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Buddhism Is Not For Banning

  • Many other schools have their own Big Matches which are played with the gusto and rivalry peculiar to their own traditions
  • Misguided youth could be corrected by persuasive teaching of monks than through banning matches
  • History will tell you how most private profitable ventures, which made up the backbone of the economy, were nationalised and became the black holes of finance
A few well known Buddhist monks caused panic among tens of thousands (or even more) schoolboys last week by calling for a ‘ban on Big Matches’ that are to be played in the coming weeks. These ‘big matches’ are the most joyous of events in the schoolboy calendar. Those who have gone through the rituals of collecting funds to buy their flags, rosettes, golliwogs, pocket money and went singing past girls schools in packed jalopies to the venue off the match to enjoy unbridled freedom recall – even in their reclining years – those happy days in their lives.

‘Big Match’ refers no longer only to the Royal-Thomian encounter, which this year is the 138th in the series and is the world’s second oldest cricket series and is older than the Ashes series between England and Australia. Many other schools, particularly in the provinces, have their own Big Matches which are played with the gusto and rivalry peculiar to their own traditions. ‘Big Matches’ no doubt have contributed to the promotion and popularity of the game in which Sri Lanka has reached world standards -cricket being the only game to do so.

The venerable monks no doubt had good intentions, objectives and the interests of the youth at heart: Prevention of violent clashes and dissuading a limited number of boys taking swigs off ‘the bottle’ at these matches.

 

by Gamini Weerakoon

But is banning cricket encounters the answer?

Consumption of alcohol, history tells us, is as old as civilisation. Even in the kingdom of Kapilavastu, Buddha’s birthplace, alcohol would have been consumed for the Buddha to make non-consumption of alcohol the fifth precept in the Panchaseela.

An important aspect that strikes us is that the Buddha did not ban or call for a ban on alcohol consumption. The five principles of Buddhist conduct, the Panchaseela, does not call for banning but make adherents declare that whey will refrain from committing those acts. It is well known that the Buddhist philosophy stresses on the conduct of an individual being of his own volition and not on diktats issued by others.

Enforcing bans through law and administrative fiats to make others bend to one’s will and desire, we think is incompatible with Buddhist philosophy.

We by no means make the claim of being erudite in the Buddhist doctrine as the learned monks. But we only state our rational understanding of the Buddhist doctrine.

Misguided youth could be corrected by persuasive teaching of monks than through banning matches.

Instead of banning these events which are a harmless source of great joy and happiness to the great numbers of youth, we suggest that monks pick out the minority miscreants and guide them in righteous ways.

 

The national itch of banning

An analytical study of Sri Lanka’s political history will bring out a widespread quirk among our politicians: Ban anything which is not to their liking. It appears to have commenced with the ‘1956 Revolution’ with the itch to ban or nationalize most of the things which the ‘father of the revolution’, Solomon Dais Bandaranaike and his cohorts did not like. For a start the use of the English language in government administration was virtually banned and private bus transport companies were ‘nationalised’.

A hoary joke still repeated at the Orient Club is an encounter between two distinguished members, Prime Minister Bandaranaike and the former Prime Minister Sir john Kotelawala in the toilet. Sir John on seeing Bandaranaike entering the toilet hurriedly buttoned up. Bandaranaike seeing Sir John’s hurried action asked: Lionel (Sir John was Lionel to friends) what’s the hurry? Sir John’s reply was: I am afraid. You can’t see anything big. You want to nationalize it!

History will tell you how most private profitable ventures, which made up the backbone of the economy, were nationalised and became the black holes of finance gobbling up the national wealth, some of them being compelled to be de-nationalised and still some sacred black holes being stoutly defended by Opposition nationalists as ‘national treasurers’ (Jatika Vastu).

 

Good Governance or No Governance?

Today, the cry resonating throughout Sri Lanka is to ban SAITM – a private university catering to students in many disciplines including medicine. The medical profession is opposing this institute for reasons of their own and has brought students of state universities, mostly of the medical faculties, to the streets demanding that this private institute be banned although the courts have told the Medical Council to recognise the medical degree. After making medical students and questionable characters to parade Colombo’s commercial district for days, an appeal has been made to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal. If the Supreme Court rejects their appeal what some leading lights of the medical profession remains to be seen.

In contrast a government proposal to impose heavy fines for motor traffic offences to prevent the mounting number of accidents – many of them fatal – is being stalled by private bus operators backed by Opposition!

Meanwhile much sound and fury is being expended on a new constitution.

Of what use would a new constitution be if a traffic regulation cannot be implemented? A cynic queries.

3 Comments for “Buddhism Is Not For Banning”

  1. Sangaralingham

    Religions includes Buddhism is only for the purpose of close relationship among members of the society reect love trust cooperation avoid harm to others support help each other’s help the needy DuPont the elders among other many good things. Play enjoy life strength is vital games play a big role in maintains friendship and physical fitness.priests whoever they are. Ust not interfere with these human relationship but they can with cooperation of teachers harmful effects of alcohol anuse of drugs smoking of any kind fighting . Youth enjoy life no chance will come again

  2. Sangaralingham

    Banning anything without logic reason intelligence just to please segment of population is not wise or socially acceptable population at large should not put up eith this type of policies hurt the society many individuals paralyses thr country which we know happened over 60 years still not recovered from it”

  3. John Appaswamy

    Mr. Weerakoon,

    Hat’s off to you Sir!

    Your comment ” It is well known that the Buddhist philosophy stresses on the conduct of an individual being of his own volition and not on diktats issued by others” I hope will catch the eyes of religious leaders.

    I have often said that the closure of beef shops, theatres, liquor shops “BY GOVT. ORDER” on Poya days is non-Buddhist, non-ethical & is a violation of the fundamental rights of the other religions in this country.

    Abstinence from eating meat, entertainment & consuming liquor, should be by one’s own volition and willingly abided by, by the individual, for the merits of such ‘sacrifice’ to be of benefit to him. If he/she is forced to observe this abstinence, then the Buddhist gets no merit, and the non-Buddhists cannot be faulted for harbouring ‘unfriendly’ thoughts about the Buddhists in general & their monks in particular & considering the Govt. as aiders & abettors of enforced morality.

    With regards & malice towards none.

    .

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