Limits of realpolitik and the cost of maithri misdirected
Posted on January 15th, 2015

By Rohana R. Wasala

Courtesy The Island

I hail the final result of the free and fair election so efficiently conducted under the outgoing administration as confirmation of the fact that democracy remains still safe and untouched in this country. The coming together of many diverse, formerly well-nigh irreconcilable factions, but which were eventually  bound by a common aim (that of dislodging Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa from power, come what may) demonstrates the great potential that such pan-Sri Lankan unity  has for causing even more positive change in the country without resorting to violence. The change of government, however brought about, could offer unprecedented opportunities for resolving the longstanding national issue. The fact that the UPFA has promised unconditional support for the government to implement its 100-day programme, which could give the people a foretaste of what to expect under a more permanent regime set up after this change, is an encouraging sign for future developments of a positive nature. Things are generally looking up for the new government.

Having said this, however, I must admit that I was among those Sri Lankans who did not actually envisage a regime change engineered through a coup of sorts at this juncture in view of the more important local and global ramifications of the problem. In circumstances that need no elaboration, what actually happened was that the election that the former president held two years ahead of the end of his second term for his own strategic reasons was turned into an uncalled for caesarean section by vested interests. A change of government effected without outside interference would have been better for the health and longevity of the new government and also for the wellbeing of the country. If the agenda of the  movers and shakers behind this operation agrees with the democratic wish of the non-communalist majority (which includes all ethnic communities) of the population it will definitely be the happiest national occasion for all Sri Lankans since the defeat of terrorism.

The smooth manner in which the transfer of power took place, even in the abnormal circumstances it had to be performed,  reflects the fact that after all Sri Lankan leaders are well schooled in leading the unhampered democratic process that is necessary for the exercise of the people’s right to change governments through the power of the ballot, and that they don’t need outsiders to preach to them or pressure them in this regard. Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr Maithripala Sirisena and Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe played their complementary roles in a highly commendable manner. In the generally hopeful environment that has emerged, my personal belief is that the government change, while being a clear victory for Rajapaksa haters, has paradoxically the potential of being, in the long term, a blessing in disguise for Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa and his supporters.

However, the short term effect is otherwise: it looks like a tragic fall for Mr Rajapaksa. In a classical Greek tragedy such as Oedipus Rex (King Oedipus) the protagonist (main character) is a noble person, a hero. The drama is built around the fall of this character from fortune to adversity due to some negative factor in his situation such as a flaw in his reasoning, hubris or overweening pride in his own abilities, and an inherent condition in the society, which prevents him from reaching some noble goal that he aspires to realize.  Mr Rajapaksa’s tragic flaw  was his voluntary or involuntary vulnerability to charges of rampant corruption and nepotism or family bandyism (something from which, unfortunately, his successor is not immune). Of course, no politician in power is completely safe from charges of corruption, but that doesn’t mean that every politician is corrupt. The voters knew this from the beginning, but expected him, at the earliest instance available, to put an end to his vulnerability to such charges by doing something proactive about it. After patiently turning a blind eye to it for as long as they possibly could for the sake of the country, many strong Mahinda supporters thought enough is enough and helped his ouster even at some temporary  risk to the country. The opposition ranks arrayed against him, swollen by defectors from his own governing alliance, almost exclusively focused on these charges and his alleged susceptibility (as rumoured) to an authoritarian style of interaction with his colleagues in the government; they played down his successful performance in more important areas such as national security and the equitable development of all parts of the country including particularly the northern and the eastern provinces which had faced the brunt of the civil war, which aspect of his presence was actually the basis of his popularity. This relentless insistence by his critics on  (probably strategically exaggerated) charges of corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism, etc.,  had its desired effect especially among social media savvy young people (say those between 18 and 35) who seemed to adopt a clearly more no-nonsense attitude towards those corruption allegations than an older generation of voters who were ready to temporarily overlook these in support of the war-winning leader now embarked on a massive development drive. The majority of the older supporters of Mr Rajapaksa trusted him to focus on the need to eliminate the grounds for such accusations to be made against him when more pressing matters would be sufficiently settled. But there is no doubt in my mind that they wholeheartedly approve of the hardnosed attitude of the younger generations of voters towards power seeking politicians (such as what is the norm in Australian parliamentary politics, where the unalterable implicit warning to all politicians is ‘deliver or depart’: Former federal prime minister Mrs Julia Gillard had to go because of the carbon tax problem, and now  the writing is said to be on the wall for her successor Mr Tony Abbott on similar grounds). That trend should be encouraged by all means for the good of the country.

It is unfortunate that the former president got no chance, or didn’t try to find one, to respond to opposition charges of corruption, and that apparently he didn’t think it necessary to have restricted his preference for co-opting family members into the task of nation building to his three brothers;  and despite his alleged authoritarian way of dealing with his subordinate colleagues, he strangely failed to contain the  abominable behavior of certain unsavory characters around him.  It is said that he was too kindhearted to hurt the feelings of his friends, and he forgave them too often. In the process, he effectively betrayed the trust reposed in him by the people of the country. So it was a case of misdirected maithri (in Buddhism ‘loving kindness’ also literally ‘friendliness’).As a non-partisan journalist, with absolutely no selfish motives to achieve, but only well intentioned towards both Mr Rajapaksa and the country, I wrote two articles entitled Old fossils out, new blood in” and What’s wrong with corruption” in both of  which I called a spade a spade while making some brief comments on, respectively, the inadvisability of nepotism, and the necessity of registering a plausible response to charges of corruption. My purpose was to seriously suggest that something convincing be done to create no conducive environment for such allegations to arise. This was quite  early in Mr Rajapaksa’s second term. These articles, published in The Island respectively on September 11, 2010 and July 29, 2011, are still available in the internet. (Of course, here I am writing as an average citizen of the country.  Much wiser and far more knowledgeable people than me have made similar suggestions.) Perhaps, Mr Rajapaksa neglected to refute charges of corruption because they were totally false and also because they were too numerous to counter individually. He was heard saying that he had more urgent work to do than  waste time on baseless allegations, which in fact would have been accepted by the people as a legitimate response had he cared to meet at least a few typical charges in  some more reliable, well publicized manner, with facts and figures set out for all to see.

No successful politician can avoid realpolitik at times. Moral idealism has sometimes to be sacrificed for dealing with practical realities. But there are limits to realpolitik. His decision to hold elections two years before they were due was a crass miscalculation. He could have instead used the remaining two years of his term to fix the various corruption allegations, and settle issues relating to governance, economic management and reconciliation. If that happened he would have easily won a third term in due course, and saved the country from impending, possibly chaotic, conditions.

Mr Rajapaksa successfully projected his Sinhalese Buddhist image for obvious reasons. But the majority of Sinhalese Buddhist voters are not too dumb to take politicians at face value. This is an age in which more and more educated young people become skeptical about such superstitions as astrology, which is a good thing. He betrayed an exaggerated, quite unbuddhistic  reliance on the predictions of astrologers, auspicious times, occult protection, etc (Buddha rejected astrology as a practice fit for beasts or thiraschina vidya), which also partly contributed to his defeat, by betraying his unwarranted panicky behavior towards the D Day. The eleventh hour declaration of support to him by the useless Bodu Bala Sena (which is really destroying the peaceful, non-violent image of Sinhalese Buddhists, instead of refurbishing it for promoting their undeniably legitimate cause, that of countering the threat of Islamism against Buddhists) also contributed to a significant reduction of minority Muslim votes.

Psephologists have made a neat comparison between the two camps in respect of the general voting patterns: a majority of each minority community and a minority of the majority community have voted for Mr Sirisena, while the reverse has happened in the case of Mr Rajapaksa. But the important thing is that both candidates got votes from all the communities. If anyone suggested that Mr Sirisena won only because of minority votes, that would be a serious mistake. Mr Rajapaksa’s losing margin was a mere 449,072 votes, whereas the valid vote cast was over 12,000,000 and his share was 5,768,090 (47.48% to Mr Sirisena’s 51.28%).  The voter turnout was a very healthy 81.52%, which reflects a very high level of public awareness of and active participation in the democratic process. So the rulers are obliged to capitalize on this opportunity to resolve outstanding issues through democratic consensus. The cohesion of the entire electorate on these lines can increase the chances for the formation of a government at the centre that is more amenable to the demands of the minorities.

This centripetal tendency will serve to preserve the unitary status of the country, averting separatism. The task of achieving the right balance between the minority and majority interests that will enable the birth of a new country where the different communities can live in harmony as one nation without minorities clamouring for separation will call for political skills of the highest order. Whether Mr Sirisena is equal to the task will soon be tested. Mr Rajapaksa’s less hurried plan of achieving reconciliation by winning the hearts and minds of the minorities through comprehensive development has virtually been aborted. The sad reality is that he squandered the chances he had to address these issues in a more robust manner than he actually did. Probably a bit of hubris was a contributory factor, too. But he is still in a position to influence events, because he hasn’t still significantly lost his stature and popularity among the masses who are mindful of the many plus points of his leadership. As many people who still admire him say, it was the system that was defeated, not Mr Rajapaksa himself.

27 Responses to “Limits of realpolitik and the cost of maithri misdirected”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    The NEW defence secretary has said his TOP PRIORITY will be to preserve the UNITARY STATUS of SL.

  2. Nimal Says:

    Reading the above seems that MR was too kind to say enough to the wrong doers and if he was that soft then how did he direct the forces to eliminate the separatist terrorists?
    There’s a old saying in Sihalese.Hitha Honda Gahani hamadama budding.
    Must be courageous enough to say no.
    If I was with him then I would have sorted the scum who let him down.
    New regime must have the likes of the JVP to oversee the day to day work of the government.
    New regime must cut the extravagance by getting rid of the wasteful security detachments of the politicians and remove the vehicles and privileges of duty free vehicles etc.
    Then we know that the regime is genuine.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Rajapakse DID NOT FALL. HE WAS OUSTED OUT OF POWER BY RAW, THE BJP, THE COALITION OF THE TNA AND CHENNAI THIS HAS BEEN PLANNED BY PEOPLE WITHIN AND OUTSIDE SRI LANKA. THEY ALSO INCLUDE THE TAMIL DIASPORA WHO WENT VERY QUIET ON THE TIMES OF INDIA WHEN RAJAPAKSE WAS OUSTED.

  4. Wickrama Says:

    Lorenzo,
    “The NEW defence secretary has said his TOP PRIORITY will be to preserve the UNITARY STATUS of SL.”

    Good. If he can do that with RW of CFA era, CBK of ISGA fame, TNA and SLMC in the Govt, he would be an ideal future leader of the country.

  5. SA Kumar Says:

    Wickrama

    future leader of the country- Why you are looking for new leader We already have Present Polanaruwa Dudugamu(Thudda Kaimunu) MS who unite mother Lanka ( not by force) by election.

    live & let live until Eelam war V ( We-Tamils need 100 more years to recover from Milli Vaikkal killing field)!

    so shall We have Sinhala baila in our Thaipongal celebration today !

    Happy Thai Pognkal to every one My Chinhala Brothers & Sisters !!!

  6. Dr.K Says:

    Dear Writer, Rohana R. Wasala

    I don’t agree with your following statement.

    “The eleventh hour declaration of support to him by the useless Bodu Bala Sena (which is really destroying the peaceful, non-violent image of Sinhalese Buddhists, instead of refurbishing it for promoting their undeniably legitimate cause, that of countering the threat of Islamism against Buddhists) also contributed to a significant reduction of minority Muslim votes”.

    On what base do you say ” BBS is useless’? don’t you think the BBS has been emerged from the Sinhala Budhdhists people who cannot tolerate any more that the Muslim extremists are welcomed into this country by the so called fake budhdhist politicians and those extremists are destroying Sinhala villages ?

    Yes, we all know that the Budhdists are non violent and peaceful and we are so happy to be in peaceful Sri Lsanka. We have had a time in peace with all other minorities in our country. We have no problems with Muslims as far as they respect Sinhala Budhists. Have you analysed what those Muslims Extremists are doing in Western Countries? Do you expect Sinhala Budhdhists to close their eyes and give their necks to be slit by those murderers?

    “BBS contributed to a significant reduction of minority Muslim votes”. No, it’s not BBS.

    Former president, MR lost Muslim votes because he did not agree with Hakim to betray the rights of Sinhala Budhists in Sri Lanka. You would have noticed all the real Sinhala Buddhists have respected to MR at the Presidential Election.

  7. Christie Says:

    Hi folks It is Indian imperialists doing all these. If you cant see it you are blinded by the anti Sudda syndrome. Where are the British colonists in the island? There are almost 2 million of Indian colonists like Bharat Jaggios colonists in Guyana. Wake up and first understand who are the real imperialists and colonists. Then we can rise up against them with other who are on the same boat. Jai Hind!!!

  8. SA Kumar Says:

    We have had a time in peace with all other minorities in our country.- In our 2,500 years history Please let me know when was that ?
    Even after 1948 – We- Tamil had 1952 ,1956, 1958, 1977, 1983 so many honey moons.. until VP time you had honey moon from 1983 to 2009.

    Dr K sorry to say Lord Bhudda failed in Our Mother Lanka until now.
    Hope & pray MS & RW & CBK with MR bring to end to fulfil Lord Bhuddhas non violent and peaceful !
    Our Holy Land of lord Bhuddas stay as it as Holy land for all of us.

  9. Indrajith Says:

    Austin Fernando, the former Defence Secretary in the then UNF govt under Thoppigala Ranil, who addressed Pulidhevan, “Machan Puli” and visited to the hospital with a bag of apples when Pulli Devan was sick and hospitalised has been appointed as an advisor to President Sirisena today.

  10. Wickrama Says:

    Adda-daaa, SAkkili Kumar, your tiger tail is showing.

    “Milli Vaikkal” ?? WRONG ! – It is Nandikaadal – the killing lagoon where the Tiger Debris is permanently setteled in the bottom.

  11. SA Kumar Says:

    Wickrama- Please Lord Bhuddhas non violent and peaceful !

  12. Dr.K Says:

    Dear SA Kumar
    In the past at village level we, Sinhalese lived with Tamils and Muslims together with mutual understanding and respects. I had Tamils and Muslims in same school in same classes with no ethnic based differences.
    All the disturbances you have mentioned in your comment t were created by the politicians from both parties from time to time.
    I agree with you that it is the politicians who should bring back the peace into our mother land. Politicians should not upset the community and manipulate general public for their personal political gains,

    SA Kumar, sorry, Lord Buddha does not live forever like your Gods and serve people at temples. The Lord Buddhas was a human being who was enlighten, taught people of law of the nature that applies to each and every individual in the Universe and beyond. It’s the duty of Lord Budda’s followers to maintain peace and harmony in the land they live in.
    The problem now in Sri Lanka is that the people who believe God prominent religions are disturbing peace in this land. The politicians have to understand this situation and take action. Otherwise no one can stop merging groups like BBS to protect Budhdhism in this land.

  13. Wickrama Says:

    SAK,
    Leave Buddhism out of this. You don’t know what it is, nor do I.

  14. Dilrook Says:

    I’m not going to take sides here. Mahinda deserves his defeat as he disregarded the majority and served a proven ungrateful minority. But this coupled with other facts cast serious doubts on the validity of Sirisena’s election as president.

    The astronomical increase in the number of persons polled in the districts of Jaffna, Vanni, Batticaloa, Nuwara Eliya, Trincomalee and Digamadulla against 2010 indicates a large number of voters from these districts voted twice. Thanks to the efficient road network today it is possible for a person to vote in both Colombo and Jaffna districts. And in Vanni, Batticaloa, Nuwara Eliya, Trincomalee and Digamadulla districts too with ease. Each of these districts show an increase of 20% in polling compared to 2010 which is only 14% for other districts. It was unthinkable in the past!

    As a side note, it is really unfortunate Mahinda’s excellent road network defeated him, literally.

    As Sirisena won by only 155,436 additional votes (not the lead by the excess over 50%), it is possible to successfully challenge his election based on voter fraud in the districts of Jaffna, Vanni, Batticaloa, Nuwara Eliya, Trincomalee and Digamadulla.

    Those who support Mahinda and wish to see a ‘safe Sri Lanka’ (as they claim) must take up this challenge instead of verbally defending the former president. In my view, there is substantial merit in such a legal challenge. The current setting of the Supreme Court is also beneficial. If successful, the outcome will not be Mahinda getting elected as president. Instead the outcome will be a situation as if there was no election.

  15. Indrajith Says:

    What Dilrook suggests above is a very good idea! Some lights at the end of the tunnel. Hope some patriots will come forward to initiate this process without delay.

  16. ranjit Says:

    Noby should insult Lord Buddha? period! This is the only Sinhala Buddhist nation in the world we have to call it Home. This land was protected by Lord Buddha from our enemies for thousands of years and will save in the future too. Don’t worry we are there to safeguard with our own lives. We know who was behind this change of Govt. Same old lot who were there in 90’s and till 2005. Let anyone come and go but we as a nation must be united to keep our Motherland safe from all evil hands without allowing anyone to break it into pieces. We don’t want any bloodshed again. Our foolish Sinhalese think only of their stomach and their personal benefits. They never appreciate good things. Even for 100 rupees they can kill a person. You saw how Hela Urumaya was shouting on the road demanding back the RS 100 they contributed to the party during the election time. It’ a disgrace for anyone to shout and disturb the peace like that for petty things. Sometimes people give 100 to a beggar now a days. So these are the type of people we have in this land today. Beggars who will sell the country even for 100. Being a Sinhala Buddhist I feel damn shame when I see all these dirty politics. I don’t like any party politics but I always use my vote for a good person whether he won or lost I damn care. Mahinda is special for me because he is the man I admire for stopping the bloodshed which was their for thirty long years. No one even tried to stop it. All previous leaders supported the LTTE and they earned big money by dragging the war that whole world knows about it. Without Peace nobody is able to live. We heard the sirens on daily basis. Funeral parlors got rich and richer because of war. Those who earned from the war do not like peace. War was bringing them new fortune and they supported it with the help of foreign backers. How can we forget all that was happened before 2005 so soon? Impossible for me to understand our Sinhalese. Do you think all the new Govt politicians are all saints and not corrupted? They talk as if we have forgotten all what they did in the past.We will never forget those cowardly acts done by them during war time. Let our land have Peace and Prosperity as long as we live

  17. Nanda Says:

    Agree with the write on most points.
    Maa-Hindaa & Co gone forever, SLFP now under My3 has a bright future, provided more god people join SLFP and more crooks leave SLFP.
    DO NOT FORGET THIS IS AN INTERIM GOVERNEMENT. Come 100 days or 400 days , dictator powers gone, there will have to be a general election. SLFP can come to power and kick out UNP. It is important build a patriotic , intelligent, honest SLFP front to sell to people.
    As long as Maa-Hinda RATA hinda and his sons remain in political arena of SLFP this cannot be done.

  18. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    I met someone today, who knew Mr. Austin who is a new presidential adviser. He says this man is a very good civil servant.

  19. Nanda Says:

    “This land was protected by Lord Buddha from our enemies for thousands of years ” – this is a ignorant person who has never understood Buddhism.
    Ranjit,
    You cannot be a Buddhist because you expect Lord Buddha to be a God. Buddhas come and go not to protect certain lands and create racism but to show the path to ignorant people who are entangled in this misery of the suffering,aging and death.

  20. Daya Says:

    Dear Dilrook and Indrajith, What do you mean by saying that the turn out in the North and East was too high, and that people voted twice? That indelible ink is still on the little finger of my left hand. I dare say that I never explored the ways in which the indelibility could be overcome.

    The fact is that nearly ALL Muslims seem to have turned up to vote (effect of the BBS), and more Tamils than in 2010. I am also disturbed by “real Sinhala Buddhists” in the comment by Dr. K, above. This reminds me of the Rajapaksas saying that nobody could be “on the fence” – you were “either with us, or you were a terrorist.” So he categorises us as “non-real Sinhala Buddhists”; he actually says “fake buddhist” This is dangerous, and already Mahinda R. has said that he was defeated owing to minority votes. Such talk it is that could still reverse the gains of January 8th 2015, and once more resurrect the danger of separatism.

    Also Dr. K. you seem to approve of the BBS. I’m wary myself of “Islamism”; the only counter to that will be more balanced education for Muslim children. I know that that will take a long time to achieve. They live in ghettos, and they will not allow (their girls most obviously) their children to ever contemplate “apostasy”. However, yours is not the solution. You have stumbled on the explanation yourself; the communities got on all right so long as we lived in villages with little social mobility. Now there’s competition. There’s no easy solution.

    The main article by Rohana Wasala is balanced, except for the Oedipus reference. In the Sophocles play, the protagonist ensures that he will never be able to be King again by blinding himself, and in the later play, “Oedipus at Colonus”, he is still repenting. It may be that Mahinda handing over Presidency of the SLFP to Maithri parallels the blinding, but we have to wait a few years before we conclude that racism as a means of garnering votes has been rejected. Actually, the problem here is that racists quite sincerely believe that they are non-racist – but then saying that sort of thing could prove provocative. I have no wish to provoke anybody.

    Could somebody also answer this other question. Has the “private opinion” given to President Mahinda R. by the Supreme Court yet been disclosed? If not, when do the people of Sri Lanka get to know something that we ought to have been told long before the elections.

  21. Dilrook Says:

    Daya:

    No law abiding person thinks of removing it on the election day. But it is common knowledge how to remove it. At certain places it was not even done. It is a very outdated practice. A modern method is needed.

    Of course more Tamils and Muslims voted in 2015 but that doesn’t explain why the increase is 83% for the north, 20% for the east and 23% for Nuwara Eliya when the rest of the country had only a 14% increase.

    Northern voters register increased by 9% after the NPC provincial election just a year ago which is highly suspicious. Even in 1982 with GG Ponnambalam contesting (who came first there), Jaffna voters turnout was 44% which is now 66%. Most employed adults in Jaffna work outside and it is not at all difficult to register in two places.

    In 2010 Jaffna had more registered voters than the 2012 census population! (Includes Kilinochchi electorate). It was cleansed but not completely.

    As for ethnic issues, there is no easy solution. At the very least, ethnic segregation should not happen. Inability to find a unifying object, it is very difficult to bring the nation together. Even our flag shows segregation with a stripe each for each ethnicity/creed. Our national anthem segregates people to the Sinhala version and the Tamil version. Our official languages segregate people as we don’t have one unifying language. As the general election draws near, ethnic tensions will further rise. TNA, SLMC and CWC will struggle to win the maximum number of seats for each of them.

  22. SA Kumar Says:

    As for ethnic issues, there is no easy solution. – agreed but after long period We found solution that is United Provincial Council of Mother Lanka.

    Our national anthem segregates people to the Sinhala version and the Tamil version. – no Sinhala or Tamil version only one anthem but in different language .

    look at union state of Indian Please let’s follow them. We do not need any more blood in this Holy Land.

    Let’s sent our Japanaya Mango to you by Yaldevi in return please send us Rambuddan, Magustha to us !!!

  23. Nanda Says:

    Sorry Andy , I know you all don’t have any but our politicins have problem of lack of Rambutans now and can’t send to you.

  24. SA Kumar Says:

    Nanda

    We waited 33 years please wait 100 more days all should be ok, Big brother Modi already summoned to MS & FM.

    Yaldevi already loaded with Jalppana mampalam at KKS to you enjoy !!!

  25. Marco Says:

    Yet another classic from Dilrook – (like 90% of borrowed funds developed N & E) when he pronounces that people in the N & E provinces and Nuwara Eliya voted twice for Maithri hence the higher turn-out.

    Mind boggling but entertaining!!

    I wonder what spin Dilrook will come for the following
    – Maithri received more postal votes than Mahinda. Majority of the postal voters are Sinhalese and are largely police and military personnel and government employees.
    – Mahinda received less votes in all districts (including stronghold Hambantota) compared to the votes he received in 2010.

  26. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Ranjit:

    You say:
    “This is the only Sinhala Buddhist nation in the world we have to call it Home. This land was protected by Lord Buddha from our enemies for thousands of years and will save in the future too. ”

    It is more than that!

    The 1st part of the fourth Buddhist Council took three years. The Fourth Buddhist Council was held in Tambapanni (Sri Lanka) under the patronage of King Vattagamani (103-77 BC). The main reason for its convening was the realization that it was now not possible for the majority of monks to retain the entire Tipitaka in their memories as had been the case formerly for the Mahinda and those who followed him soon after. Therefore as the art of writing had by this time developed substantially it was thought expedient and necessary to have the entire body of the Buddha’s teaching written down.
    King Vattagamani supported the monk’s idea and a council was held specifically to commit the entire Tipitaka to writing. So that the genuine Dhamma might be lastingly preserved. To this purpose, the Maharakkhita and five hundred monks recited the words of the Buddha and then wrote them down on palm leaves. This remarkable project took place in a cave called the Aloka Lena, situated in the cleft of an ancient landslip near what is now Matale. Thus the aim of the was achieved and the preservation in writing of the authentic Dhamma was ensured. In the 18th century , King Vijayarajasiha had images of the Buddha created in this cave. After the Council, palm leaves books appeared, and were taken to other countries, such as Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

    SRI LANKA UNDER KING VATTAGAMANI PUT TO WRITING THE BUDDHIST HOLY BOOK. IT IS AS IMPORTANT TO THE WORLD OF BUDDHISM AS PUTTING THE CHRISTIAN HOLY BIBLE INTO WRITING BY ROME.

  27. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Mistake in text:

    Thus the aim of the Council was achieved and the preservation in writing of the authentic Dhamma was ensured

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