The Constitution of Sri Lanka, and Buddhism.
Posted on October 19th, 2016
Sri Lanka was a Sinhala Buddhist country when the British colonised it. However there were already Christian missionaries brought in by the Portuguese and the Dutch. In 1815 when Sri Lanka was colonised the British gave a solemn undertaking to protect Buddhism, which was reflected in the Constitution which became an institution since then. It is correct that Buddhism takes a foremost place and protected by relevant provision in the Constitution, who ever wants to writes a Constitution to replace the one that existed before.
Since the foreboding Yahapalanaya Government’s undesired occupation of the seat of power in Sri Lanka everything seems to be going wrong. Their proposed new Constitution which is not the most important necessity at the present time, is being mooted by the Tamil politicians, their protectors the Tamil diaspora and their patrons the Western Countries led by USA and the British. The last with an eye to divide the country for the political benefits that they expect would fall into their laps, from such division.
Since the Yahapalanaya Government which was set up under the aegis of the West, reconciliation had been its raison d’être. Hence even the writing of a new Constitution is for this reconciliation with the mainly Tamil political forces and to please the Western Masters who helped to set up the Yahapalanaya government. The President and the Prime Minister of the Yahapalanaya government are cordially welcomed and excessively praised for their achievements by America and the leaders of the Western Countries, while the majority of the people in Sri Lanka except for the Tamils and Muslims regret the day that Yahapalanaya Government was setup.
The yahapalanaya political leaders blinded by a reconciliation madness find the Sinhala and Buddhism a barrier to implement their Constitutional reforms to satisfy the Tamil political forces here and abroad and their Western patrons. The Tamils do not accept any religious symbol representing the Sinhala majority given a preferential place in the new Constitution they want the Yahapalanaya government to write. They insist on a secular Federal Constitution leaving out the provision giving the foremost place to Buddhism, allowing the setting up of a separate Tamil Provincial Council if not an Eelam in the North and East.
Now that they- the Tamils extremists are a part of the foreboding political setup along side the Yahapalanaya Government they insist that the yahapalana give them their demands. Yahapalanay has turned tables in Sri Lanka,making the majority Sinhala a minority, and the minority Tamils and Muslims the Majority.
Today the Voice of the Sinhala majority is being forced into silence by Maithripala Sirisena- Ranil Wickramasinghe-Chandrika Kumaratunga led Yahapalanaya Government.
The Yahapalanaya leadership led by Ranil Wickramasinghe , Chandrika, Mangala along with their protégé Maithripala has to cede to the demands of the Tamil politicians and the Tamil diaspora in order to keep their desired support of the American -Western Masters and India. To that end they are willing to sacrifice Buddhism and the privileges of the Sinhala which found renaissance under S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake and Mahinda Rajapakse, for the sake of reconciliation with the Tamils.
Today it is the Tamil Politicians who call the tune, and the Yahapalanya has to dance to it. Now there are secret attempts that are being made to write a secular Constitution removing the foremost place held by Buddhism in the previous Sri Lanka Constitutions, and get it passed in the Parliament without a referendum from the people.
But have these ignorant Tamils and the yahapalanaya “yes men” made an effort to understand that Buddhism should be safeguarded at any cost as it is the identity of Sri Lanka ?
Buddhism is not a religion with a creator god, but it is a way of life that respects not only human being but all living beings. It is a way of life that could be adopted by any one whatever their belief system.
Buddhism is so called only to identify the teachings of the compassionate Buddha, who was not a God, but a Man that achieved the highest purity of Mind to see the reality of suffering and find the way out of that suffering.
The teachings of the Buddha not being a religion should be protected as a world heritage for the welfare of the future generations. Buddhism should not only be protected by the Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka, but also by all wise and intelligent people of the world, as Buddhism could be the saving force in a world given to inhuman cruelty , belligerence, the stupidity of wars, and aggression.
I have my respect for Christianity and Hinduism, nevertheless, it should yet be pointed out that unlike those religions, Buddhism promotes the inane human qualities of man to save himself and other beings from suffering without appealing to an unseen saviour.
The sins for crimes committed by man against man cannot be washed away by bathing in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna or Godavari, sacrificing animals for a loving God or Goddess Kali, burn tons of cereals as offerings to the pantheon of Hindu Gods. Or in Christianity, where there is no salvation in praying to a God who refused to show himself according to the Bible even to Mosses, nor to any one of the 72 odd other principle Christian prophets.
The God will never show Himself to man , but send messages through His prophets allowing them only to hear His voice in dreams and visions. These are religions, but Buddhism is not such a religion. It is a teaching that existed, which was rediscovered in enlightenment by a great man who was the compassionate Buddha- the all knowing one.
Buddhism, to which Sri Lanka gives the foremost place in its Constitution, is not a religion such as Hinduism, Christianity or Islam with creator Gods. Therefore it is in the interest of the man kind that Buddhism should be Protected in Sri Lanka where the Buddha’s pure teachings exist for the intelligent people of the world to share. The Sri Lanka Constitution with the foremost place given to Buddhism will always remain a secular Constitution, as Buddhism does not fall into the category of a religion..
If someone is to pose the question why in Sri Lanka where a most venerated teaching exists there are crimes and a degrading morality ?
It is a question that should be asked from the Maha Nayka Theros of Asgiriya and Malwatta in Kandy, who jump to safeguard political interests of political parties rather than those of the people. They have failed to bring the three Nikayas together and bring the people closer to the teachings of the Buddha. Of the Three Nikayas the Ramanna Nikaya has contributed more to Buddhism than the Nikaya to which the Maha Nayaka Theros belong.
The Buddha did not convert people from other religions to his teachings, but told his disciples to be an example to others. It was through their example of discipline that great Kings and wise men came into the fold of Buddhism.
The great King Asoka of India, was grief stricken after the wars he fought to unify India, which caused the deaths of countless number of persons. He turned himself to spirituality to seek mental solace. He entertained eight thousands Nigantakas in his Royal palace, offering them food and alms. But all that did not give him the desired peace of mind. One day looking through a palace window he saw a young Buddhist Monk walking mindfully in extreme peace and serenity. The King was so pleased seeing this young monk, he immediately sent a messenger to request the young monk to come to the palace to meet him. He saw the messenger making his request as demanded by the King. But the young monk continued to walk at the same pace without hurrying in obeisance to the Kings request.
The King sent another messenger requesting him to come quickly. But the monk-Venerable Nigrodha, continued to walk peacefully until he came to the presence of the King. The King requested Venerable Nigrodha to take a suitable seat. He looked around and seeing no other senior monk present, sat on the Kings throne. The King was surprised but admired the monks astuteness. The Kings immediately prostrated befor the monk and requested him to make a discourse. Venerable Nigrodha then made a short discourse of the Buddha on Heedfulness (Dhammapada Chapter 2). The sermon appealed to the King Asoka. He requested Venerable Nigrodha to accept him as a follower of the teachings of the Buddha.
That was the teachings of the Buddha which changed the history of India. The King Asoka made Buddhism the venerated spiritual teaching to be followed by the people of his kingdom. And it is that Buddhism, which these Yahapalanaya leadership want to remove from being cited in the Sri Lanka Constitution, to satisfy the Tamils and the Muslims.
The Mahanayakas are reactionaries, the Siyam Nikaya to which they belong even today does not accept children from lower casts to be ordained as acolytes(samanera) in their temples. It is Ramanna Nikaya that has done more service in the emanation of Buddhist teachings.
The Maha Nayakas have become political priests ready to support the UNP rather than other political parties. They do not understand that they have a greater role to play in the dispensation of the teachings of the Buddha amoung the people and find means to raise the moral standard of the Buddhists by developing projects to bring a closer relationship with the temple and the Buddhists.
The Mahanayake Theros should be appointed by a Council of three Nikayas, if they are to be accepted as the Buddhist hierarchy leading the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. They should represent the seat of administration of the Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka, imposing discipline on them, and meet out justice and punitive action when found necessary. That is a necessity today as atleast some of the young Buddhist monks coming from Universities are far from being an example of the teachings of the Buddha, but a disgrace to the Buddha Sasana.
These are the matters that the Yahapalanay should attend to instead of removing Buddhism from the foremost place it has in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
However there is really no necessity to write a new Constitution to Sri Lanka now. As even before starting the writing of it there are conflicting views as to what it should it be like. Allowing it to Yahapalanaya would be a great mistake as every thing the Yahapalanaya Government has touched so far turned out to be an utter disaster. We do not want the same to happen to the Constitution of Sri Lanka. It is best that the Constitution of Sri Lanka is left as it is .
If Mahanayakaa Theros have any idea of what is good for Sri Lanka and what is not , they should intervene to advise this Yahapalanaya government to stop forthwith their move to write a new Constitution to Sri Lanka.
All Sinhala Buddhists without exception whatever their political views should rise up against the proposal to write a new Constitution.