The Sunday Leader

Who Desciplines The ‘Desciplined’?

Continuous acts of certain religious organizations taking law and order into their hands with their sense of righteousness have raised a question on the level of interference allowed to individuals in the country to act on their own ground rules. While misdoings and misbehaviors of any priest under the robe should not be tolerated, many question on what grounds individuals are given the power or authority to take disciplinary action based on moral judgments against another individual.

Recently, a temple in Malabe was surrounded by a Buddhist group and the chief incumbent of the temple was held in custody over allegations that he had an illicit affair with a woman. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, the chief incumbent, while denying all the accusations of him being involved in a sexual relationship with a Bhikkuni, who came to teach at the pirivena (Bhikku School) said that he was accused and severely harassed by a group of people consisting of some twenty monks and another twenty laymen.

Religious organisationd conducting protests

He said, “The group entered the premises where we stay, held me in custody, assaulted me and demanded that I take off the robe. They introduced themselves as the group who disrobes misbehaving monks and later it was revealed that they were from Sihala Ravaya. At the time of their arrival, the Bhikkuni in question was also within the temple premises on some official matters. They harassed us until Koswatta police came to the temple. Two police officers and the OIC of the Koswatta police managed to disperse them with lot of effort.”

The chief incumbent of the temple also complained of lost items, money and documents during the intrusion. However, he said that he did not lodge a complaint with the police about the attack or the lost items, as he did not want to pay visits to the court constantly regarding the matter. The Sihala Ravaya admitted their intrusion into the temple and claimed that their intervention was timely and necessary to put things in order. They also claimed that they were in procession of videos and photos of misdemeanors of the monk. The sources of Sihala Ravaya said, “When we heard about the affair, we started collecting evidence. Villagers also provided us with information.”

The leader of the Sihala Ravaya, the Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thero told The Sunday Leader that they were the only organization that looked into the matters of discipline and misbehaviors of Buddhist monks. He said, “As an organization devoted to Buddhism in the country, we have to take necessary measures to protect Buddhism by keeping a watch on certain monks who violate their precepts. There is no law in the country that would help us guard Buddhism when it comes to misconduct of Buddhist monks. There are so many deceitful people under the robe. It is crucial that we set standards.”

When questioned about their right to enter the chambers of the temple unannounced, Ven. Dayarathana thero added, “A temple is an open public space. We do not need permission from anybody to walk in and out of a temple. Besides, we as an organization that consists of monks have every right to take such decisions.”

However, speaking to The Sunday Leader, Police spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana insisted that even though people have the liberty to enter into a public place like a temple for religious purposes, they could not enter by force into the chambers of a temple. He added, “If we receive a complaint about any individual or a group of people making such forced entries and carrying out acts of violence, we will immediately take action against it.”

Dr Prathiba Mahanamahewa attorney-at-law said, “If someone has breached the law in the country, the police and the OIC will have to launch investigations into the matter. Individuals or a group of people cannot persecute anybody based on moral judgment – which is against the law. Article 12 Section 1 of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka clearly states that everyone is equal before the law and likewise, no one can take the law into his or her hand. If anybody is subjected to such harassment, they can lodge a complaint with the police and the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission.”

He added that issues on ethics related to religion and religious morality should be directed to the board of monks of the relevant sect. Dr Mahanamahewa pointed out that these unduly interventions into law were encouraged since monks joined mainstream politics. When they entered into the domain where they gained power to rule, the sacred order of things was completely distorted.

Expressing his point of view, the General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero said that when there is nobody to solve Buddhist religious matters, organizations like Sihala Ravaya or Bodu Bala Sena need to take those matters into their hands. He added, “When responsible bodies do not address Buddhist religious issues, people found organizations to maintain morals and principles of the religion, which is justifiable. We have requested a police unit of at least ten to fifteen police officers dedicated to Buddhist affairs. Nobody has yet responded to that request.” Gnanasara thero pointed out that the need for a police unit dedicated to Buddhist affairs is to safeguard the principles and values of Buddhism.

He also added that even though there is a board of monks to take disciplinary action against those who breach their vows, things have become complicated in the modern times especially with reference to certain electronic media promoting monks who have not entered the priesthood with proper means. He added, “Therefore we cannot be limited to traditional methods when finding solutions or taking disciplinary action.”

Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, M. K. B. Dissanayake said, “Monks enter the priesthood under a certain sect or denomination. Disciplinary concerns within a religious practice should be addressed to relevant Nikaya (sect) and decisions have to be made by the chief monks of that particular ordinance and the monk who takes vows when novices enter priesthood. If there is a crime or a breach of law, general procedures can be followed. However, Sihala Ravaya or any such organization does not pocess that power to interfere into such matters.”

He added, “When a monk enters priesthood, the chief monk who takes the vows informs the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs to register the religious name of the new priest. Then the ministry produces a new identity card confirming that he is no longer a layman. Except the novices, monks who are properly ordained are in procession of a valid ID and are registered in the ministry. Fake monks could thus be identified by the police when required.”

Hon. Secretary to Asgiriya Chapter and lecturer at the Bhikku University told The Sunday Leader, “Any concerns related to misdemeanors of monks need to be informed to the relevant Nikaya (sect) and the board of monks have the authority to carry out investigations to clear the allegations. Until a monk is proven wrong, they cannot take any decision. It is improper for any organization to take such action especially they should not harass or act violently – which is against the Buddhist philosophy. We understand that there are some concerns related to deceitful monks and the disciplinary actions need to be taken. However, it should be done under the advisory board of monks of the relevant sect. Religious reformation should be done with caution.”

Refusing to make a statement regarding the matter, the Mahanayake of the Rangiri Dambulu Chapter, Inamaluwe Sumangala Thero said, “If anybody or any organization is creating schism in the society of Sangha, it is one of the cardinal sins and therefore I will not make comments that would lead to any such disunion under any circumstances.”

 

Setting standards or …

“As an organization devoted to Buddhism in the country, we have to take necessary measures to protect Buddhism by keeping a watch on certain monks who violate their precepts. There is no law in the country that would help us guard Buddhism when it comes to misconducts of Buddhist monks. There are so many deceitful people under the robe. It is crucial that we set standards.”
Sihala Ravaya Leader
The Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thero 
“If someone has breached law in the country, the police and the OIC will have to launch investigations into the matter. Individuals or a group of people cannot persecute anybody based on moral judgment -which is against the law. Article 12 Section 1 of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka clearly states that everyone is equal before the law and likewise, no one can take law into his or her hand. If anybody is subjected to such harassments, they can lodge a complaint with the police and the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission.”
Dr Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Attorney-at-law 
“Monks enter the priesthood under a certain sect or denomination. Disciplinary concerns within a religious practice should be addressed to relevant Nikaya (sect) and decisions have to be made by the chief monks of that particular ordinance and the monk who takes vows when novices enter the priesthood. If there is a crime or a breach of law, general procedures can be followed. However, Sihala Ravaya or any such organization does not process that power to interfere into such matters.”
Secretary, Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, M. K. B. Dissanayake 

 

11 Comments for “Who Desciplines The ‘Desciplined’?”

  1. VOX POPULI

    THIS IS NOT THE FIRST INSTANCE OF “VIHARADIPATHIS” IN INDULGING IN THESE ACTS. THIS IS NOT NEWS.

    OVER TO TO YOU PATALI AND GAMMANPILLAI.

    STOP “SPITTING VENOM” AGAINST THE “NON-BUDDHISTS” AND CLEAN
    YOUR OWN “CESS PIT”

  2. VOX POPULI

    ARE NOT THE “SINHALA RAVAYA’, B.B.S. AND SIMILAR GROUPS THE CREATION OF “GOTA”?

    SO THE GOVERNMENT IS RESPONSIBLE,

  3. Shaik Anwar Ahamath

    It is also against Buddhist philosophy for monks to dabble in politics. Like that famous poem, when the monks were burning down Muslim businesses, no one protested, when they started collecting protection money from traders, no one protested and now they are turning on each other, there are no one left to protest.

  4. jehan

    what about importing drugs by the pm and distributing by bbs.

  5. Malcolm X

    The Buddhist hierarchy of this country should have an effective disciplinary & monitoring mechanism in place with no strings attached & especially ban Monks from dabbling in politics which is a recipe for disaster, this way they can avoid other unsavory actors we see presently from trying to hijack Buddhism under various guises.

    • sam unagolla

      descipline? sunday leader needs spellcheck. it’s ‘discipline’ simple ones…

  6. wickramatungaag

    If it`s the duty of Rawaya to look into misbehavior of monks (according to the self appointed so called organization,” ORGANIZATION” IS NOT THE WORD FOR THESE GANGSTERS), why they are not look into the several misconduct , illegal approaches and the misuse of sinhala language on addressing a person or a bhikku by the BODU BALU SENAWA ?

  7. Rohana NA

    Why is that you always show only Buddhists monks. Go to Babile Road in Gampola and see how the Muslim Clerics have disregard the law of the country and built a Mosque over this public road and make all people including monks to walk under the feet of these Muslims. You are discriminating against Buddhists and creating disharmony, . Be responsible when making statements like this in the future.

  8. Rajah Pathmaganth N

    In Budhiam we dont condem sex we allo sex to beenjoyed.But those who wear the ropes cannot teach Buddahood while performing sexual acts with a woman.This monk should npt function as a monk in the order.But he should not be punishrd but have to be removed from the post bith the Bikkuni and the monk should leave the order and get married and lead a normal luife as couples.There should not be punishment unless this monk is a sex predator.Sexual abuse and assaults are different from love and affaection.If a monk has affection on a woman then he should be alowed to leave but he has to make sure he marry this woman ans show his real love.His punishment is he has to leave the order and marry this woman and show the world he is a genuine buddhist.It is very wrong people put the ropes to preach buddhiam only to enjoy all yhe comforts of monkhood and its facilitues.Homosexuality also should not be tolerated in the monkhood.Sexual misconduct happens when people have desires in the heart while they cheat the world and come into the order to gain comfort ans benefits.After coming into the order monks cannot do these sexual acts and exlosive sex inside the buddit shrine.But the monks who take these type of punishment acts are not genuine either.But there is a higher authority in the order and he should be informed and this monk should be allowed to leave.But he has a full duty to marry this woman and show his love.once he has lead adull life as a family man he can retunb to the order whern he is old and matured but he has to start the process again.In buddism we dont revenge and punish people.But lots of time there is abuse and exploitation.
    Buddhism and Buddhists practices have gone away from its original
    position.My surprise when the entire Nation struggle under corruption and murder an gambling and prostitution our monks try to punish another monk is un
    aceptable.any monk in the ropes want to lead a family life should be allowed to leave and get married and have children and perform a normal life.Sexual feeling is not a crime.But sexual exploitation is a crime because it spoils the society.
    Now a days rules of life has changed a;; over the wor;d/No one should be ashamed or insulted because thye have sexual desire.But it has to be done in the right order and manner.If I am the chief of the order i will call this monk and the Bikkuni and make them as a happily married couple.Also we have to respect all the good worls performed by this monk.
    Our real problem here is the Fence eating the yield.Our leader and politicians are leading a corrupt life and cheating the entire society.Criminals are allowe dto go free and a;;owed to have all the wealth while the poorand weak suffer.In buddhism we give the souls and opportunity to correct its mistaes and find a way to free itself from attachments because it never stya permannent and we have to leave all our belongings and go away one day.
    I dont know when and where the humans were taught that material wealth will make them happier.It is the opposite.The more wealth you make the more unhappy you are.Canada USA and other wealthy Nations are example.I have lived in Sri Lanka and I have live in the west for 28 long years.I have a resonable life here but i am nit happy because i dont have the simplicity i had in Sri lanka.
    But in Sri lanka I was leading a life whee i was very hungry most of the times.With all the spiritual wealth we lead an unhappy life in Sri lanka.We have to change the
    situation in Sri lanka.I used to go to the Biddgist shrins here in Scarborugh Toronto.The priests are really good but a vister monk ifrom North India behave with arrogant do preferentisl treatment.We in Buddhisn treat the rich and poor same.For Lord Budddha if you are poor and pennyless thatbis the best.
    I was so suprised to see in Bambalapitya Vajirarama Vihara people were feasing lunch inside while the poor weee waing at the door ad begging for food.
    They may not be really poor but their situation made them to live in slums and wattas.It is the fault of the repeated governments failing to ractify these loopholes in our syste.
    Feeding the poor and those who mediate in the shrine are the noble habits of Buddhists.We have to be proud of this.We hav taught civilization to the world.Making the poor fed very well and make them happy and content is our buddgist way of nibility.No any other culture has this in the world.But crooks and criminals invaded our society and we have a corrupt and unwelcoming society in Srilanka.The Army and police in total misbeahvious and corruptiion and while the criminals are leading a lavish life.
    The currebt president is a traitor alowingall the criminals thrive in the country and allowing the ,ilitary to suoress alll the goodness.when the military and police misbeahave and corrupt how can the normal people beahve gppd?
    This is not the first time drug smuggling happened in Sri lanka.And the 130 kilo heroin was shipped from Pakistan.Ifthat the case there must be a close connection in this deal from the muslim society.They are now in full control
    in colombo and in the Government.The 130 kilo cocaine has disappeared from police custody.
    The entire Nation is under corruption and military rule.The president and his family has got millions of dollars as bribe to give lands for build hotels and resorts and he also ahve freely allowed gambling and smuggling of drugs into the contry and now he try to legalize marjuana in Srilanka.We cannot blame Tamils or Muslims for this.Our sinhalease leaders are corrupt by themselves.They are hiding behind the noble buddhahood and allow all the criminals to thrive.
    I as really shocked this currebt president knowngly allowed the Shrine of Dutu gamunu to be vandalized.All the treaures from the guardian shrine has been robbed.Dutu gamunus pece has been destroyed.IF this president is a trure Buddhist he would not have done this.I donyt think The Tamils would have involved in this scandal.It shoukd be people rom the muslim circle should ahve been behind this.Muslim slave traders are still,operating in srilankabut in a different mannner.Of anyone who have seen the movie Ashanthi would understand the brutality of these muslim slave traders.While thosands of Young girls and boys are used fro prosititution this man speak about child friendliness.All these are eye wash.
    This president cannot call himself as a buddhist.He is leading a corrupt life which is against buddhist principles.It is wrong to change the laws to suit for your own personal needs.He is doing the same thing what the Emperor Nero did while Rome was gu

  9. laksiri

    Today ,we do not have any single monk who follows the Buddha teaching. in this country.all these thugs and drug dealers hiding under robe.these guys has their own agenda and not following any way to anted the enlightenment. many monk get drunk and have ladies.we should stop giving all finial support and respect to these guys and let them to do what ever they like others to live.they are already in the parliament not in temple doing meditation or follow the teaching of Buddha.now they ORGANIZER AS TRUGS AND MANY CRIME GROPE TO KEEP THE POWER.we need king Walagamba system to take off robe from all such brutal criminal monk and only respect who follow the Buddha teaching and stay in the the temple.if we do not act now this country will end entire civilization and rule of the law to uneducated and criminal monks soon.

  10. Rajah Pathmaganth N

    iT IS FUNNY THAT PEOPLE SAYS BUDDHIST MONKS SHOULD NOT ENTER POLITICS.Well if the ploiticians become corrupt and they use the law and order and armed forces for their own criminal and dictator ship ruling who will spak for the people and the culture and religion of a Natuon?We are traditionally proud and noble people and we have a great culture.Buddhist monks has the authority to advise the King but also have the right to remove corrupt kings and rulers and establish law and order in the country.The fello speak abot burning down muslim stores inthe country.In fact in 1958 riots it was the muslim thugs did all the looting of businesses and properties and there was a thorogh invenstigation about the.Further the muslim invaders purpose;y went on destroying and rubbling our shrines and temple and built mosk in those places.We have never done this in our history.in cases we helped people to built temples in ouer soil.
    Look atb th ehistory.The muslim kings and tader s have no heart.When the muslim traders came to Lanka in the 1400 century any one can pick up gems by hand while walking along the river banks.After seing this immense wealth the muslim traders asked our king to sell our gems.But our kings told them this is our National treasure we dont sel it.You guys came to buy spice so stay away with it.Little by little the muslim traders invaded our land and now all our gems have disappered.Our gem pits are empty.
    It is a shame our current president knowingly allowed to Vandalixe Dutu gamunu shrine and billions worth of artifacts have been stolen and disappered.
    And no one can question this corrupt ruler here.And the mUslims are behind this.I dont thinima trure buddhist would have dome this.
    The muslim people the men slaugter the anumals in front of their women
    to num their wenses and humanitraian feelings and then use thm for explosive sex.This is what thye do in all middle east and in our backyard.
    Hpmosexuality is also there behind the curtain.
    I have to make a verdict here.WE are nobles.We dont revenge or victimize peoople.We do a tgrough inventigation and fin the truth.Criminal offence we nitch it to the butt.We have a slear law in Buddhism.one law for ebvery ine.
    1.In this case of the Buddhist monk having sex with a bikkuni is a serious criminal offence if he has forcibiliy sxually assaulted that female bikkuni.If he has done thatbthen it is crime.his ropes have to be removed and he has to be treated as criminal.What ever the punishment.
    2.If the Bikkuni and the Monk was fallen in love then te situation is different.We have to find out.The buddhist monk has the right to do it.If ter is a pure love then te monk has to levae the order and perfom a duty of a family man and full fill his dities.
    At the end when he is old he can come back to the orfer.It is fair and right justice.The muslims were telling lots of lies iin the name of relion and do allthe crimes behind the curtain.We cannot btolerate this any more.That pious Rizana from Batticaloa was murdered wronly in Saudi Arabia and the muslims should touch their heart and tell the truth.
    We are not against sex but woman slavery and seual assault and abuse are not our way of living.
    Buddhist monk has the right to bring law and order.The Armed servise and police have to get teir advise and establish truth , justice and order.Even prophet mohamed was aginst women violence and slavery.
    We have to bring a clear action here.This is a buddhist country.We have the right to establish the right justice.In the Arab Nations we cannot file a court action against injustice.everything is done by close doors and many innocent civilians get tortures and killed.Tbe president should release all the prisioners who have not done any serious offence.And also we have to help those whuo need to restart their life.
    i am asking all the communities to stop opportunity politica.use brotherhood and eliminate hate.Thereis serious corruption on the Tamils and Sinhala and muslim politicians.Sri Lanka nee to be freed.And the buddhist monks have the right to speak.Te army and police have to listen to their advise.

    Thank you

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