine concerns of BBS but the method they adopted of attacking the muslims ran counter even to their own religon. So how could they claim to be protectors of Buddhism when they abandon their own principles an resort to hatemongering in the first instance. I feel that such groups must either reform or they must not be allowed to function in a civilised society. They themselves are the biggest threat to Buddhism as they demonstrate a primial instinct of hatred and vengence cloaked in the garb of the great religon. At the same time as non-buddhist we have no right to criticise Buddhist or Buddhism and the reform of the religon must be left to the true Buddhist within the religon itself. I hope they will be equal to the task. Muslims have paid a heavy price for allowing their religon to be hijacked by extremist forces like the Taliban and Al Qaida. Extremism in all forms needs to be condemned.

    Safa
    April 29, 2013 at 6:30 am
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    The BBS’s claims are not real,the Sinhalese-Buddhism is in peril,because of their own deeds.these BBS,themself working for a NGO and it’s funded by Norway,LTTE diaspora,anti Sri Lankan elements etc.through hate compaign can incite violence not revival of Sinhalese-Buddhism.indeed these BBS try to incite violence,and certain periods given them by their pay masters end-up in failure,and it’s cause them to retreat.(the pay masters are stop funding them). the GOSL thoght,that the BBS compaign will create an atmosphere like arab springs,so it’s shown like it’s supporting the BBS.

    Muhandiram-Dumbuluwawe.
    April 29, 2013 at 9:49 am
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    A good initiative. Often times people clash with one another bcos of Misunderstandings either due to ignorance, or bcos they are ill informed or Mis-informed. A classic case would be that of Arnoud Van Doorn, former vice-chairman for Geert Wilders, the famous Dutch anti-Islam politician. Arnoud’s conversion to Islam has surprised many non-muslims all over the world. Geert Wilders is famous for his notorious movie, Fitna, which has been commissioned against the Prophet of Islam and Geerts had insulted Islam in all forms and shape. When Arnoud Van Doorn was questioned about his past he said that he believes that ‘Islamophobia in Europe emanates from Western media and governments attempts to present a dark image of Islam, and if people in Europe knew how Islam was beautiful and wise, they would inevitably have been converted’. Please see the link below. http://old.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1818696 Many people have a fear about Islam and Muslims bcos of the reasons mentioned by Arnoud Van Doorn, which unfortunately has spread even to the East now. We Muslims have nothing to do with Al Qaeda, which was a creation of the CIA to drive away the Russians from Afghanistan. When things soured between them, and Al Qaeda started revolting against them, the US tried to Generalise them as ‘Muslim Terrorists’, which is ridiculous and unfair. WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. We also hear from time to time, that the US does ‘false flag operations’ to frame the Muslims. Any way we are not to be blamed for those either. What is theirs is theirs,and not Ours. Attacking the minority communities in order to spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is in itself against the teachings of Gautama Buddah who was a champion of peace. The only way to spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka would be to follow the teachings of Gautama Buddah to the letter, and use ‘love and compassion’ as a means, and not hatred and violence. Peace to all.

    imaana
    April 29, 2013 at 10:41 am
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    A good and practical analysis on how to respond to a threat. Silence is not always golden, It is tact that is golden not silence. Muslims have every right to defend by peaceful means against false allegations and set the record straight. The threat of social and culture is not just for Buddhism. Holly/Bolly wood menace is faced by the Muslims as well. Only the Sinhala people can preserve their culture and Philosophy. The Protectionist Mentality will be eventually replaced by the Survival of the Fittest Cultures. The current trend in Multi Culture is blossoming around the world specially driven by economic factors. Multi Culture is embraced in some parts of the Arabian Peninsula (Emirates) with 197 Nationalities (80% of the Population) co-existing in Peace and Harmony. Multi Culture does open the door to economic prosperity if properly implemented. Finally, Moral and Ethical values have to be in place before Rule of Law and economic prosperity can be Achieved. Example, Knowledge will be ineffective if the Heart is Corrupt, Money is of no Value at the Cost of Health. Death of Democracy in its birth place is the result of not addressing the root causes of Moral and Ethical Values.

    Maghribi
    April 29, 2013 at 11:30 am
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    TINY group of extremists? They are under the patronage of Kurakkan Boys. BBS is the best hope for the Samagama to keep the power for generations to come.

    Rohan
    April 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm
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    Some people believe that the Muslim women wearing ‘Abaya’, are extremists. The question they pose is ‘ they did not wear it before, so why are they wearing it now?’. Some even think that it is the wahabis who wear the abaya. First and foremost, the main reason why Muslim women cover up is because they believe it is the commandment of God. The Quran Commands the Men and Women to wear modestly. Accordingly, the dress of the women must be loose so as to not to reveal the figure, and it must not be too attractive that it attracts the attention of the opposite sex. The entire body must be covered, except the face and the hands. Now, to answer the question as to ‘why only now, and not before’. Those days, the Muslims(non arabs) did not know their own religion well, bcos the Quran was in Arabic. Now that there are translations of the Quran in various languages, Muslims took the interest to read them, and bcos of that came to know their religion better. Hence, the transformation. The Quran never says to wear only in black. The colour can be any, as long as it is not too flashy.So I would like to assure that ‘The Abaya’ is not a sign of extremism, or any ‘ism’ for that matter. It is also not a sign of subjugation or oppression, bcos the quran clearly states that it is a protection for women( from sexual abuse and the like). I chose to write about this bcos, the abaya is also a matter of concern these days.

    imaana
    April 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm
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    Can u pl respond to the provoations by the Muslims… we seem to be all forgetting about this…. WHAT ARE MUSLIMS RESPONSIBLE for in CREATING THE FRICTION… Someone needs to ask this – and get answers from the Muslims…

    Shiva
    April 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm
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    “Muslim community is under attack in Sri Lanka”. According to the above Article, the following response options are available to the Muslims : Option1 : Build a ‘Mental Stockade’ as a means of protection (and ignore the attackers, hoping they will go away) Option 2 : Attack is the best form of defense, so go after the attackers However, there is a third option Option 3 : Neutralize the Attackers. Identify and reduce the efficacy of their weapons of social destruction. In my opinion, the Muslim Community should pursue Option 3 We should identify the exact aspects of our Islamic Practices and Lifestyles which are a cause for concern and apprehension amongst our Buddhists Brothers & Sisters and take the necessary bold steps to obviate such fears. These perceived concerns and apprehensions do exist and although we may feel such misgivings are without any rational basis, we should bear in mind that Perceptions are more important than Reality where Human Behaviour is concerned. Take for instance the ‘Abaya Issue’ which has caused much consternation among the Muslims. The question here is whether we are not seeing the wood for the trees. I feel that it is not the Abaya per se that is a cause of concern among the Buddhists, but the fact that it is Black – and the Black Abaya has become associated with ‘Extremist Islam’, ‘Saudi Arabia’, ‘Wahabism’ and ‘Salafism’ thanks to biased reporting by the mass media. Do our Buddhist Brothers & Sisters perceive the rapid increase in Black Abaya-wearing Muslims as a sign of Islamification of Sri Lanka ? If this is indeed the case, all that is required to neutralize this particular concern is to popularize the wearing of pastel-coloured Abayas as in the case of the Malaysian / Indonesian Muslim Females.

    Bisthan Batcha
    April 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm
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    It is after the impeachment of the CJ that every step taken by MR & his siblings began on wrong directions, for which even the Sinhalese academics were silent, because of the control of the Military Forces by GR. Apparently, before accusing the BBS, the Muslim politicians should also be blamed for having a double standard. Their sincerity has become a question mark following the Illegal exercises of transporting of arms & ammunitions to the Eastern Province, smuggling of drug trafficking, treatment given to Pottu Nauffer after the High Court Judge of Colombo was shot dead, recent results at the Law College Entrance Exam, promoting Wahhabist ideology indirectly, etc, from the time they joined the party-in-power. There were comments by the Sinhalese politicians that the Muslims were not a problem for the Sinhalese. But the 1915 communal riots began over the issue of a licence to celebrate the birthday of Lord Buddha on the Kandy Streets where Muslims warned them to proceed in silence, when they pass their Mosque, which eventually culminated into a communal riot. On hearing this Sir P.Ramanathan sought an interview with the Governor which became a futile exercise and then proceeded to England and argued and saved the Sinhalese. One cannot easily forget that on 29th May 1915 an innocent Sinhalese youth was shot down by Hambayas followed by the destruction of Muslim shops & glass shutters of a Mosque. The event was initially provoked by the Muslims by way of jeering at the people on the procession. Had the Muslims maintained silence without provoking, the Buddhist Sinhalese would not have attacked the Muslim shops and the Mosque. Mention should be made that no lives were lost at the beginning other than the shooting of the innocent Sinhalese youth. History cannot be suppressed. In fact, the Sinhalese and the Tamils were having a cordial relationship, despite the recent civil disturbances. The new trend is the globalization of a new life towards a global community with a forward thinking. Moreover, the BBS may have thought of the obstacles to Buddhism, though priority to it is enshrined in the constitution or it may be a creation to divert the attention of the Sinhalese by MR & his siblings. But it is sheer absurdity to drag the name of Anagarika Dharmapala for generating nationalist feelings. He was only concerned for the gradual downfall of Buddhism at that time and he took the opportunity to participate at the World Religious Parliament, where Swami Vivekananda also participated. The Buddhists are grateful to Anagarika Dharmapala for reviving Buddhism and exchanging views with other religious dignitaries for the promotion of unification of world religions. After visiting the US, there may be refinement on the BBS. There is also something called the generation gap in terms of the line of thinking with the advancement of science and technology. The intrusion of internet and Web culture has promoted mutual understanding and co-operation among the religious faiths and communities with forward thinking. Can the author underline the socio-religious values and principles that are in peril. Can anyone pronounce that the attacks of Al-Qaeda are to promote their cultural vaues and principles and why is the author or the Muslims silent on criticizing the illegal activities of Al-Qaeda. Perhaps the author is worried that Islam which has not changed its backward thinking for the last 1300 years is heading for a change. We are living in a changing world and the aim is to be as one global community, while retaining their cultural identity. It is again ridiculous to allege that the NGOs are working in Sri Lanka with hidden agenda of converting Buddhists to Christianity. Today we find people converting themselves in thousands to various religious faiths according to their choice. Dr.Rifai Naleemi has forgotten that the NGOs have played a contributory role for the development of our communities. We should be grateful to the NGOs for the introduction of Nursery schools, etc. It is utterly irrelevant to speak of following the Western concepts of celebrating the Mothers Day. Like the Westerners celebrating the Mothers Day, Fathers Day, etc, in Sri Lanka and India, Hindus & Buddhists celebrate these Days by giving Dhanas at temples. Only thing the approach is different but the aim is the same. Even the Jewish people celebrate these Days by way of performing Charities. In fact, there are similarities among Chritianity, Judaism, Hinduism & Buddhism. If one look at the Western way of life, they work hard and no time to waste. The Eastern way of life had demonstrated that they do not work hard. The Westerners pay heavy taxes out of which the foreign refugees are looked after, Homes for Seniors & Disabled are established, maintenance of roads, Healthcare, etc. In Sri Lanka will the politicians pay more attention in these fields? One should appreciate the Westerners for establishing the Senior Homes and for Disabled people and how they are looked after. What is the position of Dr.Rifai Naleemi regarding the Muslim politicians who have joined hands with persons like Pottu Nauffer as well as with the Government Ministers who should be ashamed of plundering the wealth of the country instead of establishing such Homes out of the plundered wealth. It may not be a surprise when people support the BBS when it pays more attention towards this for the benefit of the people. There is nothing wrong in following the Western culture so long as we do not engage in destructive activities, like what happened at the Boston Marathon explosion. The arrest of two Muslims in Canada for plotting to derail the train is another instance. The Westerners are kind-hearted than the Easterners in the sense they will not allow others to die out of hunger. They even promote and provide financial assistance to all the religious communities, while in Sri Lanka it is a common occurrence that Hindu temples & Mosques are demolished. What astonishes is that a Muslim Minister is engaged in grabbing the lands of the Tamils – no matter whether there is a Hindu temple in such lands. Therefore the author should realize that charity should begin at home before attacking the Westerners. Their religion is one with a forward thinking and not backward thinking. I have found that the Westerners are humane in all aspects. They had not spread uncultured acts like stoning to death, cutting the limbs, severing the heads with sword, etc. They believe that only God has the right to take one’s life, but not the man. They always give a person an opportunity to refine himself/herself. The is the civilized culture of the Westerners. This is the reason why God blesses the Western countries. Now it is the worries of the Muslims throughout the world – given the fact that a number of terrorists are being caught in their illegal exercises which are a threat to the security of those countries.

    Citizen
    April 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm
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    It is very sad that the muslims are being made the scapegoats all over the world,so there is a plan in Rajapakistan too ,to target the muslims ,and brand them as terrorists and then get into the good books of the West,so that the Rajapuussas can escape the human rights violations,and sanctions . The muslims are being fooled right royally.

    Jhon Paul
    April 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm
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    THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO TELL THESE MUSLIMS… CT IS ALSO USING YOU’LL TO FOOL THE WORLD OF A SCENARIO OF DISCRIMINATION. MUSLIMS YOU NEED TO SERIOUSLY WAKE UP….. BUDDHISTS ARE NOT YOUR ENEMY… DONT FALL INTO THE TRAP THAT IS BEING SET OUT FOR YOU… CMON YOU GUYS ARE NOT DUMB… THE BUDDHISTS HAVE GONE THE LENGTH AND TOLD YOU THAT IT IS THE WAHHABIS THAT ARE CAUSING ALL THIS NONSENSE… THESE JIHADISTS ARE WORKING WITH THE CIA … ISNT THAT WHY BOSTON HAPPENED… SOME SANE MUSLIMS NEED TO GET THEIR PEOPLE TOGETHER AND RETHINK ABOUT THIS ENTIRE HATE THING… ITS LEADING YOU ASTRAY AND THE COUNTRY ASTRAY… DONT FALL FOR THE TRAP

    Shiva
    April 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    PEACELOVER..
    April 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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    In a way the BBSatan is not here to protect the Sinhala-Buddhism but to destroy it systematically with the Norwegian funds. dont forget that the same Norway helped once LTTE to devide this country. Its was a failure and now they are back in Sri Lanka with the threi second innings. The same Norway was an enemy then and now friends of BBSatan, ChampikaSatan and GotaSatan. Muslims will take care of BBS because their faith is strong. Iam worried about my own Sinhala-Buddhist community. We are on the brink of losing this philosophy of Gouthama Buddha. Why cant the sinhala people open their eyes and see the facts. Those who support this regime are enemy of the state or traitors of this country and similarly those who support these germs of GnanaSatan KiramaStan BailaJothi and ChampikaSatan & Machan Rathanasatan are enemies of Buddhism. Its as simple as that! By the way good write up Dr. Rifai

    Thenuwara
    April 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm
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    Surely Ven. Kirama Vimalajothi and his band have enough resources to ‘educate’ these buddhists on what to eat, wear, whom to associate with or not and what to do in their leisure time? It is quite obvious that for these ‘buddhists’ only externals matter. What is author doing trying to dignify all these weird expectations? Like all religions Buddhism has a spiritual core that reasonable people can recognize and relate to. What is shown externally is just a show.

    blind man
    April 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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    With recent elctricity shock all those Balu sena have dissappeared.This is the beginning of the end for all hate mongers

    Tuan
    May 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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