Tyrants like Dutugamunu & anti-Mahavamsa movement
Posted on January 22nd, 2014

C. Wijeyawickrema

The retired anthropology professor H.L. Seneviratne, ends his recent Colombo Telegraph essay with a statement, “… tyrants like Dutugamunu used religion for purposes of gaining and remaining in power, and as opium of the masses, and there were willing supporters among the Sangha, as there are plenty that support the tyranny of our own times…”  From the Internet dictionary I found out that a tyrant is a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly; or any person in a position of authority who exercises power oppressively or despotically. Dutugamunu was more like a modern Moshe Dayan (even though later Anwar Sadat militarily defeated him) or a Ho Chi Min than Alexander the Great, Chengis Khan or the American Generals Patton or McArthur. He rescued the island from 40 years of Tamil occupation. He even respected his dead enemy Elara, with erecting a tomb. The only way I could resolve my puzzlement of why a 75-year old retired professor who came from a rural village, Millawa, Horana calls King D a tyrant was to think that he was part of the Trio who defamed Sinhala Buddhists unreasonably and unfairly by their numerous writings aimed mostly at their American students. Incidentally, all three of them were Fulbright scholars just like the first Fulbright guy from Ceylon was a CCS cadet Bradmon Weerakoon, who must have been a regular source of information to the US embassy in Colombo while working a secretary to seven PMs!

Why do Buddhists kill?

            While contemplating to respond to him, unfortunately, I heard the news of the death of one of the Trio, another American-living professor, Stanley J. Tambiah (SJT). Unlike SJT, who was a high class (perhaps Christian) lawyer-family Colombo St. Thomas fellow, the third person of this American anthropology Trio was Gananath Obeysekera who is living in Sri Lanka now, a son of an Ayurvedic physician from the south.  There background is relevant because in an interview given by SJT, at Cambridge, MA, USA on July 8, 1983 and reported in Colombo Telegraph on Jan. 21, SJT spoke about the identity crisis he faced in post 1956 Sri Lanka as an isolated rich and influential Colombo Tamil. The other two are at least born as sons of Sinhala Buddhist parents.  I think it was J. B. Dissanayake in one of his books asked the question, “Why did two Tamils who grew up among the Sinhala Buddhists in Colombo take two different paths, one, Lakshman Kadiragamar, praising the Sinhala Buddhist society, and the other, SJT, so negative and critical about it (Sinhala Buddhist cause)?”

             The books written by this trio collectively, gave lot of half-truths and misinterpretations that misled the American students who read them. They failed to present the Sinhala Buddhist side of the story and from HLS’s D as a tyrant shows that they do not regret the damage they have done even in their old age. In the year 2002 or so I used to question HLS and SJT by e-mails about false or misleading items in their books and I never heard from them. My conclusion was that they could not make an untruth a truth, when got caught. SJT had a tremendous influence over the Americans living in the Harvard Area that he could see the Massachusetts (MA) Legislature getting fooled by his actions. Could one believe that this state of MA did not after July 1983 but in 1979, when Amirthalingam was the leader of the opposition?  Massachusetts House Journal for 1979, page 977 reads: … “Resolution memorializing the President and the Congress to protest and utilize the powers of their offices to rectify the gross injustices which have been inhumanely inflicted on the Tamils of Sri Lanka.”

Putting Buddhists on the defensive

            What is given below is a revision of an essay that I sent also to the Trio around 2002. It is highly relevant today as we hear all around us attempts made to box Buddhists in. Sinhala Buddhists were treated like the proverbial “Kind hearted woman” and now we find the anti-Mahavamsa movement has come to open unlike in the past when it was behind the scene and discreet. Even the Divaiyna newspaper is used by the Island staff writer C. A. Chandraprema (a Marxist-Christian) to misrepresent facts and spread falsehood.

S. J. Tambiah led Trio asked Buddhists (or monks?)  a question, “How come believers of a religion that preaches ahimsa kill?” How come Buddhists betray Buddhsim?  The Trio was deliberately fooling the international readers this question. Theravada Buddhists are a minority (50 million?) in the world. In Cambodia and Thailand, people eat rats, ants and dogs  and therefore, the number can be even smaller. Powerful and rich countries in the world are Christian or Islam and Islam has oil and cruel dictatorships. There are over 5 billion people who are not Buddhists. My Christian American professor friend has a small ranch where he rare cattle for sale as beef. He uses all possible strategies to maximize his profit margin. Can I tell him about my Buddhist nonviolence and ask him to grow corn or cotton instead of the violent killing of cattle?  How come Tambiah, HLS and GO all forget this simple reality and hold only Buddhists to a high religious/moral standards? Mother Teresa sent a letter of support on behalf of Keeton who provided her planes to travel and lots of money. The California district attorney traced Keeton money trail and found some of the money that he stole from the retired and poor Americans went to Mother Teresa. He asked her to return this money, but got no reply. Boston archbishop finally resigned after hiding for so long the sex acts of his priests still the whole truth is not out.

Buddhism was wiped out from India by the Hindus and Muslims because Buddha did not teach how to use guns. As Nanda Malini sings one cannot take the navaguna vala to the battle filed. You take the sword and later when you have peace with no enemies coming to kill you then you get back to the navaguna vala and meditate as suggested then and now by HLS and the Colombo Telegraph writers Sharmine S and her supporters. According to Tambiah there is no need to guard the Dalada Maligawa or the Siri Maha Bodi! Or are we forgetting that Gods standards are set by the human agency? Take for example the concept of self-defense and three religious approaches.

 

(1)   If my life is threatened, I can kill the attacker – no legal liability, no sin (Christian, Jews, Islam believers?)

(2)   Even if my life is threatened, try to run away or die rather than killing the attacker – no legal liability no sin (Buddhists?)

(3)   Try to run away, avoid confrontation, be humane and humble (or escape even I have to kiss the a..) to avoid killing the attacker, but if I have no other choice then totally and completely annihilate the enemy (Bhagavad Geeta’s advice to Arjuna)

 

Now there is a new law in some states of the crime-infested USA. It is called Stand your ground law. Recently, in the state of Florida, a man killed another simply because he felt threatened. According to this law you do not have to avoid or try to escape from an enemy. You simply stand where you are and if the enemy comes towards you, then you can just kill him!

The society has become so corrupt over the past 25 or 40 years because of politicians. It will not be easy to introduce Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Upekka that soon. First you have to get rid of the guns and bombs in the hands of so many. The names of Vessantara and Siri Sangabo are used in Sri Lanka today in exactly the opposite way the meaning of those names described in the Jataka stories. For example people today call a husband a vessantara, if his wife is sleeping with another man, knowingly or unknowingly to him. A siri sangabo is one who stupidly puts his neck out and gets it cut. Today there are no morals in the country. All running like mad dogs thinking the mirage they see is water.

In the west there are so many books written, emphasizing the need to become engage Buddhists. This means intervention when needed as otherwise you will get wiped out.  It is a kind of militant non-violence that is in need. Gandhi and Martin Luther King practiced this which involved lot of blood flowing.  Fortunately for Sri Lanka, the most relevant movement, the Bodu Bala Sena is following the basic Buddhist rule, Come and examine and come and discuss. This is why BBS has become an irritant to all kinds of people. The so-called Sinhala Buddhists governments, with that foremost place to B in the constitution, cheated or tricked Sinhala Buddhist masses for so long, and they have finally realized that they have become just Kind heated women in Sri Lanka ruled by the black-whites.

Throwing stones at others or buildings is not a Buddhist thing and no one supports that behavior. We do not need the American ambassador to lecture on that. But the problem is that the American ambassador prevented the useless UNP and SLFP politicians from passing laws to control unethical religious conversion going on crazily in all over Sri Lanka. When govts fail to pass laws just and reasonable some people think they should become the law. This is why I sympathize with those who get their blood boiling. Part II of this essay will deal with the history of the anti-Mahavamsa movement.

23 Responses to “Tyrants like Dutugamunu & anti-Mahavamsa movement”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    A Buddhist is a HUMAN (a creature) FIRST and a Buddhist second. HUMAN SURVIVAL therefore comes first, following Buddhism SECOND.

    (Nanda may not fight over this with me. This is the TRUTH.)

    Internet shows me Buddhism came to SL in 265 BC.
    HINDU Ellalan INVADED SL in 205 BC. Just 60 years after Buddhism was introduced.

    WHY?

    Which FOOL thinks it was an accident? It was NO accident. It was a PLANNED move to keep Buddhism (A NORTH ENDIAN RELIGION at that time) OUT of SL.

    What if HINDU Ellalan succeeded? He would have killed Buddhism in its infancy!!!

    But our little AGGRESSIVE VIOLENT Dutugemunui whacked the Ellalans and SAVED Buddhism when it was MOST vulnerable. The bottomline is, violence is ESSENTIAL for human survival. We could have become another NALANDA just 60 years after Buddhism was introduced. But we didn’t. Because we INVOKED OUR ANIMAL INSTICTS OF SURVIVAL and survived!

    That is what is needed today.

    In Hinduism there is a powerful goddess. She takes the avatar of Durka (destruction) FIRST, Luxmi (economic prosperity) second and Saraswathi (arts and culture) third.

    We must follow this pattern. FIRST survival, next the economy, third philosophies. The END justifies the means. We go to war with a NOBLE end in minds so it is good.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    C. Wijeyawickrema,

    As you understand the UNDERCURRENTS against Sinhala Buddhist unitary SL, PLEASE DON’T advocate a river of Jaffna. A famine or desert for Jaffna is better for SL.

    As Dutugemunui story tells us, either “they” survive or “we” survive. NOT both. They are those who believe in a Tamil homeland in SL. We don’t.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    History is full of fanatics with one religion forcing it on others. Sometimes they succeed in completely wiping out alternatives. Many religions have gone extinct this way. Buddhism may be exceptionally vulnerable, because it is less willing than most to use violence in self-defense. Buddhism has competed for survival with Hinduism in India, Shinto in Japan, Confucianism and Taoism in China, Bön in Tibet, and so on. In these cases, uneasy truces were formed. However, Islam destroyed Buddhism almost completely in India. Muslims also entirely eliminated Buddhism from Central Asia. More recently, Communism—a religion for all practical purposes—mostly wiped out Buddhism in Russia, China, Tibet, North Korea, and elsewhere.

  4. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Buddhism in Iran may date as far back as 6th century BCE, during the life of Gautama Buddha. The spread of Buddhism to Balkh (ancient city and centre of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan) was initiated by two merchant brothers from Bactria (Present-day northern Afghanistan, between the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Amu Darya).

    From the 2nd century Parthians of north-eastern Iran,such as An Shigao, were active in spreading Buddhism in China. Many of the earliest translators of Buddhist literature into Chinese were from Parthia and other kingdoms linked with present-day Iran.

    Buddhists were persecuted during the Sasanid rule in the region, who made Zoroastrianism state religion in 224 AD, and thereafter burned many Buddhist sites. Surviving Buddhist sites were later raided in the 5th century by the White Huns. At the time of the Arab conquests in the mid-7th century, much of the eastern Iranian world was mainly Buddhist. Afghanistan is rich in Buddhist sites; others have been found in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and within Iran itself. The Arab conquests brought the final demise of Buddhism in Eastern Iran and Afghanistan, although in some sites like Bamiyan and Hadda it survived until the 8th or 9th century.

    Mongol ruler Ghazan, who received Buddhist education in his youth, converted to Islam in 1310 AD and made it the state religion of the Ilkhanate.He also prohibited the practice of Buddhism, but allowed monks to go into exile into neighboring Buddhist regions.But however in Thailand have lineage between Thai and Iranians, specific in Bunnag family that are Theravada Buddhism.

    In recent years Buddhism has experienced an upsurge of interest among Iranians. Some of the poetry of Sohrab Sepehri shows Buddhist influence, and another major contemporary poet, Ahmad Shamlou, translated a book of Japanese haiku poetry into Persian.

    Please visit the following link to read more
    http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/buddhism-i

  5. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    You got it completely WRONG because you do not study Buddhism in detail ( you are full of ignorance). There is no such human called “Buddhist”. It is a concept only.
    Same thing with “Human”, nothing is real.

    Any creature, human or animal has a right to fight and kill the enemy. Buddha never denied this right.
    However, “human” is subjected to the eternal laws. Similarly one day “Buddhist” will disappear, so is Muslim or Christian.

    Nevertheless Buddha is the best teacher when it comes to teaching how to compete and live. Most people who have no interest in reading Buddhism or does not possess a brain to properly contemplate DO NOT agree with this.

    Buddha’s last word were “Appamadena Sampadeta” meaning “strive with diligence” NOT ” withdraw from this world and meditate”. Why ? Just meditation alone like a fool is not sufficient.

    Even though here he meant “strive to be enlightened” this striving and diligence is everywhere in his teaching for those who want to continue living in the world, even for professional soldiers it is valid.

    Dutugemunu is a great example of following “strive with diligence”. Without that he couldn’t have succeeded. He may have followed many other advice from Buddha which have not been published.

    Maha Ranee is a good example of “sloth and torpor ” opposite of “strive with diligence”.

    A monk who is full of “sloth and torpor ” has less chance to succeed than a tyrant with diligence in his trade.

    Buddha personally went to stop Angulimala killing his mother, because he knew Angulimala is a great “human” who “strive with diligence”. He did not attend to complete FOOLS who have no chance of enlightenment.

    Therefore to be a proper “Buddhist”, one has to be a diligent individual. A true Buddhist cannot be defeated easily.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    Thanks for the explanation.

    By Buddhist I meant only the label/category not the concept. So I was wrong.

    “Maha Ranee is a good example of “sloth and torpor ” opposite of “strive with diligence”.”

    Lacking in the entire govt.. ONLY the military seems to have its SENSES and DILIGENCE.

  7. Nanda Says:

    “ONLY the military seems to have its SENSES and DILIGENCE”, I don’t know.
    But we know there are some good, diligent people in the MILITARY and all politicians are HORU with “sloth and torpor”.

    That is why given a choice, I take the side of the soldier NOT the politician.

    I am sorry FOOLS do not understand. Must have a OPEN mind.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    But unlike Buddha we CANNOT ignore the fools.

    We have to get the fools SEE before it is too late.

  9. Nanda Says:

    NT,

    “Buddhism may be exceptionally vulnerable, because it is less willing than most to use violence in self-defense.”- NOT TRUE.

    There is no need to use VIOLENCE if one “strive with diligence” and without “FEAR”.
    Enemy is scare when they see the “FEARLESS”. How do you get rid of FEAR ?
    Only Buddhism can help you to get rid of FEAR, no other religion.

    Even if it not 100% , reduce personal Greed first and see how fearless you can become.
    We need a FEARLESS leader, not a PRAGMATIC FOOL.

  10. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    FOOLS will never agree with Buddha, they are entirely different kind ( within that birth).
    They must do some good deeds more and more this life and become a bit more wise next birth.

    You can keep of trying but unfortunately very few will agree with Lorenzo .

  11. Sri Rohana Says:

    Charles W! Great article! Colombo Telegraph is another rubbish anti Sinhala e: paper? I noticed it has many tamil racist, terrorist supporters and anti Sinhala-Buddhist Colomban readers. No wonder they are against our Greatest King Gemunu and our Mahawansa history.
    Most of the Colomban telegraph reader’s history was their work in London as house maids or au-pair or pizza delivery or cleaning jobs. To cover their inferior complex they bash Sinhala history and our King Gemunu as easy passport to popular with tamil racists and western embassy’s.
    If not King Gemunu and Buddhist civilization we are no more a Sinhala nation. Our civilization developed by Buddhist therawada philosophy. We had many pre Mahawansa kings in our country such as Bali, Tharu, Rawana, Maniakkitha (Kelaniya Kingdom), Chulodara/Mahodara in Northern Sri Lanka and Queen Kuweni in Mannar etc. But our civilization developed in to one of the best in world with Therawada Buddhist influence.
    King Gemunu saved our country from tamil invaders and united the country. Then other kings Wijayabahu, Parakramabahu, Mahasen, Datusena, Walagamba, Gajaba etc contributed to our civilization.
    If not these great kings, tamil invaders would have taken our country as a part of chola/tamil nadu and would be another negligent island as Nicobar or Andaman and our Seneviratne, Gananath Obesekera, Dayan Jayathilaka would be Suppayia, Kurupayya or chelliah’s and may suffer like majority tamil nadian or they either in Kenya, Singapore, Fiji or Malaysia cleaning roads and toilets.
    We Sinhala always grateful to our greatest kings who created world’s tallest brick monuments Jetawanarama, Abayagiriya and Ruwanweli (Mahaviharaya) Buddhist universities. Our Mahawansa Sinhalese created a hydro management civilization. This civilization is unique to Lanka and we are proud of it as a Hela nation.
    Same sons of the Mahawansa Sinhala nation defended our country not from tamil invaders but from Europeans invaders too. Portuguese, Dutch and British invaders were not given free access to Sri Lanka till 1815. Our freedom fights were well written on Mahawansa against the fore-fathers of Colombo telegraph sons and daughters.
    Those Colombo telegraph traitors can live in Sri Lanka as long as they find third class citizenship in Europe or U.S but insult our history and our great Kings are not acceptable. Traitors go to Europe or to tamil nadu that is the biggest service you are doing for Sinhala nation.

  12. helaya Says:

    Gananath and Senaviratna came to US because of their Tamil professors help. They have to be anti Sri Lankan in order
    survive and they also get lot of grant money from different organizations who are anti Sri Lankan.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    Asia’s Buddhist Nations have gone down like ninepins during the Cold War times. Sri Lanka nearly did so too. The aftermath continues …. get out of the Cold War mindset. The Cold War is over. New problems await us all unless we unite.

    Irrespective of history anywhere :

    We have to first SURVIVE to practice any religion ! Let us UNITE for a UNITARY Sri Lanka, one country, undivided, united, one for all and all for one.
    Look at issues for Basic Needs, Clean air, water, Food, a fair Education & Health Care for all, job creation etc. That way lies Sanity and a long and happy life for all. Look wide, look within (Meditation), respect life, and a long and happy life is ours for all.

    Lorenzo: The Military of Lanka plus everyone else can participate in all the above endeavors and more. No need for anyone to ‘take over’.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sri Lanka needs a National Government. That way, we can all Survive. All disunity is, in the end, a waste of time and energy.

  15. Nanda Says:

    Even a Sotapanna ( enlightened 1 st stage) may kill.
    Only idiots ask why Buddhist kill ?

    Dutugemunu was not Agressive or Violent like Parayaharan , because he was not Tamil Hindoo. He did not kill innocent people , women and children. If he did that he would not have got ANY support to create an excellenat army headed by 10 strong Generals ( Dasa Maha Yodha). He was defeated first and went underground when he met that old woman who fed him with hot rise when he was extremely hungry. She taught him how to fight. She was the mastermind. He listened. Will an AGRESSIVE and VIOLENT Tamil will listen to an old woman’s advice ?

    Dutugemunu’s action is seen as AGRESSIVE and VIOLENT only by Tamils and LTTE supporters.

    He was raised by a kind but brave mother and a gentle father. He was intelligent enough to understand the AGRESSIVE and VIOLENT Tamils surrounding the island by pretending to be people who adminsiter JUSITICE. Same a s what is happening now.

    He himself faught Elara in the final battle. ( Did not declare his victory from an oversea location). Being a noble warrior he did not have a desire for personal wealth collection. He was almost FEARLESS because he was not selfish and not sinking in GREED.

    He not only build the country but also managed it very well, not by GUN but by Metta , Karuna , Mudita , Upekkha.
    Look at the stupas he has built. Look at the Viharas he built. He did not get foriegn aid from Saudis , Chines or Endians to build cities.

    You cannot harly find a statue of Dutugemunu unlike current imposters who have huge posters everywhere to show his FOOLISHNESS.

    Current day Dutugemunus risked their lives to save the country from tyrants like Parayaharan. Some were killed in the battle and SOME REMAIN TO FIGHT THE NEXT BATTLE if required.

    May I request all patriots not to use the words VIOLENCE and AGRESSION to describe the necessary action of a noble warrior , a true hero , a true Buddhist, Dutugemunu.

  16. Fran Diaz Says:

    Here is an article on King Dutugamunu, from the Daily News. King Dutugamunu, King of Kings for Lanka !

    Daily News Online : Sri Lanka’s National News, January 15, 2014

    DUTUGEMUNU — seeing the King of Kings
    Ishara Jayawardane

    Gamini believed in this country and he believed in himself. As a Sinhalese Buddhist crown prince, this extraordinary boy saw in himself the savior who would have the power to bring about the downfall of the invader Elara from a foreign land. A savior, whose destiny it would be, to deliver Sri Lanka from the Chola invaders who would come one day, to cut their bloody swathe through our land.

    As a teenager of 16 he felt himself equal to the task of expelling the invading marauders. This child of prophecy would one day become the Mighty King Dutugemunu, leader of men and the mightiest leader Sri Lanka has ever had.

    Now fast forward to the year 2014 where a motley crew of Journalists are on their way to the Muhurath of the Dutugemunu movie (Maha Raja Gemunu) in Anuradhapura. Their first stop is the famous Ruwanweliseya the monumental and magnificent creation of Dutugemunu, where the Muhurath and the film were blessed.

    Ven Pallegama Hemarathana Thera, at a Press briefing at Ruwanweliseya, called the film a rebirth and a film of national importance. He also said the making of this film fulfilled a national need, a view shared by many. The monk also hailed Chandrasiri’s cinematic creation Samanala Sandhavaniya, a masterpiece. He said Samanala Sandhavaniya paved the way for the making of Maha Raja Gemunu. He said it was an added strength when it came to directing Maha Raja Gemunu, and that this was the perfect and opportune moment for the making of Maha Raja Gemunu

    “Dutugemunu lives in the Sri Lankan consciousness as king who is unparalleled amongst Sri Lankan leaders even today. We owe a debt to Jayantha Chandrasiri and Gunapala Ratnasekera, the crew and the cast in bringing this character to life. They have done this country a service. This involves an enormous responsibility. This is also a religious service. We bless the cast and the crew with wisdom in this endeavor and pray that the power of Ruwanweliseya is with them.”

    Uddika Premarathna probably plays the role of his life as the General and King, Dutugemunu and Jackson Anthony plays the role of King Elara in this cinematic masterpiece.

    “Today my life has reached a turning point. Here I would like to express my gratitude to all involved, especially our Buddhist monks, not forgetting the crew and the cast. I also wish to thank all the media gathered here with great love. I do not really belong to filmmaking, I am a lecturer in the Management stream at Sri Jayawardenapura.

    And not once in the past did I ever envisage producing film! I have always been captivated by the legend of Dutugemunu and his mighty conquest of Elara. It was really this that set me on this path. He was a noble king. I firmly believe that Dutugemunu is now in one of the heavenly realms.

    I provided the financial assistance , but Jayantha Chandrasiri really made this take off as director. I believe that this will be a huge and awesome film. I feel it is due to my meritorious deeds that I am involved in this. I also agree with Pallegama Hemarathana, that this is the perfect time for the film. I also feel that this film really belongs to Sri Lanka.

    I feel our children need to know their roots and where they come from. They need to be taught this at school. This should be done not only in schools actually, but should be taught in Universities as well,” said Gunapala Ratnasekera.

    In a private message, President Mahinda Rajapaksa sent his warm wishes to Jayantha Chandrasiri. The President’s happiness about the film was evident. He said: “The character of King Dutugemunu is still remembered as a paradigm of humanity and triumph, and his self- sacrifice transformed Sri Lanka. He was a king who was honorable and majestic, and a king who changed the course of history in Sri Lanka. Jayantha Chandrasiri is the best man for the job. I wish the film also the best and congratulate everyone involved.”

    Jackson Anthony, glamorous and charismatic, is probably the best man to play the adversary of Dutugemunu. He is probably the best person to wield the sword that carved rivers of blood till he met and was defeated by Dutugemunu the triumphant defender of Sri Lanka.

    “I feel that Jayantha Chandrasiri, my close friend, is at the end of the day, the fit director to take on this massive task. Dutugemunu was the deliverer of Sri Lanka from foreign forces and he must be forever etched in Sri Lankan history. This is what Jayantha Chandrasiri is doing.

    Dutugemunu was the greatest of the Sri Lankan kings. I play the part of Elara. Every hero in history becomes the hero due to the might of his adversary. Dutugemunu became a great king due to the might of Elara who was regarded as undefeatable.”

    Last but not least Jayantha Chandrasiri took his place at the podium. In his speech Chandrasiri was impassioned and digressed. His speech was fiery yet somewhat over the top! Inexplicable sometimes but regaling and definitely interesting!

    “I feel that I am here to spread a great message. When I think of the Ruwanweliseya, a stupendous creation created by magnanimous Dutugemunu, I am awestruck by his greatness. Dutugemunu is a man who belongs to the great universe. His life story and his character is something remarkable. He is no ordinary or common man. He is something great. What stands out about Dutugemunu is that he did it for others and not for himself. He did it for his motherland. Death is definite for all of us, but not Nirvana.”

  17. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
    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.

    I know truth hurts….

  18. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    “Believe nothing, in the faith of traditions,even though, they have been held in honor, for many generations, and in diverse places.

    Do not believe, a thing, because many people speak of it. Do not believe, in the faith, of the sages of the past.
    Do not believe, what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself, that a God inspires you.

    Believe nothing, on the sole authority, of your masters and priests.
    After examination, believe what you yourself, have tested and found, to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.”

    Siddhārtha Gautama

  19. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Please visit the following link to know more facts
    http://federalidea.com/focus/archives/76

  20. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    To Nalliah Thayabharan: I read your two comments where the first one being quite lengthy I have to pick parts of it to make a counter point. You validate Tamil presence by etchings of the word “Demele” in various ways. You however never state when they were etched, nor do you address the issue that the historical chronicle called the Mahavamsa states clearly that Prince Vijaya and his seven hundred followers met a civilization which worshiped the devil (Yaka) and the snake (naga).
    That practice of devil worship has been handed down in the Sinhala culture and transformed into the folk dance called the “devil dance” and the devil masks made in Sri Lanka are that of the Sinhala culture. There is no evidence this even exists in modern Indian or Sri Lankan Tamil culture. The language of the Pre Vijaya civilization is not known, and it was not Tamil for at that very time the Tamils in India were going through their first Sangam period. The old Tamil literature handed down orally has no reference in Sri Lanka. The only remnants of that pre Vijaya civilization could be found in the Devil masks and the folk devil dance. That is not to say Tamil or south Indians did not intermingle with that pre Vijaya civilization but that does not translate to a Tamil dominated pre Vijaya civilization either.
    The minor differences of Hinayana Buddhism found between the oldest unbroken Buddhist nation in the world, Sri Lanka and later Buddhist nations of South east Asia is due to the nature of Buddhism. Buddhism never tried to eliminate the pre existing cultures which are stronger in the South east nations who unlike Sri Lanka went though a period of Hinduism. Cambodia’s famous Angkor Vat, the largest religious building in the world was built for the Hindu God Lord Vishnu when Cambodia and many other nations in southeast Asia to Indonesia embraced Hinduism.

    After the conversion of the Sinhalese by the son of Ashoka, Mahindra who met the Sri Lankan King Devanampiyattissa at the site of Mihintale in around 300 BC Sri Lanka never and I mean never became a predominate Hindu nation. It remained a Buddhist nation to the 21st century and is the only nation outside of China to have an unbroken written history of itself contained in the Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, Culavamsa, The Rajagilya, and the Bhodivamsa. These are historical chronicles. The oldest record of the written form of Sinhalese dates back to the time of Vijaya or the 6th century BC. It is also one of the oldest Indo Aryan languages in the continent.

    The Tipitaka is as relevant to Sinhalese Buddhism as it is to other Buddhist nations. In your comment you refer to the Mahavamsa as a religious text. it is not. Finally keep in mind that the barbarism of the khymer Rouge was to recapture the glory of the time when Cambodia was a Hindu nation, not a Buddhist nation. In the process the government exterminated nearly half of the population. That has never happened in Sri Lanka.

    Finally you quote the Buddha and you are right. The Buddha did not state any God or religious Doctrine. He even told his followers that his path is what he found. His followers should find their own path but keeping in mind the eight fold path of right behavior, thought etc. Buddhism in my opinion is a philosophy of right behavior and right thought. To follow the middle path and not do anything in excess. Or as the Ancient Greek Oracle of Delphi stated “nothing in excess”. The faith of his followers were never questioned by the Buddha.

    Now in modern times and especially in the west Buddhism is seen as the philosophy of the future. Time magazine had on it’s cover a woman in contemplation with the words “Mindfulness” emblazoned on it. It refers to the Sanskrit word Dhyana or a state of mind. It is Zen Buddhism where Dhyana became the word Zen. It was exported from India by a Buddhist monk called Bodhidharma to Japan and has had a profound effect on Europe and the US for a long time since no Christian has to give up his or her faith to follow the teachings of the Buddha. Even an Atheist is welcome.

  21. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    To Nalliah Thayabharan:
    One more issue that makes Sri Lanka stand out and differentiates itself from those South east nations who also adhere to the branch of Hinayana Buddhism.
    You pointed out many illustrious Buddhist monks in Tamil Nadu and to that I would add the glorious Amaravati Stupa which existed in South India. But what was and is the running theme of Sri Lankan Buddhism is that Buddhist Sri Lanka had to and still is facing the more militant aspect of Hinduism embodied in the South Indian Tamil culture. Unlike the South eastern Buddhist nations, Buddhist Sri Lanka faced crippling invasions, massive vandalism and even occupation by a garrison of the Chola Hindu Tamil Empire. These invasions were constant to the degree it finally drove the majority of Sinhalese Buddhist to the deep south and the establishment of a Tamil Kingdom in Jaffna.

    To give an example of a possible different scenario. Imagine if South India was Jain and not the fire brand aspect of Hinduism. The Jain faith is extremely passive and very tolerant. If ancient Buddhist Sri Lanka faced a highly refined Jain culture than the invasive Hindu Tamil culture I believe the ancient capital of Anuradhapura would still be standing and all of Sri Lanka would be pre dominantly Buddhist with a complimentary faith of Jainism. But that was not the case. In this regard when you judge the Sinhalese civilization you must take into account the effects left by the Indian Tamil Hindu civilization upon Sri Lanka which again has not ended in its philosophy of dominating Sri Lanka.

    As for Southeast Asia those nations openly embraced Hinduism before they changed to Buddhism and in the case of Indonesia went on to embrace Islam. Another aspect of Southeast Asia and Hinayana Buddhism was that these nations were much closer to China whose brand of Buddhism was Mahayana which was practiced along with Confucianism and Taoism. If one goes to Vietnam and Laos one can see a greater influence of Confucianism in those nations. Those nations were constantly exposed to Mahayana Buddhism, the remnants of Hinduism where the Hind Mahabharata and the Ramayana continue to be part of the Buddhist culture, especially the Ramayana which has been translated into the Buddhist and Islamic faiths. Their classical dances are closer to the traditions of East India and Oddissi. Tamil architecture or language is not found in those nations. When they were Hindu it was Sanskrit that was spoken and not Tamils as most Tamils claim to have been the main influence in South East Asia.

    You simply cannot compare these Buddhist nations and their psychological development to that of Buddhist Sri Lanka. That is like comparing apples to oranges.

  22. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Thank you so much for the enlightenment Mr Bernard Wijeyasinghe !!!

    Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha’s period saw not only urbanisation, but also the beginnings of centralised states.The successful expansion of Buddhism depended on the growing economy of the time, together with increased centralized political organization capable of change. Buddhism had seen a steady growth from its beginnings to its endorsement as state religion of the Maurya Empire under Ashoka Maurya (304BCE–232 BCE). It continued to flourish another 4 centuries and spread even beyond the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia and beyond to China.

    Ashoka Maurya banned Vedic sacrifices as contrary to Buddhist benevolence, Buddhism began its spread outside of its Magadha homeland. The succeeding Shungas reinstated the sacrifices. They also built the large Sanchi stupa next to a Shunga capital. The overall trend of Buddhism’s spread across India and state support by various regional regimes continued.The consolidation of monastic organization made Buddhism the center of religious and intellectual life in India. Pushyamitra the first ruler of the Sunga Dynasty built great Buddhist topes at Sanchi in 188 BCE. The succeeding Kanva Dynasty had four Buddhist Kanva Kings.

    The decline of Buddhism in India is the result of the hostility of the Brahmans. The gradual expansion in the scope and authority of caste regulations shifted political and economic power to the local arena, reversing the trend of centralization.The caste system gradually expanded into secular life as a regulative code of social and economic transactions. In ancient times, the four varnas were primarily a categorization scheme and the Vedas did contain prohibitions regarding intermarriage. There were, however, large numbers of castes probably originally tribal lineage groups.

    Pusyamitra Sunga (185 BCE to 151 BCE) was hostile to Buddhism, he burned Sūtras, Buddhists shrines and massacred monks. The Hindu Saivite ruler Shashanka of Gauda (590–626) destroyed the Buddhist images and Bo Tree, under which Siddhartha Gautama is said to have achieved enlightenment. But a steady decline of Buddhism in India set in during the later Gupta era and under the Pala Empire. Chinese monks traveling through the region between the 5th and 8th centuries CE, such as Faxian, Xuanzang, Yijing, Huisheng, and Song Yun, began to speak of a decline of the Buddhist sangha, especially in the wake of the White Hun invasion. By that time, Buddhism had become especially vulnerable to hostile rulers because it lacked strong roots in society as most of its adherents were ascetic communities.

    In 711 Muhammad bin Qasim conquered the Sindh, bringing Indian societies into contact with Islam, succeeding partly because Dahir was an unpopular Hindu king that ruled over a Buddhist majority and that Chach of Alor and his kin were regarded as usurpers of the earlier Buddhist Rai Dynasty – a view questioned by those who note the diffuse and blurred nature of Hindu and Buddhist practices in the region, especially that of the royalty to be patrons of both and those who believe that Chach himself may have been a Buddhist. The forces of Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir in alliance with the Jats and other regional governors.

    Many instances of conversion of stupas to mosques such as at Nerun as well as the incorporation of the religious elite into the ruling administration such as the allocation of 3% of the government revenue was allocated to the Brahmins. As a whole, the non-Muslim populations of conquered territories were treated as People of the Book and granted the freedom to practice their respective faiths in return for payment of the poll tax (jizya). They were then excused from military service or payment of the tax paid by Muslim subjects – Zakat. The jizya enforced was a graded tax, being heaviest on the elite and lightest on the poor.

    The Gupta Empire period was a time of great development of Hindu culture but even then, in the Ganges Plain, half of the population supported Buddhism and the five precepts were widely observed. The Hindu rulers and wealthy laity gave lavish material support to Buddhist monasteries. After the Guptas, the Shaivite kings of Gujarat (as well as Nepal and Kashmir) also patronized Buddhist monasteries, building a great center of Buddhist learning at Valabhi. The Buddhist emperor Harsha and the later Buddhist Pala dynasty (8th to11th Centuries ) were great patrons of Buddhism but it had already begun to lose its political and social base.

    With the surge of Hindu philosophers like Adi Shankara(788 – 820), along with Madhvacharya and Ramanuja, three leaders in the revival of Hindu philosophy, Buddhism started to fade out rapidly from the landscape of India.

    By the 10th century Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the Hindu-Shahis, effectively removing Hindu influence and ending Buddhist self-governance across Central Asia, as well as the Punjab region. He demolished both stupas and temples during his numerous campaigns across North-Western India, but left those within his domains and Afghanistan alone. Hindu and Buddhist statues, shrines and temples were looted and destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni and many Buddhists had to take refuge in Tibet.

    Decline continued after the fall of the Pala dynasty in the 12th century and the gradual Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent. The Buddhism of Magadha was finally swept away by the Islamic invasion under one of Qutb-ud-Din’s generals Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, during which many of the Viharas and the famed universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila were destroyed, and thousands of Buddhist monks were massacred in 12th century.

    Muhammad attacked the north-western regions of the Indian subcontinent many times. Gujarat later fell to Muhammad of Ghor’s armies in 1197. Muhammad of Ghor’s army was too developed for the traditional Indian army of that time to resist.

    In 1197 the capital, Bihar, was seized by a small party of two hundred horsemen, who rushed the postern gate, and sacked the town. Further, the slaughter of the “shaven-headed Brahmans,” as the Muslim chronicler calls the Buddhist monks, “was so complete that when the victor searched for a competent person to explain the contents of the library not a soul was alive.

    A similar fate befell upon the other Buddhist institutions, against which the combined intolerance and rapacity of the invaders was directed. The monasteries were sacked and the monks were slain, many of the temples were ruthlessly destroyed or desecrated, and countless idols were broken and trodden under their foot. Those monks who escaped the sword fled to Nepal, Tibet, and South India to avoid the consequences of war and Buddhism was finally destroyed and those areas then came under these Muslim rulers.

    Although the Mithila rulers were Shaivite Hindus, they continued the Pala patronage of Buddhism and offered strong resistance against the Ghurids. They stopped, for example, an attempted drive to take Tibet in 1206. The Sena king (a Hindu) installed defensive garrisons at Odantapuri and Vikramashila Monasteries, which were imposing walled citadels directly on the Ghurids’ line of advance.

    Nalanda escaped the fate of Odantapuri and Vikramshila monasteries. When the Tibetan translator, Chag Lotsawa Dharmasvamin (Chag Lo-tsa-ba, 1197 – 1264), visited northern India in 1235, he found Nalanda damaged, looted, and largely deserted, but still standing and functioning with 70 students.
    A Tibetan monk called Dharmaswamin visited Nalanda in 1235, nearly 40 years after its sack, and found a small class still conducted in the ruins by a 90 old monk, Rahul Sribhadra. Weak and old, the teacher was kept fed and alive by a local Brahmin, Jayadeva. Warned of a roving band of 300 Turks, the class dispersed, with Dharmaswamin carrying his nonagenarian teacher on his back into hiding. Only the two of them came back, and after the last lesson (it was Sanskrit grammar) Rahul Sribhadra told his Tibetan student that he had taught him all he knew and in spite of his entreaties asked him to go home. Packing a raggedy bundle of surviving manuscripts under his robe, Dharmaswamin left the old monk sitting calmly amidst the ruins. And both he and the Dharma of Sakyamuni made their exit from India.

    Many Buddhist monks fled Bihar and parts of northern Bengal, seeking asylum in monastic universities and centres in modern-day Orissa, southern Bangladesh, Arakan on the western coast of Burma, southern Burma, and northern Thailand. The majority, however, together with numerous Buddhist lay followers, went to the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, bringing with them many manuscripts from the vast monastic libraries that had been destroyed.

    Buddhism was in a strong position in Kathmandu at the time. The Hindu kings of the Thakuri Dynasties (750 – 1200) had supported the Buddhist monasteries, and there were several monastic universities. Since the end of the tenth century, numerous Tibetan translators had been visiting these centres on their way to India, and Nepalese masters from them had been instrumental in the revival of Buddhism in central and western Tibet. The early Hindu rulers of the Malla Period (1200 – 1768) continued the policies of their Thakuri predecessors.

    The Musalman invaders sacked the Buddhist Universities of Nalanda, Vikramshila, Jagaddala, Odantapuri to name only a few. They raised to the ground Buddhist monasteries with which the country was studded. The monks fled away in thousands to Nepal, Tibet and other places outside India. A very large number were killed outright by the Muslim commanders. How the Buddhist priesthood perished by the sword of the Muslim invaders has been recorded by the Muslim historians themselves.

    In 1215, Genghis Khan conquered Afghanistan and devastated the Muslim world. In 1227, after his death, his conquest was divided. Chagatai then established the Chagatai Khanate, where his son Arghun made Buddhism the state religion. At the same time, he came down harshly on Islam and demolished mosques to build many stupas. He was succeeded by his brother, and then his son Ghazan who converted to Islam and in 1295 changed the state religion. After his reign, and the splitting of the Chagatai Khanate, little mention of Buddhism or the stupas built by the Mongols can be found in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    Timur was a 14th-century warlord of Turco-Mongol descent conqueror of much of Western and central Asia, and founder of the Timurid Empire destroyed Buddhist establishments and raided areas in which Buddhism had flourished.

    In Tamilnadu and Kerala, Buddhism survived until 15th to 16th century, as witnessed by the manuscript of the Manjusrimulakalpa. At Nagapattinam, in Tamil Nadu, Buddhist icons were cast and inscribed until this time, and the ruins of the Chudamani Vihara stood until they were destroyed by the Jesuits in 1867.

    Muslims wiped out
    complete civilisation in Egypt
    Parsees from Persia
    Buddhists from Afghanistan & Maldives
    Sikhs from Lahore
    Sindhis from Sindh
    Kashmiri pandits from Kashmir
    Hindus & Buddhists in Bangladesh.
    Christians and Hindus from several Islands of Indonesia

    But the real enemies to defeat are the disturbing emotions and attitudes that lie hidden in the mind. Buddhism’s “Jihad” is purely an internal spiritual war against the inner foes. Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha was born into the warrior caste and often used military imagery to describe the spiritual journey. Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha was the Triumphant One, who defeated the demonic forces of unawareness, distorted views, disturbing emotions, and impulsive karmic behavior.

  23. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Hinduism began in India around 1,500 BCE, Jainism around 9th century BCE and Buddhism around the 6th century BCE. The Indian culture had evolved impressive intellectual, religious and artistic pursuits.

    Then came Islam – slaughter, slavery, rape, violence, pillage; destruction of religious sites, art and architecture; poverty, exploitation, humiliation, famine, forced conversion, decline in intellectual pursuits, social destruction and a worsening of social ills. To Islam, anything that is not Islamic is from a time of ignorance –Jahiliyya- and must be destroyed. The onslaught created the Roma (gypsies), destroyed ‘Hindu’ Afghanistan and formed Pakistan (Kashmir) and Bangladesh.

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