How did traditional Muslims of Sri Lanka become influenced to adopt a new cultural ideology?
Posted on June 19th, 2019

Following the Easter Sunday suicide bombings and the discoveries of islandwide weapons and arrests, the people of Sri Lanka after recovering from the initial shock began looking for answers. They began asking what is Islam, why did rich & educated Muslims want to kill, how did a primarily business oriented community become radicalized & extremists. They began to also identify areas that were common factors disuniting the communities because of the privileged and inequality of status given. Sri Lanka was only now witnessing the spill-over effect of changes that had been subtly executed among Sri Lankan Muslims since 1980s that roped in a traditional Muslim community interested in trade & business to be associated with religious extremism bordering violence. The world’s Muslim population is 1.8billion, if 1% of that were just radicals & not terrorists that would make 18million radicals globally & highlights the importance of crushing the ideology that spreads radicalism bordering terror. Studies show that 10% of world Muslims fall into religious extremist category. 

What is Islam – Wahhabism

Islam is the religion of Muslims founded by Prophet Mohammed (570-632AD) (7th century) followed by 1.8billion Muslims who account for 24% of world population.

Sunni’s comprise 87% global Muslims while Shias comprise 10% of global Muslims.

Global Sunni population is estimated to be 1.5billion

Global Shia population is estimated to be 200m

Sunni Muslims are influenced by Saudi while Shias are influenced by Iran.

Saudi & Iran are the 2 key countries promoting Islam globally. While Iran has a long history, Saudi kingdom was created by the British in September 1932 and was to function as West’s ally in the Middle East while also being custodian of Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca & Medina. Saudi oil was found in 1938 by US company ARAMCO which Saudi bought over in 1988. Revenue from oil fueled the spread of Islam globally & has turned the world up-side down & made Middle East into a battle zone.

Mohammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab is the founder of Wahhabism in the 18th century and is the doctrine followed by Saudi. There is difference of opinion in Wahhabi Muslims and Sunni Muslims but Wahhabism essentially denotes war.

Understanding the Geopolitical landscape

  • Rivalry between Saudi & Iran for power in West Asia & for Islamic expansionism
  • West/Zionists using rivalry to devise masterplan to divide Muslims via Wahhabi Islam & sects for proxy wars  
  • Geopolitical tussle between US-West-Saudi & allies against Syria-Iran-Russia & allies & its impact on other countries.
  • West-created Islamic militants revolting against master after realizing West was playing double games (each time a group revolted a new group was created & exported to destabilize countries drawing new Muslim recruits)
  • ISIS/ISIL – new caliphate declared by leader Baghdadi in June 2014 covering even South Asia & Sri Lanka.

Muslims of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Muslims are descendants from Saudi who initially came to India’s southern coast & thereafter to Sri Lanka’s coastal belt for trade & later allowed to settle down by the Sinhale kings.

Sri Lanka’s Muslim make up 9.7% of total population out of which 98% of Sri Lanka’s Muslims are Sunni while 1% of Sri Lankan Muslims are Shia and 1% are Bohras. Sunni’s are further divided as Moors & Malays with Malays numbering around 40,000 and descendants of Sunni’s from Malaysia & Indonesia. Malays are the most moderate group of Muslims living in Sri Lanka.

The global feud & sectarian wars between Sunni’s and Shia’s naturally had an influence on Sri Lanka’s Muslim community.

While Saudi objective was to expand its global reach, the West was using Saudi to ensure Muslims were divided & within their control.

ACJU – 1924

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathula Ulama created in 1924 to look into the interests of Muslims which originally had no external links & restricted its activities to looking at the moon for Muslim festivals & taking care of general Muslim interests was selected as the tool to drive the new ideology among Muslims.

Traditional Muslims & Sri Lankan Culture before 1980s

The Muslim population lived as Sri Lankans, adopted Sinhala culture while following Islam. More importantly upto 1980s there were no madrassas, no Shariah law, no burka, no niqab, no organization dictating to Muslims to pray 5 times a day, no religious preachers were going in & out of Sri Lanka.

Cultural changes after 1980s & role of ACJU

  • Saudi petro Islam influence spilled over to Sri Lanka by 1980s during a period that Tamil leaders declared Vaddukoddai Resolution in 1976.
  • Global players identified Muslims – politicians, academics, media, public/private sector, youth etc to be roped in to drive their new religious dogma baiting Muslims to accept a new version of Islam ideology as part of global drive for Islamic expansion..
  • Sri Lanka Muslim Congress created by M H M Ashraff in September 1981.
  • ACJU being the body tasked to look into interests of Muslims it was only natural that majority of Muslims began to unquestioningly adopt to the new ideology.
  • Cultural change” in Muslims began with the introduction of ‘Thablique Jamaath” – introduction of niqab, establishing shariah law, madrassas, mosques, polygamy (marrying 7 women), halal labeling, Islamic banking FMG resulting in more than 50% of Muslims adopting ‘Thablique’ ideology. Soon Sri Lanka’s Muslims became divided using Islam’s own religious texts. New rules NOT inside Quran were being promoted to control Muslims and marginalized Muslims unwilling to accept them. Many Muslims who realized these new rules did not conform to that of the teachings of Mohammad Nabi were chided and ridiculed.

Sri Lanka’s security apparatus did not initially see the dangers as its concentration was on LTTE and probably this period was selected to ground the new Islamic ideology for this reason.

Mid 1990s: Creation of ACTJ

Moulavi Mubarak founded All Ceylon Thawfeek Jamaath (ACTJ) and a small segment of ACJU became members. They adopted a more extreme religious ideology aligning with the verses of Quran relevant to the war period in Arabia. Around 4% of Sri Lanka’s Muslims follow ACTJ ideology (around 76,000 Muslims)

Moulavi Mubarak is presently the General Secretary of the All Ceylon Jamithul Ulama (ACJU) – the Muslim body representing Sunni Muslims in Sri Lanka.

Growth of Thowheed Jamaath

Thowheed Jamaath then began dividing itself further into different sects based on different interpretations of Quran’s beliefs and practices all funded by foreign sources.

However, all the while Saudi had its stronghold over ACJU which was tasked to bring 200-300 preachers annually to Sri Lanka to preach Tabliq in mosques.

However, Thowheed Jamaath wanted to bring preachers from Tamil Nadu which was objected to by ACJU & Asad Salley – simply because of issues amongst their sects.

  • All Ceylon Thowfeek Jamaath (ACTJ)
  • Sri Lanka Thowfeek Jamaath (SLTJ)
  • Ceylon THowfeek Jamaath (CTJ)
  • United Thowfeek Jamaath (UTJ)
  • National Thowfeek Jamaath (NTJ) formed in 2017 in Kattankudy by Zaharan became the first group to advance from religious extremism to violent religious extremism.

Battle between Muslim groups to rule over Muslims using Islam as tool

The creation of splinter groups meant threats to the existence of each group – Sufi’s who were by-products of Tabliq & Tabliq Jamaath saw new groups as a threat and began isolating the newer groups – each claiming them to be good & the other bad resulting in these groups increasing their extremism. Thus, violent Zaharan was created by their own system from 2016 onwards.

Essentially what we can conclude is each of these groups have an extremist view. 

To highlight this pl listen to this video by Abdul Razick of Ceylon Thowheed Jamaath denouncing statement by Asath Salley to the PSC claiming it to be lies & trying to mislead the PSC. The video also refers to Muslim groups fighting to divide funds sent by foreign sources.

ත්‍රස්තවාදයට උඩුගෙඩි දෙන අසාද් සාලි #CTJofficial #RasminMIScOfficial

ත්‍රස්තවාදයට උඩුගෙඩි දෙන අසාද් සාලිගේ අසත්‍ය චෝදනා වලට සාක්ෂි සහිත පිළිතුරුகடைந்தெடுத்த பொய்யன் அஸாத் சாலிக்கு ஆதாரபூர்வமான பதில்கள் – சிங்கள மொழியில்.#CTJofficial

Posted by Rasmin MISc on Laugardagur, 15. júní 2019

June 2014: Al-Bagdhdadi leader of ISIS announces global Caliphate & requests

  • Muslims to come to Syria to establish caliphate
  • Muslims who could not come to continue expansionist ideology in their own countries (Easter Sunday was probably inspired by this)
  • Muslims aligning with 1 & 2 were the real Muslims
  • Muslims to destroy any country going against Islamic caliphate (US/West)
  • Muslims to destroy any countries supporting US/West (ex India)
  • Muslims to attack neutral countries (ex Sri Lanka)

Note: before 2014 no Sri Lankan Muslim went to Syria.

Sri Lanka’s intel had been monitoring Islamic ideology branching off and forming as political strategies and devised means to handle extremism since 2013.

But the new government was reeling in liberal dogma that followed a policy of denial thinking that with LTTE over Sri Lanka was normal & there was no room for extremisms.

January 2015: Rich & educated Sri Lankan Muslims embrace ideology

For the 1st time Sri Lankan Muslims became direct participants embracing ISIL ideology.

Rich & western educated Sri Lankan Muslims between 25-35years began joining.

S. Nilam & his family were first to leave Sri Lanka for Syria in the second week of January 2015 (immediately after regime change in Sri Lanka)

As of December 2016, 41 Sri Lankan Muslims mostly family members had gone to Syria.

June 2015: Foreign intelligence inform of Sri Lankan Muslims fighting in Syria

Sri Lankan intelligence were quick to obtain details of the Sri Lankan Muslims who had gone to Syria

12 July 2015: Sri Lankan Muslim S Nilam (student of Trinity College) killed in Syria

The death Nilam in Syria proved Sri Lanka’s intel was right about extremisms spreading to Sri Lanka & had set up monitoring mechanisms in 2014 though after 2015 there was no political will to maintain them.

November 2015: ISIS magazine DABIQUE releases photo of Nilam hailing him as a hero.

Late 2016: NTJ formed by Zaharan in Kattankudy

Zaharan who was not a violent follower before 2015 splits from Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaath and forms National Thowheed Jamaath in Kattankudy with a small following.

What we can conclude in summary is that

  • There was no ISIL/ISIS network existing in Sri Lanka before 2015 or Sri Lankan Muslims going to fight in Syria before 2015
  • Cultural changes introduced by Thabliq Jamaath since 1980s across mosques influenced by Saudi among the Sri Lankan Muslim community resulted in Sri Lankan Muslims being slowly drawn to adopt a non-Sri Lankan culture aligning to a religious identity & ideology based on different interpretations of the Quran by different Muslim religious groups formed primarily to reign over Sri Lankan Muslims using foreign funding coming to them from Middle East that was aligned to a global campaign of political Islamic expansionism.
  • Traditional Muslims were being subject to cultural change – religious extremism & lastly towards violent extremism which resulted in 21/4.
  • Had authorities received political will to continue to monitor Islamic extremist groups they would have been quick to pick up the departure of Zaharan to form NTJ which was the beginning of religious extremism turning violent & 21/4 could have been prevented

What Sri Lankan Government authorities need to do is to first identify the cultural change that is not only dividing the Muslims but is antagonizing non-Muslims and it is an issue that non-Muslims globally share.

  • What are these extremisms 
    • Who are linked to these extremisms
    • What roles are performed by to help advance these extremisms
    • Who funds these extremisms
    • How far do they exert influence politically, socially, religiously across Sri Lanka
    • How many are involved in these extremisms – individuals/organizations
    • Where do they operate across Sri Lanka?

Identifying the extremisms

  • Existence of Shariah law
  • Burka & Niqab
  • Polygamy/child marriage 
  • Halal food labeling 
  • Islamic banking 
  • Mushrooming Madrassas/Proliferation of mosques 
  • Bringing preachers from Middle East
  • Sending selected youth on Scholarships 
  • Establishment of Islamic universities

Banning is not the solution defeating the ideology is.

Who are responsible for allowing all these to enter and spread across Sri Lanka?

Is it the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaath? No, all these are under control of the ACJU which is highly influenced by Saudi.

So, who is responsible for the new cultural change in Muslims? Is it the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaath? No, from being Sri Lankan Muslims to encouraging them to embrace an Arabic culture it is the ACJU who must be made to answer & held accountable. Thus, banning groups is not the solution, nor will it provide a solution but to address who is promoting the new culture and pressurize them to answer.

The hyped up claim that Sri Lanka’s export market demands halal labelling is simply a sham because such a system did not exist earlier. Halal labelling introduced to Sri Lanka was by a company that came under ACJU. How much of money did they collect from non-Muslims? How many Muslims in the business community funded ACJU? Where did this money go to? Didn’t this money given by non-Muslims go to over 1000 madrassas that were having youth indoctrinated by preachers sent by Saudi?

ACJU controls mosques – religious bodies, they issue scholarships, they bring in preachers and they are under direct control of Saudi.  

Another distinguishable fact is that all these players & associations are interlinked and connected in some way or the other. All of them unite but are in a tussle for supremacy however the religious leadership is controlled by ACJU while the political interests are peddled by Muslim politicians who are either in government / opposition or functioning separately. All of them are in some way or the other interlinked.

The blueprint followed by Saudi across countries is to expand its Sunni domination to create madrassas and draw children and youth, set up Sharia universities to which they can send preachers all with an objective to issue jihadi certificates where some get placed in public institutes, sent as diplomats, functioning as lawyers and politicians who would use state apparatus to help facilitate the overall programs. None of them work in the interest of the nation or are bothered about the nation except to help expand Sunni control over Sri Lanka incrementally creating the culture change.

How much of this landscape Muslims know, can understand, do not wish to understand or are totally ignorant, is as important as non-Muslims realizing and identifying the threat and drawing solutions to address the threat.

If everyone can come to a common understanding and acceptance of the ‘new cultural incursions’ that have antagonized non-Muslims and are also dividing the Muslims, by removing these we can take an initial step but the more important step is to clearly state what is the Sri Lankan identity and ensure that all citizens are part of that Sri Lankan identity & not following a foreign culture.

Thereafter, authorities must lay out a national plan to break the ‘ideology’ and curb followers of the ‘ideology’ via short, mid-term and long term national security strategies, political will & with international cooperation of countries suffering equal incursions & extremisms.

The task of any government is to build a national policy & program surrounding a Sri Lankan Cultural Identity eliminating new cultures that are foreign to Sri Lanka’s history & heritage and not even part of Islam as well.

Shenali D Waduge

9 Responses to “How did traditional Muslims of Sri Lanka become influenced to adopt a new cultural ideology?”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Great work Shenali,

    This is another good example of investigative journalism.

    If they have started after 2015, can we take a stand that the Western influence initiated this extremism?. I strongly feel that US wanted them to be growing here for further cementing their Regime Change project and creating another Black July paving the way for them to move to SL.

    I heard that the American Ambassador to SL has declared open 4 refugee holding accommodations which can house 4000 people in East just before the Bomb blast. WW exposed it in the Parliament on the 18th (there is a YouTube clip). They were planning an uprising against Muslims and as a result all the Muslims would be moving to these 4 accommodation and as the unrest continues, US forces can walk in with the blessing of the UN.

    We are in a dangerous situation than the LTTE time!!

  2. Hiranthe Says:

    The DANGER is, our government is the one who do all these things with the planning of US.

    Who will then protect Mother Lanka and her nation??

  3. Christie Says:

    Thanks Shenali.

    What is this “Sri Lankan identity”.

    That is the root of our problems.

    What happened to the Sinhala identify. (Ceylonese identity),

  4. DAYA HEWAPATHIRANE Says:

    Attention of Christie:

    THE UNIQUE NATIONAL IDENTITY OF SRI LANKA
    The unique national identity of Sri Lanka is founded on its historic, long-lasting Sinhala Buddhist cultural heritage. As an island nation Sri Lanka is founded on Buddhist norms and principles. The impact of Buddhism is reflected both directly and indirectly, in the tangible and intangible aspects of the nation’s culture. Fundamental Buddhist principles of non-violence, tolerance, compassion and peaceful coexistence with others and with nature are among the essential ingrained principles that have shaped the outlook, temperament and lifestyle of the people from historic times. Since the arrival of Buddhism in the country in the 3rd century BCE, during a long historic period of more than 2200 years, the outstanding accomplishments of her people in many areas of life, are largely attributable to the impact of Buddhist principles guiding their lives. It was Buddhism that inspired the people of this nation to develop wholesome qualities and skills enabling them to evolve a rich and enduring culture where peace, tolerance, generosity, creativity, wisdom, and spirituality are the cornerstones.

    Wholesome Buddhist values and norms that form the basis of the uniquely indigenous Hela Buddhist culture were reinforced during the glorious classical period of our country’s history. This period includes the greater part of the more than 2200 years of Buddhist cultural history of this country, between 3rd century BCE to 13th century CE, when Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa were the royal capitals. This was a time when the population of the country was exclusively Buddhist and the country was ruled by Buddhist royalty. The nature of development of the country’s natural, human and cultural resources of the past is reflective of our long-held traditional Buddhist principles of peaceful coexistence and integrity, particularly on the part of those who assumed leadership roles in the country. Promotion of virtuous and spiritual lifestyles among people was a fundamental goal of the nation, and Buddhist leaders of the past including Maha Sangha were in the forefront in furthering this goal. The nation’s irrigation system developed during this time, with an extensive network of reservoirs and canals are considered in modern times as marvels in irrigation technology. In addition, the nation’s astonishing ancient architecture, sculpture, art, literature and other forms of visual culture including the Sinhala language and literature displayed magnificently across the country, are living evidence of this nation’s exceptional cultural heritage. They are reflective of the outstanding imaginative and creative powers of the people including their talents, skills, and foresight. The world recognition of the greatness of this unique Buddhist culture is reflected by the UNESCO designating our ancient royal sites as World Heritage Sites – Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mahanuwara (Kandy), Sigiriya and Dambulla, all built upon and strongly reflecting inspiration drawn from Buddhism.

    During this classical period of the nation’s history, it was the Buddhist Sangha community that provided education – both secular and spiritual and was the primary source of inspiration and assistance in the evolution of varied aspects of the nation’s culture. The strength of this cultural foundation was tested several times in the past, especially during periods of foreign invasion and associated devastation and exploitation. There were 17 ruthless South-Indian Dravidian invasions and from 16th to about the mid 20th century European colonial powers used violent means to subjugate and exploit our country in order to serve their self-interests. They caused untold misery to the indigenous Buddhist community. But the nation stayed intact, withstanding threats, perils and calamities. This was largely owing to the power and potency of the nation’s Buddhist cultural foundation.

    Tolerance and the enormous adaptability of Buddhism are qualities that have remained unchanged throughout its remarkable history in Sri Lanka and many other Buddhist nations. With a down to earth philosophy of man in harmonious and cordial relationship to man, at a very visible and conceivable level, Buddhists have never stood up against any single man or groups of men in the name of Buddhism, either to defend or propagate the religion. That is quite a record for a faith with a history of more than two and a half millennia. That was very much before the time of the appearance of most of today’s great world religions.

    Buddhism upholds everything worthy and meaningful. It promotes peace, peaceful coexistence, and democratic principles in governance. It promotes human rights, development of individual and community virtues and discipline in accordance with the “pancha seela”. Respect for the natural environment and sustainable and participatory development of resources and upheld in Buddhism. In addition, Buddhism strongly promotes tolerance of other faiths, religious and social harmony, and cordial relations with other nations. Buddhist culture led to the evolution of a peaceful community structure. This provided order and stability to the respective communities in the country. Lifestyle of people in a Buddhist society has been simple and uncomplicated. It was a quality of life that moved at a gentle pace where people enjoyed a high degree of leisure and freedom. As part of a close-knit community, people felt secure enough to be themselves. In this sense, they enjoyed a remarkably high quality of life.

    Buddhist principles were reflected in people’s attitude towards each other, other communities, other living beings and their habitat – the environment. People’s livelihood and institutions were reflective of the impact of the teachings of the Buddha. A striking feature was that, overall, relations between people and between culture and nature were compatible, in harmony and well-adjusted and adapted. This is largely owing to Buddhism – the foundation upon which the way of life, culture and social values of the people evolved and established. People’s livelihood and economy reflected their interdependence with their natural habitat, with other people and other living beings. They enjoyed an abundance of natural resources by way of useable land, fertile soil, clean and dependable water resources, healthy climatic conditions, a rich and diverse biological resource base, an awe-inspiring natural environment pleasing to the senses and spiritually inspiring, and above all, a culture that valued harmonious relationship with each other and the natural environment which provided the basis of their livelihood.

    Protecting and Reinforcing the Cultural Inheritance

    What Sri Lanka clearly projects is its strong Buddhist imprint. It is a fact that, if there is anything unequivocally worthwhile that Sri Lanka can offer to the world today, it is the Buddha Dhamma and its outstanding culture, including its people’s attitude towards life and their natural habitat. We should not let this wholesome Buddhist cultural inheritance be undermined and eroded away by economic, social, religious and cultural trends that are incompatible with the enviable Buddhist social values which form the basis of life in the nation. We are duty-bound to work towards transforming and changing whatever harmful trends evident in our motherland. It is time to reinforce Buddhist principles that constitute the basis of the national culture of Sri Lanka since ancient times.

    Building a stronger sense of national identity holds the key to achieving true reconciliation and social cohesion in our nation. Our nation needs to be united behind the nation’s Buddhist values. Extremism in any form, including religious, is not in-keeping with the Buddhist principles and values that form the basis of our nation. Attempting to implant in Sri Lanka, norms and behavior patterns of other countries aimed at being exclusive and markedly different to the long established social and cultural norms of our nation has a socially divisive effect. Buddhist community leaders, especially Buddhist Bhikkhus who have been the traditional custodians of the nation’s culture and values should necessarily be in the forefront in confronting in a legitimate manner, any extremist and divisive trends on the part of any community cultural or religious, who has made Sri Lanka their home. Traditionally the Buddhist leadership is duty-bound to prevent attempts by anyone to undermine the long-established Buddhist socio-cultural norms of our nation.

    In general, separatism and divisiveness appear to dominate the thoughts of minority communities of Sri Lanka, especially the Muslims and Tamils. This attitude inevitably prevents them from developing a sense of belonging to the nation and cultivating better relationships with the mainstream community of the country from historic times. This parochial attitude prevents extremist elements from appreciating the worthy principles and values that characterize the Sri Lankan nation, and that give this nation its identity as a peace-loving unique nation in the world. The development path of our country needs to be built from the grassroots, based on its Buddhist cultural foundation. It should involve the development of strong local economies in which producer-consumer links are shortened and cultural values are respected and peaceful coexistence in harmony with the environment and all diverse people are assured. Moving in this direction appears to be the appropriate way to solve the whole range of serious social, economic and environmental problems faced by the country today. Ultimately, we are talking about a spiritual awakening that comes from making a connection to others and to nature. This requires us to see the world within us, to experience more consciously the great interdependent web of life, of which we ourselves are among the strands.

    The political philosophy of Buddhism is universal in that it directly concerns with the totality of human life. Not only does it deal with the social and economic aspects of life but also deals with man’s spiritual and ethical aspects too. According to Buddhist political thought the state or the ruler is expected to establish a just and selfless social order in which every individual of a country is happy and contended. The Buddha’s ideas were primarily based on the Noble Eightfold path and he advocated that all human problems could be easily avoided by following this eight-fold path, namely Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. In the past, during the long period of rule by Sinhala Buddhist royalty, the political scene in the nation strongly reflected the political thoughts of the Buddha. Two important political principles introduced by the Buddha were the elective principle of government and the acceptance of the peoples’ sovereignty. He introduced the voting procedures at the election of leaders such as in the Sangha and showed the importance of the freedom of expression to create public opinion in issues of public importance. He also showed that there is a close link between politics and the economy of a country. On various occasions the Buddha showed that economic welfare is all important for social stability, peace and good governance. There is no doubt that if any country could follow at least some of these political ideologies enunciated in the teachings of the Buddha, such a country would be peaceful, free of wars, free of petty divisions and destructive evil thoughts and actions.

    Living in Harmony with Nature

    The Buddhist approach is to live in harmony with nature more than subduing it, conquering it, and exploiting it. Buddhism emphasizes compassion for all living beings. This Buddhist attitude to nature is enumerated in several of the Buddha’s discourses, such as the “Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta”, “Samyutta Nikaya”, “Vinaya Pitaka”, ” Dhammapada”, and “Theri Gatha”. The type of economic system, which the Buddha proposed, was one where the individual’s needs would be provided but there would be no overemphasis on the purely material aspects of life. One’s material needs would be essentially what one need to make one live happily and for one’s physical sustenance. Buddhism advocates the judicious use of resources, the elimination of waste, and the most productive use of resources. In the suttas mentioned above, the Buddha’s advice to laypersons was to develop both their material and spiritual welfare by fruitful use of nature’s resources. Cooperative spirit among people, a simple way of life based on a simple technology, a non-violent and gentle attitude towards nature, and all living beings are essential components of the Buddhist approach to development. Economic development must be placed against the wider background of the need to develop a well-rounded personality, and a happy human being. In the “Mangala Sutta” and the “Sigalovada Sutta”, the Buddha has said that the happiness of the average person depends on their economic security, the enjoyment of wealth, freedom from debt, and a blameless moral and spiritual life. In a number on contexts, the economic factor is linked to a wider relationship to the “dhamma” or the teachings of the Buddha.

    Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

  5. Christie Says:

    Thanks Daya.

    You are talking about Sinhala identity not Sri Lankan or Ilankei.

    Ceylon the land of Sinhalese have been populated for over a hundred thousand years.

    The people of Ceylon absorbed Buddhism whether it was home grown or imported.

    2200 years is a short period compared to 100,000 years and our way of life evolved over 100,000 years.

    Unfortunately, India and Indian Cokonial Parasites in 1951 got hold of Banda and made us an Indian Colony in name and form.

  6. DAYA HEWAPATHIRANE Says:

    Christie, Are you a Sri Lankan and could I know your complete name? Also, I am interested in knowing your sources of information pertaining to the history of the Sinhala people and about Buddhism that you have stated in youru write-up? Thanks.

  7. Dilrook Says:

    Whoever Christie is, some of his statements are true.

    Sinhala is much larger and older than Buddhism to say the truth. Buddhism has a history of 2,284 years in the island but Sinhalese have a longer history far beyond the Wijaya myth. One huge mistake we did was to discount our pre-Buddhist gods (men who were immortalized into gods). Their shrines are still more popular than Buddhist shrines on a daily basis. They were Sinhala men including god Kataragama, Saman, Vibhishana (not Vishnu) and Natha.

    Our mistake was immediately exploited by Hindus and Muslims who claim they as their gods. Some of our fools believe it! As they are pre-Buddhist gods, it automatically means they predated Buddhists and if Buddhists = Sinhala (as some people wrongly assume), it then means they also predated the Sinhalese.

    This was not allowed in ancient times as Dewalas for our Sinhala men immortalized into gods were built and worshiped inside Buddhist temples.

    We must broad base the Sinhala identity to include Buddhists, some Christians, some Muslims (there are Muslims who identify themselves as Sinhalese) and Others. Sadly Hindus never do this and they cannot be part of the Sinhala identity. Similarly, Sinhala is Buddhism, Christianity (to the extent there are Sinhalese), Islam and all native gods.

  8. Randeniyage Says:

    I have asked many Muslims ( in different countries) a similar question, their religion is always important than the race , language or nationality. Buddhism on the other hand given freedom of choice to people , there is no fear imposed. What is taught in Buddhism is to instigate urgency to “nekkhamma” or going forth knwoing danger of Smasara. This has nothing to do with anyone’s nationality.
    Therefore, it is utterly foolish to blame Buddhism for
    1. Being selfish putting the self before the country
    2. Being greedy for material comfort and resort to stealing to become rich
    3. Being cowardly to remain silent seeing the injustice
    4. Being pessimistic
    5. Being slaves to popular trends without going against the stream

    These are the very reason that has kept the country poor and weak. These are the very bad qualities Buddhism insists should get rid of.
    So, don’t blame Buddhsim please.

  9. Vaisrawana Says:

    Thank you, dear Dr Daya Hewapathirana for your pearls of wisdom. Let those who are in need of them NOT FAIL TO SEE them.

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