S. L. Gunasekara on Justice C.V.Wigneswaran in the Island of 2001/04/01
Posted on July 18th, 2013

by S. L. Gunasekara President, Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya

While the Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya is loath to contradict or challenge the factual accuracy of the contents of a speech made by a judge of our Supreme Court at a sitting of that court, it is compelled to do so in respect of several statements that were contained in the speech made by Mr. Justice C.V, Wigneswaran at the ceremonial sitting of that Court held on me March 7, 2001 to welcome Mr. Justice H. S. Yapa and himself.

This necessity arises because those statements would be accorded much weight and credibility because they came from the lips of a judge of the Supreme Court at a sitting of that court and are hence capable of creating in the minds of the uninformed, such as the diplomatic community, a misleading and adverse impression about our country, her history and the Sinhalese people.

Mr. Justice Wigneswaran says:

“My stint as a judicial officer in the Northern and Eastern provinces during the turbulent period from 1979 to 1986 enlightened me as to the feelings and aspirations of the vast majority of the denizens of those two provinces. It is not devolution nor sharing of powers they seek. They seek the restoration of their rights. Rights which were snatched from them by virtue of a mathematical innovation where the majority in two provinces were added to the majority in seven provinces and thus made into a minority in the nine provinces. This was sought to be corrected when laws pertaining to the Reasonable Use of Tamil were formulated in 1958 and 1966. But even these were given up without understanding the implications involved.

I have always referred to an incident that used to happen when we were marble playing youngsters in school. Some of our seniors who were not prefects would pounce upon us suddenly and illegally confiscate all our marbles in order that they would themselves play with them. When we protested they would keep 90% of the marbles and offer us 10% and thereafter progressively increase it to about 20% forgetting that all the marbles were ours and the seniors had no right to confiscate in the first instance. The majority of those in the Northern and Eastern Provinces were always Tamil- speaking until independence……”

These words would ordinarily convey to any person hearing or reading them that the Northern and Eastern provinces always had both an independent existence as a separate entity from the other seven provinces of Sri Lanka as well as a majority of Tamil speaking inhabitants; and that the rights of those Tamil-speaking inhabitants were robbed from them, and they converted into a minority by the Sinhalese after independence, [in the same way that the marbles of junior boys were “illegally confiscated by the seniors), by those two provinces being amalgamated with the other seven provinces. This is factually incorrect for many reasons.

Firstly, according to the eminent Tamil historian Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala, the first permanent Tamil settlements in Sri Lanka, [which too were few in number], came into existence only in the 10th century and these were not in the Northern or Eastern Provinces. Dr. Indrapala proceeds to say that “of the present day Tamil areas (sic) only the upper half of the Eastern Province and parts of the Western coast had Tamil settlers in the 11th and 12th centuries”. [vide “Early Tamil Settlements in Ceylon” – Journal of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society-1970 volume 13: pp. 43-63]. Thus, the territory of the present Northern and Eastern Provinces could not possibly have “always” had a Tamil speaking majority – but were areas inhabited by the Sinhalese, which had no Tamil-speaking inhabitants at all until the 11th and 12th Centuries.

Secondly, those who were “dispossessed” [like the boys who had their marbles “illegally confiscated”] were not the Tamils but the Sinhalese and the “dispossessors” [like the “seniors” who “illegally confiscated” the marbles] were not the Sinhalese but the Tamils – for as Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala says:

“The invasion of Magha [in the 13th century] with the help of Tamil and Kerala mercenaries was far more violent than the earlier invasions. Its chief importance lies in the fact that it resulted in the permanent dislodgement of Sinhalese power from Northern Ceylon, the confiscation of lands and properties belonging to the Sinhalese by the Tamil and Kerala mercenaries and the consequent migration of the official class and the common people to the South-Western regions. These factors more than any other helped the transformation of Northern Ceylon into a Tamil region and directly led to the foundation of a Tamil Kingdom there. In the second phase, with the foundation of an independent Tamil Kingdom, a deliberate policy of settling Tamils in the Jaffna district and the Wanni regions was followed by the first rulers of the Tamil Kingdom. This led to a migration of peaceful settlers from the Tamil country. It was this peaceful migration that was largely responsible for the Tamil settlement of the Jaffna district. It was a deliberate and organized process which appears to have extended till the turn of the century.” [Ibid: pp .61-2]

Having been so forcibly dispossessed of their lands and properties in the North by Indian invaders, the Sinhalese were later dispossessed of their lands in the hill country, too, by the British invaders by means of the Waste Lands Ordinance and imported Indian Tamils being settled on their lands.

Thirdly, even the “Tamil Kingdom” referred to by Dr. Indrapala was, for the most part of its existence of about 400 years, a weak “Kingdom” which was mostly confined to the Jaffna peninsula and never extended to any part of what is now the Eastern Province. When the Portuguese conquered that “Kingdom” in 1619 it encompassed only the Jaffna peninsula and a small portion of the Wanni, extending along the coast to Mannar in the North-Western coast and Mullaitivu in the North- Eastern coast. The territory of the Northern and Eastern Provinces as presently constituted did not constitute the territory of this short-lived “Kingdom” created by a foreign invasion, and those two provinces never ever had an independent existence. The territory of those two provinces was at all times an integral part of Sri Lanka. The present Northern and Eastern Provinces were a creation of the British, who divided the country into nine provinces for their administrative convenience in 1889 – thus, the Northern and Eastern Provinces, were not some independent entities possessed of some historical sanctity, but artificial demarcations of administrative divisions which were born of the administrative convenience of the British invaders and created by some lines drawn across the map of Sri Lanka by some unknown British surveyor. Accordingly, there never was a “a mathematical innovation where the majority in two provinces were added to the majority in seven provinces and thus made into a minority in the nine provinces.”

At the commencement of his speech Mr. Justice Wigneswaran said:

“Singapore and Ceylon in the old days had the same problem. One country decided to give equal recognition to all four languages right from the beginning and that country flowers and flourishes. The other forced one language in preference to the others on all and that country is in precarious political turmoil.”

These words give rise to the factually erroneous impression that the political turmoil, namely, separatist terrorism, in this country had its origin in the Official Language Act of 1956, which replaced English with Sinhalese as the Official Language of this country; and that the giving of the status of an Official Language to the languages of the minorities is a sine qua non for a multi racial country to “flower and flourish”.

Separatism and hence separatist terrorism did not have their origins in the Official Language Act but in the cupidity and chauvinism and unabashedly racist politics of the political ancestors of the LTTE and other Tamil separatists such as G. G. Ponnambalam and S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, who could not bear to visualise the privileged position which the Tamils enjoyed under British rule being lost, and the Sinhalese attaining equality with them with the onset of independence. Thus, they first attempted to institutionalise discrimination against the Sinhalese by proposing to the Soulbury Commission in 1945 that constitutional provision be made for the permanent under-representation of the Sinhalese in both the legislature and the executive by means of a pernicious system which they, perhaps with a macabre sense of humour, described as “Balanced Representation”. This pernicious proposal for overt and institutionalised racial discrimination against the Sinhalese was rejected by the Soulbury Commissioners with the terse comment:

“We think that any attempt by artificial means to convert a majority into a minority is not only inequitable, but doomed to failures”.

After this attempt at the domination of the entire country by the minorities, of whom the Tamils were the dominant minority failed, Chelvanayakam for the first time articulated the idea of separatism on the November 26, 1947 [ nine years before the Official Language Act] when he said in Parliament:

“If Ceylon is fighting to secede from the British Empire why should not the Tamil people if they feel like it, secede from the rest of the country?”

Two years later in 1949 [seven years before the Official Language Act] Chelvanayakam founded the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi [the Lanka Tamil State Party] dishonestly labelled as the “Federal Party”, and having rejected out of hand the very existence of a “ƒ”¹…”Ceylonese Nation’ comprised of all the citizens of all races of our land [the acceptance of which was so necessary for our newly independent Nation to “flower and flourish”], for the first time, expounded a “ƒ”¹…”doctrine’ of the Tamils being a separate “Nation” from the Sinhalese [as opposed to being a separate “race” within a single Nation together with the Sinhalese and members of other races]; and of that “Nation” having the right to “autonomy” and a right of “self determination” in over one third of the territory of Sri Lanka and two thirds of her sea coast.

Thus, the Official Language Act was by no stretch of imagination the “ƒ”¹…”cause’ of our turmoil, but rather a logical piece of legislation which was utilized by unscrupulous and equally opportunistic Tamil politicians to further their chauvinistic campaign for a separate state. The root cause of our present turmoil, therefore, is not the Official Language Act but the chauvinism and opportunism of Tamil politicians such as Chelvanayakam.

There is no logical basis for presuming that Singapore “ƒ”¹…”flowered and flourished’ because it had four official languages or that it would have been in “precarious political turmoil” if only the language of the majority was “enthroned” as the official language of that country – for Singapore’s neighbouring multi-racial country, Malaysia, did “flower and flourish” with only the language of the majority, namely, Malay, being “enthroned” as the Official Language although the Malays constitute less than 57.7% of its population while the Chinese constitute 25.4% and Indians 7.2%. Both those countries “ƒ”¹…”flowered and flourished’ because they had leaders of the calibre of Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir Mohammed.

The making of Sinhalese the Official Language does not and cannot constitute forcing that language on anybody or discriminating against the Tamils. It only meant doing what was logical, as was done in Malaysia, and being done in other multi-racial countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America by recognizing the language spoken by the majority as the language of administration of the Country. Indeed, despite the turmoil they created in the country over the logical step of the language of the majority being made the Official Language of the country, even the Tamil chavunists themselves have admitted by necessary implication that it is only right and proper that the language of the majority of a country should be its Official Language – for, in its manifesto for the General election of 1977, the Tamil United Liberation Front stated categorically that Tamil would be the Official Language of the proposed State of Tamil Eelam!! This was despite the fact that even if such a State comes into being, it would be a multi- racial country with a very significant Sinhalese minority!!

Even when Sinhalese was the only official language, there was no impediment on the use of Tamil. Thus, for example, a Tamil could, even then, receive his education from the nursery to university and answer all public examinations in Tamil: he could give evidence in or address Court in Tamil and was entitled to correspond with the government in Tamil. Further, all government gazettes and forms were printed in all three languages. Thus, Sinhalese being the “Official Language” of the country only meant that it was the “dominant” language of the country.

Mr. Justice Wigneswaran proceeds to state:

“Unless we recognise that the Tamil language and its culture are to the Tamils what the Sinhala language and culture are to the Sinhalese and therefore make Tamil the dominant language in the Northern and Eastern Provinces requiring the study of it compulsory for all in those two provinces just as Sinhalese is recognised as the dominant language of the other seven provinces, with English as the link Language between equals, the wrong done by the enthronement of one language in 1956 could never be erased.”

Thus, Justice Wiigneswaran sees nothing wrong in the Sinhalese, who constitute the overwhelming majority in over 70% of the territory of the Amparai district and in over 60% of the territory of the Trincomalee district being compelled to learn Tamil or Tamil being made the “dominant language” in the Northern and Eastern Provinces on the ground that, that is the language of the majority within the boundaries of those two artificially demarcated povinces. Clearly, he does not consider such an act to constitute one language being “forced” “in preference to the others on all”.

The Sinhalese have always constituted the overwhelming majority within the natural boundaries of Sri Lanka. Thus, if as His Lordship believes, there is nothing wrong or inequitable in compelling the Sinhalese who constitute a minority within the confines of the artificially demarcated boundaries of the Northern and Eastern Provinces being compelled to study the language of the majority within those artificial boundaries, and that language being “enthroned” as the “dominant language” of those provinces , it must follow of necessity that there can be nothing unjust or inequitable in the language spoken by the overwhelming majority of the people within the natural boundaries of Sri Lanka being “enthroned” as the “dominant language” or the “Official Language” of the entire country and the study of it being made compulsory for all in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Justice Wigneswaran’s reference to the “disabilities decreed on my community” are evidently based on Sinhalese having been made the official language of the country. It follows from the foregoing that, that which Justice Wigneswaran terms disabilities are not in fact disabilities. In any event, the question of the Official Language being Sinhalese alone is now only of academic interest since Tamil too has been made an Official Language.

Addressing directly, the Attorney General [who is also a Tamil], Mr. Justice Wigneswaran said:

“Even though you Mr. Attorney and I are today in our respective honoured positions we cannot forget that two sparrows would not make a summer. In fact there were many more sparrows in high positions due to their intrinsic worth in almost every field during the middle of the last century. But we are today progressively depleted in numbers in this part of the island and like the Burghers we too would soon be hardly heard of in judicial, legal, governmental service or even the private sector

These words are clearly capable of creating in the mind of him who hears or reads them, the erroneous impression that there is, in Sri Lanka, discrimination against Tamils on the grounds of race. The constitution provides a remedy to any citizen who has been discriminated against on the grounds of race – namely a resort to the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. While Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others have made numerous applications in respect of the violation of their fundamental rights by arbitrary and capricious acts amounting to unequal treatment before the law, illegal arrest and detention, torture and the curtailment of freedom of speech, there has hardly ever been an instance of an application having been made on the basis of discrimination on the grounds of race. The writer can only think of one such case which was instituted by a Tamil. If Tamils were in fact discriminated against on the grounds of race there can be no doubt that there would have been a plethora of Fundamental Rights applications to the Supreme Court in that regard. The fact that there were hardly any such applications is clear proof that there is no discrimination against the Tamils. It is to be observed in this connection that when the Inspector General of Police went on leave, the person appointed to act for him was not the senior-most Deputy Inspector General ,Mr. A. S. Seneviratne, nor the next in seniority,Mr. G. B. Kotakadeniya, both of whom are Sinhalese, but the third in seniority who is four years junior to both those officers, namely, Mr. E. T. Anandarajah, a Tamil.

It is true no doubt that there are, today, comparatively few Tamils in high positions and in the judicial, legal and public services. It is, wrong however, to attribute this to discrimination. It is rather the result of three factors. Firstly, it is a result of the cream of the Tamil intelligentsia making use of the turmoil in the country to seek greener pastures in the affluent west falsely alleging victimisation or danger to their lives – it would be recalled that even our former Ambassador to Germany, Ms. Lakshmi Naganathan, who, having returned to Sri Lanka suddenly decamped to the United States of America via Madras !! Secondly, it is the result of the Tamil youth, particularly of the Jaffna peninsula who usually flocked to join the judicial, legal and public services joining the Tigers either voluntarily or through conscription and being far too busy killing and maiming soldiers, sailors, airmen, policemen and civilians [mainly Sinhalese], and destroying property to even think of joining any such services. Thirdly, it is the result of Prabhakaran refusing to permit those within the parts of the country that are under his illegal rule to leave them. The Tamils, therefore, have only themselves to blame for the relative paucity of their numbers in high office and in those services.

There remains only one further matter that needs to be mentioned. Mr. Justice Wigneswaran refers to the fact that his relative Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan risked his life to travel to England to place the case of the Sinhala Buddhists [who were then being slaughtered and incarcerated by the British under the Martial Law of 1915] before the British sovereign. While in no way seeking to belittle the bravery and sense of justice, fairplay and duty of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, it is pertinent to observe that he was then the sole representative in the Legislative Council of the “Ceylonese” electorate having been elected largely by the votes of the Sinhalese who voted for him in preference to his rival, the Sinhalese candidate, Dr. H. Marcus Fernando. He thus went to England to complain to the British sovereign of the atrocities that were being perpetrated on his voters.



21 Responses to “S. L. Gunasekara on Justice C.V.Wigneswaran in the Island of 2001/04/01”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    Sinhalese never thought that Tamils will try to over power Sinhalese and voted for Ponnambalam Ramanadan. Ramanadan went to England because he was elected by Sinhalese . he had represent those people.
    anyway he was more suitable because british loved their obedient servants and loyal Tamil friends .


  2. Dilrook Says:

    C.V.Wigneswaran is a Tamil ultra racist. No wonder Dayan Jayatilleka is elated.

    He was so audacious to make such ultra racist statements while being a top official of the judiciary. The political climate at that time was a disaster. He made use of that situation to push his racist and separatist agenda. Although it is not well known, I have reasons to suspect, he was involved, with his friend, in the LTTE side in the drafting of the CFA, ISGA and other terrorist material. It is nothing short of a miracle that happened in 2004-2005 that saved the nation from disintegration. However, things look bleak today. These same actors are once again at it. Without abrogating 13A, there is no other way to maintain hard won peace.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    I understand why Karthigesu Indrapala is mentioned in the response by S. L. Gunasekara. However, Karthigesu Indrapala should not be relied on fully for historical knowledge which is best obtained from undilted historical sources.

    There is no evidence to suggest the Magha invasion resulted in permanent dislodgement of Sinhalese power from Northern Ceylon. On the contrary, the Magha invaders were eliminated from the island by 1239. There is no evidence to suggest the invaders continued to live in the island. Moving the capital to Dambadeniya should not be taken as evidence of permanent dislodgement of Sinhalese power from Northern Ceylon.

    Jaffna peninsular was under the Vijaynagar empire of modern day Karnataka along with entire south India around the 14th century. Regional rulers of Jaffna have Karnataka, not Tamil names. However, they were dislodged by King Parakramabahu VI.

    Permanent dislodgement of Sinhalese power from Northern Ceylon only happened in late 17th century when the Portuguese and the Dutch took control of Jaffna ending Sinhala military presence, their ability to stop illegal immigration and aboilty to collect taxes. European invaders brought down hundreds of thousands of south Indians to Jaffna peninsular to rival the tobacco monopoly of the powerful Kerala ruler.

  4. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Justice C.V.Vigneswaran’s complaint of “a mathematical innovation”, the rule by the majority is a return to the absurd antidemocratic G.G.Ponnampalam’s demands of the 50-50 kind, namely that the majority Sinhalese be given the same number of parliamentarians as the much smaller minority of Tamils. The Soulbury Commissioners considered this an “attempt by artificial means to convert a majority into a minority” and added that this is “not only inequitable, but doomed to failure”. .

    Justice C.V.Vigneswaran has internalised much of the Dravidian racist baggage invented through the DMK and its ideological allies. C.V.Vigneswaran implicitly believes in the Dravidian-Aryan racist dichotomy of the 19th and 20th centuries rejected today by most scholars. C.V.Vigneswaran also accepts and eulogizes the mythical Lemuria Continent – again rejected by scholars. His version is based on references in Tamil literature to a sunken continent. This is like today’s Sinhalese believing in the Uturu Kuru Dvipa as a real continent because it is referred in Buddhist literature.

    When the LTTE was on its last legs, C.V.Vigneswaran defended of LTTE’s separatist ideology by claiming that the LTTE was the offspring created by successive “mono ethnic parliamentary majorities”

    C.V.Vigneswaran accepted as truth the fictional Tamil traditional homelands in the following words “right throughout history, the Dravidians had occupied the present Northern and Eastern Provinces and even more lands surrounding them. This cannot be disputed. The Buddhist remains in the North are the remnants left by the Demala Bauddhayo not anybody else”.

    C.V.Vigneswaran also defended the LTTE stating “There are no terrorists who are born into this world. They are made”. For C.V.Vigneswaran, it was state terrorism that created the LTTE. This ignores the fact that resort to terrorism was a conscious act. As for his supporting and defending the Constitution, he is against the 1972 Constitution and consequently the entire edifice based on it including subsequent amendments.

    C.V.Vigneswaran never mentioned anywhere about LTTE horrors including its ethnic cleansing, attacks on Buddhist sites, attacks on democratic Tamils and child recruitment.

    Justice is depicted as blindfolded and having a balance. Justice C.V.Vigneswaran may be blindfolded but never had a balance.

    BTW C.V.Vigneswaran was educated at Royal College and his son is married to the daughter of Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Addressing the topic of religion in the Northern political scene :

    We had never ever heard of ‘Demala Baudhayas’ in Sri Lanka. About a month or two ago we suddenly hear of a Tamil Buddhist Association in the Jaffna – presumably resurrected in a hurry to give legitimacy to Tamil Buddhists ? While I am not against Tamil people becoming Buddhists, I am against Tamils converting to Buddhists for gains via politics/religion, even though it is legal and some in the south too have indulged in these practices.

    In Tamil Nadu there were only 840 Tamil Buddhists included in the numbers of Scheduled Castes (19% of TN in a total Tamil population of some 56 Million at that time), according to the 2001 Census.

    We heard that a number of mosques in the East has now been converted into Hindu temples. There appears to be great deal of ‘religious hopping’ going on in Lanka purely for economic/political purposes. This is very unhealthy for the wellbeing of the country and ought to stop.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    correction : “We heard that a number of mosques in the East have now been converted into Hindu temples. There appears to be a great deal of ‘religious hopping’ going on in Lanka purely for economic/political purposes”.

  7. Chanaka B Says:

    I know some Sri Lankan patriots promote the concept of Tamil Buddhist, which is a misnomer. There is nothing called ‘Tamil Buddhists in Sri Lanka

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree with Chanaka B.

    There is NOTHING called Tamil Buddhists in SL.

    There are few Tamils who follow Buddhism BUT they don’t REMAIN Tamil. They become Buddhists FIRST and Tamil comes SECOND. Eventually they become Sinhalese.

    TN is a different story.

  9. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    You are correct Lorenzo.

    Buddhism was the greatest gift that India has ever presented to Sri Lanka. The focal of the bond between Sri Lanka and India is Buddhism. Although Siddhārtha Gautama Shakyamuni was born in India, Sri Lanka has been the fortunate country which was instrumental in safeguarding the Buddhism continuously for more than 2,000 yrs.

    Although the evolution of Buddhism is around 6th century BC, the emergence of Tamil Buddhist and Sinhala Buddhist happened after 3rd century AD, after Emperor Asoka’s period. Asoka during his 28-year rule spread Buddhism not only in India but also in other continents. The religion was spread in South India, and in Sri Lanka.

    Tamils and Sinhala people have embraced Buddhism almost at the same time. Mahinda Thero, son of Asoka, passed through South India visiting Kanchipuram, Kaviripoom Pattinam,, Nagapattinam, Madurai, Pothigai Hills, and spreading the religion before reaching Sri Lanka.

    There is similiarity among the cave temples found in Thiruparankundram, Kazhugu Malai, Marudamalai, Anamalai and Veerkaimani in Madurai and Tirunelvel districts and the caves of Sri Lanka “Mihindukuhava” where Mihinda Thero was believed to have lived.

    Since Mihinda Thero and his followers went through Tamil Nadu to reach Sri Lanka, the Tamil Buddhists emerged before Sinhala Buddhists.

    Around 12 century AD, there were many Tamil Buddhist monks who went to Sri Lanka, but they wrote Buddhism books in Pali language only, and hence Tamil Buddhist literatures were not created. But a lot of Tamil Buddhist literature cropped up around 2nd century AD; “Manimekalai” is supreme among them. Dhammpatham, Thirukkural and Suthra Peetakam are others.

    Southern India was a region where Buddhism was flourished at one time. There are several archeological proofs to this effect. The friendly relations between Sri Lanka and India could be traced back to many a centuries, especially the relations between Sri Lanka and Southern India have a special and much deepened bond.

    Buddhism must be taught in Tamil; Children in North & East should embrace Buddhist monkhood; Buddhist temples should come up in North & East; Friendship and Co-existence through the Buddhist Principles of Affection (Metta) and Compassion (Karuna) to each individual, Joy (Muditha) in successes of other beings, Equanimity (Upeksa) in front of misfortune and intrigues of enemies, which will certainly spread goodwill and bring peace.

  10. Lorenzo Says:


    As I said before TN is DIFFERENT to SL.

    There ARE Tamil Buddhists in TN even today.

    In SL Buddhists of ANY ETHNICITY ends up becoming Sinhalese which is very good.

    Forgive me for saying this as some of you will DISAGREE with me.

    As Jews are the chosen people in Judaism, it is the Sinhalese people who will protect Buddhism. I think that was why Lord Buddha visited ONLY SL and not Tibet, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam or Cambodia. Sinhalese are the chosen people to protect Buddhism which is NOT a privilege but a RESPONSIBILITY.

  11. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Tamil Nadu boasted of outstanding Buddhist monks, who had made remarkable contributions to Buddhism thought and learning. Three of the greatest Pali scholars of this period were Buddhaghosa, Buddhadatta, and Dhammapala and all three of them were associated with Buddhist establishments in the Tamil kingdoms.

    Buddhadatta or Thera Buddhaatta as he is called lived during the time of Accyutarikkanta, the Kalabra ruler of the Chola-Nadu. He was a senior contemporary of Buddhaghosa. He was born in the Cola kingdom and lived in the 5th Century AD. Under the patronage of this ruler, Buddhadatta wrote many books. Among his best known Pali writings are the VINAYA-VINICCHAYA, the UTTARA-VINICCHAYA and the JINALANKARA-KAVYA. Among the commentaries written by him are the MADHURATTHA-VILASINI and the ABHIDHAMMAVATARA. In the Abhidhammaratara he gives a glowing account at Kaveripattinum, Uragapuram, Bhutamangalam and Kanchipuram and the Mahavihara at Sri Lanka. While he was at Sri Lanka, he composed many Buddhist works such as Uttara-viniccaya Ruparupa Vibhaga Jinalankara etc. Buddhaghosha, contemporary of Buddhadatta also composed many Buddhist commentaries.

    Buddhaghosha is a Tamil monk, who made a remarkable contribution to Buddhism in Sri Lanka. He stayed and studied Buddhist precepts at Mahavihara in Anuradhapura. The Visuddhimagga was the first work of Buddhaghosha which was written while he was in Sri Lanka.

    After Buddhaghosha, the important Theravada monk from the Tamil Nadu was Dhammapala. Dhammapala lived in the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura. He composed paramathadipani which was a commentary on Buddhaghosha s work on Khuddaka Nikaya and Paramathamanjusa, which was a commentary on Buddhaghosha’s Visuddhimagga. A close study of the three Buddhist monks viz Buddhadatta, Buddhaghosha and Dhammapala shows that Tamil Buddhists were closely associated with the Sri Lankan Buddhists around the 5th century AD.

    The author of NETTIPAKARANA is another Dhammapala who was a resident of a monastery in Nagapattinam. One more example is the Chola monk Kassapa, in his Pali work, VIMATTI-VINODANI, this Tamil monk provides interesting information about the rise of heretical views in the Chola Sangha and the consequent purification that took place.

    There are so many other Tamil monks who are attributed to the Pali works some of them were resident at Mayura-rupa-pattana (Mylapore) along with Buddhagosha. The well known Tamil Buddhist epics, on the other hand, were MANIMEKALAI and KUNDALAKESI.

    The 6th century Tamil Buddhist work Manimekalai by Sattanar, is perhaps the most famous of the work done in Tamil Nadu. It is a work expounding the doctrines and propagating the values of Buddhism. The interaction between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan monks finds mention in Manimekalai, which is set in the Tamil towns of Kaveripoompattinam, Kanchi, and Vanchi.

    There is mention about the presence of wondering monks of Sri Lanka in Vanchi, which was the capital of the Chera Kings of Tamil Nadu. The Chinese traveller, Tsuan Tsang, wrote that there were around 300 Sri Lankan monks in the monastery at the Southern sector of Kanchipuram.

    As Buddhism was one of the dominant religions in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, naturally there were very close relations between the two regions. The monks from Sri Lanka, too, went across to the Tamil kingdom and stayed in the monasteries.

    There was NO Buddhism in Sri Lanka until Emperor Asoka’s missionary monks led by Mahinda converted the Hindu Naga King Tissa into a Buddhist in the 2nd century BC. Similarly, there was NO Sinhala race/tribe in Sri Lanka until the Mahavihara monks created it in the 5th century AD. When Hindu/Brahmanical influence posed a serious challenge to Buddhism and when Buddhism started to lose popular support and the patronage from the rulers, the Buddhist institutions in India came under attack. The Mahavihara monks of Anuradapura including Ven. Mahanama, the author of the Pali chronicle Mahavamsa and a close relative of the Buddhist Naga king Dhatusena witnessed the decline and disorientation of Buddhism in India. Events that took place in India against Buddhism prompted the Mahavihara monks in Sri Lanka to come up with a strategy to protect Buddhism. Due to their strong devotion to Buddhism and desire to consolidate and protect this religion in Sri Lanka they have decided to write the Pali chronicles Deepavamsa/Mahavamsa making Sri Lanka a Dammadeepa – chosen land of Buddha where Buddhism will prevail for 5000 years) and creating the Sinhala race by integrating all the Buddhists from different tribes/ethnic groups into one race and making them the sustainers of Buddhism (Gautama Buddha’s chosen people) to protect Buddhism in Sri Lanka for 5000 years until the next Maithriya Buddha arrive. With the patronage of the Buddhist Kings, it is the Mahavihara monks who assimilated all the Buddhists from many different tribes together and called them Sihala. There is NO historical evidence what so ever to prove Vijaya’s arrival with 700 men or to say there were Sinhalese during the Early Historic period. The term ‘Sihala’ itself first appeared ONLY in the 5th Century AD Pali chronicles Deepavamsa/Mahavamsa and that also ONLY twice in the beginning chapters. To date, no archaeological evidence has been found to prove ‘Hela’ or ‘Sihala’ or ‘Sinhala’ existed before that or anything about Vijaya’s arrival.

    Only the Mahavamsa Tika that was composed very much later to interpret the Mahavamsa, mentions that it was adopted from the mysterycal ‘Vamsa texts’ known as ‘Sihala Atthakatha’ (collection of Sinhala verbal stories). Very strangely, most of the mythical/supernatural stories from the so called ‘Sihala Atthakatha Vamsa texts’ are very similar to those found in the Indian Epics and Puranas such as the Mahabaratha/Ramayana. Ultimately, the Mahavamsa has transformed the Buddha into a special patron of Sinhala-Buddhism, an ethnic religion created in Sri Lanka.

    The Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka is different from the Theravada Buddhism practiced in other countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and so on. The Buddhists in these countries follow only the Buddhist scriptures Tripitaka (Viniya, Sutta, Abhidhamma), whereas in Sri Lanka the ‘Mahavamsa,’ which was written by one of the Mahavihara monks (Ven. Mahanama) more than 1000 years after the passing away of Lord Buddha is also considered as a part of the Buddhist scriptures.

    Although it deals mostly with mythical or supernatural Buddhist history, some episodes of which are copied from the ‘Mahabaratha’ and ‘Ramayana.’ Since the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) and the mythical Buddhist history (Mahavamsa) were both written in the Pali language, a Buddhist layperson who does not understand Pali cannot understand the difference between the two and, therefore, he/she believes everything that the Buddhist monks preach, to be the true words of Buddha.

    Due to ignorance, even the present day some Sri Lankans still believe that they are blood relatives of Buddha because, according to the Mahavamsa, their forefather Pandu-Vasudeva belongs to the Sakya clan, and is a relative of the Buddha where as the historians believe that the term ‘Pandu’ in Pali means Pandyans.

    According to Buddhism, a person ordained as a Bikkhu should practice Ahimsa (non-violence), Karuna (compassion), Metta (affection), and Maithriya (loving-kindness) towards fellow humans, (irrespective of race or religion), not only by words but also in his thoughts and action.

    There are enough of ancient archaeological evidence in Sri Lanka such as Brahmi stone inscriptions, cave writings, Pali chronicles, etc where the terms ‘Dameda’, ‘Damela’, ‘Damila’, ‘Demel’ are mentioned as a group of people living in the island. Even in the Jataka stories such as Akitti Jataka, there is a reference to Tamil country (Damila-rattha), where as there is NO evidence what so ever about the terms ‘Hela’, ‘Sihala’, ‘Sinhala’ before and even a few centuries after the Pali chronicles were written. Even the Mahavamsa says, the missionary monk Mahinda Maha Thero preached Buddhism to the people of the island in Deepa basa (language of the island) but it does not say that the deepa basa was ‘Elu’ or ‘Helu’ or ‘Sihala’.

    Some scholars argue that the ethnic name of the dominant group does not occur in these records for the very good reason that there is no need to distinguish any person by referring to him/her as such when the people as a whole are entitled to that name (Sihala). This argument could have been accepted if the terms ‘Hela’, ‘Sihala’, ‘Sinhala’ was found at least somewhere outside Sri Lanka such as in any of the ancient literary works and/or the stone inscriptions/rock edicts of neighbouring India (either South or North) that was always associated with the island’s history, but unfortunately nothing has been found until now.

    The kingdoms of Anuradapura and Polonnaruwa were NEVER known as Sinhala kingdoms and the Naga kings who ruled these kingdoms never called themselves ‘Hela’, ‘Sihala’, or ‘Sinhala’. Subsequent to the Chola domination of Sri Lanka in the 10th century A.D, people who identified themselves as Buddhists and Sinhalese shifted their seats of rule from the ancient kingdoms of Anuradapura and Polanaruwa towards South and Central of the island. It was only after the 13th century AD that the kingdoms of Kotte and Kandy were known as ‘Sinhale’ even though some parts in North and East also came under the Kandyan rule but Kandy was mostly ruled by the Kalingas of South-East India and the Nayakkars of South India.

    The term ‘Sinhale’, appeared only in the 13th Century AD Chulavamsa and NOT in Deepavamsa/Mahavamsa. In the 16th century, the Portuguese and in the 18th century, the Dutch who occupied the island brought in tens of thousands of people from South India (presently Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andara) and settled them in the Southern parts of the island as menial labourers (for growing/peeling cinnamon, growing tobaco, pearl diving, coconut planting/plucking, toddy tapping, and for many other jobs).

    Within a few centuries, the Sinhala population increased exponentially when these people assimilated with the local Sinhala population by adopting the Sinhala language and the Buddhist religion. Today their decedents (6th generation) are not only claiming the ancient Sri Lankan civilization as their own ‘Sinhala’ heritage but have also become the patriots and champions of Sinhala-Buddhism.

    It was the British who re-discovered the Mahavamsa in the early 20th century and their so called European ‘Pali Scholars’ misinterpreted it, thereby creating another myth known as Arya-Sinhala. Since the Sinhala (Elu) language (mixture of Sanskrit, Pali, Tamil and Malayalam) was more of Indo-Aryan in nature, the British declared that the Sinhalese were Aryans from North India and the Tamils were Dravidians from South India.

    It is said in MAHAVAMSA CHAPTER VII – THE CONSECRATING OF VIJAYA, “But the king Sihabahu, since he had slain the lion (was called) Sihala and, by reason of the ties between him and them, all those (followers of VIJAYA) were also (called) Sihala.”

    If Sihabahu whose father had slain the lion was called Sihala and his eldest son Vijaya and his followers were also called Sihala, then what about Vijaya’s twin brother Sumitta and his followers in Sinhapura, India? Why they were not called Sihala? That itself proves that Vijaya and the Sinhala race was a creation of Ven. Mahanama and the Mahavihara monks.

    Another good example of the myths, fantasies, superstitions and fables from the Mahavamsa is the Elara/Dutugemunu episode. Just around ten lines/verses in the Pali chronicle Deepavamsa about the Elara/Dutugemunu was blown up into 11 chapters in the Mahavamsa just to glorify Buddhism and the Buddhist kings against the Hindus which gave birth to “superior race”, “Bhoomiputhra (sons of the soil)”, “Sinhaladivpa” “unitary state” and “Dhammadivpa” theories. The Mahavamsa author being a Buddhist monk and justifying the killing of around sixty thousand Tamils/Hindus (aka invaders) by Dutugemunu is one reason why others (non-Buddhists) think that Sinhala-Buddhism is somewhat of a violent barbaric form of Buddhism where killing Tamils is justified. The Mahavamsa equates the killing of the invaders as being on par with the killing of “sinners and wild beasts”, and the King’s sorrow and regret are assuaged. This is considered by some critics as an ethical error. However, Buddhism does recognize a hierarchy of actions as being more or less wholesome or skillful, although the intent is as much as or more important than the action itself. Thus the killing of an Arahant may be considered less wholesome and skillful than the killing of an ordinary human being. Buddhists may also assert that killing an elephant is less skillful and wholesome than killing an ant. In both cases, however, the intent must also be considered. An important thing to note is that Dutthagamani regretted his act, and this was also true of King Asoka, who became a pacifist after a series of bloody military campaigns.

    There is a clear record of all the main events of Buddha, the places he visited, with whom he was, where and what he preached and to whom he preached, in the Buddhist scriptures Tripitika, but nowhere it is mentioned that the Buddha visited or even spoke about the island of Lanka. In order to protect Buddhism in Sri Lanka from those powerful South Indian Hindu kingdoms, Ven. Mahanama wrote the Mahavamsa, by added his own imaginations and myths. He has introduced many events concerning Buddha which never took place, things that Buddha has never said or done, events which are not mentioned in any of the Buddhist scriptures (both Theravada and Mahayana).

    For example, according to the Mahavamsa, Buddha made three magical trips to Sri Lanka, each time colonizing another area of the island, in preparation for the formal introduction of Buddhism two centuries after his death. One of these trips was to settle a dispute between the Yakkhas and Nagas at Naga Divipa (Ninathivu) where the Buddha tamed the Yakkhas, the non-human inhabitants of the island.

    There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim (Buddha’s 3 visits), other than the three chaithiyas (Buddhist structures) built in the recent past at 3 different locations to say, ‘This is where Buddha came.’ Even the footprint of Buddha at Sri Pada (Adam’s peak) is nothing but an obvious myth.

    According to the Mahavamsa, just before passing away, Buddha has called the Sakka (King of Gods) and told him,

    ‘My doctrine, O Sakka, will eventually be established in the Island of Lanka, and on this day, Vijay the eldest son of Singha Bahu king of Sinhapura in the Lata country lands there with 700 followers and will assume sovereignty there. Do thou, therefore guard well the prince and his train and the Island of Lanka. On receiving the blessed one’s command, Sakka summoned God Vishnu and said, ‘Do thou. O lotus-hued one, protect with zeal prince Vijay and his followers and the doctrine that is to endure in Lanka for a full five thousand years’.

    It should be noted that in Buddhist scriptures, Buddha has never mentioned about any Hindu/Brahmanical Gods, he only talks about Devas and Bramahas from different worlds who have no connection with any Hindu/Brahmanical Gods.

    Ven. Mahanama has created an imaginary link between the three elements, Country-Race-Religion and made it into one unit similar to the Holy Trinity, whereby Sri Lanka (Dhamma Deepa), Buddha’s chosen people (Sinhalese), and Buddhism (Buddha Sasana) should be protected for 5000 years. This is known as the Jathika chintanaya or the Mahavamsa mindset.

    What we witness today is a kind of political Buddhists trying to promote their interest rather than Buddhism as a path for personal salvation.

    From a very young age, the innocent Sinhala Buddhist children who attend the Daham Pasala දහම් පාසල in the Buddhist temples are brainwashed by engraving the Mahavamsa Buddhism. Some Sinhala-Buddhists believe that the entire Sri Lanka belongs to them and the minorities are aliens.

    During that turbulent period when Buddhism was under threat, the Mahavamsa author Ven. Mahanama and the Mahavihara monks had a genuine reason for the above mythology but unfortunately today due to ignorance and lack of rational thinking, some Buddhists still believe the Mahavamsa as the gospel truth.

    As responsible leaders, not only the government and the opposition but the moderate Sinhala media personnel, educated and intelligent Sinhalese people and moderate religious leaders/Buddhist clergy should educate the people to think rationally and distinguish/differentiate Buddhism from Sinhala-Buddhism, and Myths from Facts, explaining the reason why the Pali chronicles were written during that period of extreme danger to Buddhism.

  12. Chanaka B Says:

    All the Buddhist and artifacts found in the North and East have Sinhalese writing, not a single Tamil one. This shows the Sinhalese ran the civilization there not the Tamils or Malayalis

  13. Chanaka B Says:

    After Ambedkar, there are few low caste Buddhists in Tamilnadu. But Wigneswaran’s ‘Demala Baudhdhayo’ never existed in Sri Lanka. He is using this to show that the North and East are the traditional Tamil homelands (to invoke international customary law for the Tamils demand for self determination), which is bunkum. Tamilnadu is the traditional Tamil homeland. This cannot happen in two locations – like the Sinhalese originated in Sri Lanka they originated in Tamilnadu

  14. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Dear Lorenzo
    Though you strongly believe Mahavamsa and its claim that that Gautama Buddha visited Sri Lanka three times I am really SORRY Lorenzo, I have to write the following
    Ven Mahanama, the author of the Mahavamsa refers to three visits by the Gautama Buddha to Sri Lanka. To ascertain whether the description in the Mahavamsa has any basis, one has to study the life of the Gautama Buddha, as revealed in the Pali Canon.
    Immediately after Enlightenment, the Gautama Buddha walked from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath. From Sarnath, He set out to wander by stages to Uruvela. At that time three ascetics with matted hair — Kassapa of Uruvela, Kassapa of the River and Kassapa of Gaya — were living at Uruvela. When the Gautama Buddha was living at Uruvela, Kassapa’s sacrificial ceremony fell due.
    The Mahavamsa says, “Now, since a great sacrifice by Kassapa of Uruvela was near at hand, and since He (the Gautama Buddha) saw that this latter would fain have Him away .., the Conqueror in the ninth month of his Buddhahood, at the full moon of Phussa, Himself set forth for the Isle of Lanka…
    “To this great gathering of the Yakkas went the Blessed One and there in the midst of that assembly, hovering in the AIR over their heads, at the place of the future Mahiyangana Thupa, He struck terror to their hearts, by rain, storm, darkness and so forth. The Yakkas, overwhelmed by fear, besought the fearless Vanquisher to release them from fear. Then, when He had destroyed their terror,… the Master preached them the doctrine.”
    The suttas display the Gautama Buddha, as the incarnation of patience and peace, capable of working the miracle of transformation by His unshakeable equanimity and impeccable wisdom.
    The Gautama Buddha would never have struck terror to their hearts. This idea that the Gautama Buddha struck terror to their hearts by rain, storm and darkness, Mahanama has taken directly from the Vedas. The Vedas tell us that Indra wields the thunderbolt and conquers darkness. He brings us light and life, gives us vigour and freshness. Heaven bows before him and the earth trembles at his approach “Yes, when I send thunder and lightning” says Indra “then you believe, in me.”
    According to the Mahavamsa’s description of the first visit of the Gautama Buddha to Lanka, the visit should take place between the sacrificial ceremony and the deliverance of the fire sermon at Gayassi.
    The Mahavamsa says the Gautama Buddha came by AIR to Lanka. The description of the first visit of the Gautama Buddha goes against the fundamental teachings of the Gautama Buddha. In Mahasihanada Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 12) Sunakkata made this statement before the vesali assembly: “The recluse Gautama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. The recluse Gautama teaches a Dhamma hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of reasoning as it occurs to him, and when he teaches the Dhamma to anyone, it leads when he practices it to the complete destruction of suffering”.
    Bhikku Bodhi in his commentary to this sutta says “Apparently he (Sunakkhatta) believes that being led to the complete destruction of suffering is, as a goal, inferior to the acquisition of miraculous powers”. In His rebuttal of Sunkattha’s assertion the Gautama Buddha says “the recluse Gautama teaches a Dhamma hammered out by reasoning, following His own line of reasoning as it occurs to Him-Unless He abandons that view, then he will wind up in hell”.
    In the Kevaddha Sutta, The Gautama Buddha says, He dislikes, rejects and despises the miracles of psychic power and miracle of telepathy. The Gautama Buddha was possessed of a quality of compassion, seldom seen among men. His sympathy was all embracing and spontaneous. The Gautama Buddha’s teaching is based and built on a conception of universal love and compassion for all living beings.
    In the Vatthupama Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 7) the Gautama Buddha says, “he abides pervading that all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving kindness, abundant, exalted immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He abides pervading one quarter with the mind imbued with compassion.”
    “In the Lakkahan Sutta (Digha Nikaya Sutta 30) it is stated, “the Tathagata rejects harsh speech, abstains from it, spoke what was blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, reaching the heart, urbane, pleasing and attractive to the multitude.”
    Therefore, if the Mahavamsa is to be believed, when Mahanama says, “He struck terror to their hearts by rain, darkness and so forth. The Yakkas overwhelmed by fear… we have to accept that the Gautama Buddha abandoned the fundamental tenets of the Dhamma merely for the sake of converting a set of ‘uninstructed wordings.’ He was, of all the historical personages of whom we possess any knowledge, one of the most consistent in thought, word and act.
    He not only placed little value on the supra-rational knowledge and ecstasy to which ascetics and mystics were supposed to have access, but actually described their mental acrobatics as “the thicket of theorizing, the wilderness of theorizing, the tangle, the bondage.”

    The Mahavamsa goes on to say that it was on His first visit that the “Master preached the doctrine”. There is no record of the doctrine the Gautama Buddha preached to the Yakkas. However, there is a record of the two earlier sermons the Gautama Buddha delivered at Saranath.
    According to the Mahavamsa, the Gautama Buddha’s second visit to Lanka was in the fifth year of His Gautama Buddhahood “He set out to Lanka from Jetawana.” If the Mahavamsa account of the Gautama Buddha’s second visit is to be believed He should have come to Lanka before He left for Kapilavasthu.
    In His second visit, the Mahavamsa says the Gautama Buddha brought about a reconciliation between the Naga kind Maniakkhika and Mahodora by preaching the “the doctrine that begets concord.” King Pasanedi was one of the most devoted lay followers of the Gautama Buddha. Pasanedi says “The dhamma has been made clear in many ways by the Blessed One, as though He were turning upright what had been turned upside down. (vide Kosalaamyutta in the Samyuta Nikaya.)
    Yet the Gautama Buddha was not able to prevent King Pasanedi going into battle with Ajasathu. In the Paranibbana Sutta we find Ajasattu sending his chief minister Brahamin Vessakara to the Gautama Buddha to seek advice as to how he could attack the Vajians and bring them to ruin and destruction. The Gautama Buddha told him, “the Vajians will never be conquered by force of arms.” Still the Gautama Buddha was not able to dissuade Ajasatu resorting to various stratagems to destroy the Vajians.
    It is strange therefore, that while the Gautama Buddha was not able to prevent His disciples from waging wars, He could bring about reconciliation between two kings in a foreign country.
    The doctrine that “begot concord” is not found anywhere in the Pali Canon. It is also strange that this doctrine was not delivered to Kings Pasanedi or Ajasatu and thereby dissuade them from going to war.
    According to the Mahavamsa, the third visit of the Gautama Buddha to Lanka was in the eighth year of His Gautama Buddhahood.
    The Gautama Buddha “set forth surrounded by five hundred arahats on the second day of the beautiful month of Vesak..” Again the doctrine He preached on His third visit to the island is not found in the Pali Canon. The Gautama Buddha’s famous statement in the Paranibbana Sutta, “I have taught the Dhamma, Ananda, making no inner and outer. The Tathagata has no teacher’s fist in respect of the Dhamma,” makes it clear that there is no esoteric teaching in Buddhism.
    On a plain reading of the Gautama Buddha visits to Lanka as recorded in the Mahavamsa, it becomes clear that this account is not only false but goes against the teachings of the Gautama Buddha.
    It is also established that from the day of His enlightenment till He passed away at Kusinara, the Gautama Buddha walked barefoot from Gautama Buddha Gaya to Kusinara. At the little village of Beluva the Gautama Buddha said (Paranibbana Sutta), “Ananda, I am now old, worn out, one who has traversed life’s path, I have reached the term of life which is eighty.” The version in the Mahavamsa that the Gautama Buddha came by air from Jetawana to Lanka should be rejected.
    One other matter that should be considered in delving into the veracity of the Gautama Buddha’s visit as narrated in the Mahavamsa is that there was an intellectual awakening in India about a thousand years before the Gautama Buddha. Therefore, we find in India at the time of the Gautama Buddha’s birth the tendency of man to think rationally, to reduce the chaotic universe of his sense-impressions and intuitions to a coherent and logical order, was ingrained in the Indian mind. The Gautama Buddha tore away the Dhamma from His ancestral stem and planted in a purely rational soil.
    Even in such an intellectually fertile soil as in India in the 5th century B.C, soon after enlightenment the Gautama Buddha experienced an inner conflict as to whether He should ever teach the Dhamma because, in the words of Bhikku Bodhi, “He reflected the density of the defilements of beings and the profundity of the Dhamma. In the Brahmasamayutta in the Samyutta Nikkaya we find the following statement, “This Dhamma I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, not within the sphere of reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise.”
    While there is a record of the very first sutta preached to five ascetics, we do not find in the Pali Canon any reference to the three discourses delivered to the Nagas and Yakkas.
    Mahavamsa is a conscious and intentional rearrangement of the Dipavamsa as a sort of commentary to this latter. In the absence of any sources, the Dipavamsa must be considered as standing unsupported on its own tottering feet. Therefore no historical value can be conceded to the Dipavamsa nor to the Mahavamsa.
    The account given in the Mahavamsa has no historical evidence to support the proposition that the Gautama Buddha ever visited Sri Lanka. Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian. Ignorance simplifies and clarifies, selects and limits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.

  15. Lorenzo Says:

    Nice reading NT.

    But there IS historical evidence of Buddha’s 3 visits to SL!

    1. The holy footprint belief. (No one can fool MILLIONS of people for THOUSANDS of years!)
    2. A temple built in SL BEFORE Buddhism arrived in the island. (Not so sure. Someone can enlighten us.)
    3. MANY artwork showing Buddha preaching in the north after settling a war between an uncle and his nephew.

    There is NO physical evidence that Jesus lived. But there is enough other evidence.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE Shiva, Krishna, Parvathi, Luxmi, Saraswathi, Ganesh, etc. EVER lived anywhere on earth or elsewhere!

    Only beliefs (some very strange to say the least) and ignorance.

  16. NAK Says:

    NT slowly but surely have shown some stripes? Which dhamma school teach mahavansa buddhism to children?what is mahavansa buddhism? mahavansa buddhism is a creation of the LTTE diapora who could’tn find a way to challenge buddhism. Regardless of what is written in mahavansa Buddhists follow

  17. NAK Says:

    Buddha’s preaching and that too not just because Buddha has said so but we understand what is said is the truth.
    “Buddha tamed the Yakkhas, the non-human inhabitants of the island”.
    With what evidence does NT conclude Yakkas and nagas non-human. He identifies king Tissa as a naga,does that mean king Tissa too a non-human?

  18. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Lorenzo ! God is often a witness in court proceedings all over the world when statements are made under oath with a hand on a holy book.
    But Lorenzo, self realization brings in the God within yourself!
    Lorenzo! You asking why so much of idols and temples in Hinduism. Why Hindus worship so many gods and goddesses is a real mystery for most people. In the West, where the mass majority of people are part of the Abrahamic faith tradition with one God, the concept of polytheism is nothing more than fantasy or mythology worthy of comic book material. Most of citation by Vedic cult are out of their imagination, or what they believe or what they were made to believe by mythology, superstitions or Brahmin politics. There is nothing about science or historical facts in any claims.
    As Hinduism is an idol-centric religion, its core principles are of no consequence to science. Christianity is a creation-centric religion. This is why it had to oppose modern science which, too, is creation-centric. The latter has taken strong positions on how life began, how day became night, and how our beings are energized. This is what compelled science and religion to go on a collision course in the western world. Christianity was in a doctrinal mess. It had invested a lot in Aristotle-proofing the Bible, but that was beginning to fall apart. Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark soon began to appear as fables for the credible. Even our positioning on earth was now more about gravity than God. The Lutheran-inspired Reformation of the 16th century helped religion to make peace with science, but only after the Bible retreated on some of its principles. From then on Christianity had to accommodate reason in order to survive, but Hinduism never faced such compulsions. As it was idol-centric in character, faith in India could proceed unchecked by science; in fact, the twain need never meet. Interestingly, while Christianity clashed with the physical and exact sciences in the West, in India, Hinduism has been threatened only by history and the social sciences.
    Also Lorenzo, millions of people for thousands of years believed that the earth was flat. And also millions of people believed the following in the seventh chapter of Mahawamsa for hundreds of years :
    Vijaya’s arrival in Sri Lanka coincided with the passing away of the Buddha. The very first ‘person’ that Vijaya encountered on the island was the ‘Lord of the Gods’, Lord Vishnu, who was charged by the ailing Buddha with looking after Vijaya and his descendants.
    The second encounter was far less auspicious – a Yakkinni, or demoness, who ‘appeared in the form of a dog’. Vijaya’s men, surmising that ‘Only where there is a village are dogs to be found’, followed the creature, only to come upon the Queen of the demons, Kuveni. Though the protection of Vishnu prevented Kuveni from devouring the hapless man, it did not prevent her from hurling him – and all of Vijaya’s other companions – into a chasm.

    Vijaya eventually comes upon Kuveni and threatens her with death unless she releases his men. When this is done, Kuveni supplies them with food and clothing, and, ‘assuming the lovely form of a sixteen year old maiden’ seduces Vijaya. Then, in a complete reversal of her allegiances, she states that she ‘will bestow Kingship on my Lord Vijaya’ and thus ‘all the Yakkhas must be slain, for else the Yakkhas will slay me, for it was through me that men have taken up their dwelling (in Sri Lanka)’. This Vijaya goes on to do, vanquishing the demons and driving them from the island, all the time with Kuveni at his side.
    Though Kuveni bears him two children, a son and a daughter, Vijaya eventually rejects her with the words ‘Go now, dear one, leaving the two children behind; men are ever in fear of superhuman beings’. Despite begging Vijaya not to send her away, a heart broken Kuveni eventually leaves the palace, taking the two children despite being ordered not to. Arriving in one of the few surviving Yakka cities she is killed by her own people for her betrayal. One of her uncles takes pity on her children and tells them to flee before they, too, are killed. They eventually flee to Malaya rata where they settle and become the ancestors of the Pulindas. And alternative tale is that Kuveni flung herself from Yakdessa Gala, imploring the Gods to curse Vijaya for his cruelty – which they do by preventing any of Vijaya’s children from ever sitting on the throne of Rajarata.
    The Kuveni-Vijaya story evokes some similarities with the encounter of Odysseus with Circe. Circe is also an enchantress and a witch. The Kuveni myth is also remarkable for being so violent and tragic. Both the demon Queen and Vijaya are portrayed as being deeply treacherous and unfeeling – Queen in betraying her entire people, Vijaya in betraying her in turn so callously. Indeed Vijaya’s reason for rejecting Kuveni is his desire for a ‘a maiden of a noble house’ to be consecrated Queen with him. This desire could have had a political aspect – in marrying a princess of an established noble house he would essentially have established himself as a legitimate monarch in his own right, on a par with the other rulers of the subcontinent’s kingdoms.
    Kuveni, on the other hand, is regarded as a descendant of the demons of the Ramayana and of Ravana, who also dwelled in Sri Lanka. A common folk tale was that her children did not, in fact, flee to Malaysia, but instead remained in Sri Lanka’s jungles and became the Veddas – Sri Lanka’s aboriginal population. This may indeed be the explanation for Kuveni and her people, as early Indian settlers would almost certainly have come into contact and conflict with indigenous Sri Lankans. The Yakkas are referred to occasionally as ‘invisible’, and indeed would have appeared so to the newcomers unused to Sri Lanka’s jungles, through which the Veddas even today can move in near-silence and with barely a trace. Interestingly the Dipavamsa, on which the Mahavamsa is based, makes no mention of Kuveni whatsoever

    Dear NAK !
    In the Mahavamsa, or in the ancient Pali or Sanskrit literature for that matter, the Nagas are never represented as human beings, but as a super natural being that inhabited a subterranean world, whose natural form was a serpent but who would assume any form at will.

    BTW Ceylon Lion – Panthera leo sinhaleyus is only known from two teeth found in deposits at Kuruwita in Ratnapura District. Based on these two teeth, a well known naturalist Mr P.E.P.Deraniyagala erected Panthera leo sinhaleyus in 1939. Mr Deraniyagala did not explain explicitly how he diagnosed the holotype of this prehistoric subspecies as belonging to a lion, though he justified its allocation to a distinct prehistoric subspecies of lion by its being “narrower and more elongate” than those of recent lions in the British Natural History Museum collection. According to Mr Deraniyagala, Panthera leo sinhaleyus was endemic to Sri Lanka, became extinct prior to the arrival of culturally modern humans about 40,000 years ago. There is insufficient information to determine how it might differ from other subspecies of lion. Further studies would be necessary because it is extremely difficult to differentiate a canine tooth of similar species of animals. Even the Ratnapura rainforest habitat is most suited for tigers than lions.
    In 1982 a sub-fossil right middle phalanx was found in a 17,000 years old prehistoric midden at Batadoma in Ratnapura District and tentatively considered to be of a tiger. Tigers arrived in Sri Lanka during a pluvial period during which sea levels were depressed, evidently prior to the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago. Since Sri Lanka was separated from the Indian subcontinent by rising sea levels in the early Holocene, now there are no tigers in Sri Lanka.
    A leopard subspecies – Panthera Pardus Kotiya is native to Sri Lanka and it is the country’s TOP predator. The correct Sinhala term for leopard is Kotiyā .
    The term Diviyā was in use for centuries in Sri Lanka to refer to smaller wild species of the cat family such as Handun Diviyā or Kola Diviyā. The correct Sinhala word for tiger is Viyagraya. Mistakenly we started to use Kotiyā to mean tiger and Diviyā to mean leopard.
    To complicate and confuse the matters , Tigers led by Veluppillai Prabhakaran who were also known as Koti (the plural form of Kotiyā) – once ranged widely across Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka, now extirpated from Sri Lanka. Since we do not have lions or tigers in Sri Lanka we should have Kotiyā in our national flag and not lion or tiger.

  19. Lorenzo Says:


    My previous statements still stand as nothing you said NEGATE them.

    But there IS historical evidence of Buddha’s 3 visits to SL!

    1. The holy footprint belief. (No one can fool MILLIONS of people for THOUSANDS of years!)
    2. A temple built in SL BEFORE Buddhism arrived in the island. (Not so sure. Someone can enlighten us.)
    3. MANY artwork showing Buddha preaching in the north after settling a war between an uncle and his nephew.

    There is NO physical evidence that Jesus lived. But there is enough other evidence.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE Shiva, Krishna, Parvathi, Luxmi, Saraswathi, Ganesh, etc. EVER lived anywhere on earth or elsewhere! Only beliefs (some very strange to say the least) and ignorance.

    So the Buddhist belief based on TANGIBLE things relating to those events are BETTER PROOF than in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism. The burden of proof need NOT be more for Buddhism.

  20. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Dear NAK
    Mahawamsa says “Buddha tamed the Yakkhas, the non-human inhabitants of the island”
    It is not my statement or conclusion.

  21. Sooriarachi Says:

    People like ex-justice Wigneswaran and commentators like Nalliah Thayabaran are suffering from acute hallucination, and are in vain trying hard to distort the history of the Sinhalese which is well documented in Sinhalese chronicles (unmatched by any similar Tamil records) as well as Indian, Chinese, European and other international records kept over the past 2500 years. These racist minded individuals are so bankrupt of truth, shamelessly lying and envious of the equal rights regained by all Sri Lankans, including the so called low-caste Tamils, they are blindly repeating the new imaginary history being written by Tamilnet and other propogandists. Apparently they have engaged a German NGO to create such a history for the LTTE Tamil separatists.
    My only hope is, these racist elements will not succeed in destroying the hard won freedom of the Jaffna Tamils from the brutal LTTE, which group also carried out similar false propaganda for the consumption of the International community.

    It is also worth noting how ex justice Wigneswaran has copied the Soulbury commission wording in its response to Tamil demands, which I have reproduced from the above article:
    ” This pernicious proposal for overt and institutionalised racial discrimination against the Sinhalese (by the Tamils) was rejected by the Soulbury Commissioners with the terse comment:

    ‘We think that any attempt by artificial means to convert a majority into a minority is not only inequitable, but doomed to failures”. This wording Mr Wigneswaran has copied trying to turn it around on to the Sinhalese, with his mathematical comments. Leaders like this, suffering from hallucinations are dangerous for any society. May the Tamil people defeat him as expected.

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