The Falacy of ethnicity.
Posted on June 19th, 2010

By Charles.S.Perera

 It has been asked whether the Sinhala people knows that the   ” ethnicity is mind made and that it does not exist in reality”.  The Buddhists “know” this as the  whole of the teachings of the Buddha is to  direct them to ultimate reality .

 In ultimate reality there is no, I or me, therefore there is no my family,  therefore there is no  our family, therefore there is no our people, therefore there are no Tamils, Sinhala, Muslim or any other, as they are all labels we give  believing the existence of I or me, therefore, my family, therefore our families, therefore my people, there fore we Tamils, we Sinhala,  we Muslims or any other.

 In reality we are all of the same stock , and in ultimate reality we do not exist as separate entities.  The form  is  water,  energy, wind, and earth which separate into respective elements  at death, and then it is only the mind that rests to depart from the form to be born again, and through ignorance go round the same cycle believing in a self , therefore being attached to the self,  believes in me or I ,  my family, our family, my people, the Tamils, the Sinhala etc.

 To some up, ethnicity is mind made, it does not exist in reality.

 But living in Samsara-in this world, ignorant of the non-reality of  a self, we promote  this sense of belonging  to a self , and therefore attachment to all that belongs to self as,   mine, my family, our people, we Tamils, we Sinhala etc.  Even the Buddhists though they understand that the ethnicity, which is not evident, is mind made, yet they through the ignorance in the deeper sense of the word, still believe in a self, I, Me and mine.

 But nevertheless, because of the heritage of the Buddhist Culture, therefore to this belief of the reality of self, the Sinhala people are not virulently hateful to those he thinks, do not belong to one self, therefore to the family, creed and people.

 They do not go to war because of their hatred to the enemy, but because they want to avoid the enemy  hurting others, and wrench away what belongs to all. King Dutugamunu went to war against King Elara not because he hated him, but because  King Elara had taken away what belonged to him,  his people.   

 King Dutugamunu, despite fighting against King Elara as an enemy, respect him for his goodness.  He made a tomb for  King Elara and proclaimed the area sacred, asked the people to go past the place in silent respect to the dead King.

 Therefore the Buddhists go to war not because they do not know the reality of the teaching on ultimate reality, but because ultimate reality not being evident, they want to protect the land where they could live in peace,  in their environment to enable them to understand the teaching of ultimate reality, while living peacefully with the rest of the inhabitants, what ever their belief system.

 Of course the Buddhists , as much as Tamils and Muslim are ignorant of the fallacy of  ethnicity, because they live with attachment, aversion and delusion- the delusion of a self, I me and mine.  Hence they  fight to save their people, their country , and their culture.

 The same could be said about the  war against terrorism. The terrorists became intolerant, they would not listen to reason.  They were not ready for a dialog.  They want to divide the country  at whatever the cost in lives sacrificed. 

 The terrorists were not fighting to save or protect what belonged to them, but were fighting to wrench away a part of the land, which  belonged to every one, to set up an Eelam for themselves.

 While the Government was fighting to save the suffering of the people in the area who were sacrificing thousands  of their children for the cause of the terrorists- which was to wrench away  a part from the country which in fact is their’s,  to make a separate Eelam.

 Of course the Government apart from freeing the Tamil people forced to suffer under terrorism, wanted to stop the terrorists from wrenching away a part of the Country to set up an Eelam, and thus separate the people from the rest of   inhabitants of Sri Lanka.

 The terrorists wanted to force on the people a theory of a Tamil Homeland, to separate them from the larger family of all the inhabitant of Sri Lanka. 

 Thus the war against the terrorist by the Government is justifiable, as the effort of the Government had been through out the military operations against terrorists,  up to now is to keep all the people no matter  whether they are Tamils, Sinhala, Muslim, or any other , together without separating them according to different ethnics. 

 In that sense the Government relates its action , accepting  the fallacy of ethnicity, as a characteristic of separateness of belonging to a community or a group.

One Response to “The Falacy of ethnicity.”

  1. De Costa Says:

    Sri lankan Governement is responsible for keeping law and oreder regardless of ethnicity of people, because , as you said “ethnicity” is indeed man made except in India, Brahman made various classes of people who should remain in that category for ever, because thery were born from various body parts of Brahman.
    Our sucessive governments neglected law and order for 40 years.
    Even the Buddha did not promote eradication of “false” ethnicity. Greed , hatred and illusion always cause people to make problems- it is the rulers duty to keep the order. If there in no greed, ther is no need for governments.
    King Elara was a good ruler. Even then Sinhala people got rid of them because of ” ethnicity”.
    King Elara vauled life – even animal life- there were no suicide bombers.
    What is needed is to keep law and oreder strictly and justifiably.

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