The Dew Is on the Lotus! – Rise Great Sun!’
Posted on January 1st, 2020

By Rohana R. Wasala

(The title is a line from the concluding passage of  Sir Edwin Arnold’s ‘Light of Asia’. The Spanish title and name Don Quixote used below is pronounced dong khee khothe”)


Rejoice my beloved Mother Lanka!

With us your dear children just debunking

The entrenched myth created about us

In those oppressive colonial times

Of shutting ourselves up in a time warp 

Where we are thought to be overtaken

By an unhealthy love of the dead past 

That makes us resist desirable change.

Meddling aliens and their local lackeys

Do still accuse us of primitivism  

Simply because we show a deep concern

When our rare archaeological sites

Are vandalized or claimed without a right;

When our ancient ruins are razed to the ground;

When our peaceful monks and lay activists

Agitate against the desecration

And defacement of Buddha images,

And forced conversion by unethical means

Of poverty stricken rural Buddhists,

And subversion of middle class Buddhists

Through subtle methods of indoctrination

Such as personal improvement workshops

Or superstitious divine healing camps

With a sham Buddhistic tone  but a bias-

Towards a faith based deistic religion;  

When state forest reserves are cleared

In excess of what’s been lawfully marked,

For resettling allegedly displaced-

Persons solely of one religious creed,

Who have been already resettled elsewhere.

We’ve tried to free ourselves from the vice grip

Of this undue bad name for racist pride, 

Fanaticism, and xenophobia

Given to us contrary to evidence

While being beaten into a monstrous shape,

Despised in the comity of nations

Although the deliberately suppressed-

Truth is that we are the hapless victims 

Of those very evils perpetrated

By some communalist politicians

Hellbent on destroying our sovereign state

Who promote such passions just to survive,

Groping in their dark  personal ghettoes 

In this cultured Age of Information. 

What is the truth obscured by the canard

That Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists

Are racist, exclusive, and extremist

And hence backward and resistant to change,

And that the Sinhalese are as a race

Mentally retarded and inferior?

The pioneer of true national thinking

Was none other than the historical 

Hate-figure of anti-nationalists

Great Anagarika Dharmapala

Who engineered social reform through it

To kindle hopes of freedom from foreign rule.

History will recognize Dharmapala

As perhaps the first ideological-

Champion of the unarmed battle for freedom,

And the first proponent of modernity

Properly based on Buddhist tradition.

Though Brits and colonial parasites

Projected him as a Don Quixote

Through their malicious vile propaganda,

Being a leader gifted with great foresight,

He warned the majority Sinhalese

Of a racially divided country

Where they would be at the receiving end 

When the foreigner would leave them at last

Unless they were united as a race.

Today, as we can see, that prophecy,

Has come true, sad though it is to say this.

Yet the Anagarika’s life mission

Was passing on the word of the Buddha

Across the world for all peoples’ wellbeing.

He was convinced that Sinhala Buddhists

Had a unique responsibility

To protect Buddhism for the whole world

As Lanka is the repository

Of the Dhamma in its first pristine form

The hallowed Theravada tradition

Committed to writing at Matale,

Central Sri Lanka, one hundred plus-

Years Before the Common Era began.

Though religions are anachronistic

In the human reason ruled world today

Their ethical teachings are relevant

To their politically organized

Adherents, while not being so to others,

A situation that causes friction

With monumental repercussions

That endanger the very survival

Of the human civilization itself.

The Buddha preached an ethical doctrine

That is self-realization based and free

From blind faith and ritual performances

Something that Albert Einstein chose to call

A cosmic religion in the sense that

All humans could embrace its moral code

Based on kindness, reason, and mind culture, 

And work to create a safe peaceful world. 

Dharmapala knew this before Einstein

As he showed in his great dedication

For spreading the Dhamma across the globe

Without any proselytizing aim.

Being a true disciple of the Buddha 

He didn’t seek to convert non-Buddhist people.  

But he believed that Dhamma was

The Sinhala Buddhists’ gift to the world

As custodians of the pure Teaching.

Meanwhile he was passionately concerned

About their material wellbeing as well

As any good Buddhist leader would be

He advocated the education

Of the young for acquiring good life skills

And the study of science and technology

In addition to cultural subjects.

Lanka’s freedom movement and its leaders

And all patriotic politicians

That followed in the subsequent decades

Were profoundly influenced by this great man.

All the prime ministers and presidents

Since independence with two exceptions

(Whose patriotism is of a foreign make)

Have been influenced by his nationalism

Had the Anagarika been living- 

Today, he would have highly commended

The current president Gotabhaya

For his moral uprightness, gracefulness

And his commitment to Buddhist values.

All Members of Parliament on both sides,

If they really want to serve the nation

Ought to forget their personal concerns

And soon ensure that the president get

The enlightened parliament he deserves,

So that this fourth decisive surge that we-

Are in the middle of making since the Year-

The Buddha Jayanti was observed

Towards independence from foreign sway

In order to stand on our own two feet,

Will not be suppressed like the previous three.

May the Lotus Bud Bloom in our Troubled Land

Fresh and pure out of its muddy waters!    

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