Unholy crab walk etc
Posted on January 20th, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

No sooner had a Bill been presented to Parliament to discipline Buddhist monks than it was reported that some female MPs suffered sexual harassment at the hands of their male counterparts within the parliamentary premises. Minister Chandrani Bandara has undertaken to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit its findings to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. We bet our bottom dollar that nothing will come of the probe. In a country where mega bond scandals are swept under the carpet and serious allegations of corruption ministers level against one another go uninvestigated it is only wishful thinking that incidents of sexual harassment will be thoroughly probed and the culprits brought to book.

What is this world coming to when teachers are wary of taking children to Parliament owing to indecent brawls in which blows are freely exchanged and raw filth traded liberally, and female lawmakers are allegedly subjected to sexual harassment at the parliamentary complex itself?

Power seems to have more aphrodisiac properties than viagra. It causes politicians’ gray matter to diminish and their libido to go through the roof. Besides, a study is needed to find out whether there is a correlation between overnutrition which is common among male MPs thanks to heavily subsidised food in the parliamentary restaurant and their unusual concupiscence.

The same goes for provincial councillors. It was only the other day that a member of the Central Provincial Council found himself up a gum tree in Singapore, having groped a foreign woman. Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, in answer to a question from a journalist, chose to play down the incident calling it a minor matter. How would he have reacted if a female member of his family had been at the receiving end of that ‘minor matter’? Local government institutions also abound with anti-social elements of all sorts.

So, before recommending how errant monks should be dealt with lawmakers ought to put their own house in order as we have argued in a previous comment. They were only expected to confer legal validity to the Kathikawath of each Nikaya and Chapter and not to recommend what thoseKathikawath should contain as Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera has told this newspaper in an interview published on the opposite page today.

President Maithripala Sirisena has promised to discuss the contents of the Kathikawath Bill with the members of Maha Sangha before it is ratified. Now that the government’s ill-conceived attempt has boomeranged, the President is obviously seeking to propitiate the monks on the warpath. The Bill at issue could not have been presented to Parliament in its present form without his blessings. The course of action he has proposed to make amends for the government’s betise may look sensible on the face of it, but the direct involvement of outsiders in amending a draft Bill already before the House may be inimical to parliamentary sovereignty. This is something those who jealously guard parliamentary privileges and sovereignty ought to give serious thought to. Here, one finds a textbook example of putting the cart before the horse. The government should have consulted the Maha Sangha in the process of drafting the Bill without plunging feet first into presenting it to Parliament. A way out may be for the government to bite the bullet and withdraw the Bill.

The only useful purpose the Kathikawath Bill has served is to galvanize the Nayake Theras into sitting up and taking notice of the pathetic situation the Sasana is in today owing to the misconduct of some monks. Had they risen from their slumber decades ago and taken action against the rogues in robes who have been enjoying the freedom of the wild ass to run riot in public on the pretext of championing pro-people causes, take to active dirty party politics and incite racial and religious violence perhaps there would not have been nay room for politicians to try to discipline monks.

There is no need for parliamentarians to make recommendation as regards Buddhist monks’ discipline. That is a task best left to the Maha Sangha and political leaders may play a supporting role. The Buddha himself introduced a code of ethics and guidelines for the Sangha 2,500 years ago. All that the present-day monks should do is to abide by Vinaya Pitaka consisting of rules governing the lives of Bhikkus and Bhikkunis besides procedures, conventions and etiquette required for healthy relations among monks and between the Maha Sangha and the laity. So, politicians need not expend their time and energy on a futile mission to reinvent the wheel.

If the Nayake Theras need legal recognition for the different Kathikawath already in existence, let the MPs do so without imposing dos and don’ts on monks.


One Response to “Unholy crab walk etc”

  1. Dham Says:

    Reading the third last paragraph, writer is talking of a “pathetic situation” of the Sasana.
    However, the sentences –
    “Had they risen from their slumber decades ago and taken action against the rogues in robes who have been enjoying the freedom of the wild ass to run riot in public on the pretext of championing pro-people causes, take to active dirty party politics”
    applicable to politicians more than to monks. It is the politicians who have ruined the land, not few powerless monks. More powerful ones assume the power from politicians.

    There is even more pathetic situation in the country as a whole.
    Police is killing people for liquor. Politicians selling country to satisfy personal lust and to stay in power.
    They are very brave to utter any lie in public.
    They arrange killing for personal benefits.

    Nayaka Theras must be given power to sentence politicians to death.

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