Stilling the Buddhist moral voice in Sri Lanka
Posted on September 17th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

Namesake Buddhists who are not culturally rooted in Sri Lanka are definitely not spokesman for the Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka. Yet, it is the voices and opinions of these who are being showcased and who have helped to denigrate and still the real Buddhist moral voice in Sri Lanka. Some of these individuals have had no conscience to even demonize Buddha and media has not helped by giving space only to those who denigrate Buddhism in their regular columns/features.

When invaders arrived in our island nation there were the Sinhalese Buddhists and a handful of Tamil Hindus descending from South India and Muslim traders who were regarded as aliens. With colonial invasion and occupation the Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus were divided into Sinhala Christian/Catholics & Tamil Christians/Catholics. The invaders had successfully created groups of ‘minorities’ whom they would manipulate with time against the Majority Sinhala Buddhists who were their main target for annihilation. It is not surprising that all post-independence issues from insurrections to terrorism had foreign involvement.

Buddhism was the key and singular obstacle to taking complete control of Sri Lanka and its defenders were the patriotic forces (military and the patriotic groups) and the Maha Sangha and the British planned remove these obstacles or at best dilute their power.

The plan was to create Christian missionary schools in minority areas, educate the minorities and create an imbalance by giving them better opportunities while the Buddhists were fighting to defend the nation and dying.

History Should NOT be taught in schools” Sinhala people alone can boast of an uninterrupted sway over the island for some thousands of years. Since the South Indians living in Lanka had no such history, history should not be taught in schools as it could belittle and humiliate the South Indians.” said a Tamil gentleman in the Morning Star of 9th October, 1931.

Missionary schools achieved their objective – they created a submissive class of natives willing to be ruled by the British and willing to serve them. When Buddhism was ridiculed and denigrated very few Buddhists rose to object. Little has changed over the years.

In 1833 the British purposely established an office in Anuradhapura to disrespect the Sinhala Buddhists by putting up taverns, meat stalls, kovils and churches and giving ownership to Muslims who began complaining about the temple drummings and Buddhist pirith chanting leading to British imposing regulations on Buddhists. Buildings were built purposely on top of Buddhist heritage sites.

J Forbes, District Judge diary notes speak of 133 taverns in an area covering 200,000 residents I entirely sympathise with the Buddhist monks who resist the establishment of the taverns. They practice a religion that forbid them to drink alcohol, but a Christian government is forcing them to do so. This will not only increase the revenue for the government, but also increase robbery, murder, gambling and drunkenness.”  

Alcohol was introduced to intoxicate and make addicts out of the Sinhalese thereby weakening their resistance. In 1872 Governor Gregory admitted before the Legislative Council that the British were responsible for making the Sinhalese into drunkards – we know the extent of this malady.

1807 Governor Maitland’s letter to GA Matara use this carefully and secretly, reliance of Buddhism and philosophy of Matara Buddhists must be destroyed. In Matara, Bhikkus are more powerful than village chiefs, make sure all chiefs are Christian”. Now look at the 2015 cabinet of Ministers.

Take a closer look at where Christian NGOs operate, the work of charities, the governments that fund them and connect the dots and see the program in place. Take a closer look at the editorial boards and all key areas where media is used to denigrate the Buddhists. The 1964 Press Commission Report gives find examples of the manner media is used to ridicule the Buddhists. Little has changed. Column space is given to ‘Buddhists’ who are happy to question their faith and at times laugh at it! Look at the television program schedule – in time to come a child asked to name Sri Lanka’s heroes will say ‘Jodha Akbar’ instead of Veera Keppetipola, Veera Puran Appu and our heroic armed forces. The Indianization of our nation is taking place at another level.

Those selected and given media prominence do their best to cover the fact that only Sinhalese can show with historical evidence the evolution of a new language, their own culture and a civilization that no others claiming homelands can show. For lack of such proof, the best tactic has been to laugh at the Sinhala Buddhists and attempt to smear their achievements. It is these rootless, cultureless and namesake Buddhists who laugh at the archaeological ruins and edifices. These namesake Buddhists are often on the payroll of nations that do not even have archaeological ruins or even edifices to showcase except scores of examples of confiscating nations/territories, plundering and murder and attempting to subjugate the natives and remove every pride natives have about their country, their heroes, their traditions and cultures. It is unfortunate how they have enticed natives with perks and privileges to laugh at their own people for which they get accolades and awards!

It is all part of a historical gameplan clearly indicative in the colonial policies and directives to missionaries and colonial officials by colonial governments whose stooges and lackeys are working tirelessly in the form of media, NGOs, rights activists, civil society and others. Every Buddhist” who denigrates Buddhists and Buddhism are rewarded and cheered and more inducements are showered. There is a competition to draw more.

The nearing of their objective is seen by drawing similarities to the manner how weaknesses of character of natives were taken advantage in 1815 to result in the handover of sovereignty to the British and exactly 200 years later virtually the same scenario has occurred. There is little anyone can deny that the sovereignty of Sri Lanka is being tampered with in every sphere of influence where stooges have been positioned to do the bidding. The key goal has been since colonials set foot in Sri Lanka to remove the identity and the place Buddhism held in Sri Lanka. Both Islamic and Christian agenda irrespective of those practicing the respective faiths has been to wipe out Buddhism incrementally. Education texts are changing the history through academics too ready to clap to the secular, multi-cultural, multi-faith theme. Let us make it clear that religious freedom and rights cannot remove the status quo of the Sinhale Buddhists who built the nation and Buddhism on which the moral values of the country was centred before colonial invaders confiscated and replaced moral good with a whole set of immoral values drawing natives to become a nation of drunkards, rapists, selfish and uncaring of others including animals. During the times of the rule of the Sinhale kings who followed the dasa raja dhamma, the entire island was animal friendly. Today, except for the Buddhist clergy & Buddhists & animal activists demanding the Animal Welfare Bill all other religions are silent! Mihintale was once considered the abayadana and today Buddhist citadels are carrying out animal sacrifice because to protest against the inhumanity of killing an animal is a violation of peaceful existence and an insult to minority rights! These are drilled into the people so much that the Buddhist moral voice has become stilled. There is not one single word of violence against any living being in Buddhism. Not a single war has taken place in the name of Buddhism.

However, today even the sacred cities of Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Kandy etc butcheries and animal slaughter have been allowed for the sake of cheap votes and caving into money and influence. When Buddhist priests are attacked, museums are destroyed and Buddha statues are dashed to the ground even Ban Ki Moon the Secretary General has no concern. Buddhist leaders themselves are too scared to issue strong messages because they are held back because the minorities have money to throw and politicians need money before their conscience to survive in politics! Today, Tamil leaders appointed by the LTTE are demanding the removal of ancient Buddhist sites and their racist calls have led to stoning temples, defacing of statue of Buddha and physical abuse to Buddhist priests and even attempts to poison priests through dana. None of these had the reactions of the international community or any Buddhist leader or political parties even protesting. Of course there is little we can expect from the nikaya heads who are in a world of their own.

That sadly is the fate and as a result of these ground situations where iconoclasm of certain religions necessitates the destruction of the world’s most harmless and compassionate philosophy and religion, Buddhism is being attacked on all fronts.

Its history is being tampered and manipulated, its historical texts are being destroyed and replaced with fairytales, the Sangha who come from poor rural homes and do not have the finesse or English education to survive are cornered and in their place are more sophisticated multi-faith peddling priests and the heads of these nikayas prefer to sit inside enjoying the luxuries of the dayakas without so much as making any statement against the plight of Buddhism – either they are unaware or they are living in a cuckoo land. Perhaps that is why one of the nikaya heads recently told a prominent politician not to exaggerate concerns on the constitutional reforms. Is this nikaya head aware that the constitutional proposals proposed the removal of the foremost place to Buddhism, the change of the national flag, the change of the national anthem – are these exaggerations? Will any other country allow an unrepresentative bunch of people, lackeys of the parties trying to destroy and destabalize a nation to dictate what should be changed in the foundational pillars of a country? Apart from 2 people all others in that committee simply raised their hands in favour of the draconian changes.

In connecting these developments the success of the colonial objective doesn’t look too far in sight. There are scores of Buddhist organizations, scores of Buddhist conferences – do they take up any of these issues, or are they cowards to take the bull by the horn. Have they become infested with the reconciliation syndrome wherein objecting to historical discriminations/violations and threats to the existential existence of Buddhism and the Buddhist heritage of the country becomes taboo and has to be automatically vetoed or face the wrath of the entire world. All those bringing out these discrepancies are generally slapped with name calling, fascist, racist – you name it there will be a bunch of people paid to do the name calling and plenty of media will give them space. No one will come out to question that valid points are being raised instead the reactions and reactors get chided and the actions that led to the reactions are sidelined.

Those that pay lipservice to other people’s cultures and values do so because they do not know their own culture or values to be proud of. These are the proponents of the liberal multicultural slogans. We have a heritage and history to preserve and those that are proud of it will be inspired to defend the nation whatever the odds.

We now live in a world where universities destroy knowledge, doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, governments destroy freedoms, politicians are a global nuisance, the press distorts and destroys information and bankers destroy the economy.

The Buddhist moral voice must re-emerge. Capitalism is collapsing. It is a failed experiment. If capitalism collapses in the West so too will Christianity – thus the worries of Islamization following the migrant exodus. The capitalists now steer to Asia and it is the opportune time to bring out the Buddhist moral voice – right livelihoods, making profit by not harming others, equitable development, sharing and caring, compassion for animals – no religion can fault these noble tenets of Buddhism. They have induced ‘namesake Buddhists’ to flout Buddhist ideologies and use that to denigrate Buddhists/Buddhism. That is not fair play.

We may not succeed, but we must try, and ten years later we might get what we try to achieve” so say Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala.

The time is ripe for the Buddhist associations, individuals, expat groups and all others to realize that the enemy is at our door and we cannot turn a blind eye to the incursions taking place. A look at all other nations falling apart by the same powers eyeing Sri Lanka should suffice for all citizens to protect their nation before we end up in no different a status. These are no exaggerations – Asia is the next target and Sri Lanka has been a historical target.

Shenali D Waduge

3 Responses to “Stilling the Buddhist moral voice in Sri Lanka”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Thank you for your hard work and tireless efforts Shenali as always in researching and coming up with various options to awaken the ignorant, sleeping giant, Hela nation, to protect Mother Lanka.

    These are to reach grass root levels. Don’t know if main stream media still allows these. The poor villagers are still honest compared to the educated and they are not opportunists. They love this land and not looking for any trading for their benefit….

    If we can reach them, then they will gather around the few patriots who work day and night thinking how to reverse this dangerous act set in motion by the Yama Palanaya team.

  2. Nimal Says:

    Please read this.

  3. Nanda Says:

    What is your aim in asking people to read it ?
    What do you conclude after reading it ?

    Whether “the person” you call “Buddha” was born in India or Sri Lanaka, whether he eat meat or not, whether his father was a king or not, what is got to do with your suffering if one of your kids suddenly dies ?
    There were countless Buddahs came and went to give you this message of suffering, root of suffering and how it is ceased but unfortunately you are interested in this foolish dogma.

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