The Mahanayakes, Politicians and the International Media
Posted on February 16th, 2010

Dr.P.A.Samaraweera, Australia

The recent episode in the ‘Fonseka arrest’ is the Mahanayakes getting involved in politics. In the past, some monks had got interested in active politics, trade union work, business etc. But the Mahanayakes had kept away from these areas.
But in the ‘Fonseka arrest’ they seemed to have aligned with the opposition politicians, the international media and the west in supporting the release of Fonseka who is alleged to have broken the Military Act. For neutral observers it appears that access to the Mahanayakes are only for politicians, the rich and the powerful in contrast to Buddha who left royalty to serve the poor, the sick and the needy.
This week-end I visited the “Warburton Monastery”, Dandenong, where the Buddhist monks are from the UK, Australia, New Zealand  and Thailand. While serving ‘dana’ I noticed that  the ‘rice-bowl’ of one of the English monks had the emblem ‘RR’ as in Rolls Royce cars.  While talking to him after meals I casually inquired about this symbol. He smiled and said that while he was in the UK, after a sermon, a gentleman spoke to him and during the discussion he revealed that he is a top executive in the Rolls Royce co. and is  well off as he had an  inheritance.
Then he had inquired if he wants anything in particular as he wants to make a gift to him. The monk had told him clearly that he does not accept gifts.
A couple of weeks later he had a parcel in the mail and it was this “Rice bowl” with the engraved letters ‘RR’ with a note saying that it is a token from the Rolls Royce Co.
These monks have little comfort living in timber cottages and have no interest in material things or for that matter in politics. I am sure the Mahanaykes will command more respect by keeping away from politics and not entertaining politicians all the time as they do.
The ‘Fonseka issue’ is now for the courts and not for politicians, international media, various organisations and the west which is planning to take Sri Lanka before a War Tribunal. Therefore, it is best that the Mahanayakes  as well without taking any sides keep their thoughts to themselves and leave the political bandwagon.

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