As Buddhists, should we further milk local Talibans?

No doubt that Buddhism is the most flexible, tolerable and nonviolent religion in the world. Some of its pillars, known to Buddhists for more than two and half millennia, such as ‘ahimsa’ (nonviolence), ‘samanathmatha’ (equality) and ‘upekhaka’ (indifference) constitute the very basis of civilized life.

The same thing can be said about the sea too. It is vast, calm and deep. Still there can be tsunamis.

The first wave of so called ‘Sinhalese Buddhist’ talibanic tsunami hit us in 2003 – in the immediate aftermath of the demise of Ven. Gangodawila Soma thero. Racism and ethnic hatred are not uncommon in Lankan society but there were no precedents for the abuse of religion for political purposes at such low level. Not even in 1956, with the liberal unleash of chauvinism under the opportunistic leadership of S W R D Bandaranaike.

To give credit to those who deserve it, Ven. Soma thero has always been reluctant to jump to the mud hole of politics. Perhaps he realized it was not his forte. Perhaps he was not dreaming for a Mercedes Benz. In the non-materialistic universe of Ven. Soma thero the place for a Bhikku was at a higher orbit – not so close to earth. So he kept out of politics, leaving it for mortal souls like ourselves.

The politically motivated JHU Benz-wallahs were the opposite. Seeing the opportunity they jumped immediately –like bunch of pariah dogs jump for a bone or bitch under heat. They could win nine seats in the 2004 General Election – a significant number for a party born yesterday – but little did the apolitical upasaka ammas who voted under a kind of religious giddiness know what was in for them.

Ever since it was a bumpy ride. Benz-wallahs broke every possible rule in the book. They sold car permits, abducted their own colleagues, threw ‘parusha vacha’ and ‘pisuna vacha’ not only at political enemies, but also at others belong to different factions. Staged few dramas like the event at Sharuk Khan’s show. (Poor Sharuk! He never returned!) During a ‘fast unto death’ (rather fast unto hospitalization) event at Kandy JHU cheevaradharis behaved like common thugs in closing down the shops.

Still there is something called ‘karma’. We saw it at work when some of them got their testicles massaged by the good doctor Mervin Silva reminding us ‘ditta dhamma vedaniya karmaya’.

All this would have been fine. We would have been enjoyed the comedy if not the believers of other religions were unnecessarily brought in the middle of all this.

Christians and Catholics were the first victims. Overnight even the Sinhalese Christians became non-indigenous; non-Bhumiputra, ‘arrived yesterday’ outsiders. All Christians and Catholics were the target for handful of conversions that have been carried out by few non-traditional and small Christian groups. The madness knew no limits. Only God would have known how many churches have been burnt down ever since.

Then the Muslims. Courtesy of JHU , poor in Ampara were denied shelter simply because of their belief. When thousands of Muslims were unceremoniously chased off from Glennie street there wasn’t anybody even to raise a voice.

Things would not have been so deplorable if not for the Kurrakkan uncle – the opportunists’ opportunist – who saw nothing wrong in riding this racist wave for his own political gains. The outcome was catastrophic. The level of racism unleashed at the 2005 Presidential election was incredible. The divisions in society caused deep wounds, which will never be healed. All these because of the greed of one individual – to make his the royal family of Lanka.

The recent incidents in and out of the Supreme Court too are the continuation of the same drama. What Taliban wants it clear. They look for a discrimination that treats them better than the rest of the society. Muslims chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ is not tolerable; but noise pollution by temples is not only acceptable but welcome as well. No, we do not want to stand for anybody. We are supreme and above the law. See where they are leading?

As Buddhists, how long are we going to tolerate this Taliban mafia? Shouldn’t it high time that we stand up and say we are tired of all this nonsense and that as Buddhists we do not expect to be treated better than the rest – rather we do not want anyone else mistreated?

These are questions we should ask ourselves as Buddhists, Sinhalese and Sri Lankans. It is not a question of a political party. It is a question of our common future. The damage caused by these extremists to the Lankan society is no means small. We already live in a highly divided society thanks to all racist forces that divided us ever since 1956. Isn’t this the time to use our brains and not our hearts?

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7 thoughts on “As Buddhists, should we further milk local Talibans?

  1. Brilliant post mate. Hit the nail on the head. You forgot to mention the monk who destroyed Hindu statues in a kovil in grandpass last week. I think majority of Buddhists probably feel the way you do. But probably dont want to make a noise since they are not the impacted party in this anyway. Even though they feel its not right, its always viewed as someone else’s problem.

    It’s time we all take a stand. All Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus will all be treated the same in this country as Sri lankans. No particular race, religion takes precedence over the other.

  2. Very very true. And I really like the ending “Isn’t this the time to use our brains and not our hearts?”. I’ve been saying the same
    over the years. But my ‘patriotic’ friends hardly care.

    Here’s my view of the tragedy.

  3. Ajith

    I appreciate your unbiased view of most of the subjects you blog about. But I doubt if you will go any further in Lankan politics if you talk about the same thing you talk here in public, at ralleys. Luckily blogspere is too small and most of these people event dont go to cast their votes. But be careful. If there are any intelligent SLFPier or JVPier (which I doubt) in your electorate, he will use your posts against you and you will lose elections.

    I will definitely attend one of your ralleys and see WYB (WhatYouBlog) is WYP (whatYouPreach) in public too.

  4. Superb post! I very much agree with everything you’ve said there. Its beyond deplorable what these ‘monks’ are getting upto these days. And the politicos that back this crap. This country is heading straight down a wormhole.. till we can get the worms out of here, there’ll be no salvation!

  5. It is undeniable that all ‘individuals’ should be treated equal. But that does not mean all ‘cultures’ should be treated equal. There is always a predominant culture in every society. It is what binds all communities together and form a single nation.

    In the USA, it is the Jeudo Christian culture that is the predominant culture. That is why Barack Obama says (rather, has to say) ‘God Bless u’ after his speech. If Prince Charlse becomes the King in UK (by any chance), the Arch Bishop of Cantebery will do a service. They won’t have a ‘multi religious blessing’ and invite the Buddhist Monks of London Vihara to Chant Pirith.

    In Sri Lanka, that predominant culture is (and has been) the Sinhala Buddhist Culture. If all communities (especially the Sinhalese) can accept that fact, most of the current problems would be solved.

    JHU did an extremely bad thing by bringing Buddhist monks directly into politics. Buddhist monks have always been involved in the Politics even in ancient times but not in a direct manner. Their actions paved way to the enemies of Sinhala Buddhist culture to publicly insult the Sinhala Buddhist Culture.

  6. Dear All,
    U are LTTE.
    U are Anti-Buddhist.
    U are anti-Sinhesele.
    U will Not get a place in the Western Provincial COuncil.

  7. Sri lanka is and has always been the home land of the Sinhala Buddhist population in the world. Hence we mustn’t let our home land be invaded by anyone. It’s also the home to many other religious groups who are expanding within the country destroying Buddhist values in our beautiful land. Buddhist’s non violence nature is the main reason why all the invaders has taken advantage of our great culture. The government has an obligation to protect the Buddhist population in Sri lanka and to stop this invasion that demotes Sinhala Buddhist values in our land both by Buddhist labelled Sinhalese and politically motivated other faith leader’s in Sri lanka. Unfortunately, due to poverty, Greed and power the politically motivated individuals used the label of Buddhism to gain support of the majority Buddhists in Sri lanka for their own political agenda.

    I think the following actions can be taken to prevent the demotion of Buddhist values in Sri lanka:

    1. Remove the Monks in politics from monkshoods and lable them as a none monk based Sinhala political party. This protects the bad name associated with Buddhism and Politics.
    2. Impose strict guideline for other religious groups to conduct their faith in harmony with the Buddhists and must not be allowed to either through bribery or corruption to convert Buddhist to their religions. Granting of planning for the erection of Churches and other none Buddhist worship places must be controlled in Sri lanka.
    3. All families (specially Muslim population) in Sri lanka must be given limits to the no of children per household to control over growth of population in this small Island and to prevent the out growth of Sinhala Buddhist population in Sri lanka. This strategy alone will guarantee to extend continuation of the Sinhala Buddhist population in Sri lankan for many many years to come.

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