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World Affairs








Extremist monks are disgracing Buddhism

The Buddha became a universally revered noble philosopher because he addressed fear and sorrow, two aspects of life most dreaded by all humanity and beasts alike.

All religions that exist today have their foundation laid on fear and sorrow in humanity.

The Buddha sacrificed his princely pleasures, family and all worldly possessions in order to find a way out for this unholy phenomenon which occurs in the cycle of life.

His mission ended finding through enlightenment that the root cause of all fear and sorrow in humanity is one’s Tanha or avaricious attachment to worldly life. The Dhammapada explains in detail how Tanha creates fear and sorrow in oneself.

The Buddha’s lofty teachings on compassion, tolerance, universal loving kindness towards fellow beings is woven around Tanha and is brought to us on a regular basis through Buddhist talks by Buddhist scholars.

It is a fact that Tanha, the creator of all forms of fear and sorrow cannot exist when attachments such as "I," "my," family, race, caste religion and any other political convictions do not exist.

However today there are politicised Buddhist monks who have formed various organisations for the achievement of certain ‘interests’ going on the rampage inciting the people to attack others who follow different faiths purely to protect their interests. Race, cast, and political or religious divisions naturally negate the universal loving kindness expounded by the enlightened one. They create conflict, hatred, fear and sorrow in humanity.

The President, commanders of the forces and politicians are often seen falling on their knees in veneration before the mahanayakes and images of Lord Buddha, probably seeking divine protection to perform the duties entrusted to them in a proper manner.

The Buddha has said "Dhamma chaari dhammo bhave rakkathi" which means that those who live by the Dhamma will be protected by the Dhamma itself.

However, at present there is a bloody war going on in this thrice blessed land of ours, between two communities who have been living together in amity for thousands of years and many thousands on both sides have perished. There are thousands who have been maimed for life, widowed, orphaned, starved and malnourished.

There are abductions by white vans, lawlessness, extra judicial murders, corruption and wastage of public funds all being carried out allegedly with the knowledge and support of those in power. A chaotic situation has also been created in the name of protecting the Sinhala Buddhists of this country by treating the minority communities as second-class citizens.

All this is because of the Tanha of some Sinhala Buddhist extremists, and political fanatics whose only ambition is to win an election and enjoy life at the expense of the public. The Rajapakse government with the assistance of the hypocritical JHU monks and other turncoats appear to have exploited this situation to the maximum.

So much for going down on their knees and seeking protection of the Buddha Dhamma to rule the country righteously. May be the 2500 year old Buddha’s message needs to be revised to keep pace with the 21st century.

Concerned Citizen


Thugs in robes helping to fill churches

Sonali Samarasinghe’s article titled "Religious Intolerance" in The Sunday Leader of July 13, is both shocking and frightening. Are we at the threshold of a religious war?

Sri Lanka is witnessing a new kind of terrorism — Sangha terrorism or Buddhist monk terrorism.

A group of thugs, hooligans, and maniacs in saffron robes similar to the notorious American Ku Klux Klan, is raising its ugly head, and if the government does nothing to curb the destruction of churches — already 23 churches have been destroyed — that is taking place, we are certain to witness a bloodbath of unprecedented proportions.

It would appear that Buddhism in this country has sunk to the lowest depths due to the actions of this emerging monk group.

What these thugs in saffron robes do not understand is that Buddhists are not being forcibly converted to Christianity; they are flocking to churches because they are disgusted with the lifestyle of these very same monks, who also dabble in politics.

What Buddhists want to know is whether Lord Buddha has permitted any of these activities in his teachings.

It is a shame that the leaders of other major Christian Churches are silent while some evangelical churches are being burnt and destroyed and their pastors are being assaulted.

Are these church leaders afraid to open their mouths? An Englishman once said, "All that is necessary for evil to prosper, is for good men to do nothing."

We are also reminded today of what Bishop Heber said about Ceylon in his famous hymn, "Where every prospect pleases, but only man is vile." How very true.

Godfrey Abayakoon

We are digging our own grave

It is 60 years since we gained independence and we boasted that we achieved it without bloodshed. Little did we know then that the bloodshed was yet to come.

We are today faced with a never-ending war, killings, abductions, absence of law and order, and thriving bribery and corruption. But the funny thing is that wrong doers do not get the punishment they deserve. They go scot-free and continue to commit more crimes. The law does not get enforced although billions are spent to maintain the law enforcement arm.

Many believe that politics has ruined this country. It is time to correct this situation at least now. Better late than never. Innocent people are finding it difficult to live. So let us live and also let others live.

If we do not do this what do we leave for the generations to come? A country going down the precipice leading to death and destruction — a failed state, a banana republic, and not the ‘pearl of the Indian ocean.’

It is our own seeking. It is time that those who are responsible for this mess give deep thought to the problem and rectify the wrongs done, which is not easy. But it has to be done somehow. No country can escape from the repercussions of its own making.

At the start of independence we had good politicians; but now they are a minority. It is time that people do not vote for those who cannot live up to the reputation of the parties they represent, and the political parties present candidates who are worth their salt for election.

It has often been reported that the very persons who should be seeing to the implementation of the law do exactly the reverse. In this predicament the people have to grin and bear. This has been happening for too long and it is time the powers that be do something to correct the situation. The people see that this is a perilous situation and expect the change to come from the top. Any country that does not work to build a righteous society seeks its own doom. This is abominable.

God forbid this!

Dr. H.W. Tillekeratne


Sri Lanka: going from bad to worse

A Washington based independent think tank states that Sri Lanka has been ranked 20th out of the 35 failed states in the world.  But when it comes to "group grievances" (an index on treating a country’s minorities) the country is ranked second worst, next only to Sudan.

It saddens me to think how Sri Lanka has fallen to the lowest depths from the highest perch it once enjoyed as a country. Ceylon, as it was called then, was a country of democracy, rule of law and order, a paradise, and a pearl in the Indian Ocean.  In a few decades the country’s political elite and religious leadership have successfully dismantled the time honoured democratic values and traditions, that were in existence when the British granted independence to Sri Lanka.

As one looks at the country now, one wonders how much further it will descend while the political masters of this country drag it into trillions of dollars in foreign debt, sell off natural resources like off shore oil and gas resources, and destroy the rule of law and human security, just to prosecute a war that is not winnable.

One wonders as to when there will be a true statesman and a true religious leadership that will have the courage to state the obvious: that is, it is not war but dialogue that will ultimately solve the ethnic problem and bring back the glorious past of this country.

It is Mahatma Gandhi who said: "I object to violence (war) because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

A. Linus


Spending billions on a useless talk shop

Much is being said about the SAARC conference to be held in Colombo next week.

On the one hand government politicians are of the opinion that it would boost the image of our country and it is worth the money spent. Sri Lanka and its President would become the regional head of a very large population in this part of the world. They say, we should take pride in this and all who oppose it are not patriots, and are connected to the Tigers.

On the other hand, some feel it is a tremendous loss of money at a time when the cost of food, travelling etc., is unbearable to the majority of our citizens. Salary increases are not possible due to the high cost. The Treasury has said that it does not have the money to grant the salary increases requested by the workers.

It is said that the conference is simply a political exercise to boost the ego of the ruling politicians and their leader. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens who work hard for a living are being inconvenienced and will be inconvenienced further during the conference, while the politicians and their catchers run around in luxury.

Whatever be the repercussions, the conference will be held, the politicians and their leader have decided! They have been given a mandate to govern as they deem fit, they claim, and who cares if the citizens suffer?

We cannot change the situation, but we can question it. As simple citizens we ask simple questions. What was discussed during the past conferences and the conferences before that?

Other than holding useless meetings and the heads of states and government officials attending these meetings and functions spending the ratepayers’ money what has been achieved for the common citizens? Have the many ‘impressive’ speeches and promises made by the leaders including our own at SAARC summits resulted in improving the lives of our citizens?

Will somebody please tell us. Give us some examples. Maybe, we simple citizens could tolerate the waste of funds and bear the intolerable inconvenience during the SAARC conference, if we receive a reasonable explanation.

Rue Avis

Time to turn the searchlight inward

Have you wondered why some ‘normal’ human beings behave in a shameful or strange fashion at times? Often we do not see the reason, but there must be some pretty interesting happenings going on behind the scene.

Why did the police officers handle the bhikkus so roughly at the recent demonstration? If the same police officers had met the bhikkus in normal circumstances I am sure they would have even worshipped them. Why did the OIC abuse Rosy Senanayake at the ‘hooting horns’ protest? I am sure he would have been very civil at normal times. Do we call these actions  herd instinct or the deep seated satans raising their heads at importunate times?

 Why do the politicians, who at other times appear to be pretty ordinary human beings behave like mutts in parliament when a protest starts? What makes them go berserk? Don’t they feel ashamed when they see their acts later on TV? Don’t their families have anything to say about it? Strange.

 What made Chandrika reappoint Mervyn de Silva after all the abusive words he used against her? Any other woman with the power she had would have sent him to Siberia. But she did not. What makes the President take him around with him as if he is a valued minister, after all the atrocities committed by him? Intriguing, isn’t it?

 The British soldiers are behaving in a shocking manner in Iraq. They have been caught on camera torturing prisoners, murdering and recently sexually abusing little boys. I am sure they are all not murderers by nature nor perverts.  These poor Iraqi citizens did no harm to them whatsoever. But they let the worst emotions come up and commit horrible crimes, which if only they can see  from outside, would make them commit suicide in shame.

All these probably show what we are capable of, if not for the restraints we exert on ourselves. When we have no fear of God who will one day punish us, this is what happens. If each one of us  realise that we are answerable for every action of ours, one day this world will be a much better place to live in.

Human beings are not animals. We do not live merely for the handouts from our superiors or our meals and pay. We live for a higher purpose. To must live a worthwhile life, to attain heaven one day. If we make that our purpose in life, we will stop shaming ourselves in front of others.

 Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai


Politicians will reap what they sow

I would like to ask the politicians whether this is a democratic country or a totalitarian state? Democracy means, of the people, for the people, by the people. But this country I would say is just the opposite of a democracy.

As soon as this government came into power, the salaries of all parliamentarians were increased. That was in addition to the free telephone facilities, free fuel, free drivers and rent allowances etc. provided at the taxpayers’ expense.

The government as soon as it came to power announced that it would bring down the cost of living. But now it looks the government is not worried at all about the sufferings undergone by the common man. To add to this, corruption is rampant.

The JVP can only shout. It cannot do anything else. At the two insurrections in 1971 and 1988/89 it murdered thousands of innocent people. However on both these occasions, the governments in power managed to suppress the uprising.

A politician, it is said, was delivering a speech at a public meeting. He had said that he would bring down the cost of living. When he went home his wife had asked how he could bring down the cost of living within a month, and he is supposed to have told her that what he said was for public consumption and did not apply to her.

Politicians can fool the people only for sometime since every action has a reaction.

T.S. John



J.A. Pereira

Joseph Augustine Pereira fondly called ‘Achin’ by family and friends who passed away a couple of days ago was one of the most genial persons I knew.

A devout Catholic, the son of the Dewan Bahadur Chevalier I.X. Pereira many are the institutions of the Church which benefited from his benevolence. He was a godfather to many who came to him in their times of need. His pockets seemed to have no bottom to those who appealed to him for help. His time and advice, he gave freely to those who sought it

He followed in his father’s footsteps in the business world. After the import control restrictions in the 1960s hit the family business he struck out on his own securing many international agencies. He later helped his family to regain control of the shipping agency business, which under his guidance they have built in to a huge logistics conglomerate, the Pership Group. He was one of the pioneers of the Jaycees movement in Sri Lanka and remained a senator to the end.

Beryl his wife, will miss him greatly as will his many friends. I was extremely fortunate to have known him and met him after many years when I visited Colombo recently.

May his soul rest in peace

Dave Labrooy


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