India must stand by Sri Lanka in gratitude for protecting Buddhism and Buddhist culture for over two millennium – Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network
Posted on March 22nd, 2013

Senaka WeeraratnaJt. Co-ordinator Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network

Ven. Dr. Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thero, Jt. Co – ordinator of the Indo-Sri Lanka Buddhist Network, has issued a statement addressed to Indian Cabinet Ministers and Members of the Lok and Rajya Sabhas stating that at this important juncture ‘ we should feel that our great India should stand for the unity, solidarity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka by supporting them in their nation building, reconciliation and uniting their people’.

 The statement further says that ” Some of our (Indian) brothers were trying to break up the united Sri Lanka country in the name of some issues and started pressuring our Indian Central Government to go against Sri Lanka and vote against it in the Geneva International Conference (UNHCR), by helping the demand of breaking up Sri Lanka and disuniting their national sovereignty and integrity . We Indians are always for national integrity, sovereignty, peace and harmony in the region for which our great leader the powerful Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi and another Prime Minister the generous  hearted leader Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed their lives for the national unity and integrity. We should always remember their noble advice and great sacrifice done for the nation”.

Ven  Dr  Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thero - Photo

 The statement recalls the unique role that Sri Lanka has played in protecting Buddhism in its very pure form by dedicating and devoting their lives for the noble Dhamma which was introduced to Sri Lanka about 2350 years by the efforts of King Asoka in sending Indian Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka.  For the first time the Buddhist Tipitaka  was written on palm leafs  in the first century B.C. in Sri Lanka, and adds:

  Thus we (Indians) are very grateful to them for protecting our Indian Buddhist Cultural and the holy way of life” .

 The statement informs the readers that Dr. Babasahab Ambedkar, Indian Buddhist savant and father of the Indian Constitution, will be honoured in Sri Lanka shortly by the installation of a (Ambedkar’ s ) full size statue in Colombo and the establishment of an Ambedkar memorial center and cultural Bhavan within an extent of around 2 acres of land in the vicinity of Colombo in memory of the wonderful work done by Dr. Ambedkar together with Anagarika Dharmapala for the revival of Buddhism in India.   

 The statement further states ‘ they awakened millions of Indian people and helped them to follow the great spiritual path of love towards humanity, universal peace and harmony; millions of Indian people adopted Buddhism and started walking on the universal peaceful path of noble Dhamma and started practicing loving kindness, as set out in the great teachings of Lord Buddha’ .

 The statement concludes by stating that the establishment of the Ambedkar mission center and the installation of a full size statue of Dr. Babasahab Ambedkar in Colombo, Sri Lanka  will contribute towards bringing millions people of both countries closer to each other and in turn enhance the social and Dhamma education field.

On February 22, Ven. Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera together with members of an eight member Indian Buddhist delegation met President Mahinda Rajapakse in Kandy.  They arrived in Sri Lanka on February 21 at the invitation of Dr. Lilaknath Weerasinghe, President “ƒ”¹…”Success Sri Lanka’ based in Kandy and its membership, which hosted the delegation during their stay in Kandy and Colombo and accompanied them to Anuradhapura in conjunction with the generous assistance provided mainly by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress and co “”…” ordinated by the German Dharmaduta Society (in association with the Indo “”…” Sri Lanka Buddhist Network), all of which entities constitute Regional Centres of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB). 

 During the course of their visit the Indian Buddhist delegation met the Maha Nayaka Theros of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera, (President, Maha Bodhi Society), Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Maha Thera ( Director, Buddhist Cultural Centre), Ven. Dr. W. Wimalagnana Thera (Gangaramaya, Peliyagoda), Ven. Medagama Dhammananda (Asgiriya Maha Viharaya), Ven. Getamande Gunananda Thera, Ven. T. Palitha (Nalandaramaya, Nugegoda), Ven. Mettavihari and Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Thero ( Chief Sanghanayake Thero of the United Kingdom currently on a visit to Sri Lanka), among others.   

 Upon returning to Mumbai, Ven. Rahula Bodhi had left for New Delhi almost immediately and spent over 13 days in New Delhi lobbying support for Sri Lanka’s cause at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, among leading Indian politicians, parliamentarians and Cabinet Ministers.

 Consequently there had been a great awakening among the important segments of Indian society that had been approached by Ven. Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera and his team of twelve Indian Buddhist monks, on the true situation in Sri Lanka, which now enjoys peace and stability after the defeat of terrorism which engulfed the nation for over three decades.

Senaka Weeraratna
Jt. Co-ordinator
Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network

9 Responses to “India must stand by Sri Lanka in gratitude for protecting Buddhism and Buddhist culture for over two millennium – Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Endia has proven you WRONG once again. This may be the HUNDREDTH time Endia has proved BEYOND ALL DOUBT it is SL’s biggest ENEMY.

    1 creating LTTE
    2 saving LTTE in 1987
    3 13 amendment
    4 invasion 1987
    5 pushing Endian illegals to SL
    6 IPKF war crimes
    7 poaching SL’s fish
    8 voting against SL last year
    9 voting against SL this year
    10
    11
    12
    ….

  2. Voice123 Says:

    This article is coming straight from fantasy land. India is not interested in protecting Buddhism. India wants to destroy Buddhism. Buddhism is already being destroyed from within. I suggest this organisation renames itself or risk looking like fools!

  3. Voice123 Says:

    And Lorenzo, dont forget Indias pet terrorists:

    1. Attack on Dalada Maligawa
    2. Murder of novices at Arantalawa
    3. Attack on sacred Bo tree
    4. Latest fiasco against monk at Trichy
    Etc

    Actually Senaka could be correct. Above werent attacks on Buddhism by India. Above were purely attacks in the Sinhalese. Dont worry. India will protect Buddhism. Sinhalese, on the other hand, will be destroyed!

  4. samurai Says:

    These two responses to the article reflect not only a complete misunderstanding of Senaka Weeraratne’s message but also ignorance of what India really is. Having studied Indian and Sri Lankan history since ancient times I doubt whether I can educate them on this complex subject in a brief comment like this. Nevertheless I will make the attempt. First of all we need to realize that India has many neighbours but Sri Lanka has only one neighbor – that is India – no matter we like it or not. Whether India is friend or foe we need to understand the country before formulating a policy on her.

    I remember during our school days the average Sinhalese thought that India was full of Tamils and they were the majority, despite the popularity of Hindi films here. One of the first things Sinhalas should be taught is that while all Tamils are Dravidians not all Dravidians are Tamils. The Sinhala media often makes this mistake even now.

    Our foreign service is unaware of Sri Lanka’s historical links with different parts of the Indian subcontinent. Neither our media nor schools have taken the trouble to truly educate the Sinhala public on India and her geographical, ethnic, linguistic, social and religious complexities and the bearing they have on Indian politics. Since 1948 Tamil separatists have been exploiting this ignorance to their advantage.

    I remember during our school days (and even thereafter) the average Sinhalese thought that India was full of Tamils and they were the majority, despite the popularity of Hindi films here. They called it ‘Demalunge Rata.!’ One of the first things Sinhalas should be taught is that while all Tamils are Dravidians not all Dravidians are Tamils. The Sinhala media often make this mistake even now.

    India is not a monolith but a vast country comprising nearly one billion and 400 million people (1, 4 billion), speaking many dialects and languages – in addition to Hindi (most widespread), Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam,Tamil. Tamilnadu is only one State.

    Tamils constitute a maximum of 6 Cr. or roughly 5% of the Indian population of 1.2 billion. Perhaps out of the Six Crore Tamilians, only a small fraction are politically affiliated to DMK though they make a lot of noise. This point was repeatedly stressed by the Indian Buddhist delegation led by Ven. Rahula Bodhi Maha Thero, that visited Sri Lanka last month. They emphasised that ‘Tamils are a small group’ compared to others in India.

    The physical features, culture and traditions of people in India’s Northern-most areas like Ladakh are vastly different from those in Tamil Nadu. The Bengalis (West Bengal) look like the Sinhalese and phonetically their language sounds similar.

    The reason for all these complexities and differences is that in pre-colonial times there was no such country called India as we know it but several kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent (part of which is now Pakistan). It is the British which created what we call India today.

    In the pre-colonial era before the Portuguese encounter, our Sinhala kings understood the self-defence strategy well and played one South Indian kingdom against the other whenever the opportunity arose. There were South Indian mercenaries serving the Sinhala kings. Buddhist diplomacy was a cornerstone in the Foreign Policy of our pre-colonial Buddhist rulers. It is still valid and effectual. But it is hardly used today by the External Affairs Ministry whose leading staff members come with a scholastic background gained in leading missionary schools in Colombo.

    Although the Indian political landscape today is not what it was in pre-colonial times, if our governments had the foresight they could have developed stronger ties with other Indian States and especially built up links with Dalits and other Buddhist communities from 1948.

    If India really wanted to destroy Buddhism would they allow a Buddhist revival in the post-independence era? Would they take steps to restore ancient Buddhist sites in India and open up temples and monasteries? Would they have the Asoka Chakra on the Indian National Flag? Would they commission a gallery, including a 16-feet high statue of Lord Buddha, for the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy? .Buddhist Viharas of the major Buddhist nations are all represented in India,

    If India wanted to destroy Sinhalese it would have happened decades ago. This is imagination running riot. No one denies that India has caused many problems to Sri Lanka. But we must be honest enough to admit our contribution to it – wittingly or unwittingly. To treat Tamilnadu and the Central Govt. (now acting under huge domestic compulsions) as exclusively constituting India will be a huge strategic mistake.

    More than 1, 3 Billion Indians live outside India. These people (non – Tamil Indians) have never been tapped by Sri Lanka in any strategic way to win them over.

    There are between 250 million – 400 million Indian Dalits (also known as Ambedkarites). About 70 – 90 million of them are Buddhists and increasing. There is a huge reservoir of goodwill among Indian Buddhists towards Sri Lanka. They do not toe the LTTE cum Tamilnadu line against Sri Lanka.

    In the Lok Sabha alone there are 127 Members of Parliament of Ambedkarite background out of a total 552 MPs. Several Indian Cabinet Ministers are Ambedkarites and out of them some are Buddhists. Hardly any effort has been made by key decision makers in Sri Lanka including the top pundits of our foreign service to establish links between the Indian Buddhist communities and Sri Lanka. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh. Kannada, West Bengal, Gujerat and even Tamilnadu have significant Dalit numbers.

    Sri Lanka’s elite decision makers are not interested in India. There is nothing in it for them. They want to make their mark in western capitals, which will help them to pursue their careers and gain international recognition.
    We have not developed ‘Think Tanks’ on India and developed ‘Strategic directions’ rooted in historical and civilizational links with India.

    All the above too have contributed to the present friction between the two countries.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Voice123:

    The vast majority of Indians have NO INTEREST in protecting and fostering Buddhism. For example, observe the activities of the Shiv Sena geared to making India a HINDU ONLY nation. The next largest religious community in India, the Muslims, do not support any other religion except their own.

    No, India has NO INTEREST in sustaining Buddhism as a LIVING religion PRACTICED by its citizens. Indians largely view Buddhism as a pesky threat practiced largely by the untouchable followers of Ambedkar.

    India’s ONLY interest in Buddhism NOW is to use it to prop up the tourist industry and tourism income: Money Talks!

    And yes, the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka are TARGETED FOR DESTRUCTION because the Buddhist community in Sri Lanka resists Indian expansion and Indian policies in Sri Lanka.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda is right.

    “India’s ONLY interest in Buddhism NOW is to use it to prop up the tourist industry and tourism income: Money Talks!”

    ALSO to hurt China by USING Buddhists including Dalai Lama for DIRTY POLITICAL gains.

    The correct name of Endia is HINDUSTAN. Unfortunately modern Hinduism is all about MINDLESS worshiping of aliens and their penises.

  7. Voice123 Says:

    Good effort by Samurai. We realise India is a complex place with lots of ethnicities, languages, castes etc. however this diversity does not seem to be reflected in their political composition. This is because the Anglophile “Brown Sahib” elite that inherited the reigns of power in (British created) modern India still wittingly or unwittingly serve Britain’s interests. Thats why its so easy for Anericans etc to manipulate and use India to bash Sri Lanka. Admittedly most Indians dont even know we exist, let alone hate us. As for reaching out to non-Tamil Indians, I doubt that would be easy. I grew up surrounded by non- Tamil, mostly northern Indians. They were mostly devout Hindus and always found common cause with the Sri Lankan Eelamists over the sinhalese or other non Tamil Sri Lankans. They viewed us as “upstarts”, “savages” having been educated only by the Europeans. Good luck in your endeavours Samurai. You are going to need it.

  8. Voice123 Says:

    Once the Indian children had a Ramayana play to showcase their culture to the Westerners. Indian parents didnt want their girls acting in a play because it was “uncouth” and against their “honor” so they had to find a foreign girl to act as Sita. They picked the most darkest boy, a Southern Christian that they all looked down upon, to play King Ravana and they were insulting and calling him names like n”@@”; behind his back. See how they treat their own people? That guy still hates the Indians and prefers the company of Sri Lankans and other foreigners!

  9. samurai Says:

    Not only I but all of us are going to need it if we are to strategically face Indian hegemony.

    Whether the Indian Government is using Buddhism to promote tourism or not what matters is Buddhism survives in India. That there are practicing Indian Buddhist communities is an irrefutable fact although they may be small in number compared to the vast Hindu and Buddhist population. They are sympathetic to us and it is there support we need.

    Anyway if you have any better strategies on how to deal with India let the Sri Lanka know it. Perhaps we may invite the Chinese to set up a naval base in here. But it is unlikely to become a reality in the foreseeable future. No foreign power came to assist us when India intimidated us into submission in 1987

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