Extremist monks are disgracing
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
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
May his soul rest in peace