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"The Da Vinci Code"-Christian Sentiments & Anti-Buddhist Mafia
----The Centre for Buddhist Action----

The controversial film " The Da Vinci Code" has created quite an uproar in the Christian world especially in the countries which are predominantly Catholic. It is reported that ticket sales for this film have reached fever pitch by reaching No.1 in North America by taking in US$77.1million; broke opening records in countries with strong Roman Catholic traditions, such as Italy and Spain, where it grossed US$11.1 million each; its global ticket sales have reached US$231.8million in its first few days of screening; The amount was generated from screenings in 12,213 theatres in 79 countries.

However, while even The Vatican could not ban it in Italy, in a country with a mere 7.5% of Catholics (of a total population of 18million people) such as Sri Lanka, it was banned from screening in Sri Lanka by our President Mahinda Rajapakse, due to the high respect he has for the sentiments of The Catholic Bishop's Conference. As the President of a country, he has to respect the sentiments of religious leaders whether they be in the minority or majority and therefore, we respect his stand. This is the President against whom the Right Rev. Oswild Gomis together with Lalith Kothelawela of " SOLO-U" fame carried an island-wide full page newspaper campaign (all 3 languages) of "fear psychosis" and warned Catholics & Christians not to vote for him at the Presidential Elections of November 2005! That, is the Buddhist practise of Metta & Karuna shown by President Rajapakse towards his enemies.

Most Rev.Dr.Vianny Fernando-Bishop of Kandy and the President of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Sri Lanka had this to say in the article which appeared in the Ceylon Daily News of 26th May 2006 in the article " Catholic Clergy Lauds President for Da Vinci Code Ban-Hails Statesman Like Act"- quote: "..……..We value and have high regard for the freedom of expression. But in the name of freedom, we cannot allow others to vilify, defame and insult Jesus Christ Our Savior and Lord, One whom millions of followers all over the world worship. Naturally we were very concerned about the film……" Rev.Father Cyril Gamini Fernando -Editor of Gnanartha Pradeepa had also made some comments in the same article.

The book "The Da Vinci Code" published by Dan Brown in 2003 has enjoyed record sales and intrigued many readers with the meticulous style in which Dan Brown unwinds the mysteries within the Catholic Church as has never been told before. At the beginning of the book there is a section under which the following are stated by Brown- Quote:
"FACT:
" The Priory of Sion- a European secret society founded in 1099- is a real organization. In 1975 Paris's Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.
" The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercian, and a dangerous practice known as "corporal mortification." Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million National Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City.
" All descriptions or artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." End Quote

Catholic / Christian Sentiments:
To any person / group following a particular religious faith with the ferver of the Christians, the book and film "Da Vinci Code" will undoubtedly be insulting or hurtful as it hits out at everything holy to the Christians as well as Catholics the world over. To the Protestant Christians Jesus Christ & The Holy Trinity and to the Catholics The Virgin Mary are the most holy symbols of their faith. Therefore, we need to be sensitive towards their religious feelings and fears. Fears, because with the screening of the film, there will undoubtedly be a portion of the Christian/ Catholic viewers who will question the role of their relevant churches and through disillusionment, some followers " just might" refrain from patronizing the church in the future. We could see with the film "Passion for Christ" how Christians appreciated the blood bashing that Jesus Christ had to undergo- all this helps to keep the Christian flock together and their faith. Therefore, a film like "Da Vinci Code" will definitely not be encouraged by the relevant churches. The theory of "freedom of conscience" which they flaunt at other religions- in this instance is not applicable when it might affect their own flock!

Aside from the Christian sentiment that has been hurt, we are aware of the Islamic sentiments that were hurt by the cartoons ridiculing their religious leader Mohamed or Allah and how they reacted towards the Danish cartoonist as well as other western countries. The reaction was so virulent that western NGOs or INGOs working in countries with Muslim populations (even in Sri Lanka) even pulled down & hid the name boards of their companies to avoid a bashing! Uncontrollable & absolute faith towards their religious leader leashed out some extremely uncivilized reactions.

Western media as well as governments tend to consider that in the name of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression, books and films of the nature or "Da Vinci Code" must be allowed to be screened and therefore, even in countries like Italy and Spain which are Catholic, those countries could not deem it necessary to ban the screening of this film. Yet, in a predominantly Buddhist country like Sri Lanka with a minute Catholic/Christian population, in consideration of the minority sentiments it was banned by our President.

Christian Mafia:
It is no secret that the Christian Churches worldwide, have their own well knit network of organizations that work tirelessly, to infiltrate into the internal workings of governments even in the USA where President Bush himself is a mouthpiece of the church & is used by them to hurt the religious sentiments of all countries which are non-Christian. They conspire, destroy and distort the truth and work hard to create dissention in those countries. Details of how they work is outlined very clearly in the book written by Wayne Madsen "Expose : The Christian Mafia" where he explains the history of the Evangelical Movement from as far back as the 1940s and how they have successfully established their control within all major organizations & governments to act according to their whims and fancies. The Da Vinci Code of Dan Brown gives us a little insight into the secret operation net-workings of the Catholic Church -this is why it could be damaging to the Church and it's image. We have witnessed similar conspiracies in our country as well.

More than ever before, we in Sri Lanka have been able to witness during the recent past of may be 20-30 years how the Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical Churches together with their Christian Organisations of INGOs & NGOs have established themselves within the government structures at all levels right upto the internal workings of our government to the extent of even controlling the decision making of our Presidents. Our former President was surrounded by Catholics & Evangelists who poisoned her mind against all Sinhala Buddhist activities in their shrewd but subtle manner. "Inter-Religious /Faith Committees" is a terminology coined by them to hoodwink the unsuspecting Buddhists in this country which will enable them to be involved & interfere in the activities of other religious groups! The media & press in this country is controlled by the Christian mafia.

Watching the sequence of events which have taken place within Sri Lanka during the last couple of decades, we have observed how the Opus Dei and the Christian Mafia have successfully destroyed all feelings of identity and national pride in this country. Sad though it may seem, this is the truth.

Buddhist Sentiments in Sri Lanka :
Buddhists have till now, and will always respect the religious beliefs of all religions and have never tried to impose Buddhism on followers of other religions or ever attempted to buy them over. Any non-Buddhists who have embraced Buddhism are those who have read the Dhamma, understood and have found true inner peace through The Buddha Dhamma. It has never been because we Buddhists have tried " to sell our religion" to them. However, it is with great sadness that we state that we have not witnessed Christian respect towards Buddhism and Buddhists in this country where Buddhism is the foremost religion & where Buddhists are approximately 75% of the total population.

Just as much as The Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary are sacred to Christians of all denominations, so is The Buddha and everything He represents which includes The Maha Sangha - holy and sacred to all Buddhists in this country. Just as much as Christians feel insulted by the "Da Vinci Code" of Dan Brown, so do we Buddhists feel hurt and insulted when Catholics, Evangelists and some other Orthodox Christian groups in this country intentionally and hurtfully insult The Buddha, Buddhism & The Maha Sangha in Sri Lanka. Zeal to spread the faith is one thing but more important, is to respect the culture and religion of the majority of that country. This is the true basis on which " inter-religious harmony," - a term which Christians love to toy with, can be established. It is truly sad that Christian groups involved in unethical conversions inside the boundaries of Sri Lanka do not understand what "mutual respect " means?

To use the same words of Most Rev.Dr.Vianny Fernando-Bishop of Kandy and the President of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Sri Lanka and apply it to Buddhist sentiments in this country "..……..We value and have high regard for the freedom of expression. But in the name of freedom, we cannot allow others to vilify, defame and insult The Buddha, The Dhamma, Buddhists and The Maha Sangha in Sri Lanka." We hope that by using the same expression used by the Catholic Bishops Conference- the meaning will remain the same when it applies to Buddhists in this country! We hope they will think twice in the future when they attack Buddhists.

The Anti- Buddhist Mafia:
The Anti-Buddhist Mafia has been active in this country ever since the entry of the Portuguese in 1505. From then until 1948 when we gained independence from the British for 440 years Buddhists in this country suffered every possible manner of discrimination- and we tolerated it. With all the forcible conversions & atrocities done by the Portuguese, The Dutch and The British through 440 years, they were only able to get 7.5% of our population converted to Christianity.

During the past 30 years, more shrewd, surreptious and subtle methods have been used by Catholics, some Orthodox Christian Groups and Evangelists from "Born Again" Christian Churches who originate from USA, UK, South Korea, Australia, Europe have entered this country in the guise of economic & social development aid workers , entered villages 100% Buddhist and in the most arrogant & obnoxious manner hurt the sentiments of innocent villagers by insulting The Buddha, Buddhists and The Maha Sangha. The Tsunami of 26th December 2004 was another opportunity for them to enter our country. Their urge to conduct unethical conversions have manifested in many ways. Is this the "freedom " that they expect us Buddhists to tolerate and accept? Money and material benefits are thrown while conducting the following activities to win converts:

1. To get unsuspecting school children to smash Buddha statues; to gather people to their "Community Centres" and give Muscat and Necto to Buddhists who have been brought to be converted, and say that it is the flesh & blood of The Buddha that they are eating and drinking;
2. To teach pre-school children not to worship their parents, teachers or temple monks because one must kneel down only before God ( this is being taught to Buddhist children);
3. To tell children that Prince Sidhartha (who later became The Buddha), was a bad father because he left his day old child & wife and left the house;
4. Buddhists offer flowers to The Buddha and contemplate on the impermanence of life. Children are taught not to pluck flowers from the trees because the birds and bees will have no food!
5. To convince Buddhists in villages not to patronize the village temple and offer arms to Buddhist Monks because the Monks do not " give goodies to the villagers" ( a person becomes a Monk after renouncing lay life-his role is to help villagers understand The Buddha Dhamma and shorten their Samsara);
6. To get paid workers to buy liquor from nearby bars and take it into village temples for villagers to see in order to get the villagers to abandon patronizing temples due to disgust because they see liquor being taken inside the temple;
7. To pay ordinary young men to wear the saffron robe and misbehave in society, to be seen reading obscene literature in public, to be seen purchasing meat & fish from the market-----all this is done to get Buddhists to feel revulsion towards Monks;
8. To send paid young couples to visit village temples in the night in the pretext they are traveling afar and need a place to rest in the night. Village temples do not have accommodation except in the Dhammasala. Within minutes of gaining permission to stay overnight in the temple, the young man leaves the temple on the pretext of purchasing something from the nearby temple & the girl rings the temple bell to inform villagers that the Monk molested or tried to molest her! Many are the instances when good and pious Monks have abandoned the temples because they cannot face the villagers after such shameful accusations;
9. To offer to send Monks abroad for employment or studies /& confer academic degrees. By doing this they encourage Monks to abandon the temples which are isolated in rural villages;
10. To organize paid workers to attack their own community / prayer centers and blame Buddhists in the village for such attacks. Immediately, the news is sent to overseas Christian organizations that extremist Buddhists have attacked their churches;
11. To get Christian parliamentarians to obstruct and block all legislature that will protect the Sinhala Buddhist cause ;
12. To pay young men to visit temples and destroy them, in the guise of searching for archeological treasures. Most often The Buddha Statue is destroyed in the most inhumane manner;
13. To use Christian parliamentarians to put forward suggestions to acquire temple properties for social development work; to work through their contacts within the government and tax temple properties;
14. To get Christian parliamentarians to befriend and become active in activities of famous temples & get themselves elected to the Dayake Sabhas. This will enable them to control positive agendas of temples towards their village;
15. To conspire to defame active Buddhist Monks and lay personalities
16. To use The Buddha images for commercial purposes by printing them on candles, biscuits given to pre-school children to eat, bed linen, swim suits, hotel décor & also name liquor bars "Buddha Bar" (one of the 5 precepts is "refrain from consuming alchohol);

We pose these questions to our Christian friends " To humiliate The Buddha & Buddhists when you use the above methods in the process of your conversion activities, are the sentiments of Buddhists ever taken into consideration or are these not intentional acts done by the Christians to "vilify and insult The Buddha?" How is it any different from the feelings of Christians towards "The Da Vinci Code " of Dan Brown?



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