The holy vs the unholy
Posted on January 15th, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

An economic crisis is looming. Foreign reserves are dwindling and the rupee is tumbling. The educated youth are demanding jobs. Educational institutions, especially universities, are starved of funds. State-run hospitals are experiencing drug shortages. The cost of living has reached the stratosphere with people struggling to make ends meet. There is no solution in sight for the ever worsening public transport problems. The crime rate continues to rise; killings are reported almost daily. Corruption is eating into the vitals of society and the champions of good governance stand accused of crooked deals. And, instead of addressing these burning problems which warrant the urgent attention of the political authority, the government is worrying about indiscipline among Buddhist monks!

True, the conduct of some Buddhist monks is appalling, to say the least. They are a disgrace to the Maha Sangha. There are astrologers, exorcists and mudalalis in saffron robe, calling themselves Buddhist monks. Ashrams are mushrooming where monks live in clover like wealthy laymen. Some monks have plunged into the cesspit of partisan politics. (Prince Siddhartha spurned the throne, gave up worldly pleasures and went on to attain Enlightenment!) Many monks whose sole purpose of being is supposed to lead lay Buddhists on the right path have gone astray themselves! Monks who indulge in an unspeakably vulgar display of wealth while poor Buddhists are starving and neglected temples are being deserted, are not rare. But, we are afraid, the Maha Nayake Theras have an air of insouciance about them; they are busy receiving politicians and giving them advice and photo opportunities instead of making a serious, concerted effort to address the issue of growing indiscipline within the ranks of the Sangha.

The national legislature has a right to make laws and nobody can question that. But, enforcing discipline among the members of the clergy is far too serious a matter to be left to politicians, most of whom are school dropouts, drug dealers, gigolos, killers, rapists, cattle rustlers, bootleggers, bribe takers and racketeers, according to what they say about one another in Parliament.

The Kathikawath Bill presented to Parliament while the government is busy initiating a process to frame a new Constitution has come to be viewed in some quarters as an attempt to tame the Maha Sangha in a bid to ward off a possible resistance campaign. Buddhist monks in this country have been politically conscious and active from time immemorial. They have a history of standing up to repressive regimes and ruffling the feathers of autocratic rulers. Some of them had the courage to take on the late President J. R. Jayewardene, who thought no end of his executive powers, with which, he boasted, he could achieve any feat save making a man a woman and vice versa. They told the late President Premadasa where to get off. It was thanks to the valiant efforts of the late activist monk, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, that the present band of holier-than-thou politicians responsible for the Kathikawath Bill is ensconced in power. It is also because of some courageous monks that the country has an Opposition today! Thus, the gargantuan task before the government is to sell its controversial Bill to the Maha Sangha and the general public let alone muster the support of parliamentarians who will be wary of antagonising the Maha Sangha by voting for it vis-a-vis resistance to it.

Buddhist monks or priests of any other religion who happen to be on the wrong side of the law, must be dealt with in the same way as the ordinary people. But, matters concerning the overall discipline of the clergy are best left to religious leaders. One is cringingly amused when parliamentarians talk of Buddhist monks’ discipline; it is like prostitutes promoting chastity. Let the cobbler stick to his last! MPs ought to put their own house in order before worrying about others’ indiscipline.

That said, it needs to be added that if the Maha Nayake Theras had taken timely action to enforce vinaya rules and rein in errant monks without letting the grass grow under their holy feet the self-important politicians could have been denied the pleasure of trying to discipline the Sangha. The Kathikawath Bill may be considered an indictment on senior monks.

3 Responses to “The holy vs the unholy”

  1. Christie Says:

    And Mahendran is paying Mahendran.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    WHO SAID :- ” The cost of living has reached the stratosphere, with people struggling to make ends meet ” I don’t think so. Why ? This Bra Siraas Son-out-Law, is crazy over fast Cars. He wants to buy a **MAYBACH** which is $8,000,000 for a 2005 Model. Well he is buying for Bra Siraas daughter. Now where do you think this bugger is getting the money from ? Any one want to make a guess ? Maru Bra Siraa, has asked for MILLIONS to DEVELOP Polonnaruwa, from the FINANCE MINISTRY. The finance Ministry with held the request, as there was NO tender Procedure for the development Contracts. Are you with me ? Do you read between the lines ? Maru Bra fSiraa went MAD at the refusal, yet he holds the Ladle to serve himself. So this development money is to DEVELOP POLONNARUWA WITH AN EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR **MAYBACH** speeding at 245 miles per hour. Let the People in Sri Lanka starve, while this damning family is eating into the entire woodwork of the Country. Yes, now I agree that people are unable to make ends meet. Some live on one meal per day. Children have no shoes and uniforms to go to schools. People have no bridges to cross canals and Rivers. People are living in shanty dwellings, thousands of them. They hardly have a decent meal.

    ALL THIS WHILE THE BACK STABBINGF MARU SIRAA AND HIS FAMILY IS ROBBING THE COUNTRY, ALONG WITH RANILP STEALING FROM THE CENTRAL BANK. NOW THEY ARE ATTACKING THE BUDDHIST SANGHA BY AN ILLEGAL LEGAL MEANS. THEY WILL FACE THE VOICE OF DOOM FOR SURE, NOT BEFORE LONG.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    SW,

    Good one.

    After Maybach went BUST, the demand for Maybach cars by exotic collectors has increased. Maru Sira’s daughter’s current husband is doing this business. Each priced at $350,000 upward you can imagine how rich they are within 1 year.

    GOOOOOO GOVERNANCE!

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