Author Archive for Rohana R. Wasala

‘How can we know the dancer from the dance?’ A comment on the recent dialogue about the anatta doctrine in Buddhism

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

By Rohana R.Wasala There was recently an exchange of views published in The Island newspaper between February 22 and March 14, 2019 and here in Lankaweb in the same period concerning the concept of ‘anatta’ in Buddhism (traditionally translated into English as soullessness, no-soul, non-self, etc). One of the most definitive responses, in my view, […]

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BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS: STEPHEN HAWKING’S OFFERING TO HUMANITY

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

By Rohana R. Wasala Our future is a race  between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we use it. Let’s make sure that wisdom wins.-Stephen Hawking (The following essay by me as a nontechnical reader of BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS and a longtime Hawking fan refers to its […]

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Red herrings and real issues

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island Ref. ‘Saving Sri Lanka!’/The Island/January 17, 2019 by Fr J.C. Pieris. It is a response to certain critical comments that I made in The Island of January 9 on a previous article published in the same paper on January 2 by T.M. Premawardana (translated by Fr Pieris). The […]

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Answer to the question ‘Who can save Sri Lanka?’

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph. Haile Selassie (Emperor of Ethiopia 1930-74) The admirable feature article ‘Who can save Sri […]

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‘Dhatusena’ – Rehabilitating Kashyapa   

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. -Karl Marx ‘Dhatusena’(ISBN 978-955-0955-79-4/Visidunu Prakashakayo Pvt Ltd, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka, 2017) is a short historical novel in Sinhala written by veteran novelist, poet, and socio-political thinker and activist Dr Gunadasa Amerasekera. It is a story related by a first person narrator who […]

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ELECT A NEW PARLIAMENT WITHOUT FURTHER ADO!

Friday, November 30th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala In a democracy, constitutions can be drafted, revised or replaced by the people as they wish, but when such a sovereign nation is disintegrated through a constitution (or by some other means), it can hardly be reintegrated into unity. Sri Lanka is today being threatened by one of the worst existential […]

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‘LINCOLN IN THE BARDO’: Loving in a World of Conditionality

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala The 2017 Man Booker Prize winning novel ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by American writer of fiction George Saunders is almost entirely peopled by corpses or ghosts in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, Washington DC, on a February night in 1862. The text reads like a film or drama script that […]

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Sinhala Only’ in Retrospect

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Daily Mirror The ‘Sinhala Only’ legislation of 1956 was immediately turned into a bogey by anti-majority propagandists to frighten off progressive political reforms aimed at redressing the historical injustices perpetrated against the nation by European occupations of the previous 450 years. But the dethronement of English by making Sinhala […]

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The envious hate those whom they can’t help admiring

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala As a fairly frequent contributor to Lankaweb I welcome feedback from discerning readers. My way is to accept decent responses with equanimity whether they are positive or negative. But I pay more attention to negative comments, because they usually reflect on aspects of an issue that I might have failed to […]

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Mahavamsa : 2500-year history of  heroic Sinhalay people mellowed by humanity

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy: The Daily Mirror The  Mahavamsa or The Great Chronicle of Ceylon (to use the title of the English translation by Wilhelm Geiger of the ancient classic) is a book of history in the form of a poem in the Pali language composed by a Bhikkhu named Mahanama at Anuradhapura around the […]

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For making Sri Lanka great again

Friday, October 12th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala The USA, which tabled Resolution 30/1 against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in October 2015, has by now left that body in disgust. Sri Lanka co-sponsored this resolution against itself to its eternal shame. President Donald Trump, addressing the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly […]

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A layman’s view of the Mahavamsa

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala (This article was first published in The Island newspaper (Sri Lanka) more than ten years ago ( on January 23, 2008). The writer wishes to share it with the Lankaweb readers. The original title was: Is the Mahavamsa a Tissue of Myths?) The  Mahavamsa or The Great Chronicle of Ceylon (to […]

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Don’t try to federalize Sri Lanka’s history!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

(An internet post as translated by Rohana R. Wasala) Professor Raj Somadeva is the head of the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. He is a scholar who is engaged in archaeological excavation and exploration, devoting himself to efforts that even go beyond the demands of his profession, in order […]

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Budunge Rasthiyaduwa”: Has the Author Bitten off More than He Can Chew? – Part II

Friday, October 5th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Defusing a live grenade before dumping it in a garbage heap Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird” K.K. Srinath’s novel Budunge Rasthiyaduwa”  is probably intended to be a literary hand grenade against the most radical spiritual thinker of all time, the Buddha. Though the novel looks like an […]

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“Budunge Rasthiyaduwa”: Has the Author Bitten off More than He Can Chew? – I

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.–Jack Kerouac Most Buddhists are likely to bristle at the very mention of the title of K.K. Srinath’s novel because of its apparent characterization of the Buddha as a tramp, a vagabond, a vagrant or a […]

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Denying the success of the Janabalaya Demonstration is a totalitarian attack on the people’s freedom of expression

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Kumar David (KD) in his column titled  Deciphering the Jana Bala Demo (JBD)- Not a flop (about 75,000), but it was fun and frolic not a political avowal” (Sunday Island/ September 16, 2018) tries to pretend that the JBD challenge fell flat; it was game and set (only) to Yahapalana”. To […]

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Mending Walls instead of Mending Fences:  Anticipatory comments on “Kanepahara (A Box on the Ears )”

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. Robert Frost (‘Mending Wall’) ‘Kanepahara’ (lit. ‘A Box on the Ears’) is the title of a series of radio dramas scheduled […]

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IFJ BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala (This document which embodies the author’s personal opinions is completely based on information gathered from internet sources. It is a marginally revised version of the same article published in The Island on September 5, 2018.) The news item under the headline: Religious extremists, politicians meddle with artistic freedom in Sri Lanka […]

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Rediscovery of Anagarika Dharmapala vs Relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala The video uploaded under the title Relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism” in Lankaweb today (August 22, 2018) prompted me to write this. What the learned interviewee is saying about the organic link between Hinduism and Buddhism is true. The inclusivity of Hinduism that allows it to peacefully coexist with other religions […]

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FALSE CONTRASTS AND FRIVOLOUS COMPARISONS

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Apropos Ranga Jayasuriya’s write-up under the evocative title THE DEADLY CONTRAST: MAHINDA Vs GOTA/Lankaweb/August 7, 2018). The five year presidential term ends in January 2020; not in January 2019 as the writer says . This inaccuracy may be overlooked  as an accidental error. RJ’s conclusion that the poor performance of both […]

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Kudos to Cassandra!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala KUDOS to Cassandra for her interesting and lightly entertaining feature article under the long title ‘People’s eternal grouses and profligacy of the past regime Cassandra Cry: A Woman’s Judgmental View of the Past Week’ (The Island/July 27, 2018). Her candid confirmation of a home truth (i.e., an unpleasant truth about herself) […]

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Hang Your Head In Shame, Instead Of Hanging Convicts!

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Rohana R. Wasala  TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The cabinet spokesman told the media on July 25, 2018, as reported on Hiru News, that the cabinet has unanimously approved the (presidential) decision to implement the death penalty even if the EU withdraws the GSP+ facility in response as warned. Though I personally do not attach […]

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IRRESPONSIBLE USE OF LANGUAGE OR INTELLECTUALIST MISREPRESENTATION?

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala The Midweek Review feature article under the title Hitler Reincarnate – And Sri Lanka’s Presidential Stakes by Susirith Mendis (The Island/July 4, 2018) embodies the soft soothing voice of wisdom, that got drowned in the cacophonous ‘sound and fury’ raised in the wake of the Asgiriya Anunayake Ven. Wendaruwe Upali thera’s […]

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A voice from the past about Bodu Bala Sena

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala After reading Dr Daya Hewapathirana’s excellent article titled The Bodu Bala Sena Movement: Socially Engaged Buddhism”   (June 30, 2018), I thought I should share with the Lankaweb readers the following article of mine carried in The Island newspaper on May 6, 2014. It was still the time of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency. […]

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Killing a mosquito with a cannon

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

ROHANA R. WASALA Courtesy The Island June 28, 2018, 10:20 pm Sasanka Perera, a sociology professor at New Delhi’s South Asian University and its vice-president, uses a cannon to kill a mosquito (‘Pining for Hitler’/The Island/June 27, 2018). The funny thing is that there isn’t even a mosquito to kill in this case. He marshals his […]

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Furore over Anunayake Thera’s ‘Hitler’ remarks: sound and fury signifying nothing  

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala A cogent piece of advice given by Ven. Wendaruwe Upali , the Anunayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa  in the course of a 30 minute long anushasanawa (sermon) at the conclusion of an alms giving ceremony held at his residence at Mirihana to invoke blessings on him  on […]

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In defence of Gotabhaya the idea and the icon

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy Sunday Island Sunday Island recently carried two articles that tried to undermine a probable foray into the 2020 presidential fray by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who was the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development in the previous government led by his brother President Mahinda Rajapaksa: ‘Stop Gotabaya-Rex! Choice of […]

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May Buddhists look to the Mahanayake Theras at this hour of need!

Monday, June 18th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala (The following consists of the first few paragraphs of an article of mine under the title No more backing out at the hour of need, please!”, which happens to be of current relevance. The aforementioned article was published in The Island newspaper and Lankaweb simultaneously on February 1, 2016. I inserted […]

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Anti-Buddhist propaganda with an academic veneer – III

Monday, June 11th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala An intellectual hatred is the worst, So let her think opinions are accursed. –B. Yeats/ ‘A Prayer for My Daughter’ In this concluding section of my article, I am making an attempt to suggest how anti-Buddhist propaganda has polluted even the academia, and how, as a potent factor, such misinformation has […]

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Anti-Buddhist propaganda with an academic veneer – II

Friday, June 8th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Just as Andreas Johansson is mistaken about the cause of the recent communal unrest between some Sinhalese Buddhist and Muslim groups in the Kundasale Teldeniya area near Kandy, he is mistaken about the genesis of the more serious and the longer persisting separatist problem. What he so simplistically asserts is that […]

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