[CITIZENS' Mail - (08-11-2017)] | Daily News

[CITIZENS' Mail - (08-11-2017)]

SHOULD CONSTITUTION INCLUDE PROTECTING BUDDHISM?

One of the issues widely discussed and argued today is the provision in the Constitution to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, where Buddhist monks, politicians and Buddhist organisations clamour. Some Buddhist fronts have threatened to march and demonstrate, which may lead to violence.

In this context a very valuable article appeared on Daily News of November 2 under the caption “Beware the ‘ENEMY’ within” by Ven. Bhante Dhammika Thera, Australia. To give veracity to his argument he cites a case where, while in Sri Lanka, he had stayed in a temple in Kandy, the incumbent of the temple had permanently closed the Sunday Dhamma classes and rented the building to conduct classes in English and other subjects, thus depriving Buddhist children of learning Buddhism.

I support this statement, with my personal experience, where I went to a famous temple in my area to complain to the Chief Incumbent of a monk in his temple refusing and requesting me to come later to get a piece of Pirith Noola. Incidentally this Chief Incumbent is also in the forefront on the issue under discussion. To my dismay and disgust, he told me tying of Pirith Noola has become a nuisance and disrupts other work, giving me the impression that this ritual is valueless and only a show. The ‘other work’ may be conducting Bodhi Poojas, distributing Sil Redi. It is strange the prelates who are agitating are those who supported the previous regime by allowing temple premises to be used as Political Party Offices, conducting Bodhi Poojas, reciting Seth Kavi, distributing Sil Redi for the same party to come to power.

The most despicable act was sending monks [men in yellow robes] to collect funds to pay a fine imposed. It is therefore quite clear, irreparable damage to Buddhism is done mostly by Buddhist monks. The lay Buddhists by criticizing the Sangha because of their behaviour, also bring disgrace to Buddhism.

Ven. Bhante Dhammika also questions: Is Buddhism threatened? If so by what or whom and continues:

“In my four decades as a monk, I have travelled to every Buddhist country, living in some of them and in most regions where Buddhism prevails and in some of these places I have seen evidence that my religion is under very real threat. The ones that I have noticed most were these: an indolent and ignorant Sangha, the promotion of various superstitions rather than the Dhamma, a devoted but ignorant laity and squandering of resources on showy, but ultimately useless projects.”

He winds up by saying: “according to the Buddha external objects or events cannot make the Dhamma disappear but the foolish people (Mogha Purisa) actually within Buddhism can. If the Buddha is correct this would mean that we should be paying attention to individual within Buddhism rather than outside, it as the possible threat to religion. How could they do this? By giving it a bad reputation through their words and actions, by failing to put it into practice, by using it for their own aggrandisement rather than for helping others. Possible by all these and more.”

As said in my previous letters, handing over this responsibility of monks in protecting, fostering Buddhism to the government – politicians – makes Buddhism a part of politics, which the politicians make use to palaver Buddhist monks by offering employment in the State recognition at state functions, various rewards - perks - at government expense etc. That is exactly what these few Buddhist prelates’ desire as they had tasted such favours earlier.

It is left for genuine Buddhist monks and laymen – Upasaka, Upasikas, and Dayakayas to get together and force these errant monks back to the temple to teach and practice the Dhamma.

Handing over the protection and fostering of Buddhism to the state is the final nail driven to the coffin called BUDDHISM.

G A D Sirimal

Boralesgamuwa 


 

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