Religion, survival and the dangers of being passive
Posted on October 18th, 2010

Ben Silva

Positive aspects of religion—
Number of views have been put on religion. There are number of ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ religions and belief systems in the world ref: ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ For some, religion ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ is therapeutic and I haveƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  nothing against religion being used as a therapy. The Buddhist precepts indicate the high standards of morality and values of Buddhism and its followers. The precepts is a clear indication of the civilised nature of Buddhists. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Buddhist precepts alone are very valuable and may assist the world to beƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  an orderly and a civilised place to live. Mindfulness and meditation used in Buddhism have been used to treat stress, pain and even depression.

The other main advantage of Buddhism is its calming nature and that it recommends a middle path, without going to extremes that you find in the world. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ However we live in a tough old world, which unfortunately is not fair. The world now is based on a global economy, with a gobal market with a free movement of Capital and individuals. In such a situation, clever, intelligentƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  but ruthless and selfish people can ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”extract our juiceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”spit the skin outƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Let me quote Prof. Hawkings on aliens: ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is a little too risky. He said: If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The passive native Americans were wiped out, killed ruthlessly,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  by invading Europeans. A similar thing happened to passive Buddhists in countries in the Silk route. Buddhism was wiped outƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  by invading Muslims.

The passive nature of Buddhists have put them at a disadvantage in a tough world, where the rule is survival of the fittestƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and not the survival of the most compassionate. We need to identify the positive aspects and negative aspects of religion and be aware ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  potential dangers. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I have identified the positive aspects of Buddhism and the positive aspects alone make Buddhism a valuable religion. Negative aspects of Buddhism are discussed later. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I wish to have aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  holistic approach to Nirvana, considering the modern day economic climate we live in, the external threats and opportunities we face. I also wish to state that Buddhism is part of our heritage and it has to be safeguarded and respected. As there are a large number of religions and belief systems in the world, a persons belief depends on that persons choice and the circumstances. The circumstances is important as a person may use beliefs to obtain a peace of mind or salvation. Different people may have different approaches.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I am merely pointing out the positive and negative aspects, so that a balanced, holistic ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ view can be considered ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and leave it to the person to make up his/her mind.

Decline of the Sinhalese

The Sinhalese were facing a precarious situation. They had lost the North, the East, theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  hill country that hadƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  terraced paddy fields and even the Capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. If any one doubts the above statement, then one should listen to the presentation by Paul Harris ref:

Even before the time of the CFA, the Sinhalese faced a steady decline and was under the British for over 150 years and living as second class citizens in their only home country. A proper investigation as to the reasonsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  for this need to be carried out. It is thanks due to SWRD, that the Sinhalese managed to have some sort of justice and fair play. SWRD, who gave a lifeline to the Sinhalese was killed by a Buddhist Monk!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Survival strategy

If we want to survive in the long run, then we need to think straight, develop critical thinking skills, and move to the 21st century, rather than have a mind trapped in a mindset 500 years BC. We need to learn the rules that govern the present time. At the moment it appears to be business, commerce and finance. Things were different 2500 years ago and things will be different in the future. Important thing is our present generation and the future generations need to survive, in a highly competitive world ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and should not end up as the poorest of the poor. In the modern highly competitive, fast moving world, even standing still is not good enough, as competitors will overtake you easily.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Please ignore my views if they appear to be incorrect. However pay attention to what scientists have said andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the comments some have made on religion. I also agree that Buddhism and other religions have therapeutic value. It is worthwhile noting that Buddhists in countries in the Silk route were wiped out by invaders. We were actually saved by the sea, and if the sea did not protect us we would have been Muslims, like the Malays. AlsoƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  note that every passive ethnic group either got wiped out or ended up as second class citizens as in Bolivia. Reflect for a moment and see how much of our motherland has been lost in 500 years. Passive native Americans got wiped out by invading Europeans. The Sinhalese have lost a good part of their only home land and it is fair to ask why ? ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Is it due to our passive belief system? Some passive Buddhists want to keep us meek and submissive with deadly consequences for the Sinhalese.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Joseph Needham, an Oxford academic, examined the reason for ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ China to be backward. Needham made accusationsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  againstƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  belief systems, which included ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Confucianism and Taoism (Wikepedia) ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and Buddhism

Benefits of secularism

Both China and India are now secular. They have shaken off their shackles and are making tremendous progress.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent

Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent, indicates how the Muslims conquered the Indian Subcontinent, and shows what to expect when people are passive.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…- The Sultan’s army was easily defeated on December 17, 1398. Timur entered Delhi and the city was sacked, destroyed, and left in ruins. Before the battle for Delhi, Timur executed more than 100,000 captives. Timur himself recorded the invasions in his memoirs, collectively known as Tuzk-i-Timur. In them, he vividly described the massacre at Delhi.: The Sultan’s army was easily defeated on December 17, 1398. Timur entered Delhi and the city was sacked, destroyed, and left in ruins. Before the battle for Delhi, Timur executed more than 100,000 captives.In a short space of time all the people in the [New Delhi] fort were put to the sword, and in the course of one hour the heads of 10,000 infidels were cut off. The sword was washed in the blood of the infidels, and all the goods and effects, the treasure and the grain which for many a long year had been stored in the fort became the spoil of my soldiers. They set fire to the houses and reduced them to ashes, and they razed the buildings and the fort to the ground….All these people were slain, their women and children, and their property and goods became the spoil of the victors. I proclaimed throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners should put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-

The choice for us is: follow India and China or end up like ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Bhutan or Tibet or even end up like the people in Delhi.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Need to be wise

We have to be wise in our choice, as the modern world is highly competitive and if we are not competitive enough, we would be left behind. In Buddhism, the objective appear to reach Nirwana, which isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  expressed as ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ “extinction, that is, of the fires of lust, hate, and delusion, or, more briefly, of craving and desiresƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

However every Tamil, Muslim, Chinese, Indian I know of want to be wealthy. Straight away, if we want to achieve Nirvana, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ we may not be competitive enough ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ if we have ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ no desires to be wealthy and successful. InƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  this situation,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  we will be end up as losers. The modern worldƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  economy, innovation, marketsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  all driven by desires and customerƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  satisfaction. If we suppress desires then, we will lose our competitiveness. In my view seeking Nirvana does not fit in the modern world and may have been perfectlyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  valid 2500 years ago. An alternative approach to Nirvana is do what ever you can with the time left, ref: Last Lecture by Randy Pauch

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A question worth askingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  is:ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  is seeking Nirvana, a suicidal objective ?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Concept of Nirvana

Te concept of Nirvana is a very ancient concept. It is in Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism, and all versions, claiming their concept is the one to aim for. In Taoism, Nirvana is to become a Tao. In Hinduism Nirvana is to join God. In Buddhism, there are several versions as well. The problem I face is, different people have come up with different views of Nirvana, and all claiming that their understanding of Nirvana is the correct way of describing Nirvana. Due to several aims of Nirvana, the safest may be to take it with aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  pinch of salt, to take it as an ancient concept and not to take it too seriously. However if we take Nirvana as extinguish desires and pleasures, let us examine the consequence of aiming for Nirvana.

Every oneƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I know, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, you name it ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  want to achieve wealth, moneyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and satisfy desires. If Sinhala Buddhists dampen desires, they may not be competitiveƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  enough and may end up as second class citizens, andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  poorest of the poor, in their own country. Unfortunately, the cleverer and more able people will take Nirvana with a pinch of salt, but the weakest may take it seriously and may not engage in economic activities. Documents, written by Westerners, indicate that, in the past, theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  economic activity of the SinhaleseƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  have not been good.

Further, it is a general observation that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-no pain no gain ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-. So if we are to exclude pain, then there will be no gain either. If the Sinhala Buddhists aim for Nirrvana to exclude pain, then they might end up with no gain and perhaps the poorest of the poor. So again dangers of Nirvana need to be recognized. It is probably far better to focus our energy on winning local and global competition, employment, business, commerce, finance, optimal use of resources, like believers of most other religions do rather than aim for extinction.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Of course some Tamils and some Norwegians and some of our enemiesƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  may hope that we go for Nirvana, so that they can get Sri Lanka. It is time to reflect and notice how much of our motherland has been lost in 500 years.

If the world only had Tibetans, Bhutanese and the Sinhalese, aiming Nirvana may have been fine. We now live in a tough old world, where the Europeans started two world wars killing millions, Europeans wiping out native Americans, Europeans rapingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  countries in America, Asia and Africa. In such a world, aiming for NirvanaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  is a dangerous thing and it could actually lead to our extinction!. In my view, in the modern world, we need to aim for survival and winning rather tan aim for extinction, and if we are not mentally and physically fit enough, we may end up being extinct any way!

We face serious threats from global Tamils, and if we go for extinction ourselves, then they would be laughing, as they do not have to do any thing to wipe us out. Of course some Tamils may gift us a Buddhist TV station to speed up the process,.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Need for unbiased thinking

Religion may inhibit unbiased thinking. True Buddhists such as myself only accept what is logical and agrees with what Buddha said (Kalama Suthra). ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I would like to state LordƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  BuddaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s quote ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…- Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-. This is an important statement by Buddha and it shows the scientific approach and Buddhism could evolve. It is essential in my view, to develop critical thinking skills, learn to remove bias and accept things only if there is evidence.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Blind following of any religion may inhibit thinking. Some have expressed the view that Religion is like a virus that affects the behaviour of its host

The views of leading scientists on religionƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  are given below.

Well known thinkers and scientists such as Arthur C Clark, Bertrand Russel had little faith on any religion. The famed science fiction writer, Arthur C Clark, who once denigrated religion as “a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. He was so anti religion that he did not want any religeous rights at his funeral.

Russell:. I regard it as a disease born of fear

Einstein: A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Religion is a mind virus

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Religion is a ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ mind virusƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ is discussed in the following literature and is interesting.


ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A general interesting intro to China is given in


ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ An interesting view on religion is given by ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ George Carling

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Economic activity

Buddhism is the only religion that dampens economic activity. I wonder if following Buddhism will make us less competitive, in comparison to the followers of other religions? It is time to recognize that we have lost a good part of our only homeland and we should try and find reasons. The conclusion drawn by Needham may help. If we are passive,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and do not recognize threats, and act thenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  we may face extinction, just like the native Americans did. Notice that Buddhist Countries in the Silk route were wiped out by aggressive invaders andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  only a small number now practice Buddhism in India. Also worthwhile noting that bothƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  India and China have made tremendous progress after becoming secular and now China, which is secular is the world second largest economy.

Some Tamils and Norwegians have been actively promoting Buddhism, whilst not following it themselves or promoting BuddhismƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  in Norway or Tamil Nadu. Is it because they want us to have Nirvana so that they could have our land and assets ?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

In my view, what is needed is the fighting and battle spirit to survive in a highly competitive world, rather than te defeatist and escapistƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  spirit of Nirvana.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The cause of the decline of the Sinhalese

Of course Buddhism is part of our heritage and we need to respect it. However it may be time to move on, while still safeguarding and respecting our heritage, specially as evenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  in India, where Buddhism originated has given up Buddhism. Buddhism has been the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”glueƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that kept the Sinhalese together and we could still keep even the rituals of Buddhism, provided we are aware of limitations.

Josph Needham, the Oxford academic accused the belief system for the decline of China. Is our passive belief system responsible for our decline, as we were on the verge of loosing our only homeland?


ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 1. George Carlin on Religion

2. George Carlin Philosophy (Part 2): Religion and Consumerism

18 Responses to “Religion, survival and the dangers of being passive”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    While I respect Mr Ben Silva’s intent in writing this article, I would like to say that Buddhism does not advocate an apathetic approach to life. On the contrary, it is dynamic, faces Truth & Reality, that all things spring up, decay & die It advocates the Middle Path, awareness, & Wisdom in all action. Buddhism is a practical religion. It is very life supportive. However, less of the rituals and more of meditation & contemplation, where Wisdom arises, would serve us better.

    It is probably the heat & humidity in Lanka that makes people slow in their movements giving an appearance of passivity. Solar power should be tapped to its fullest potential to cool all buildings & vehicles. Here teaching of science and innovation is demanded. Lanka should produce great scientists for the benefit of all mankind.

    Jesus, Mohammed & the Buddha were not wealthy men. Their Wisdom in seeing the true nature of things arose from meditation & contemplation. Jesus said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within You” & the Buddha said “the Truth is within You”. In Meditation and leading a calm life, fear of death disappears.

    Most modern day people (some 7 Billion) do not, or are sometimes are unable to, follow the true teachings of these Masters. Instead they are caught up in survival issues. They are thoroughly distracted, mesmerised & confused by various forms of media, giving them contrary messages. But, surprisingly, if they do follow the true teachings of the Masters, even material things do work out, for individual and for countries. Wars would disappear. People would learn to get about their daily business without infringing on the rights of others.

    Regarding food for modern times, it is wise to go vegetarian, for good human health as well as for the environment. In a small country like Lanka, sale of land to foreigners should now stop. Illegal migration should be stopped, to and from Lanka.

    The Profit Motive has been carried out to an extreme in some countries, and greedy CEOs have ruined the economy and politics of those countries. Lanka would do well to learn lessons from these countries.

    Please correct me if I am wrong in the above ideas.

  2. Ariya Says:

    Ben is right and Fran is right in their own way. I strongly believe that it is time for the Sinhalese Buddhists to be far more aggressive. Everyone has time to do something from birth, meaning play, study, get married, earn money, etc, so I believe that attaining Nirvana has to kept for the old age, say after getting your wealth and power. Power comes from wealth…

    The Christians, Muslims, etc wait “until” they die to meet the “creator”, and wait to “end of days” to finally find peace with their “creator”, so they can do just anything in the life they have now…and they do it! ALL they want is to make money, because it is money that brings everything to them. Say, for example, you want to get your blood pressure tested at a private hospital situated in the Slave Island area, you cant get it done, if you don’t have 100 rupees. It is just simple as that. You NEED money. You might have a heart attack, while just being next to a very large hospital…

    So, I believe attaining Nirvana can wait until you EARN enough money…only try to earn it wisely and honestly…

  3. mjaya Says:

    I have a different perspective. Ever wondered why Buddhism remained in Sri Lanka instead of disappearing like in Central Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia and India? The answer lies within the apparent contradiction of a Buddhist monk who would never dare swot a mosquito, tie a Pirith Noola around a soldier getting ready for battle.

    Throughout history the Sinhalese have been very hospitable but when the need arises, the most aggressive. This is why we honor King Dutugemunu so much, because he was the person who showed that to be a Buddhist does not mean being meek in the face of an enemy. We never gave up fighting against our enemies, in 1818 it was Ven. Keppitopola Disawe, in 1848 it was Weera Puran Appu, after that we had Saradiel (whose mentor was the Chief Monk of the Beligammana Temple) who led a lone guerilla war against the British. We must indeed dismantle the mental hospital at Mulleriyawa and honor the humiliating defeat inflicted upon the Portuguese by our people!

    The Buddha himself once said that material wealth and spiritual wealth are like your two eyes. In the Puggala-Pannati of the Abhidhamma the Buddha also talks about a blind man who does not earn wealth, the one eyed man who can earn but through unjust means. The person with two eyes is mentioned as the person who can earn wealth but though fair and just means. Buddhism is not only for Nirvana as most may think. Does the Singalovada Sutta talk about Nirvana? Buddhism gives a pragmatic guide to lay life based upon reality and human nature. Just read the Parabava Sutta.

    Why say that we are not competitive? Just look at the results of the year 5 scholarship test and GCE A/L! The unfortunate thing is that we lack a proper education system and manufacturing economy to harness the talent. Most of our surplus “English Educated” graduates simply end up abroad!

    Also, who says we are lazy? Ever noticed how our paddy farmers and garment factory workers toil for hours in the fields, often for a meager wage hardly enough to make ends meet.

    Also there are exceptions everywhere. Albania is a secular country but poor. On the other hand, Italians are deeply religious but rich.

    It all boils down to one thing, ATTITUDE. Lets just leave the “Beri Beri” attitude behind and unleash the full fury of the LION ATTITUDE!

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Buddhism lays down guidelines for the layperson, the householder. The Goal of Liberation or Nirvana is common to all religions, although known by different words such as Union with God or entering Heaven, or Eternal Life.
    There are many countries which are wealthy, but the wealth is not distributed among the people. Instead, there are the extremely wealthy few and a vast number of poor serving the rich. We hope and pray that Lanka never becomes like that in the game of Development.
    It would be wise to measure Development in the PQLI system (Physical Quality of Life Index) designed by Dr David Morris (USA), which measures well being of a Nation through numbers in Infant Mortality, Life Expectancy, Literacy etc. and not by GDP
    & the Trickle Down Effect (which does not happen), as is done in pure capitalism.

  5. Malinda Says:

    You will notice that wth the article and all the above comments, I have put before you my expertise on Buddhism, in addition to my skills in philosophy, poetry, prose and other literary activities.

    Am I a genius or just a confused idiot without nothing better to do?

    Beg for an answer.


  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dear Malinda,

    It was your articles, among some others, that sustained & guided us during a very dark period in Lanka, for which we all thank you from our Hearts. Thank you for your sane and balanced views on matters important to Lanka presented in fine writing. In this mostly insane & greedy world your articles are, in our view, gems of articles to be preserved.

    Please keep writing ….

    Wishing you all the best,

    Fran Diaz

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Is it real Malinda or someone pretending to be Malinda?

    I have not seen Malinda boasting about himself.

  8. Nanda Says:

    Ben is trying to lecture on unknow territory.
    Study pure Buddhism first, not the Buddhism as reserached by western pundits.
    Buddhism leads to more intense,active,sharp and intelligent life.
    Your assumptions are wrong. Buddha recommended “aarakkha sampada” or protection of wealth as a good qulity. Buddhism is definitely not for the lazy.
    Try and sit with absolute stillness for two hours and see whether the lazy could do it.

  9. Ben_silva Says:

    Good points made by many. My humble question to Nanda. What happened to the Buddhists of India, Buddhists in countries of the Silk route, Buddhiss in Malaysia and Indonesia and even Tibet ?. What happened to the native Americans when invaded by Europians ? Leaving aside other countries, previously the whole of Sri Lanka was the home country of the Sinhalese. What is the position now in terms of the coast line, hill country and even the Capital ? Is it a decline ? . If it is a decline, what is the cause and how can we arrest it ?
    Has Needhams findings got any relevance ?

  10. mjaya Says:

    Hi Ben!

    I think I have partially answered your question in my previous post. We Sinhalese fought back. In fact Sri Lanka was the first country where the Portuguese suffered serious setbacks in battle.

    Also regarding the demographic status of Sri Lanka today, lets not forget that the Colonials took extensive measures to demographically alter Sri Lanka. A lot of Tamils were settled in Jaffna and the East by the Dutch for tobacco cultivation. The British settled Tamils in the hill country for tea cultivation.

    There was also another thing that happened recently, the spread of family planning. This reduced the children per family of the Sinhalese dramatically. Two generations ago it was the norm for a Sinhalese family to have 5-10 children. Now its below the replacement value of 2 per family (two children per women to replace both parents).

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    I seem to have got our journalists by the names of Malin & Malinda mixed up here ! I am referring to Malin Abeytunge’s articles that sustained us during our Dark times. Sorry for the mix up. Still, we wish you the best, Malinda Seneviratne.

    Attempting to clarify thinking here on the Tamil Issue :

    Tamil people numbering some One & a Half Million were brought in as Indentured Labor by the Dutch & the British during the time of Colonial Rule, during a period of about 500 yrs. In those days, Tamil low caste people thought that merely crossing sea water would lose caste, and therefore it was the low castes or the casteless Tamil Dalits who crossed over to Lanka as Indentured Labor. I personally do not believe in or condone the caste system which is just another man made system, but has lasted some 3,000 yrs in India, including Tamil Nadu. The caste problems of Tamil Nadu should be solved in Tamil Nadu, and not in Lanka. Lanka never practiced Untouchability. GoSL cannot solve the caste problems in Tamil Nadu.

    Tamils who are now in Lanka should think themselves as Sri Lankans and integrate into mainstream life here. The IDPs who carry UNHRC cards should be given proper Lankan ID cards. We understand that the Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu too carry UNHRC cards. How will GoSL recognise a Tamil person of true Lankan descent from a Tamil person of Tamil Nadu descent – there will be many Tamils trying to enter Lanka carrying UNHRC cards.

    Ethnic based political parties should be banned in Lanka.

  12. Ben_silva Says:

    Thanks to mjaya for his comments and hope many more would take part in this important discussion. It is interesting to hear a range of views. My hope was to use the article as a platform to understand how we lost a large chunk of our country My response to mjaya is that some are of the opinion that, if the sea did not protect us from the invading Muslims, then Sri Lanka would have been Muslim, just like Malaysia. Also notice that we were under the British, who came from thousands of miles away, for over 150 years. I wonder if it says much about our defence? If there was no world war, it is possible that we would be still be under the British. It would be useful to reflect what went on during the Portuagese, Dutch and the British rule. As fo the British they introduced good things such as democracy, schools, transport system and an administrative system etc.
    I still like to hear what happened to the Buddhist in India and Buddhists in the Silk route countries as well as Buddhists in Malaysia and Indonesia. Hope Nanda can respond.

  13. Malinda Says:

    How refreshing to see Fran Diaz, Ben Silva, Mario and other ghosts supporting each other!

    THe philosopher needs to see an analyst urgently. Step sister may be a good start!


  14. Nanda Says:

    As you said, “passiveness of (red) Indians” has nothing to do with Buddhism.
    Singapore and the nearby region is another excellent example. Malays (probably hindus or Buddhists) became Muslims. Yet they gave way to aggressive Chinese ( some of them Buddhist and some Taoist). Passiveness of malays as a race is fully aparent in those countries. It is a half-Indian ( Mahatir) finally introduced some racial policies to revers the cycle.
    Buddhism is the most “active” religion , because if you are slack, you cannot be considered as a Buddhist. You cannot follow Buddha’s teachning. You cannot even read it ! Sinhalese may be passive but if they have any “activeness” it should be coming mainly from Buddhism.
    Having said that, Buddhism is gentle- yet it does not mean Buddhist are weak. That is the very visible basic difference between Indians and SriLankans. Aggressiveness is foolishness. You don’t have to be agressive to be active.
    Look at Karaneeyametta sutta Skko, Ujuta, Sujuuta etc. Straight and very straight , intense, active – yet gentle and compassionate. This is a deep teaching. Study, practice and live to understand this profound teaching. Do not distroy yourself by speculating based on a foolish theory !

  15. Nanda Says:

    I wil put it in another way. Once someone understand 4 noble truths one will spend the life to the fullest.
    Buddha slept only 1-2 hours. So are many arahants. The teaching is not passive.
    If you choose to be a housholder you should earn as much wealth as possible and Buddha even explained how to enjoy the wealth and you have all the right to protect that wealth. Even killing under certain conditions , althogh bad kamma will not be heavy , based on Chethana.
    If you choose to take the express path then you have to be even more active and energitic. Then you do not fight. But you have immense power. Practice and learn ! Most people do not understand the path but faith will make them very energitic individuals fighting for their rights!

  16. Ben_silva Says:

    Nanda has indicated that Malays are passive. Could that be the reason why Buddism was replaced by Islam ?. We still need to find out why/how Buddhism was wiped out from countries such as India and Afghanistan. Nanda has introduced faith to the analysis and says ‘faith will make them very energitic individuals fighting for their rights! ‘. There is however a weakness in faith. Faith did not help Mayans, Aztecs, native Americans or Egyptians from defeat. Faith did not stop native Americans from getting wiped out. Looks like faith has not even helped Indian Buddhists stop being wiped out or even Hindus getting killed and produce rivers of blood. Buddhist faith did not stop the Sinhalese loosing all land and in deed Sri Lanka to the British Crown in 1975 or stop LTTE killings for 30 years!.
    Buddhist faith did not prevent Buddhists getting wiped out as indicated in the para below. Ref:
    “When a series of invasions by Turkish Muslims descended on India in the ninth through twelfth centuries, after the invaders had sacked the great north Indian monastic universities and killed many prominent monks, Buddhism was dealt a death blow from which it never recovered. In 1193 the Moslems attacked and conquered Magadha, the heartland of Buddhism in India, and with the destruction of the Buddhist Monasteries, like Nalanda (1200) in that area Buddhism was wiped out”
    If we do not end up in the same manner we need to think fresh and that is what I have done.
    I agree with Nanada that some Sinhalese may be passive. Fortunately we also have a few Buddhists, including Buddhist priests who are not passive and contributed massively to save the country.
    Anything based on faith and not on evidence is unreliable and may even be dangerous and wrong!.

  17. malinsene Says:

    there are many malindas and at least 1 other malinda seneviratnes i know of. he spells his name senevirathna though. I am malinda seneviratne, contactable at i write a daily column to the daily news and weekly columns to the daily mirror, sunday observer, sunday island, sunday lakbima news and the nation.

    i’ve already written the article for the daily news for tomorrow (saturday, oct 23rd). it is titled ‘ode to feet and shows’. if this other ‘malinda’ claims he’s me, then he can write down the last line of this article. :)


  18. De Costa Says:

    Buddhism never had the concept of “priests”. Calling Buddhist Monks “priests” proves your lack of knowledge in Buddhism.
    Buddhism would one day fade away due to “priests” preaching something close to Nirvana in a pakage more acceptable to the ignorants( as you have done in this article). South Indian Hindus got rid of pure Buddhism from India- not Muslims ( as you said and many Indians claim). Reason is even a single Arahant is sufficint to keep Buddhism alive, thousands of Buddist priests who Ben appreciates, will not be able keep it afloat.

    I can see Ben avoided answering a important question from Nanda ” how Buddhist Chinese could defeat Muslim Malays in Singapore and Malaya ?.
    Not Christianity, Islam, but Buddhism itself mixing with Hinduism and various ideas will dilute and eventually get rid of Buddhism. People like Ben help this process and will suffer immensly creating worst kamma in Universe.
    Good luck Ben, May God bless you.

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