The Sanhga are not despotic
Posted on October 29th, 2017

Upali Cooray

Agitated over the decision by the Malwatta and Asgiriya chapters following a two hour meeting, some critics have expressed the Sangha as despotic. The Anunayake of the Malwatta Vihara has commented that the proposed constitution is not suitable as it leads to division of power including assigning of powers to the provincial councils, and Pradeshiya Sabhas, which were not even entertained in Parliament. Obviously some of the yahapalana backers try to deal with this decision with a barrage of criticism including disparagement of the Maha Sangha. They take umbrage on Sangha for opposing the effort of the government to change the constitution. The government is hell bent on changing the constitution in order to make way for federalism backed by the UNHCR, the US and EU.

The fact that Malwatta chapter Mahanayka Thero was abroad when the Sangha Karaka Sabha met is true, but the Anunayake was present.

The Maha Sangha had been the custodian of not merely temples but preservation of the dhamma. They lead a life of austerity from very young age as samaneras and become upasampada bhikkus, obtain an education with great difficulty, and serve the nation perhaps more than political authorities. This was the crux of the value system ingrained in Buddhist society in Sri Lanka.

The UNF in their manifesto said steps would be taken to introduce a new constitution.  It further stated measures will be taken to maximum use of devolution of power with every one’s consent under singular state. What is now being put forward is a plan for an eventual Federal state. There is a subtle difference between the saying and doing.

Present Government never received a mandate to repeal and replace the existing constitution. Words such as ”ekiya” in Sinhala and “Orumiththa Nadu” in Tamil have replaced the “unitary” status of Sri Lanka. The Tamil word can be translated to united country or country formed by amalgamation. No prelate except hard core UNF priests, who are a few, will give consent to this underhand move to bind the country to US and EU backed by the Tamil Diaspora. Malwatta Mahanayaka Thero is well known for his impartiality but he is correct in opposing the government’s effort.

The Buddhist leaders in our country throughout history applied the teachings of the Buddha to introduce morality and ethics to the society; thus, the doctrine had a profound effect on the worldly life of a person and their spiritual advancement. The land became the ‘protector of the doctrine’ according to Buddhist scriptures. The Sangha, one of the three “ratanas” had to be protected by the kings, as they became doctrinal advisors to the king as well as the inhabitants. They were highly educated and the education of the people lay in their hands. The king built viharas, dagabas and enshrined relics of the Buddha in them.

Recently there had been some ‘un-Buddhist actions, and pronouncements by the rulers who are vested with responsibility of the very foundation of our Buddhist civilization. This aspect is clearly spelt out in the Asgiri Maha Vihara statements on the uncalled for actions by the ruling hierarchy. They include taking of Buddhist monks in to custody, for making statements ‘which could disturb national reconciliation’ speaking rather disparaging about Buddhist monks in the manner and making statements that administration of some temples would be vested with ruling hierarchy. These are made supposedly to some so called excesses by the Buddhist clergy.

In some parts of the world protectors of spiritual upliftment, the clergy too engaged in unethical, ungodly, economical pursuits that there were conflict between the papacy and the monarchy. Lankans should not be sermonized on human rights by the so called world bodies today as their values flow in blood and veins of inhabitants of this blessed land. The ruling class may be reminded of this lesson so that there will be no departures from the respected ethics of the land In the proposed constitution it is said that these basics are not violated. The countrymen however remain perplexed by different statements by ruling hierarchy.

The vast majority of Bikkhus in this country lives an austere life and does silent service to the Sasana and the people. They do not require publicity. As in any other religion there are eccentrics such as Pitiduwe Siri Dhamma and occult healers. Buddharakkitha who planned the killing of Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranayke had an illicit affair with Wimala Wijewardana a Minister in the cabinet. These digressions of some modern day monks are overwhelmed by events such as a congregation of Bhikkus accompanying the army of king Dutugemunu making it a holy war aginst Elara. Wariyapola Sumangala the monk who took down the Union Jack and re-hoisted the Sinhalese Lion flag, S. Mahinda the Tibetan monk who fought for Sri Lanka’s independence through his poems, Migettuwatte Gunanada thero who publicly debated in favour of Buddhism, Battarmulle Sri Subhuthi thero, who died in prison for opposing the British Raj, Balangoda Ananda Maithriya thero a most venerated monk in modern times , Dr. Kotagama Vachissara Thero, Polwatte Bhudda datta thero, Galaboda Gnanissara thero, the list will go on.

Some critics are trodding a path where Angels fear to tread, not knowing the subject they are trying to tackle. No major religions teach hatred. Sri Lanka has never had a religious problem or an ethnic problem. It was Terrorist problem we have solved.

Upali Cooray

3 Responses to “The Sanhga are not despotic”

  1. Senerath Says:

    They are insulting the intelligence and wisdom of Maha Sangha ! They are aware of everything although some ‘political slave monks’ are ruining the credibilty of Maha Sangha.
    However not much brains is required to protest the Tamil words like “— u ththa Nadu” etc.
    Most people are determined to defeat ‘–u ththa nadu’.
    Sri Lanka made a big mistake in 1972 by entertaining names like ‘Elankai’ instead of Sri Lanka.

  2. SA Kumar Says:

    Sri Lanka made a big mistake in 1972 by entertaining names like ‘Elankai (Ilankai) ’ instead of Sri Lanka.- Correct
    Now Orumitha Ilankai – Mother Lanka Kaput !!!!

    Naalai pirakkum TE !!!!

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    All Concerned Lankans must be made permanently aware that the INDIAN earlier breakaway sub-state Tamil Nadu is near Lanka.
    That is the reason why Lanka has been targetted as the place to acquire, ever since PM Nehru’s Anti-Secessionist Law of 1963 came in.

    Tamil Nadu is where the Tamil Culture comes from, including their 3,000 yr old CASTE SYSTEM.
    Low CASTE Tamil folk want to get away from their CASTE System.
    There are some 15 Million low CASTE Tamil folk in Tamil Nadu !

    Only way to Save Lanka is to remove the ILLEGAL 13-A.
    NO more Devolution in any form – as other earlier Commentors say !

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