Is there a future for the Sinhalese and the Buddhists in Sri Lanka
Posted on May 4th, 2012

Shenali Waduge

Tamil politicians can speak for the welfare and rights of the Tamils, Muslims can demand rights and privileges for Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Catholics can demand their rights but why is it considered taboo for Sinhalese to speak about the future of the Sinhalese or for Sinhalese Buddhists to exercise their rights in a land where Buddhism is enshrined in its constitution? It has always been accepted for everyone to speak on their rights, make their demands but the Sinhalese especially the Sinhalese Buddhists have to be cautious not to upset their fellow ethnic groups or other religious sects. Something is radically wrong in this equilibrium and this argument has nothing to do with exerting the majority status of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka or to undermine other religions above Buddhism. It is simply raising the question desiring to know why does it have to be the Sinhalese that has to all the time be cautious of upsetting the Tamils, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Christians or the Catholics especially when the political leaders have to end up upholding only the rights of the minority ethnic groups putting aside the needs of the majority? That this is a fact is clear because the Sinhalese Buddhists have seen little advance in their economic or social status since independence and statistics prevail to prove this.

While the world celebrates war anniversaries, holds commemorations pays tribute to those paying the supreme sacrifice and even gloats over the killings of unarmed terrorists without putting them on trial “”…” Sri Lanka is told not to indulge in “triumphalism” and even when the only country to have eliminated terrorism celebrates that fete unaccomplished by even the US or NATO, Sri Lanka is chided and that celebration is twisted to project that the Sinhalese are attempting to show their might over the other ethnic groups.

The problem at hand is that whilst all Sinhalese in general desire the country to think as Sri Lankan the minorities especially its political leaderships prefer to take the line of projecting minority rights as being suppressed or discriminated for their own advantage and to hide the differences that exist amongst them. This worked perfectly in the past and proves why over 1m Tamils now live overseas a large number  of whom to continue their clandestine operations that contributed to USD300m are crying out for a separate Eelaam to which they are unlikely to come to. To continue their clandestine activity they have artfully engaged foreign politicians who do not hesitate to cry “eelaam” if it brings him/her to parliament. The present Mayoral candidate is doing just that. So much for ethics in democracy in the West!

Needless to say, this has resulted in a false notion of belief amongst the international community that ethnic tensions exist in Sri Lanka and provides a perfect excuse to set their strategic agenda in the region. However, when both minority groups enjoy better lifestyles than the Sinhalese this argument does not really hold true. Even after eradicating terrorism and urging the people to be united as Sri Lankan there is foreign involvement to continuously divide the people. What is happening is that not only is the country being divided but the Sinhales are being divided as well and so long as the Sinhalese are divided it is advantageous for all players attempting to take a piece of Sri Lanka. This is not helped by local politicians who are simply walking into the traps clueless as a result of not devising a strategy on how to take the country forward or how to protect the future of the Sinhalese, the Tamils, the Muslims “”…” all those who desire to remain Sri Lankan.

India is attempting to all the while through statements and through diplomatically channels fund only  Tamils, roads only to Tamils, homes only to Tamils, infrastructure only to Tamils, educational facilities only to Tamils which automatically questions India and clearly makes the other communities feel that India is once more upto no good. Whilst other nations are continuously trying to promote the need to devolve powers without knowing anything of the dynamics that prevails in Sri Lanka.

Thus, the world has come to make the Sinhalese feel that every move, every decision and every act has and will be considered according to an ethnic dimension leaving the Sinhalese reluctant to showcase or be proud of their heritage and feel shy to uphold their culture. Should we continue to be so naƒÆ’†’¯ve and bend towards these nuances that are slowly but surely disintegrating the Sinhaelse and disuniting them politically, socially and even religiously? Why should the Sinhalese be ashamed to call themselves Sinhalese / Sinhalese Buddhists?

Caught up in this scenario the likelihood of the Sinhalese not cherishing their roots, identifying with their roots and protecting those roots is of great concern.

Why is it that the world does not want even our children to know the great achievements of our ancient systems the “hydraulic civilization” developed by the Sinhalese kings? What significance has been given to the centuries old systems that provide a lifeline to agriculture even today? How many of us know the achievements of the kings – the constructions, the canals, the tanks, the rainwater reservoirs that made Sri Lanka be referred to as the Granary of the Orient? Does enough promotion of our great achievements get publicized enough or do we prefer just to promote our beaches?

Sri Lanka has a history dating back to 543BC, the remains of these ancient kingdoms in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, the ancient citadels of Sigiriya, medieval kingdoms of Kandy cannot deny the presence of the Sinhalese race and that intermittent invasions by Dravidians from South India through 161BC-1236BC bore Tamils. Despite invasions from South India there is enough evidence to prove harmony between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. It was only around 237BC when Sena and Guttika usurped the Sinhalese throne and in 145BC when Elara took over Anuradhapura that the islands stability became affects.  Invasions by Pandyan and Cholas forced the Sinhalese to migrate southward but returned to the dry zones to revive the irrigation systems. The unity was further distanced by the colonial masters. Yet it does not erase the fact that the people of Sri Lanka would have been far more united had the island nation not been subject to divide and rule policies of the colonials that divided people economically, socially and ethnically.

The very countries that have been dictating to Sri Lanka are today openly declaring that multiculturalism has failed and that immigrants must learn the majority Language. There is no arguing against this. In middle-east countries if non-Muslims must cover their bodies when entering their nation, they must follow the traditions of other countries as well. When people can learn foreign languages to survive as refugees why cannot they learn Sinhalese?

Let us remind the world that the Sinhalese have been alert at all times despite innumerable barbaric acts by the LTTE since 1983 and they have ensured not to allow any hostility towards the Tamils to take place despite being provoked to do so.

Spirit of compromise must come equally and naturally and it should not have to be always the majority to compromise.

The politicization of ethnicity must cease and it must start with all political parties and all politicians. Party manifestos must clearly promote Sri Lankan identity which entails the election commissioner to relook at all ethnic based political parties as they are all a hindrance to unity.

It should not be only the Sinhalese politicians who have to desist from speaking on behalf of one ethnic group as leaders they are all bound to protect the entire citizenry of Sri Lanka.

All these measures need to be taken but as long as there are calls coming from all corners of the world which aim to set up Eelaams then it behoves the majority Sinhalese to start demanding from their politicians what they are doing to protect the future of the Sinhalese. For it is unfair to always expect the Sinhalese to make compromises.

Tamils in particular must realize that the policies of the colonial rulers ensured a privileged group of Tamil English educated elitist class who together with a handful of Sinhalese English educated elitest enjoyed pre and post-independence and it was these groups that decried the educational reforms for it paved the way for lesser-privileged children to obtain education and enter universities.

We are all in a quandary on how to take the country forward “”…” trapped by economic loans, politicians unable to run their ministries, officials unsuited for their role, a public service that is falling to pieces and productivity at all time low, spiraling cost of living burdening the masses, the dangers of accepting “assistance” by foreign nations with large influx of foreign residents acquiring key jobs and labor, foreign intelligence forging their presence across the island and we simply continue ride of luck.

Ideally, the Tamils should realize that India would never create an Eelaam either in Tamil Nadu or Sri Lanka, otherwise they could have done it just as Bangladesh was created. Moreover, Tamils need to decide once and for all whether they are Indian Tamils or Sri Lankan Tamils because India and Sri Lanka are 2 sovereign countries and we desire to remain so.

In the absence of such and if there is continued exaggerations and lies it is time Sinhalese too exert their right as the majority.

 


 

29 Responses to “Is there a future for the Sinhalese and the Buddhists in Sri Lanka”

  1. Dham Says:

    “What significance has been given to the centuries old systems that provide a lifeline to agriculture even today? How many of us know the achievements of the kings – the constructions, the canals, the tanks, the rainwater reservoirs that made Sri Lanka be referred to as the Granary of the Orient? Does enough promotion of our great achievements get publicized enough or do we prefer just to promote our beaches?”
    VERY TRUE. There are so many “engineering mavels” to show off in Auradhapura-Kalaweve- Isurumuniya than Hikkaduwa and now Nilaweli.

    You are well qualified to be a minister than Sanath Jayasuriya who has demanded a minister post.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “Is there a future for the Sinhalese and the Buddhists in Sri Lanka?”

    Not at this rate of Tamil Nadu rule of SL.

    Tamils rule SL by begging India.

  3. Vajiragnana Says:

    An excellent write up on the weakness of the Sinhalese leaders and the selfish party system in Sri Lanka depriving the rights of the Sinhala Buddhists to cry for their rights and to promote the pride of their Culture and the glorious past. Should be read by all Sri Lankans. Shenali is a prolific author who spares no time to wipe the dust in our eyes and activate the hibernated Brain cells!
    Unfortunately all the Governments to date have been lethargic to execute any action that promotes the Sinhala Buddhist values. Governments allover the Globe commences business after reciting the Lord’s or Islamic Prayer, do we have any such practice, I am ignorant.

  4. nandimitra Says:

    Thank you Shenali to bringing out the true situation. We are in this mess because we the sinhalese are too dependent on the polticians to defend our rights. It is time the Sinhala buddhists unite and reasert their rights and not depend on politicians.

  5. Ratanapala Says:

    Sinhala Buddhists must be ASSERTIVE!

    The word is ASSERTION. Sinhalese, especially the Sinhalese Buddhists must be ASSERTIVE and not depend on the politicians to defend their rights. All these years we have been taken for granted by the politicians. All politicians of different hues do is try to fulfill the unquenchable thirst of the minorities for more and more rights. Sinhalese Buddhists have got divided between two political parties and thus nullified themselves with respect to what political clout they have. This is the reason that the kingmakers in Sri Lanka are always the minorities. On top of all these the Sinhala Buddhists are made to feel guilty about the minorities as if they have not treated them more than their equals.

    We cannot even depend on the most of the Buddhist Clergy as they are either corrupt or are only safeguarding the behinds! Asgiriya and Malwatte are only good for tying Pirith Nool and nothing else other than living on the largesse of the Nindagamas . Even these are not managed efficiently as can be seen from the recent Dambulla affair. A good majority are likely being blackmailed for various indiscretions on their parts. The asymmetrical influence Jayalath Jayawardene has over some of them needs investigation for the fate of the Maha Bodhi is at stake!

    All what we see and hear are things done for the alleviation of difficulties, are those of the minorities. A good case in point is those of the people of – the so called “border villagers”. We do not see anything substantial done to uplift the living conditions of these patriots who defended the nation while the Colombians were selling the country down the drain.

    Christianization and Islamization are going on a pace and they are encroaching on Sinhala Buddhist lands. The whole of Vanni is being Christianized, while the Hindus are left leaderless. One report has commented on the number of Christian Churches on the road to Mullaitivu! Elsewhere in Colombo’s Real Estate is changing hands into Muslims and Tamils for worthless rupees – The rupees they earn by reselling the produce of the Sinhalese!

    Shenali is right! Time has come for the Sinhala Buddhists to take their welfare into their own hands and not depend on politicians. As mentioned before we are being taken for granted for too long!

  6. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Tamil politicians can speak for the welfare and rights of the Tamils, Muslims can demand rights and privileges for Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Catholics can demand their rights but Buddhists in general making an ass of themselves. See the video clips published and witness the disgrace, shame and dishonour brought upon on the whole of Buddhist civilisation by a single idiotic head monk at Dambulla Temple. You must see how this monk threatened a minority family on Camera instigating mob violence to destroy her house and the belongings next day if she doesn’t move out.

  7. Dilrook Says:

    Dear Shenali,

    [Quote] Ideally, the Tamils should realize that India would never create an Eelaam either in Tamil Nadu or Sri Lanka, otherwise they could have done it just as Bangladesh was created. [Unquote]

    I cannot understand the reasons (if any) for this assertion. India will certainly not allow any Tamil nation in Tamil Nadu.

    But India will and already has supported the creation of Tamil Elam in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the bait India plans to give to Tamil Nadu to keep it in the Indian union.

    After the Indo Lanka Accord (that accepts the north and east as Tamil traditional homelands) was signed and the Indian imposed 13A was passed, Rajiv Gandhi declared in Tamil Nadu that the Accord and the political solution goes beyond even what the LTTE asked for.

    This has been stated in many places and it was shown on Sri Lankan TV as well. The following link refers to an analysis by Dayan Jayatilake stating this fact.

    http://www.ices.lk/publications/esr/articles_jul98/Dayan-ESR.PDF

    It is obvious India is offering Tamil Nadu a bait – Sri Lanka – to keep it under India.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sinhala people in their Tolerance have allowed Minorities to take over the country in the BUSINESS sphere. Minorities mostly run the BUSINESS side of life in Lanka. By Minorities I am referring to anyone who is not a Sinhala Buddhist. Sinhala Catholics/Christians are far more successful as business people than Sinhala Buddhists. This has something to do with practical & aggressive business practices that Sinhala Buddhists are wary of.

    Keeping the glorious Buddhist past alive is insufficient. We have to participate in business activities too, in order to shine as a group of people. How many of us Sinhala Buddhists frown if one of us starts a fishing industry or start a chicken farm ? Yet, most of our group eat both fish & chicken/eggs. If we take all of the 5 Precepts every day or whenever we go to Temple, we ought to keep them. I am venturing to suggest that Precepts like “Panaathipatha ….” not be taken by those who go fishing or keep chickens for food, or use pesticides extensively. Take only the Precepts that you can keep. We have to modernise our religion base, the way we keep to our promises, if we are to survive keeping our self respect. We ought not to make Vows we cannot keep. Leave out Vows we cannot keep. Empower ourselves spiritually to survive the modern world. The genteel approach won’t work. We have to be very, very practical.

    Also, may we suggest that the Buddhist priests please change their learning itinerary to include Sc&Tech too, plus the healing arts, in order to serve a modern day Buddhist society and be NEEDED IN A INDISPENSABLE WAY by the Buddhist lay folk here. Also, our priests must learn to settle all disputes in Courts through the Law of the land. Our priests should be free to study Law too. And they should be free to leave the robes if they want to get married or run a business, without blemishes being attached to leaving robes. After all, in the other SE Asian countries, people don robes and leave them, or even re-don robes, without any social stigma. Honesty with oneself is more important than wearing robes.

    We have to MODERNISE the manner in which we practice our religion in Lanka, both for monks & lay folk. We have to be utterly honest with ourselves and shed all hypocrisy. More ideas welcome in this sphere. No offence meant to anyone here, only wish to help, to make Sinhala Buddhists confidant with self respect, remove all fetters to progress & development, and shine as a group again.

  9. sarath Says:

    I think Musalmans are a bigger problem than tamils. I know in Boralesgamuwa, there was a temple. Now next dor (right next door) they are building a mosque. why right next to a Buddhist temple?

    They want to destroy Buddhism and our free way of life and bring Sharia law into the country.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    If Sinhala people (Buddhists/Catholic & Christians) are to survive as a group, we have to be pro-active, particularly the Sinhala Buddhist group which is the largest. We seem to wait till the problem is almost too big to handle and then complain.

    Question: How many of us Buddhists attempt to practice the core Teachings in Buddhism of Meditation & Awareness, leave alone the 5 Precepts, the Eightfold Noble Path & the Dhana, Seela ?

    For an instance, if we practice Meditation & Awareness, we will see the need to enforce the Law of the land, as well as do preventive measures to ensure that we do not lose all we have gained in the past to keep our land undivided or over run by minorities

    Buddhists must adapt with the times to survive. No one can destroy us if we have adapted to our circumstances sufficiently to ensure our survival with our values intact. To this end, we have stop the ‘aney pauw’ basis of thinking where we have allowed illegal migrants to enter the land and run amok all over the country.

    As for mosque building, we ought to put a moratorium on all temples, mosque & church building. Mosque building is taking place because we have allowed it to happen as a Democratic norm. We have enough religious structures in Lanka. We have religion coming out of our ears, we might say. So much religion, tradition, etc. that one can feel somewhat stifled. Let’s try to be calm & happy within – to us that is the religion of religions. Simplified Buddhism is the ideal teaching for such feelings.

    The Buddha himself taught us that ‘everything changes’. Why not change to adapt to changing circumstances here, to strengthen and arm ourselves with self respect, dignity and great learning in all spheres of life, in order to survive and be happy ?
    If there is a will, there is a way.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sarath,

    I am assuming that mosques are being built close to Buddhist temples because it has been assumed that Muslim people will be safest in mosques near Buddhist temples ?
    Also, the Maldives may slowly go under sea water as sea levels rise due to global warming and resulting melt down of the polar regions, more rain etc. Maldivians need a safe place to go to. We think that Indonesia is the best place for Maldivians to go to.

  12. Marco Says:

    Ratanapala (aka Raju, Pol Sambol, White Flags also Ratnapala) is right in his “assertion” that the Sinhala Buddhist should stop behaving like a Majority with a Minority complex.

    Fran has aptly (unknowingly) explained that in his comments above.

    It is kinda too late….

  13. Dham Says:

    Fran,
    Do not step into unknow territories. Hope you are not another Ben Silva, who went silent for the time being , may be writing the next one or working busy for Channel 4.
    I agree that the precepts you cannot keep, one should not worry too much. But when a Buddhist do a killing it is diferent from when a non buddhist doing it. He will do it as the last resort, in a humane way. How about telling lies ?
    May I ask you which is the easiest one to keep 100% ? and are you keeping it ? Or are U a Buddhist or non-Buddhist who is unable to keep the commandment “thou shall not lie” since you can go and get the pardon from Church ?

    Problem Sri lanka faces has nothing at all to do with Buddhism or the precepts or on what Buddha said.
    Today, the vesak day I am stating that Buddhs has said enough things to govern your self.
    No one has said so many psycology for personal development than Buddha.

    For example , (just a few),
    How about Uttahana Sampada (presistenet effort) , Aarakkha Sampada (protection) , Viriya (effort), Samajivikata ?

    Please read , ( by Madihe OPannaseeha Thero)
    http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma5/ecostability.html

    It is the non-Buddhist mostly behind trouble, even at Araliyaga possibly. Why this malcom Ranjit can teach how to run SriLankan Airlines to President?

    It is Greed that bring us down. This exessive greedand desire cannot be controlled by Buddhism alone. We need good governence which can take aspirations from Buddhism and Buddhism only.
    Why Buddhist” priests” should learn scinece and technology , they have already learned more than us – too much – they surf too much learn too much technology so want to fight now. Is that the Buddhism or end of the Buddhism. When monks become “priests” it is already the end !

  14. Dham Says:

    “Everything changes” is the truth – a big earthquake under Newyork can change everything. This turth us used by “SC&T” to do so called “counselling” when the tragedy strikes in western world. They copy everything from Buddhism and give a nice name and we fall for it. We copy everything from them and get rid of our Buddhism ! What a shame!

  15. Lorenzo Says:

    Sarath,

    SL has 3 enemies.

    1. Tamil nationalists
    2. Islam fundamentalists
    3. US-EU-India colonial terrorists

    We have to fight ALL 3. But not all at once.

    The best strategy is to PIT one against the other. Weaken them. Then take them out one at a time.

  16. Voice123 Says:

    Dham, agreed – that is a another symptom of the “post colonial servant” mentality that afflicts many Sri Lankans. Communal differences in Sri Lanka are exagerated. Without ignoring our different cultures, let us change the focus away from our failings and onto the failings of the Eurupean. This is after all the exact tactic they use against us to unify themselves – eg “superior EU” against the “backward third world”. When Europeans aren’t united against the third world, they’re constantly bickering among themselves. We can learn by observing them.

  17. mjaya Says:

    Lorenzo, “Tamil Nationalist” is a too dignified word for them. “Tamil Racist” is most appropriate.

  18. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dham,

    I wrote the above knowing full well that I am treading on emotional areas tied to religion. It is the Dambulla incident that prompted me to write in haste in order to tell Lankans to avoid another incident like the Riots of 1983 which I lived through and still think that was the start of the interference from abroad, much to the dismay of us all. I know full well the modus operandi of Tamil leaders : ask for a Separate state, snipe soliders, get the Sinhala people angry, mob violence and run abroad, pay VIPs abroad to interfere to work toward a Separate state, now via the 13-A (which has become a sort of comfort ‘Mantra’ from the TNA).

    Please don’t get my intent wrong. I am saddened by the situation we (Sinhala & Sinhala/Buddhists especially) have got into due to MOSTLY, as you say, Minorities’ problems. But, I feel that we have to clear our own psyches first in order to bring the Minorities and the country itself into good governance. That is why I addressed the 5 Precepts as promises to keep if we take them, and not to if we do not intend to keep them. I myself try to keep to all 5 Precepts, and am a vegetarian and only eat an occasional egg. If you say that the Buddhist priests are highly educated in the necessary subjects, what do they advice the President & the People to do ? Their voices are not coming through loud and clear in any guiding manner, and I don’t mean advocating rioting and violent acts against anyone as in the Dambulla matter. The Dambulla matter should have been taken to courts to settle and create a precedence with that particular case.

    As you say, Greed is there. But, it is not so much Greed as Social Status through material items such as large opulent homes, cars, gadgets, clothing, lots of money – all to what purpose ? It is for Status, mostly and some comforts. Most of these items have to be made abroad and brought in and needs a lot of money to buy. How many people can afford such items ? We are caught in a system of upward mobility carved out from the Capitalistic system of the west. Lanka is caught in the this impossible Fiscal System. Is good governance possible when such fiscal systems are in place ? GDP is measured through Goods & Services in a country and not through the Well Being of the population. Also, a country can be wealthy but yet its citizens in want – you see the situation in Europe ? It is the amount of money available for actual spending that matters. So we go fishing for the fish we eat and grow the chickens & eggs we need. Don’t say ‘panathipatha …’ if we do not want to feel guilty. It is the same for other religions too, I think. “Thou shalt not kill” is one of the orignal Ten Commandments, but the new Bibles do not carry this rule.
    They have evolved for survival. That is the kind of evolution I am talking about.

    That is where the higher teachings of Buddhism comes in. I myself know that Meditation & Awareness if practised on a daily basis can really help in a practical way. More I do it, more it becomes a habit. But I am a senior person in years and that may be why I find it easier. No one can make anyone Meditate or be Aware, that is up to each of us. But, to me that is the practical Buddhism and something I can do on my own. It enables a person to be satisfied with less.

    I have nothing more to say, Dham, so shall close this subject now. It is up to each of to evolve a satisfactory way to practice our Buddhism. The leaders (politicians, priests and elites) of Lanka must live simply so that it is easier for others to follow.

  19. Lorenzo Says:

    Mjaya,

    Agree. But Tamil racists is a broad term. Tamil racism by itself does not affect SL as much as Tamil “nationalism” does. Tamil nationalism is the craving for a Tamil nation. We have to destroy that.

    Tamil racism can NEVER be destroyed. It is part of MOST Tamils like a heart, 2 kidneys, brain, rectum, etc. Look at the election results of what they call “Tamil Elam” and Tamil Nadu. Always Tamil racism wins. When matters got too out of hand Tamil nationalism wins.

  20. Dham Says:

    Fran,
    Agreed. But what we need is proper Buddhist Monks. Monks who keep their precepts and behave properly, not learining of Sc&T.
    We also need monks like Elle Gunawansa and the like. although they do not follow proper precepts, they do enormous tasks to serve the Sinhala Buddhist nation.
    As you said , more people practice as you, more the society become clean and well behaved we can do it much better than the westerners who learn Buddhism at mature age.

  21. Dham Says:

    Fran,
    I asked an important question, you did not answer.
    It is not easy to keep all 5 precepts completely, while living in the world. But there is one you can keep easily and 100%.
    Which one is it ? And are you keeping it ?
    I am not dragging the argument further, but just wanting to know.

  22. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dham,

    I think you mean the Precept of not taking Intoxicants. That is the easiest to keep for lay folk. If you are thinking about what you (or some one else) said earlier about the President serving liquor at social gatherings, I have no protest on that. The President is not a clergyman (as I said earlier), he is a Statesman & a Politician. Our culture at political level is a mix of east/west and as such he has to comply. Among my own family and friends, at every special there is at least a bottle of wine. That is the price we have to pay for 500 yrs of Colonisation and resulting westernisation, and such parts of culture are here to stay. In the Catholic church, wine is celebrated at Mass as the ‘blood of Christ’ as a sort of thanksgiving for bread & wine as food (western). Such is the world today. We have to fit in or be isolated.
    It is up to people to drink liquor or not, even though it is served at social gatherings.
    I remember the ‘Raa Bomu’ signs right along the Galle Road. Those people who made lakhs of rupees selling Raa were the
    Sinhala wealthies and even philanthropists of that time, and ironically, their children became the champions against liquor consumption. Like I said before, such is the world.

    As for keeping the 5 Precepts, it is somewhat like being a Zen artist who observes & studies an object for many years, and then completes his painting of it in a few minutes. Practice makes perfect – so make those a habit. You and I can only stand back, observe and comment. But the world will never be that perfect place.

  23. Charles Says:

    It is an excellent article Shenali, The Sinhala are too tolerant. In the Arab world putting up a Buddhist temple in their states is not tolerated. I have been told that the Sinhala Buddhist women coming to middle east for employment are not allowed to take Buddhist statues with them. In Digavapi the ancient Buddhist vestiges were bulldozed to the ground by a one time Muslim Minister.
    In Dambulla the Muslims used one of the boutiques amoung a row of others and used it for their prayers and now claims it as a mosque. If it goes unchallenged they will put up in the precincts a huge mosque that would dominate the ancient Buddhist Temple.

    What more is in the offing to make the Sinhala Buddhists strangers in their own land ?

  24. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dham,

    I myself cannot stand raw/neat liquor and not even a bit of wine as I get dizzy, but a tablespoon in a dessert is tolerated. I presume that is because the alcohol gets evaporated on cooking, leaving some flavor intact.

  25. Dham Says:

    Your answer is correct and my salute to you. Salute is not a Buddhist gesture though.
    I have met people arguing about Jhanas in parties keeping a glas in hand. These people are fooling themselves.
    President can set an example here, easy as eating Kuaju, if he is a Buddhist.
    He pretends only, on this subject. He should set an example or he should not utter Gathas in public , that is all.
    I don’t even care even a Catholic is a president, if he runs the country properly, keeping out value system.

  26. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dham,

    Most people from the Presidents generation have some harmless westernised habits. No one is perfect. However, we do not think any other President faced such negative attacks on Lanka, some surreptitious, as the present President. We as citizens, must think of ways to keep Lanka intact while moving forward.

  27. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dham,

    Also, everyone else will be happy to let Sinhala Buddhists indulge in religion, whilst they keep control of the Economic activities. Nowadays, all over the world, those who control the Economy rule the country, is it not ? Let us be practical and honest with ourselves, if we want to feel we are in control of the country. It is quite useless howling after the damage is done.

    We have to aim to keep our religion as well as be tops in Economic activities, if we are to feel truly secure in Lanka.

  28. atheist Says:

    Shenali, your article was thought provoking.

    However, I do wish we could all get past this ethnic and religious identity crisis that is destroying this country, and move forwards. The so-called failure of the multi-cultural experiment in Europe is also linked to political agendas, but that situation cannot be compared to ours. The different ethnic and religious groups in this country had been living in harmony for centuries before and up until the advent of that trouble causing other, the European coloniser, adept in the use of the simple but effective tool of governance, Divide and Rule.

    However, if we are interested in identifying the real problem that is keeping this country in the dark ages we should take a good hard look at how the majority in this country (I don’t mean just the ethnic majority) are being kept dumb, and drugged up to their eyeballs with the opium that is religion. The outward manifestation of religious fervour has become the most important thing in the lives of just about everybody. Those in power are perfectly happy with this situation, as it makes it easier for them to control their vote base. The religious leaders are even happier, after all have there ever been any religious leaders who were interested in anything other than exerting control over their followers? And their most potent tool is FEAR.

    Brainwashed by religion, we are unable to think straight. We are being fed on imaginary fears to prevent us seeing the true situation. The real problems in this country stem from the fact that there is very little real brain power left. Those who can actually think straight have all run off to greener pastures – and, who can blame them, this country with its growing politicization stunts all creativity, individuality and critical thinking.

    We should ask ourselves how we have come to this situation when all the leaders of this country since independence have been SINHALA BUDDHISTS. It’s not the Tamils or Muslims or Christians who have caused this rot, is it?

    I agree with Fran Diaz that economic control is important, and I would like to add that an updated education system, as opposed to the disgraceful torment imposed on young minds at present, is an imperative.

  29. Dham Says:

    Fran,
    Being Buddhist is not a disadvantage to economy, specially the President.
    What do you mean by “indulging in Buddhism” ? Medidtating whole day ? That is for the very few who can do it.
    Do not think too much on hypothetical senarios.
    To take over economy, what prevents in the part of Buddhism. Close the Fisheries coroporation. Hypothetical again.
    Worry about real world.

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