Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated – V
Posted on June 11th, 2014

By Nalin de Siva Courtesy Island

N A de S Amaratunga, who is engaged in a so-called dialogue with me in Vidusara writes to that paper as Prof. Ashoka Amaratunga D. Sc., and cannot be different from the latter in his loose thinking. I had written only three articles on “Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated” when he published his response to my series of articles, but he had claimed I had written four articles, probably counting some other article I had written as one of the series. In fact my fourth article appeared on the same day Amaratunga’s article was published in The Island.

It appears that Amaratunga does not understand the difference between culture and religion, and by Sinhala Buddhism I refer to a culture and not to a religion as I have explained in my series of articles. It is unfortunate that many so called educated people in the country cannot think clearly, if they think at all. I would reply to Amaratunga after I finish this series of articles but in the meantime would like to see him defending “war” in Theravada Buddhism without referring to a culture. Amaratunga I am sure has no objection to defeating the LTTE in the humanitarian operations but could he defend “war” in Theravada Buddhism which he and others want to portrait as a rational empirical Bududahama though rationalism and empiricism are poles apart as Philosophies in the western tradition. Amaratunga does not believe in Punabbhava (rebirth) Kamma, Bodhisathva concept and thinks that the latter concept is from Hinduism through Mahayana.

Budunvahanse was not a teacher like Socrates Plato or Aristotle or the Greek Geometers and others such as Archimedes and Euclid. The latter were products of a culture and they did not introduce a new Chinthanaya or a culture or even a paradigm within a Chinthanaya. Aristotle refined what was already in the Greek culture, and most probably some knowledge associated with his name is not his work. Budunvahanse on the other hand introduced a new Chinthanaya and a new culture. Religions are associated with cultures though there may be cultures without religions. Of course a lot depends on what is meant by religion but for the purposes of this series a religion may be understood as a system of knowledge with a concern for “life” after death and with a set of rituals very often associated with priests or “pujya” as in Bududahama. Priests very often come between the God and the individual, but in Bududahama as there is no God the “pujya” have a different role. It is not only Bududahama and Hinduism that speak of life after death, as the other religions though they may not believe in “samsara” preach of hell, heaven, places where at least human beings find themselves after death. In almost all religions ways and means are taught how to live indefinitely in order to avoid death, but in Bududahama death is avoided by not being born again.

In the west it was Martin Luther who initiated a new religion in the sixteenth century, and defined the new culture that had been associated with people such as Michelangelo. Though the so called renaissance saw the beginning of a new culture it was Luther who gave flesh to the culture in more than one way by introducing a new religion. We still live with the culture and Chinthanaya of Luther, Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton and others though they have evolved over the last five hundred years or so. This culture is nothing but the Judaic Christian culture as opposed to Catholic and other cultures, and in Sri Lanka we have patches of Sinhala Buddhism on a Judaic Christian culture.

The Sinhala Buddhism as we have already noticed has gone through various stages, the most important being the introduction of Bududahama to the Yagu Kauranas (the so called Yakshas), the introduction of Ashokan Buddhism and the interaction between the Andra Pradesh Bhikkus and the Mahavihara Bhikkus around the fifth and sixth centuries. Then we have the two “kathikavathas” (definitely not discourses) Polonnaruwa and Dambadeniya, and the revival of Sinhala Buddhism by Ven. Velivita Sri Saranankara Thero. Finally we come across the nineteenth century revival and of course Olcott Buddhism.

I tend to think that the Hela Buddhism of Yagu Kauranas had the Bududahama of Budunvahanse at the core as the religion but was surrounded with rituals associated with the culture of the Yagu Kauranas with their gods and rituals. When Ashokan Buddhism with its Vedic coronation was introduced to the country it was not the core Vibhajjavadi Bududahama of the third Sangayana (council) that the people (those who had come with Vijaya or the Vedic people and may be a few others) embraced but the rituals such as Bodhi Vandana. The pirith most probably was known in Hela Buddhism and Ashokan Buddhism would have followed the former continuing with the tradition.

If somebody thinks that Vibhajjavada would have survived without the rituals then he (usually women do not think so stupidly) is living in a world of dreams. The Vibhajjavada or any other interpretation of Bududahama could survive in libraries without rituals but not in the lives (hearts) of people. It is the ritual associated with the core religion than the core itself that is more important as far as the survival of a culture and Sinhala Buddhism has survived mainly due to the rituals the women have been involved with and the amalgamation of Sinhalaness with Buddhism as a culture by some Bhikkus who were of course males. It is the male Bhikkus and lay women who have kept Sinhala Buddhism alive and not the pedantic lay male scholars or pundits who have not done anything significant in the process. Of course there was another set of people who were instrumental in connection with the survival of Sinhala Buddhism, and it was none other than the Sinhala Buddhist kings and those males who went to war with the Kings, or the ranviruvas if I may use a word that is popular at present. I wonder what the pundit males were doing when the King had no choice but to go to war in defense of the country, nation and the religion, though these concepts would not have been formulated then in that manner.

 Sinhala Buddhism is the result of evolution of Ashokan Buddhism after defeating Hela Buddhism and absorbing the rituals of the latter. The Hela Buddhists had been not followers of two valued two fold logic of Vibhajjavada and most probably they were influenced by “prathyaksha” in “understanding” the world or creating the world. There are three important facts that we have to remember on this Poson Poya day associated with the arrival of Ven. Arhant Mahinda Thero. They are the interview with the King Devanampiya Tissa, Cullahaththipadopama Sutta the sutta that was the topic of the first Dharmadeshana, and the Bodhi Vandana introduced by Ven. Arhant Mahinda Thero. They are so significant, and it clearly demonstrates that the Arhant Thero was responding to the then existing Hela Buddhist Culture. In fact there was no Vibhajjavada in any of these three significant events clearly demonstrating the understanding of the Arhant Mahinda Thero of the Hela Buddhist culture.

The dialogue between the Arhant Thero and the king goes beyond two valued twofold logic of western Mathematics (and of course Vibhajjavada) and defies set theory in western Mathematics. I have demonstrated this in a number of articles that can be accessed through the Kalaya website, and when the king said he was neither a relative nor a non relative of himself he showed that his logic was not confined to limited Aristotelian logic, which the present day male pundits and few imitating female pundits are familiar with. The logic of Hela Buddhists and of Sinhala Buddhists has been different from the logic of the westerners who can only think in terms of dualist concepts. The Cullahaththipadopama Sutta says that it is prathyaksha that is important and not deductive logic or present day logical positivism or anything else in coming to conclusions. The Bodhi Vandana goes against dry male pundit imitators who think rationalism and empiricism or their offshoots are the best that have been created (discovered in their imitating worlds) by the human beings.

 (To be continued)

13 Responses to “Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated – V”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    RAJ SOMADEVA- HAS GIVEN SOME CLUES ABOUT GUHA OR LEN MADE BEFORE MAHINDAGAMANAYA MAY BE DURING LORD BUDDHA.S VISITS–WRITTEN “” patibhana lena”””….HELA BUDDHISTS OR YAKKHA BUDDHISTS TIME.

    WELL DONE NALIN

    “”””eeth mewa samaharunta waha kaduru””” SUCH PEOPLE SHOULD READ VEN MAANEWE VIMALARATHANA”s BOOK

  2. Ben Silva Says:

    History shows that countries in the Silk route, Nalanda Buddhists, Maldive Buddhists have all been wiped out. In the real world, the law of nature is survival of the fittest. Buddhism is too passive. Even in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese have lost, North, East, Hill country and now even Colombo. The Buddhist belief of giving up desires and aim to terminate existence will not help to survive in the real world. The Buddhist belief of giving up desires and aiming for ending birth rebirth cycle will lead to the extinction of Sinhalese and the introduction of Shariya law. The Sinhalese have to be saved from Buddhism and only the educated can do so. Nirvana, sansare, karma and rebirth are mere Indian ancient myths, without any evidence and even Indians have dumped these beliefs after the Nalanda debacle.

  3. Nimal Says:

    Buddhism must be protected from our politicians.

  4. Ben Silva Says:

    History shows that countries in the Silk route, Nalanda Buddhists, Maldive Buddhists have all been wiped out. In the real world, the law of nature is survival of the fittest. Even in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese have lost, North, East, Hill country and now even Colombo. The Buddhist belief of giving up desires and aim to terminate existence will not help to survive in the real world. The Buddhist belief of giving up desires and aiming for ending birth rebirth cycle will lead to the extinction of Sinhalese and the introduction of Shariya law. The Sinhalese have to be saved from Buddhism and only the educated can do so. Nirvana rebirth etc are ancient Indian myths, that even Indians do not believe after the Nalanda debacle. If the Sinhalese are not saved from Buddhism, they are likely to face the same fate as Nalanda Buddhists. Evidence is that the Sinhalese are heading that way.

  5. Ben Silva Says:

    I have to say that original teachings of Buddha, Buddhist ethics and Buddhist precepts are excellent and has to be valued, defended and promoted. Buddhist precepts could be followed by any good person. Somehow, the original teachings of Buddha appear to be corrupted. We need to balance Buddhist morality and reality of living in a highly competitive dangerous world. We have to remember, if we want to survive we have to be fit. Sikhs learnt this concept after experiencing conflicts with Muslims. Some Muslims believe that you have to kill non believers to go to heaven. Such people could be very dangerous, as happened in Nalanda, and we need to develop skills to survive and defend ourselves, without being afraid of suffering. If we do not learn from the mistakes of Buddhists in the Silk route, then we may follow their fate! I hope it is not too late already. The whole world and economic systems appears to be driven by satisfaction of customer desires in a market economy. We have to be very careful in believing unproven myths with no evidence. Also useful to remember Lord Buddha’s Kalama sutra.

  6. Nanda Says:

    “Somehow, the original teachings of Buddha appear to be corrupted. We need to balance Buddhist morality and reality of living in a highly competitive dangerous world.”

    Here someone is looking for opportunity again ! Cowardly and slowly coming to THE POINT.
    Running out of your medicine ?
    This fellow thinks Nalanda is in Sri Lanka, Borella.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    I’m tired of fighting Ben Silva. What HURTS is he has a point. He is WRONG in COLCLUSION that Buddhism is at fault for Nalanda, Maldives, Pakistan, SL’s east, Colombo city, etc.

    But he is right on the OBSERVATION.

    We cannot and should not bash him out of the forum.

    PAST
    Nalanda, Maldives, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. etc.

    RECENT PAST
    Beruwela, Ampara, Trinco, Gampola, Colombo city, Aluthgama, etc.

    Thailand, Burma, Tibet = ALL of them in CONSTANT trouble.

    FUTURE
    ?

    Something is DESTABILIZING Buddhist societies and there is NO CURE so far. Obviously KARMA and REBIRTH are HINDU concepts not Buddhist. These things drive FEAR into foolish people limiting intelligent OBSERVATION. One who doesn’t fear Karma or Rebirth is free to see the reality.

  8. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    He does not attack Hack-Him’s religion , Kassipu Geobbles religion or Prbhakaran’s religion. He attack the core of Buddhism, Nibbana. That is the bottom line.
    What is point he is right on ?
    PAST- Muslims never got rid of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, our own Rajasinghe did.
    PRESENT- whole world is under this threat , we are not an exception
    FUTURE- if our bugger are deaf and dumb THAT IS THE ONLY REASON for Buddhism to disappear. Shagha will fight , as they did in the past. But , if NO NIBBAANA , we have no Buddhism but another form of Hinduism.

    “Obviously KARMA and REBIRTH are HINDU concepts not Buddhist” – WRONG.
    HINDU KARMA is different to Buddhist Kamma. Same is the difference between Moksha and Nibbana.
    Rebirth in Buddhism is not a concept, a fact which is proven. But without Nibbana, Buddhism= Hinduism.

  9. Nanda Says:

    Please study both Hinduism and Buddhism in depth, before claiming “obviously KARMA and REBIRTH are HINDU concepts not Buddhism”. Study the history of Hinduism in India and compare with the Brhaminism and Vedhas that existed during Buddha’s time. Don’t be another GON.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    ANY in depth study of Buddhism ends in KARMA and REBIRTH which prevents further discussion. In my view these are PLUGGED IN concepts into Buddhism.

    If Kalama sutra is anything to go by I REJECT karma and rebirth and take the rest. 4 noble truths, 8 noble paths and HENCE the 5 precepts should be the basis.

  11. Nanda Says:

    You walking naked imagining wearing a nice dress.

    “I REJECT karma and rebirth and take the rest, 4 noble truths, 8 noble paths and HENCE the 5 precepts should be the basis.”

    2nd noble truth is ARISING OF SUFFERING , which is Thanha or craving.
    3rd noble truth is CESATION OF SUFFERING which is Nibbaana.
    Five precepts connects with the 4th noble truth, THE PATH but once Nibbana is realised it is irrelevant.

    Arising and cessation of suffering is explained in detail under DEPENDANT ORIGINATION which invariably explains rebirth and Nibbana. There is no “Kamma” as a word appearing here but “Sankara” is connected.

    The core is Nibbana. If someone tell a Catholic “God is non existent but follow Jesus” it is the same as existence of Buddha without nibbaana.
    Any FOOL will see that you dont’ need a Buddha to ask you to follow Five precepts ot 10 commandments.

    Kalama Sutta is directed to people like you, not for us , for you to think properly and give up your wrong view.

  12. Nanda Says:

    Following is an explanation of Kalama Sutta by Bikkhu Bodhi (who is an American Jew by birth) for ALL THE FOOLS who try to exploit it to destroy Buddhism on Web.

    A Look at the Kalama Sutta

    by

    Bhikkhu Bodhi

    In this issue of the newsletter we have combined the feature essay with the “Sutta Study” column as we take a fresh look at an often quoted discourse of the Buddha, the Kalama Sutta. The discourse — found in translation in Wheel No. 8 — has been described as “the Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry,” and though the discourse certainly does counter the decrees of dogmatism and blind faith with a vigorous call for free investigation, it is problematic whether the sutta can support all the positions that have been ascribed to it. On the basis of a single passage, quoted out of context, the Buddha has been made out to be a pragmatic empiricist who dismisses all doctrine and faith, and whose Dhamma is simply a freethinker’s kit to truth which invites each one to accept and reject whatever he likes.

    But does the Kalama Sutta really justify such views? Or do we meet in these claims just another set of variations on that egregious old tendency to interpret the Dhamma according to whatever notions are congenial to oneself — or to those to whom one is preaching? Let us take as careful a look at the Kalama Sutta as the limited space allotted to this essay will allow, remembering that in order to understand the Buddha’s utterances correctly it is essential to take account of his own intentions in making them.

    The passage that has been cited so often runs as follows: “Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition, nor upon rumor, nor upon scripture, nor upon surmise, nor upon axiom, nor upon specious reasoning, nor upon bias toward a notion pondered over, nor upon another’s seeming ability, nor upon the consideration ‘The monk is our teacher.’ When you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad, blamable, censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them… When you yourselves know: ‘These things are good, blameless, praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,’ enter on and abide in them.”

    Now this passage, like everything else spoken by the Buddha, has been stated in a specific context — with a particular audience and situation in view — and thus must be understood in relation to that context. The Kalamas, citizens of the town of Kesaputta, had been visited by religious teachers of divergent views, each of whom would propound his own doctrines and tear down the doctrines of his predecessors. This left the Kalamas perplexed, and thus when “the recluse Gotama,” reputed to be an Awakened One, arrived in their township, they approached him in the hope that he might be able to dispel their confusion. From the subsequent development of the sutta, it is clear that the issues that perplexed them were the reality of rebirth and kammic retribution for good and evil deeds.

    The Buddha begins by assuring the Kalamas that under such circumstances it is proper for them to doubt, an assurance which encourages free inquiry. He next speaks the passage quoted above, advising the Kalamas to abandon those things they know for themselves to be bad and to undertake those things they know for themselves to be good. This advice can be dangerous if given to those whose ethical sense is undeveloped, and we can thus assume that the Buddha regarded the Kalamas as people of refined moral sensitivity. In any case he did not leave them wholly to their own resources, but by questioning them led them to see that greed, hate and delusion, being conducive to harm and suffering for oneself and others, are to be abandoned, and their opposites, being beneficial to all, are to be developed.

    The Buddha next explains that a “noble disciple, devoid of covetousness and ill will, undeluded” dwells pervading the world with boundless loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity. Thus purified of hate and malice, he enjoys here and now four “solaces”: If there is an afterlife and kammic result, then he will undergo a pleasant rebirth, while if there is none he still lives happily here and now; if evil results befall an evil-doer, then no evil will befall him, and if evil results do not befall an evil-doer, then he is purified anyway. With this the Kalamas express their appreciation of the Buddha’s discourse and go for refuge to the Triple Gem.

    Now does the Kalama Sutta suggest, as is often held, that a follower of the Buddhist path can dispense with all faith and doctrine, that he should make his own personal experience the criterion for judging the Buddha’s utterances and for rejecting what cannot be squared with it? It is true the Buddha does not ask the Kalamas to accept anything he says out of confidence in himself, but let us note one important point: the Kalamas, at the start of the discourse, were not the Buddha’s disciples. They approached him merely as a counselor who might help dispel their doubts, but they did not come to him as the Tathagata, the Truth-finder, who might show them the way to spiritual progress and to final liberation.

    Thus, because the Kalamas had not yet come to accept the Buddha in terms of his unique mission, as the discloser of the liberating truth, it would not have been in place for him to expound to them the Dhamma unique to his own Dispensation: such teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the three characteristics, and the methods of contemplation based upon them. These teachings are specifically intended for those who have accepted the Buddha as their guide to deliverance, and in the suttas he expounds them only to those who “have gained faith in the Tathagata” and who possess the perspective necessary to grasp them and apply them. The Kalamas, however, at the start of the discourse are not yet fertile soil for him to sow the seeds of his liberating message. Still confused by the conflicting claims to which they have been exposed, they are not yet clear even about the groundwork of morality.

    Nevertheless, after advising the Kalamas not to rely upon established tradition, abstract reasoning, and charismatic gurus, the Buddha proposes to them a teaching that is immediately verifiable and capable of laying a firm foundation for a life of moral discipline and mental purification. He shows that whether or not there be another life after death, a life of moral restraint and of love and compassion for all beings brings its own intrinsic rewards here and now, a happiness and sense of inward security far superior to the fragile pleasures that can be won by violating moral principles and indulging the mind’s desires. For those who are not concerned to look further, who are not prepared to adopt any convictions about a future life and worlds beyond the present one, such a teaching will ensure their present welfare and their safe passage to a pleasant rebirth — provided they do not fall into the wrong view of denying an afterlife and kammic causation.

    However, for those whose vision is capable of widening to encompass the broader horizons of our existence, this teaching given to the Kalamas points beyond its immediate implications to the very core of the Dhamma. For the three states brought forth for examination by the Buddha — greed, hate and delusion — are not merely grounds of wrong conduct or moral stains upon the mind. Within his teaching’s own framework they are the root defilements — the primary causes of all bondage and suffering — and the entire practice of the Dhamma can be viewed as the task of eradicating these evil roots by developing to perfection their antidotes — dispassion, kindness and wisdom.

    Thus the discourse to the Kalamas offers an acid test for gaining confidence in the Dhamma as a viable doctrine of deliverance. We begin with an immediately verifiable teaching whose validity can be attested by anyone with the moral integrity to follow it through to its conclusions, namely, that the defilements cause harm and suffering both personal and social, that their removal brings peace and happiness, and that the practices taught by the Buddha are effective means for achieving their removal. By putting this teaching to a personal test, with only a provisional trust in the Buddha as one’s collateral, one eventually arrives at a firmer, experientially grounded confidence in the liberating and purifying power of the Dhamma. This increased confidence in the teaching brings along a deepened faith in the Buddha as teacher, and thus disposes one to accept on trust those principles he enunciates that are relevant to the quest for awakening, even when they lie beyond one’s own capacity for verification. This, in fact, marks the acquisition of right view, in its preliminary role as the forerunner of the entire Noble Eightfold Path.

    Partly in reaction to dogmatic religion, partly in subservience to the reigning paradigm of objective scientific knowledge, it has become fashionable to hold, by appeal to the Kalama Sutta, that the Buddha’s teaching dispenses with faith and formulated doctrine and asks us to accept only what we can personally verify. This interpretation of the sutta, however, forgets that the advice the Buddha gave the Kalamas was contingent upon the understanding that they were not yet prepared to place faith in him and his doctrine; it also forgets that the sutta omits, for that very reason, all mention of right view and of the entire perspective that opens up when right view is acquired. It offers instead the most reasonable counsel on wholesome living possible when the issue of ultimate beliefs has been put into brackets.

    What can be justly maintained is that those aspects of the Buddha’s teaching that come within the purview of our ordinary experience can be personally confirmed within experience, and that this confirmation provides a sound basis for placing faith in those aspects of the teaching that necessarily transcend ordinary experience. Faith in the Buddha’s teaching is never regarded as an end in itself nor as a sufficient guarantee of liberation, but only as the starting point for an evolving process of inner transformation that comes to fulfillment in personal insight. But in order for this insight to exercise a truly liberative function, it must unfold in the context of an accurate grasp of the essential truths concerning our situation in the world and the domain where deliverance is to be sought. These truths have been imparted to us by the Buddha out of his own profound comprehension of the human condition. To accept them in trust after careful consideration is to set foot on a journey which transforms faith into wisdom, confidence into certainty, and culminates in liberation from suffering.

  13. Nanda Says:

    Any fool who is incapable of reading understanding the logic Bikkhu Bodhi presents, should stop trying to save Sri Lanka and strive hard to save himself.
    We have enough FOOLS, pretending to save Sri Lanka and Buddhism, ACTUALLY ENGAGE IN A WAR AGAINST SINHALA BUDDHIST.

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