Crime, Punishment, Kamma and Buddhism
Posted on August 8th, 2009

Ananda De Costa

There is no “Holy War” in Buddhism, all killings inflicted by war will bring consequences to those who participated in it. This is why our  the Buddhist war heroes have sacrificed so much for the country, they sacrificed not only one life but also risked a lot of suffering in thousands of their future lives to come, depending on the kamma they created ( based on intentions). It is known that even the Great King Asoska was born as a python for a short time after death, this is, however a story with some logic in it.

If anyone thinks that kind of kamma created by killings can be cancelled by offerings to temples and participating in Buddha Pujas , Bodhi Puja,  he is a fool.

Even the Arahant Angulimala had to undergo pain because of previous kamma.

Someone who did killings or organised killing for a good purpose had a good intention, although killing of any king is bad kamma. This good intention (if it was honest and not driven by desire for political gains) should be cultivated further after the punishment is delivered and gradually the “good killer” should transform himself further and advance himself to a stage of enlightenment. If he did not have good understanding of real Buddhism, he must visit forest monks or good monks who can help him to develop to such a state. It is imperative that the king, after a “just war”, consult the best monks available for his own spiritual development and goodwill. I do not see or hear Malwatte and Asgiriya are the places to visit, for this purpose.

J R Jayawardena promised a ” Nivahal Dharmishta Samajayak” ( Prosperous/ independent  and Justice Society) and created a “Vahal, Adhrmishta” ( a country that go begging and cultivated  injustice). Instead of talking ” Bana” to people ( giving Dhamma advice), if he himself had taken a pistol to kill the Big Animal , he may have saved  100000 lives and immense suffering to people could have been avoided. Although killing creates very bad kamma, he had all the opportunity to create a justice society and if he had done that, the happiness of seeing what he had done could have helped him to reach a very high stage in his very life. This complicated phenomenon cannot be easily explained; anyone but a fool can see the good and bad effects of war. Therefore, the life as a “Buddhist King” is never easy.

We must remember the Buddha said “even if someone takes a saw and start to cut your limbs off, if you develop hatred towards him, you are not my disciple”, in Kaka Chupama Sutta.

Although it is not easy to live as a king, it is not that difficult as the President. This is because the President need not take all decisions by himself. He is elected by people to do the job and he can get advice from “wise people”. He can also have a Buddhist teacher who could guide him to avoid accumulating bad kamma unnecessarily. Keeping Dalada Maligawa and the Danata Dhatu in good shape has nothing to with the Buddhism and will never protect our country. This myth is extremely un-Buddhist, more like a Hindu belief.

The only “blessing”  the Tripple gem can bring is the realisation the Tripple Gem can induce in people to understand Dukkha, thus to reduce suffering. The Danta Dhatu, Malwatte and Asgiriya  is not a part of the Tripple Gem because, clearly,  there is no Dhamma.

Recent incidents of inflicting suffering to baby elephants and Nipuna the student, do not illustrate we are on the way to a justice society. Luckily for the Nipuna’s case, his mother rang the bell, but the poor mother elephants did not have that opportunity, as Charles Perera rightly said in Lanka Web column. I hope Nipuna’s case will be investigated and “the son” will be punished with the full weight, if found guilty. This will illustrate a just society, whether the king is Sinhala or Tamil.

I simply cannot comprehend how our president could bow to the monks and offer the forcibly take babies to the monks, after inflicting so much suffering to the mothers and the babies. I would be crying for days if I did that. One would need a lot of courage to do such difficult duties; however, knowing that there is no benefit to Buddha Sasana, it would invariably become a insensible act, which creates a lot of bad kamma.

We are better off with our simple, loving and caring President than with a King or a Maharaj.

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