Author Archive for R Chandrasoma

Schooling of the Young – Assessment of Costs and Benefits

Friday, February 10th, 2017

R Chandrasoma  Professor Susan Engel is a development psychologist and School Director in the USA. Writing in the Huffington Post she has this to say about schooling in her country.  Far too many children in this country spend their energy warding off the tedium, frustration and constriction of school. At worst, they end up dropping […]

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Troubled Future for our Species.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

R Chandrasoma Since his emergence as a semi-civilized species many thousands of years ago, the threats to human survival have been both severe and sustained. Throughout the ages Famine, Disease and War kept populations dynamically stable and environmental degradation was kept within sustainable limits. This ‘fortunate’ state of affairs no longer holds – for two […]

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Can the Science of the West be ignored in contemporary Buddhist thinking?

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

R Chandrasoma This question is asked because the expositions and exegeses of learned Buddhists – chiefly the Bikkshus – are time-shifted in the illustrative paradigms employed to bring out a religious truth. Thus India at the time of a great spiritual efflorescence about two and a half thousand years ago is the favoured background for […]

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The Worth of a Referendum  – Slow and Fast Thinking.

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

R Chandrasoma The Nobel-Prize winning psychologist Kahneman has identified two kinds of thinking as basic to knowledge-acquisition and decision-making – the Slow and tthe Fast.  Slow thinking is rational and tortuous – it involves cognitive operations that depend on a close survey of facts and logic that is  not easy to come by. In contrast […]

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Hysteria, Morals and Politics

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

R Chandrasoma Let us begin with a few words about Hysteria. This a conditon of trance or transient behavioural aberration induced by powerful external stimuli such as a deep rhythmic drumbeat with plaintive or emotional singing to a large and frenzied audience. Under these circumstance some young wome lose all sense f propriety and behave […]

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Is Patriotism the last refuge of the Scoundrel?

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

R Chandrasoma In an impassioned address to Parliament recently the President MS concluded his speech by quoting the words of that illustrious statesman Jawaharlal Nehru – that ‘Politics is the last refuge of the Scoundrel’. It was Samuel Johnson who first made this quip to his famous buddy Boswell and it  was said facetiously. Whether […]

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The Agenda of Separatism – Triple Assault on Sinhala Naionalism

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

R Chandrasoma There are three political moves curremtly afoot that can spell doom to Sinhala Nationalism and the identity of Sri Lanka as a distinctive Nation with a proud history. The first of these moves is the abject recognition that we have done great wroing to the Tamils by using military force to crush Prabhakaran […]

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Truth-seking and Path-following – A moral conundrum for the Ardant Buddhist.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

R Chandrasoma The Tathāgata was a Seeker of the Truth before his enlightenment – and his career as the Great Expositor was preceded by a dialectical interaction with the leading saintly intellects of the day. The Jaina Teachings provided the initial stimulus for his path-breaking spiritual innovations and the Brahaminic wisdom of the day was […]

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Re-Writing History – the Mangala-Kerry  Recension

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

R Chandrasoma A strange and doctored  reading of the history of the recent past is being ‘manufactured’ by the new political actors who currently occupy centre-stage following the historic defeat of MR. According to this new ‘recension’ or ‘editing’ the removal of MR was much more than a political shift to the right – it […]

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Is corruption linked to systems of Government?

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

R Chandrasoma The great debate raging in our country is about corruption and its (supposed) genesis in the abuse of power by autocratic leaders who find high-level thieves and cheats their best friends in their quest for unlimited personal power – and social dominance for their kith and kin, The assumption here is that a […]

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Sacerdotalism edges out  Authentic Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Monday, 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 […]

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Palks’s Strait Fishery Dispute a Beggar’s Wound

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

R Chandrasoma A begger’s wound is coddled and kept on because it excites sympathy and donations that are mightily useful to the beggar. In politics and international relations there is a curious counterpart to this – where disputes often of a very serious nature are deliberately kept unresolved in pursuance of higher political goals. The […]

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The Grand Coalition against Sri Lanka

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

R Chandrasoma Time was when Sri Lanka had no international significance and its petty affair relating to internal governance did not turn heads or arouse any semblance of fear in other nations. Things have changed since then – there have been quantum shifts in the relations between the Big Powers and new dangers (real or […]

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Kafkaesque Politics in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

R Chandrasoma Let us begin with a story of Bees and Wasps. A flourishing colony of Bees is sometimes ‘captured’ by an invasive group from another colony. The events are roughly as follows – the Queen of the invaded colony is killed and replaced by a Virgin fancied by the aliens. Next the ‘battle force’ […]

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Fighting Corruption must stand by when the bigger fight is against external threats to our survival as a Nation

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

R Chandrasoma  In our contemporary world, the destabilization of heretofore stable nations and the gross interference in the internal affairs of the weak and the unprotected appear to be a system-features of its global dynamics. The so-called Big Powers feel it their right and duty to monitor – and often direct –  the affairs of […]

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Strategic Rebalancing of Global Political Forces and the Defeat of MR

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

R Chandrasoma It might appear at first that the defeat of MR is the result of the interplay of strictly local forces and agencies arising from discontents and antagonisms that are inevitable at the close of a long and event-filled Presidency  – one that excited the envy – even hate – of foreigners while charming […]

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POLITICAL SYMBOLISM AND INFECTIONS OF THE MIND – PARALLELS BETWEEN PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

R. Chandrasoma The negative things that were done to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, similar things were done to President Obama by those who opposed him. President Mahinda Rajapaksa inherited a mess of a country in 2005 from CBK/RW. He took the demoralized army and with Col. Gotabaya Rajapaksa refurbished it and defeated the LTTE in 2009. He […]

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Why religion is bad for aging brains

Friday, December 20th, 2013

R Chandrasoma It is now well established that just as limbs and joints must be regularly exercised if they are to remain supple and effective organs of locomotion, the brain must be used and challenged if is to be an efficient organ of mentation in adulthood. Children and young adults do exercise their brains as […]

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Context-free versus Context-dependent Political Strategies – the dilemma for Sri Lankan Rulers

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

R Chandrasoma It can be argued that politics must be based on inalienable moral principles that are unflinchingly applied irrespective of consequences. Thus, it may seem eminently reasonable that the Death Penality should be abolished because the taking of the life of even a convicted murderer is morally wrong and judicial executions cannot be be […]

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Balangoda Bunkum

Friday, October 18th, 2013

R Chandrasoma Two propositions pertaining to matters historical (and anthropological) are widely held to be true by the literati of Sri Lanka. The first is that there existed in our fabled Island a distinctive  human type called ‘Balangoda Man’ – so named by its ‘discoverer’ – Dr. P E P Deraniyagala. The second is that […]

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Buddhism in Sri Lanka imperiled by Doctrinal Archaisms and an outdated Orthodoxy

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

R Chandrasoma In a recent address to the Plenary Session of the International Buddhist Confederation, New Delhi, India on September 11, 2013 the renowned Buddhist scholar and activist Dr Ananda Guruge had this to say about the future of the religion that was aforetime universally hailed as the Light of Asia. Dr Guruge asks – […]

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Three antithetical ways of encountering the World

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

R Chandrasoma As members of the uniquely intelligent and enactive species on Planet Earth we humans are faced with the problem of survival at two orders or levels. In the short term, how to feed, clothe and house a dense and expanding population of greedy beings dwelling upon a fragile planet with finite resources. The […]

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Buddhism and Science – untangling confusions

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

R Chandrasoma A leading lexical authority defines Science (from Latin scientia, meaning ‘knowledge’) as the systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe and things therein. On the other hand Religion is defined as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of […]

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Open minds and the collegial spirit are sine qua non for the flourishing of a University.

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

R Chandrasoma  • In recent dispatches, many lamented the absence of Sri Lankan representation in the initiatives taken by an international group of scholars to to resurrect the famed Nalanda University at its original site in Bihar, India. At a time when Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka had become largely sacerdotal, formulary and hidebound, Indian […]

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On the Slaughter of Cattle and the Saving of Lives

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

R Chandrasoma It is the conventional belief that if a poor animal is ‘rescued’ from a slaughterhouse, a life is saved and great karmic merit accrues to the doer of this compassionate deed. Things are not so simple – as with most issues involving life and death. In the first instance, no life can be […]

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Mind Brain and Buddhism – A skeptical Response

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

R Chandrasona In a recent contribution to your Journal Akila Weerasekara writes inter alia as follows – ‘We theorize that a single citta or a group of cittas with accompanying mental factors (cetasikas) can affect the probability of release of the chemical transmitter substance at synaptic junctions. This triggers the cascade of electrical signals necessary […]

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Great Thoughts of Krishnamurti – Advocate of a refined spiritualism that repudiates the vulgar sacerdotal practices that parade as religion in today’s world.

Friday, July 5th, 2013

R Chandrasoma Jeddu Krishnamurti (May 1895 – February 17, 1986) was acclaimed as a sage and mystic in both his homeland – India – and in the West where his mastery of the deep meditative trance was viewed with awe and reverence. That he had a world-wide following among the cognoscenti comes as no surprise […]

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Sri Lanka – A Fragile Craft sailing perilously in Uncharted Seas -A plea not to rock the boat

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

R Chandrasoma Mankind will face great hazards in the decades to come from the growing  instability of the Biosphere given the overpopulation and energy-demands of a single rampaging species. As we approach what systems-experts call the ‘tipping point’ – perhaps only a few decades in the future – global politics will acquire a new dimension […]

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Ill-digested science and garbled Buddhist metaphysics

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

R Chandrasoma In the world of physical knowledge an overarching law is that called the Second Law of Thermodynamics (The Law of Increasing Entropy) which says that in a closed physical system, disorder or chaoticity alone can increase with the passage of time. Any overall initial organization can only weaken as the system ages. Note […]

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Astrology is false, dated and unedifying.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

R Chandrasoma  A hypothesis (or belief) is false if it does not square with the facts. It is also false if its deductive entailments do not match the facts as empirically revealed. Suppose some learned person declares with a great sense of infallibility that those born when stormy weather conditions prevail will die prematurely. This […]

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