Sacerdotalism edges out  Authentic Buddhism in Sri Lanka
Posted on April 6th, 2015

R Chandrasoma

Religious practice is generally a tripartite affair involving the lay population, the priesthood and the Doctrine or Sacred Teaching. The Priesthood usually assumes dominance in this interactive triad and when this asymmetry is very marked – that is when the Priests assume the role of leaders and instructors  in doctrinal interpretations and practice – a species of sacerdotalism inevitably replaces genuine religion. This happens when priests become elitist instructors and guardians of temples –abandoning their original role as renunciants pursuing a lonely course of self-abnegation in the pursuit of the Truth. Such an evolution inevitably results in a perversion of the authentic religion and an installation of practices designed to enhance the power and prestige of a priesthood  that has lost its focus on that ineffable truth that is the key to Nirvanic release.

The practical result of this lamentable transformation is that the practice of authentic religion is replaced by a mock religion based on services to the Temple  and the reverence of Fetish Objects that the Priests hold to be valid symbols of Divinity. The giving of ‘Gifts to the Gods’ is promoted as the easiest and quickest route to that Summum Bonum that all earnestly seek. By such trickery the Original Doctrine  is forgotten and the masses are massively deceived by a priesthood that that has crafted a self-serving programme that has the trappings – the sounds and lights – of the genuine teachings but is a mere mimicking of the original for the service not of God but of Man.

I ask all sincere Buddhist in this country to reflect on the sad decay of authentic Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Is not what we have said above  true of our own religion in this day and age? We have more temples and priest today than at any time in our long and tumultuous history.  A kind pf public religion patronized by ‘Kings’ flourishes –with priests crowding the airways with the sounds of religion. Yet the brutal fact is that we live in a debased society that pays scant respect for the authentic doctrine but is eager to assume a façade of religiosity by ostentatious services mediated by priests and opulently backed by flashy rituals in Temples that are not exactly centres of Holiness. How else can we explain a great paradox – that the Sinhala Buddhists of today are are roundly denounced by their own leaders as among the most venal and corrupt in the world? We are told that this nation is full of rogues, Kudu-Karayas and imbibers of Ethenol with its elite topping the show in venality. Has not Buddhism – the religion of the majority in Sri Lanka failed? Comparisons are invidious but must we not acknowledge that the Community of Anglican Christians in our country display a moral order greatly superior to that of the Buddhists – their priests do not take part in rowdy protests organized by political hooligans nor do their high priests metamorphose into loud-talking abusive Politicians. To echo a notorious remark made by a leading social anthropologist, Buddhism has been betrayed in contemporary Sri Lanka.

 

3 Responses to “Sacerdotalism edges out  Authentic Buddhism in Sri Lanka”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Although Buddhism came from Nepal and Endia, they are now HINDU countries. HINDUSTAN is determined to WIPE OUT Buddhism from SL too as they did in their country.

    Look what they did to NALANDA UNIVERSITY. They built a new one but that is NOT Buddhist!! What’s the use?

    HINDUSTAN fears Buddhism will link SL and China, SL and Thailand, SL and Burma.

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Anglican Christians or Catholic priests may not taking part in rowdy protests organised by political hooligans but still they take part in politics, sexual bigotry and financial thievery from behind high walls and closed doors. There is no point in trying to white wash these sadists who try to invade other cultures and install their monotheistic dogma so that the newly converted become cat’s paws in the hands of their handlers – a new breed, traitorous to their origins and subservient to their masters in the Christian WEST.

    Buddhism in Sri Lanka and elsewhere is still struggling to make themselves heard because their so called leaders betray them when they are in power. This is the reason for organisations like Bodu Bala Sena or Sihala Ravaya to exist. This is what happened to Mahinda Rajapakse on 8 January. Having come to power through the Sinhala Buddhist vote he went onto pay puja to the Ali Baba’s cave in the Vatican and a kovil in South India. Hope he has learnt his lesson never to repeat, for he still has mass appeal for giving leadership to eradicate the LTTE threat.

  3. nilwala Says:

    THE CHRISTIAN AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES HAVE OPERATED INSIDIOUSLY AND BEHIND THE SCENES TO GET THEIR AGENDAS THROUGH. THE TAMILS HAVE LEARNED FROM THEM THE DECEIT THAT IS NECESSARY TO ALWAYS PRESENT THEMSELVES AS MORALLY RIGHTEOUS WHILE THEY CARRY OUT THEIR OBJECTIVES USING WHATEVER DECEIT IS NECESSARY. OFTEN, THE TECHNIQUE HAS INVOLVED MAKING PROMISES THAT LULL THE OBJECT OF THEIR OPERATION INTO INACTION.

    WHILE BUDDHISTS SHUNNED DECEIT, THEY WENT SO FAR AS TO NOT RECOGNIZE IT IN THOSE WHO WERE INIMICAL TO BUDDHISM, ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES THAT THE CHURCH AFFORDED THEM.

    FOR MANY YEARS, THOSE ‘IN THE KNOW IN SRI LANKA KNEW THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING CALLED ‘CATHOLIC ACTION’ THAT WORKED TO GET STUDENTS INTO UNIVERSITY, YOUNG PEOPLE INTO JOBS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, ETC. ETC., BUT BUDDHISTS REFUSED TO TAKE SERIOUS NOTICE, CONFIDENT IN THE SURVIVAL OF BUDDHISM BECAUSE OF THEIR NUMBERS IN THE POPULATION.
    ONLY NOW ARE THEY BECOMING AWARE OF THE TRUTH OF THE SITUATION.

    BISHOP DESMOND TUTU EXPLAINED THIS VERY PITHILY, & WITH IMMENSE HONESTY IN THE CONTEXT OF SOUTH AFRICA AS:
    ““When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

    We Buddhists are still with “CLOSED EYES” in Sri Lanka.
    WHEN WILL WE AWAKEN??

    BUT BUDDHISTS MUST NOT GET ON THE STREETS LIKE IN LIBYA AND EGYPT. THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE EXCUSE THE ENEMIES NEED. THE BBS IS THE WAY THEY WANT BUDDHISTS TO REACT….SO DO NOT GO THAT WAY!!

    THERE HAS TO BE A MORE INTELLIGENT AND SUBTLE WAY THAT WILL WORK ……….

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